Entries Tagged as 'everyday'

oh, hi!

Posted on: Monday, May 8, 2017

Ann-Marie Loves

Oh, hi! It’s been a minute.

I promise I haven’t abandoned this place altogether! I’ve penned several posts in my head, but actually finding the time to sit down and write them out…well, life keeps getting in the way. I recently picked up a new gig as the photographer / blogger for Pacific Play Tents and it has been such a fun change of pace! I am so excited to be part of an amazing company and I am enjoying every minute of this new experience. That being said, I’m still learning how to juggle my growing workload with my growing family. There’s certainly no such thing as balance. I get most of my work done after the kids go to bed, catch up on e-mails well past midnight, and squeeze in a few workouts somewhere in there, but I feel happy. I’m doing something that I love and it’s paying the bills.

So life is good. I’ve got lots to tell you! xo

tips for dealing with anxiety.

Posted on: Monday, February 20, 2017

Tips for Dealing With Anxiety | Ann-Marie Loves

Yesterday was one of those days where I felt overwhelmed about everything. There was nothing in particular that made me stressed; rather it was a mix of ongoing anxieties and new stressors paired with postpartum hormones. I’ve always felt things pretty deeply. I don’t cry at the drop of the hat like I used to (puberty was a cruel biotch), but I am acutely aware of energies and emotions around me, and every once in awhile, they knock me down. Thankfully, I’ve picked up a few tricks in my thirty years that help me to regain control of my thoughts. Here are my top five solutions:

1. Exercise. I know, I know. Nobody wants to hear that they have to get their body in motion to get their mind right, but I promise you, IT WORKS. One of my favorite way to exercise is about as simple and inexpensive as it gets: a long walk in the fresh air. Yesterday I loaded Landon up in the stroller and went for an hour long walk to meet up with John and Briar. It wasn’t super scenic and the threat of rain was upon us the whole time, but it felt good to get outside and get my body moving. Walks are even better when you have a favorite podcast or playlist to keep you company.

2. Meditation. I’m finding that meditation is hard to come by with two babies in the house but I need it now more than ever. Sometimes when I take a shower at night, I’ll let the water run for a few minutes while I sit on the floor of the bathroom and close my eyes and breathe. It’s nothing fancy but it resets my looping thought patterns and brings me back to the present moment. I have a few favorite ways to meditate:

a. I close my eyes and focus on the bridge of my nose and breathe slowly in and out.

b. I close my eyes and slowly direct my attention from the top of my head to the bottom of my feet, consciously relaxing each body part as I work my way down (i.e. my head is tingly, my jaw is loose, my hands are limp, etc).

c. I listen to guided meditations (so many free podcasts and YouTube videos out there!) and / or instrumental music or nature sounds and focus on what I am hearing.

My all-time favorite meditations are the ones done after a yoga class when you lay in shavasana. In fact, my dream-of-all-dreams workout class would be 45 minutes of a high-energy Zumba workout followed by 20-30 minutes of restorative yoga followed by a 20 minute guided meditation. I would be a new person by the end each class. (Somebody please invent this.)

3. Clean up. There’s nothing quite like having my living space in disarray to make me feel like my life is completely out of control. I find that the act of getting things organized and put back in their proper homes can shift my mood dramatically. I’ve also noticed that the act of cleaning (especially folding laundry) is meditative in and of itself.

4. Change of scenery. Sometimes all it takes to break a negative thought cycle is to change up my environment, which can be as small as taking the trash out or as big as a day trip to one of my favorite places. A change of scenery almost always equals a change of perspective.

5. Journaling. I’ve been obsessed with journaling for as long as I can remember (which might explain why I love blogging), so when I’m feeling particularly drained, I’ll get all my thoughts out of my head and onto paper. I’ve also started writing letters to my intuition after listening to this podcast and watching this video. It’s such a helpful tool for really getting to the root of my anxiety…I can’t recommend it enough!

On a related note, I recently heard this quote by Glennon Doyle Melton from this book, via this podcast, and had to stop what I was doing to write it down:

“We can choose to be perfect and admired; or real and loved.”

I choose the latter. xo

kidspace.

