Entries Tagged as 'everyday'

creating routines + getting things done.

Posted on: Monday, April 14, 2014

Thoughts on Creating Routines and Getting Things Done | Ann-Marie Loves | Quote by Pearl S. Buck

I go through phases where I spend my last few minutes every evening either scrolling through Instagram + Pinterest or by reading a book on my Kindle. Lately I’ve been turning the former way more often than the latter, but last Thursday, I decided to revisit my Kindle and ended up purchasing Manage Your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind by Jocelyn K. Glei. Turns out, it was exactly what I needed to read! (What’s that saying about when you’re ready, the teacher will appear?) I quickly burned through half the book in a single evening and felt so inspired by the quote above, that I decided to create a new tradition: Friday morning coffee dates with my laptop and my to-do list. I am 100% guilty of waiting until my mood is “just right” or when inspiration strikes or when a deadline is dangerously close before I actually begin, so you better believe this quote was the kick in the pants that I desperately needed ;)

P.S. Normally I save work / life balance posts for my Workspace Wednesday series, but this quote just felt like the right note for kicking off of a killer Monday!

happy at home.

Posted on: Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Lately John and I have been commenting on how nice it feels to be “home.”  After a weekend spent with family, it felt great to return to our Pasadena abode and get re-settled back into our daily routines. We’re both well aware that in just a few short weeks, this place will become even more baby-central than it already is, so we’re enjoying every last minute of the limbo phase while it’s still just the two of us.

Nesting | Ann-Marie Loves

This basket went from holding laundry to holding blankets to holding rolls of paper and I’m sure it will one day hold toys. I love to repurpose!

Nesting | Ann-Marie Loves

Our daughter’s wardrobe is already bursting at the seams! I need to start taking inventory of which sizes I have and which sizes I need before I fill an entire closet with 3-6 months.

Nesting | Ann-Marie Loves

Instax photo from our engagement photoshoot which feels like, oh, five million years ago.

Nesting | Ann-Marie Loves

The ever-changing bench! It’s still my favorite flea market find to date.

Nesting | Ann-Marie Loves

Most of our shoes get kicked into the closet as soon as we get home, but I dig this little pop of hot pink as part of my “decor.”

Nesting | Ann-Marie Loves

Overflowing copper cans of pens, pencils, scissors, rulers, bone folders, paintbrushes, xacto knives…

Nesting | Ann-Marie Loves

The most difficult part of the apartment to photograph! SO MUCH GLARE. But we love curating our fridge displays on a regular basis. Currently it boasts an Artifact Uprising calendar with wedding photos (thanks Katie!), well-wishes on our wedding from the President and First Lady, random photographs, a holiday card from Go Forth Creative, a recipe for homemade waffles, and a hilariously accurate description of our relationship.

Nesting | Ann-Marie Loves

This is by no means my favorite vignette (decorating is always a work in progress, no?), but I love being able to incorporate the gold-fringed letters from our wedding into our home.

Nesting | Ann-Marie Loves

You guys. I thrifted this glider for $65 the other day…! Every time I find a killer deal on baby ephemera, it feels like the universe is rewarding us for jumping the gun on the baby train five seconds after getting married. Eventually it’ll get moved into the nursery, but for the time being, we both kind of dig it’s current location.

Nesting | Ann-Marie Loves

So many stacks of paper around here. I feel like my life is an endless exercise in corralling stacks of paper.

Nesting | Ann-Marie Loves

And finally, the baby goods that are slowly but surely taking over the whole office (soon to be nursery). Can you believe those little shoes? They are SIZE ONE. I don’t care if she only wears them for fifteen minutes of her life for the sake of a photo op…they’re irresistibly cute!

P.S. All of these photos were edited using the Photoshop fade tutorial I shared last month!

as of late | april edition.

Posted on: Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Ann-Marie Loves | As of Late: April Edition

Dedicating: this week to taking care of all of the tedious tasks that I have been putting off for quite some time. I keep reminding myself that by Friday, I’ll feel like a million bucks!

Digging: Nubby Twiglet! I found her blog by way of Breanna Rose (one of my daily reads!) and I’m gleaning so much inspiration from her posts.

Shocked: by how…ummm, sizable?… my baby bump looks at 23 weeks. I had no idea how big it really was until I saw a photo of myself from this past weekend. #whoababy #elasticwaistbandsftw

Reading: Money: A Love Story by Kate Northrup with great fervor! Typically I have zero interest in books about money and finance, but this one is completely up my alley.

Uncharacteristically: unfazed by all of the recent seismic activity here in LA. On Friday night, John and I held hands and stared at each other (and the breakables in the room) with amusement as we rode out the earthquake. (Except now my weird “earthquake-preventing” superstitions that were created in 1994 are back in full-force, so there’s that.)

Glad: that I finally signed up for Amazon Prime! Free two day shipping and deliveries on Sundays? Why did I wait so long to get onboard?!

Inspired: by this this awesome article about the myth of creative inspiration.

Trying: new recipes from Sprouted Kitchen and loving the results! Cooking is becoming less and less intimidating all the time.

Trusting: that everything is working out exactly as it should be.

Getting: excited about kid’s crafts! I have stumbled upon so many creative and inexpensive ideas lately, I can’t wait until my daughter is old enough to play. (I absolutely positively will be turning to this forthcoming book for lots of inspiration!)

Kicking: myself for not snagging a vintage Radio Flyer tricycle at the thrift store the other day. It was so awesome, you guys. #thriftersguilt

Loving: my daily walks around town. I walk as far as I can go and then John picks me up on his way home from work and we drive home together. It’s my favorite part of the day.

Thinking: that Kevin from Thou Swell has the most beautiful Pinterest feed I’ve ever seen. Would it be too much to repin everything?

Laughing: hysterically over the latest episode of the JV Club. And every episode, for that matter.

Using: my planner and my printables on a daily basis, but finding that nothing beats a good ol’ spiral bound journal for brainstorming and capturing all of my ideas. I always stock up at Target when the back-to-school season ends and the sales begin!

Enthralled: by feeling and watching the baby move more and more everyday. (P.S. She is totally kicking my laptop right now as I type this post.)

Incredibly: grateful for the amazing response my Styling | Shooting | Sharing e-course has received! Thanks so much, everyone!

planting new seeds.

Posted on: Thursday, March 27, 2014

Ann-Marie Loves

This past week has been a bit of a doozy, to say the least. There have been many moments where I am overcome with feelings of “what am I doing?!”, except with more expletives and maybe a tearful outburst or two. But despite this week’s rocky start, I’m now feeling renewed and ready to jump back into the fold. I recently read my 2014 horoscope and whether or not it has any shred of truth to it, I choose to believe it wholeheartedly. I like imagining positivity whenever possible and this year is apparently full of it for Scorpios like myself!

Yesterday I left the house for a bit to run some errands and I have to say, being out and about in this beautiful city was like a breath of fresh air. Sometimes I spend so much time at home, I forget that I get to live in Pasadena (a longtime dream of mine!). I remember writing in my journal about wanting to move here a few years ago and at the time, it seemed like a long shot (this was back in my Utah days). But it’s amazing how a tiny seed of an idea can get planted in your subconscious and before you know it, you’re walking down Colorado Boulevard on a Wednesday afternoon because this is your neighborhood, gosh darn it! Life is a funny thing.

So what I mean to say is, I’m planting new seeds. I’m thinking about what’s next for me and I’m hoping for the best. First up: a brand new e-course in which I share all of my favorite tips + tricks for styling, shooting, and editing photos for blog posts! (Look for it to launch by the end of the month!)

P.S. The photo above? Old. Pre-wedding. Pre-baby. But totally fitting of my mood ;)

my freelancing story.

Posted on: Wednesday, March 19, 2014

My Freelance Story | Ann-Marie Espinoza

I should start off by saying, I never intended to be a freelancer.

While it’s the lifestyle I’ve always dreamt about, it’s not something I imagined I would ever really have the guts to dive into headfirst. But life has a funny way of throwing you into situations you never expected and showing you that you are capable of so much more than you know.

A little about my background: I graduated from San Diego State in 2009 with a degree in Multimedia Design. At the time, I had no clear direction as to where I was going to go with my career. Using the economy as a blanket excuse for any and all problems is a tired justification, but if I can be real for a moment, graduating smack dab in the middle of the recession was terrible. TERRIBLE. I had zero job prospects when I was handed my diploma. Not a one. I moved back home with my parents and took on odd gigs here and there (medical billing, anyone?). I remember interviewing for temporary work at the mall that following November and going up against people who were far more qualified and far more educated than the job would ever require. And the result of those interviews? Futile. I couldn’t even get part-time, minimum wage, seasonal work! Needless to say, it wasn’t a high point in my 27 years.