Posted on: Friday, February 3, 2017

Kidspace Children's Museum | Pasadena, CA | Ann-Marie Loves

Right after Landon was born, John and I tried our best to make sure Briar had a smooth transition into big sisterhood. In between hanging out at home and visiting grandparents, we also peppered Briar’s days with a few family outings, including one to Kidspace Children’s Museum in Pasadena. We’ve been here many times and each visit feels like a new experience as Briar is able to enjoy it in different ways. Truth be told, I just love any excuse to get out to Pas ;)

This particular trip marked our first visit as a family of four and we had a great time! Landon slept through most of it in the wrap while John chased Briar around and I got to take lots of photos. Here are some of my favorite shots from the day:

Kidspace Children's Museum | Pasadena, CA | Ann-Marie Loves

Kidspace Children's Museum | Pasadena, CA | Ann-Marie Loves

It’s an indoor / outdoor museum with so many awesome exhibits and play areas to explore.

Kidspace Children's Museum | Pasadena, CA | Ann-Marie Loves

Kidspace Children's Museum | Pasadena, CA | Ann-Marie Loves

Ahhhhh, I could just eat her up!

Kidspace Children's Museum | Pasadena, CA | Ann-Marie Loves

Kidspace Children's Museum | Pasadena, CA | Ann-Marie Loves

Kidspace Children's Museum | Pasadena, CA | Ann-Marie Loves

Note the soaking wet shirt. Always bring an extra pair (or five!) of clothes when taking little ones to this museum.

Kidspace Children's Museum | Pasadena, CA | Ann-Marie Loves

This display totally gives me future room decor inspiration for Landon.

Kidspace Children's Museum | Pasadena, CA | Ann-Marie Loves

Such a good newborn. Sleep, sleep, sleep.

Kidspace Children's Museum | Pasadena, CA | Ann-Marie Loves

Kidspace Children's Museum | Pasadena, CA | Ann-Marie Loves

Kidspace Children's Museum | Pasadena, CA | Ann-Marie Loves

Kidspace Children's Museum | Pasadena, CA | Ann-Marie Loves

Kidspace Children's Museum | Pasadena, CA | Ann-Marie Loves

Kidspace Children's Museum | Pasadena, CA | Ann-Marie Loves

Kidspace Children's Museum | Pasadena, CA | Ann-Marie Loves

Look how gorgeous the natural landscape is! You guys, Pasadena is my FAVORITE.

Kidspace Children's Museum | Pasadena, CA | Ann-Marie Loves

And of course, what trip to Kidpsace is complete with a roll in the sand (most of which she took home in her shoes)?

When John went back to work, I was feeling extra bold so I took the two year old and the newborn to Kidspace by myself, and you know what? It wasn’t a total disaster! Yes, it was a ton of work and yes, Briar took off running while I was trying to nurse Landon (in the sandpit, of all places), and yes, we were all pooped by the end, but it was fun! I felt like that trip was where I got my sea legs for taking two kids out in public. I mean, if you’re going to learn, you might as well dive head first into the deep end! ;)

 

 

 

the grass is greener where you water it.

Posted on: Wednesday, December 14, 2016

The Grass Is Greener Where You Water It | Ann-Marie Loves x Cross Pens

2016 has been quite a year, no? I was reading an article that listed the worst years in human history and this past year made the cut…YIKES. Personally, it wasn’t my finest hour on record but it also wasn’t my worst. A lot of really great things happened to me in 2016: I got pregnant, I found a nice rhythm with work, Briar turned two, we moved into a cute place, I had Landon (!), and I came to the startling realization that the grass is greener where you water it.

crosspens-2

I’m sure you’ve seen that quote floating around on Pinterest many times. In fact, I’m sure I’ve pinned it at least three times, but it took until recently (when I really needed it) for the words to hit me over the head and finally sink into my consciousness. The grass is greener where you water it. So true on every single level, right? So what if I don’t have everything that someone else has…look at all the amazing things I do have! After years and years of comparing myself to others, I’ve learned the comparison trap is just that — a trap! — and it never fails to make me lose confidence in who I am and what I have.

The Grass Is Greener Where You Water It | Ann-Marie Loves x Cross Pens

My life may look pretty small on the outside: I spend most of my days balancing two babies with freelance work. I don’t drive a fancy car and I can’t quite afford California real estate just yet. I don’t take many fancy trips. Half of my wardrobe still doesn’t fit me as I maneuver my way through the postpartum phase of life. I spend many days wondering what in the world am I doing?! But in spite of all these perceived shortcomings, I find so much joy in my everyday when I focus on all that I have instead of all that I don’t.

The Grass Is Greener Where You Water It | Ann-Marie Loves x Cross Pens

It’s the simple things that really make life so rich: Drinking coffee from a French press in the morning. Listening to Briar’s little voice tell me stories. Going on adventures with my two babies. Shooting and editing photos. Listening to my favorite podcasts. Decorating my tiny but cozy home. Target runs (especially of the solo variety). Long conversations with my husband. Shopping with my mom. Drinking wine. Dancing until my feet hurt. Making things with my own two hands. Crawling into a warm bed at night.

The Grass Is Greener Where You Water It | Ann-Marie Loves x Cross Pens

One of the easiest ways for me to focus on how green my own grass really is is by writing down memories in my kids’ individual baby journals. We started a journal for Briar before she was born and we continued the tradition with Landon. I don’t write in them everyday or even every week, but whenever I carve out a few minutes to reflect on their milestones and how proud and in love I am with them, my sense of gratitude spills over into every aspect of my life. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy: the more I express gratitude, the more things I have to be grateful for!

The Grass Is Greener Where You Water It | Ann-Marie Loves x Cross Pens

It only took thirty years but I’ve finally seen the light.

This post was sponsored by CrossPens but all opinions, ideas, and photos are my own.

as of late | december edition.

Posted on: Thursday, December 1, 2016

As of Late | December Edition | Ann-Marie Loves

Feeling so excited that the holidays are officially underway! Christmas with little ones is MAGIC.

Taking the babes for walks in our new double BOB stroller and zoning out with a podcast while all three of us get some fresh air. It’s one of my favorite simple joys in life.

Putting together a Spotify playlist for Landon that makes me feel all mushy inside. My favorites on the list are St. Judy’s Comet, Beautiful Boy, and Sweet Baby James.

Treasuring these early infant days where I can put Landon in one spot and know that he can’t go anywhere or get into anything!

Pining after this gold swan wall decor piece! It would be so cute in Briar’s room.

Navigating that postpartum limbo where my body is stuck between where it was and where I want it to be.

Discovering YouTube in a major way! My all-time favorite videos are from Claire Zinnecker (whom I recently found out turned thirty on the same day I turned thirty!). Her style speaks to me in a MAJOR way and I can’t wait to see more from her.

Feeling the pull to clean up my eating habits and taking inspiration from Nutrition Stripped. I love her videos (and her cute kitchen!) and I’m adding her cookbook to my Christmas list.

Writing down lots of blog post ideas (okay, more like e-mailing them to myself).

Starting my December Daily album today. Yessssssss.

thirty.

Posted on: Tuesday, November 15, 2016

This is 30 | Ann-Marie Loves

Today I turn thirty. Whoa. As I’ve been reflecting back on all that happened during my twenties, I came up with a list of thirty of my favorite things from the past decade:

Becoming a mom. Biggest (and best!) challenge in my twenties, for sure.

Living in four completely different cities.

Seeing my work in print for the first time.

Feeling baby kicks. There’s nothing quite like them!

Moving to Utah on a whim and working at American Crafts. What a cool experience.

Marrying John in a DIY backyard wedding!

Learning how to meditate.

Dancing like a maniac at every wedding I attend.

Falling in love with scrapbooking and turning it into a career path.

Getting to know Briar + Landon.

Decorating a double nursery.

Listening to countless podcasts and even attending a live recording of Bitch Sesh!

Living in the snow for two winters (and deciding that I never need to live in it ever again).

Graduating college.

Instagram and Pinterest. I can’t remember life before them!

Blogging. I really, really love this creative outlet.

Going on long walks in Pasadena.

Taking a full moon chair lift ride with John in Sundance.

Long bike rides with friends.

Discovering scrapbooking. Not only has it been a fun hobby but it’s also been a career and the key to so many open doors in my life!