But then in 2010, I applied for an In-House Scrapbooker / Product Designer position as American Crafts. I was absolutely positive that I would never get the job (I lived in Southern California, the position was based in Utah), but within three weeks, John and I were living in Orem, Utah. Life is weird, you guys.

Working at my (then) dream job was an amazing, invaluable, unforgettable experience that taught me so much about design, marketing, and finding things to do on a Sunday in the Mormon bible belt. But almost two years into the job, I was unexpectedly laid off. I was crushed. I was shocked. I was panicked. There was no way in hell that John and I were going to stay in Utah a single minute longer, but how in the world were we going to pay for all of our moving expenses and still have money left over once we got to California?

Out of desperation, I posted a few rubber stamp designs (that I had previously made for myself) in my online shop, not expecting anyone to buy them. Within an hour after posting, I had a handful of sales. I couldn’t believe it! People really wanted to buy my designs? This was incredible! And that’s where the ball got rolling. The sales continued to grow and grow and for the first time ever, I truly believed I could support myself without the steady financial backing of a company. I had cash flow and confidence. Things were looking up.

By the time I returned home to California (peace out, Utah), I begin working part time with Amy Tan, taking on various freelance design projects, and selling more and more stamp designs in my shop. I was lucky enough to receive some press from big names including Swiss Miss, Oh Hello Friend, Fab.com, Cup of Jo, Uncovet, and a handful of others, which helped launched my business even further than I ever imagined. Each day was a new adventure and I couldn’t believe I was actually getting to live life on my own terms!

Over the past two years, I’ve grown my business in different ways. I’ve expanded my shop to include new products. I’ve put my graphic design background to work on various freelance projects. I’ve tried my hand at producing e-courses. I’ve creatively collaborated with various individuals and companies. I’ve blogged professionally. I’ve delved deeper into photography and styling. And as always, I’ve continued to craft and make things with my hands. I’m nowhere near where I want to be professionally, but I have full faith that I will get there in due time.

Now, living in Pasadena with my husband and a baby on the way, I’m still freelancing and enjoying the adventure that it is. I will admit that life is getting more and more expensive all the time (private health insurance, car repairs, and baby expenses are a few of the big culprits) and there are many occasions when money can be tight. I’m fortunate that my husband works a steady 8-5 job as a graphic designer, so the consistency of his paycheck helps to balance out the unpredictability of my income greatly. But the truth is, we are a team. I feel just as responsible for our financial future as John does, so we both do our part to make sure we are creating a solid fiscal foundation month after month.

Even though everyday is a different experience and I often ask myself “WHAT AM I DOING?!,” it’s an amazingly gratifying life and I’m so happy to be along for the ride.


Posted on: Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Nesting | Ann-Marie Loves

Yesterday was one of those days where everything that seemingly could go wrong, went wrong. The morning started off with a nice little reminder that we live in the heart of earthquake country. Then my appointment at the DMV to update my name on my license was rendered useless when the computer system across the state was down indefinitely. Finally, a quick stop to the tire store to repair a minor leak turned into three new tire purchases. WHOA BABY.

But strangely, I was unfazed by all of this. I mean, what can I do? There are better ways to channel my energy. Like reorganizing my closet and purging as much of my personal belongings as possible (all when I should be filing taxes, natch). I don’t know if it’s the nesting instinct kicking in early or simply the spring cleaning bug, but I have been wanting to simplify and downsize my life like nobody’s business recently. I love when I can get into the mindset of “EVERYTHING MUST GO.”

While cleaning out my craft stash again, I managed to fill up another two boxes of supplies. The bare essentials are all I need these days! If you’re looking for a large flat rate box stuffed with awesome crafting supplies, I’m your girl.

Maybe I’ll go get started on my taxes now. Right after I organize the pantry ;)

if this isn’t nice, i don’t know what is.

Posted on: Tuesday, March 11, 2014

20 Weeks | Ann-Marie Loves

I love Kurt Vonnegut’s quote: “I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, ‘If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.”

Well, right there, on the beach in Coronado, as the sun was dipping into the Pacific and the waves were crashing at my feet, I was thrilled to be exactly where I was. Twenty weeks pregnant, married to an amazing human being, and happy in that moment.