Spending my 29th birthday in Santa Barbara with John (my first night away from Briar!).

Bingeing on Parenthood. Best show ever.

Getting engaged in Yosemite a few days before Christmas.

Finally figuring out that photography is what I want to do with my life.

Going on a major thrifting spree for my wedding.

Honeymooning in the Pacific Northwest with my new husband and drinking allll the coffee.

Honeybee lattes at Lavender + Honey.

Having annual passes to Disneyland for almost the whole ten years.

Various workout obsessions: Tae Bo, Turbokick, spinning, and my most favorite, Zumba!

Ending the decade with realization that the grass is always greener where you water it. I can’t wait to see what my thirties have in store for me!

family of four.

Posted on: Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Family of Four | Ann-Marie Loves

Life around here has been an adventure, to say the least. Having twice as many kids as we did six weeks ago is challenging but so rewarding.

Family of Four | Ann-Marie Loves

Family of Four | Ann-Marie Loves

I remember feeling very overwhelmed during the first few months of Briar’s life and now am wondering what in the world was I thinking?!  Infants are a piece of cake! Ha! Actually, I know why the first baby is so hard: it’s the sudden loss of independence, the need to be hyper-vigilant about somebody else’s needs, oh, and the sleep deprivation (that one is still a doozy) that throws you for a loop. At least it did for me. I know a lot of new moms struggle with a sense of isolation and while I didn’t feel that emotion too often, I definitely felt a constant flood of other difficult feelings. I felt overwhelmed. I felt exhausted. I felt like I should have been enjoying every single moment when in reality, I loved my baby but I wasn’t in a permanent state of bliss. I desperately wanted to “enjoy every moment” like I was instructed to do, but as a first time mom, I always had my eye on the horizon for what was coming down the pike.

Family of Four | Ann-Marie Loves

Family of Four | Ann-Marie Loves

Family of Four | Ann-Marie Loves

This time around, I’m not trying to enjoy every moment (is that even possible??) but as a result, I am enjoying A LOT more of the everyday experience than I did with Briar. I am loving this delicious newborn phase when all Landon does is eat, sleep, and poop. When he gets fussy and doesn’t want to be put down, I pick him up and cherish those snuggles instead of feeling overwhelmed and frustrated like I did the first time. Or better yet, I’ll get him in the wrap or Ergo and savor the closeness. (P.S. I tried to convince Briar to let me wear her in the Ergo to see if she still fit and she politely declined with a “no thanks.” Ha! When did she turn twelve?!)

Family of Four | Ann-Marie Loves

Family of Four | Ann-Marie Loves

Family of Four | Ann-Marie Loves

This time around I’m also much more patient with how my body adjusts back to it’s normal self. When I had Briar, I was so concerned that all the postpartum discomforts and awkwardness would be my new way of life. With this second experience, I’m completely fascinated by how fast my body is healing itself and how quickly I’ve been able to jump back into normal life. I actually have much more energy now — sleep deprivation and all — than I did while pregnant! I am definitely nowhere near where I started and I may not get back there for awhile but I promise you, I am 100% okay with that. I plan on rocking my maternity clothes well into Landon’s first (second, third…) year of life! ;)

Family of Four | Ann-Marie Loves

Family of Four | Ann-Marie Loves

This past weekend I decided that we needed family photos, so with a little bribery for the two year old and a lot of sweat (why is so hot in November?!), I got my photos! As I go through them, I can’t help but smile over the tiny little people I get to call my kids. Motherhood is a wild ride.

family trip to underwood farms.

Posted on: Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Underwood Farms Pumpkin Patch | Ann-Marie Loves

John took three weeks of paternity leave and it was GLORIOUS. I’m not sure who enjoyed his presence more…me or Briar (she has become a major daddy’s girl)! While he was home, we went on a few little day trips as a family of four and even though it was a lot of work, it was SO worth it. That’s pretty much my motto for for life with kids: get out of the house. I go stir crazy if we can’t leave at least once a day so no matter how much chaos might ensue once we are out in public, it’s always worth the fresh air and the change of scenery.

Underwood Farms Pumpkin Patch | Ann-Marie Loves

When Landon turned a week old, we celebrated with a trip to Underwood Farms. (I may or may not have purposely timed our trip around sunset when the lighting was killer). Briar always enjoys the farm experience but she really loved it this year. Landon, of course, slept through the whole thing in his wrap (living and dying by that wrap these days!). And as for John and me? Well, we were (and still are!) in disbelief at how obsessed we are with these two tiny people! They make life so crazy and wonderful.

Here are some of my favorite moments from our adventure:

Underwood Farms Pumpkin Patch | Ann-Marie LovesUnderwood Farms Pumpkin Patch | Ann-Marie LovesUnderwood Farms Pumpkin Patch | Ann-Marie LovesUnderwood Farms Pumpkin Patch | Ann-Marie LovesUnderwood Farms Pumpkin Patch | Ann-Marie LovesUnderwood Farms Pumpkin Patch | Ann-Marie LovesUnderwood Farms Pumpkin Patch | Ann-Marie LovesUnderwood Farms Pumpkin Patch | Ann-Marie LovesUnderwood Farms Pumpkin Patch | Ann-Marie LovesUnderwood Farms Pumpkin Patch | Ann-Marie LovesUnderwood Farms Pumpkin Patch | Ann-Marie LovesUnderwood Farms Pumpkin Patch | Ann-Marie LovesUnderwood Farms Pumpkin Patch | Ann-Marie Loves

 

settling in.

Posted on: Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Ann-Marie Loves

This past weekend we moved to a new place and I’ve been feeling all the emotions (as you do when you’re about to pop out another human being). It’s SO EXCITING to have a cute little place to call our own. I am so eager to get everything unpacked and make it feel like home, I just wish my giant pregnant body could move a little faster!

Ann-Marie Loves

John and I have been agonizing over where we wanted to start this next chapter of our lives for months. We both work in Los Angeles but our families live in the suburbs just outside of the city limits so we were torn over what we should do. Was it worth it to have a shorter commute but pay more in rent and daycare (LA is expensive!)? Or was it worth it to be closer to grandparents and pay a little less but spend more time fighting traffic everyday? Trust me, it was a huge debate that I thought would never end. Finally, after a hormonally-fueled meltdown, I decided that we needed to stay close to family at this stage in our lives. John agreed. Once we made our decision, we found a place almost instantly and the two of us breathed a collective sigh of relief. Plus, we have a washer / dryer AND a dishwasher!! Basically, I’m high on rental life right now.

Ann-Marie Loves

I’m already so grateful that we prioritized staying close to grandparents because I want to ensure that Briar maintains the slightest shred of normalcy as we throw curveballs her way over the next few weeks. She has a new home with a new bed and will have a new brother in a matter of days. It’s a lot for me (an almost thirty year old) to wrap my brain around; I can only imagine how overwhelming it is for a toddler! But like every significant change before, I know she will roll with the punches better than her dad or myself! I envy that kind of blind faith that comes with childhood.

Ann-Marie Loves

I’m also kicking myself a little bit for spending so much of this summer feeling stressed about the future and how things would (if ever!) come together. It’s times like these when I wish I had the foresight to trust in the universe and just enjoy each stage (not matter how “imperfect”). Worrying is such an epic waste of precious energy.

Note to self: GO WITH THE FLOW.

apple + peanut butter cookies.

Posted on: Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Apple + Peanut Butter Cookies | Ann-Marie Loves

Recently I was asked what my favorite snack is and it took me a moment to figure it out. I’ve been through many different snack phases but right now I am deep in an apple and peanut butter “cookies” stage of life. They’re basically the perfect combination of sweet and crunchy that sometimes I forget I’m not actually eating a real cookie! Okay, that’s a lie. I never forget ;) But honestly, I feel like these are even better than a real cookie!

Apple + Peanut Butter Cookies | Ann-Marie Loves

I think the reason that I love this particular snack so much is that it takes approximately one minute to make and that’s about the max amount of time that I am willing to invest in a snack. All you need is an apple, peanut butter, chocolate chips, and Craisins…that’s it! I take the apple, cut it into thin slices, and then layer it with all the aforementioned toppings.

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This is a great snack food but I’ll also eat it for breakfast or for dessert!

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