John and I are not a perfect couple. Far from it, actually. I could provide you with a laundry list of all of our flaws, both individual and collective, but really…who is perfect? We’ve been together long enough to know that we can handle life together. It’s hard and messy and full of surprises, but we can handle it. We’re about to embark on our biggest adventure thus far and it simultaneously thrills and terrifies us. We’ve tried many times to wrap our brains around what having a child will be like, but have come to the conclusion that we won’t be able to fully grasp the sheer magnitude of it until we’re knee deep in the throes of it. And that’s okay. We can read baby books, we can pick the brains of every mom we know, we can Google any and all questions that come to mind, but we won’t know what it’s really like until it’s here. No need to plan the unplannable.

So in the meantime, I intend to savor our lives as they are, this minute, this week, this month. Because if this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.

as of late | march edition.

Posted on: Monday, March 3, 2014

Ann-Marie Loves

Feeling: like this is the week to make things happen! My game face is on.

Rocking: the belly band with my pants now. I can still button them, but only if I decide that breathing is not a necessity.

Agreeing: wholeheartedly with this quote.

Enjoying: the heavy rain / free car wash here in Southern California! It’s such a rarity, there’s no need for anyone to be upset. (Ellen’s bit about it at the Oscar’s….hilariously spot on).

Stumbling: upon amazing new-to-me blogs all the time! It always feels a bit like magic when that happens. Right now I can’t enough of The Makerista, Thou Swell, and Pilgrim. (What blogs are you currently loving?)

Listening: to “Happy” on repeat. If I knew about this song back in October, it SO would have been our recessional song!

Knowing for certain that Baby Gap will be the death of me. A white eyelet dress? A pink cable knit crew sweater? A turquoise printed coat? When will these clothes come in my size?

Grateful: for quality time with my mom these past few weekends. She really is the best.

Still: very much on a Parenthood bender. We just finished up season four and I have to say…it just gets better + better. (P.S. Did I tell you that I saw Joel at a local coffee shop here in Pasadena a few weeks ago? Made my LIFE.)

Craving: eggs. I’ve been eating them daily in the form of hardboiled or scrambled, although all I really want is eggs Benedict. I’ve already got a running list of all the foods that I can’t wait to reintroduce into my diet once the baby gets here.

Loving: the heck out of my handheld milk frother. I make lattes every single morning now and they are divine (if I do say so myself!).

Needing: to run to Target this afternoon to see if they have the latest issue of Domino in stock! And also, to pick up one of everything.

Excited: to read Natalie Holbrook’s forthcoming book.

Compiling: a list of all the crafty things I want to make for the baby, from quilts to nursery decor to cute little beanies. Sweet Paper Crafts and Made by Hand have been a major sources of inspiration!

Planning: a flash sale on all stamps in my shop sometime this week. Stay tuned ;)

ann-marie loves.

Posted on: Friday, February 14, 2014

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

Things I Love | Ann-Marie Loves

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Valentine's Day Card Printables | Ann-Marie Loves

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

Happy Valentine’s Day!

as of late.

Posted on: Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Ann-Marie Loves

As of late:

Feeling: more motivated and driven than I have in months. 2014 brought with it a renewed sense of clarity.

Enjoying: the mini facelift I gave my blog recently. A change of scenery is definitely inspiring me to blog way more often!

Reading: Bloom by Kelle Hampton every night before bed. What an amazing story.

Dreaming: of putting together a baby album. There may be scrapbooking involved. Not too much. Just enough. Stay tuned…

Unbuttoning: my pants every time I sit down. Looking real polished these days!

Gathering: inspiration to maybe, just maybe, set up our office. You know, we’ve only lived here for three months. What’s the rush? ;)

Realizing: that the secret to getting myself to do the dishes is to only allow myself to listen to a favorite podcast if I’m cleaning. #bribery #itworks

Hoping: my jury duty group number won’t be called in this week. Although, a day sitting in the courthouse with my laptop could do wonders for my productivity! And Chipotle for lunch? Jury duty’s not sounding so terrible anymore…

Missing: the heatwave we had the past couple of weeks! Old Ann-Marie would have hated every minute of it. But new Ann-Marie? Craving warm weather + blue skies. I guess I really am a Californian!

Discovering: giant, dread-like knots in my hair when I wear the same top knot for a few days straight. How does this happen??

Loving: the show Parenthood so much! Thanks to a bout with the stomach flu last week, I spent the better part of three days on a Parenthood bender. Such a great show.

Trying: my best to keep heartburn at bay, but failing miserably. While it may not be a desirable side effect of pregnancy, I’ll take it any day over nausea! (Pass the Tums, please.)

P.S. Print in the photo above by the talented Clare Elsaesser.

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