Entries Tagged as 'everyday'

retiring my stamps + starting fresh!

Posted on: Thursday, June 19, 2014

Ann-Marie Loves Paper | Rubber Stamps are Retiring on June 27th | annmarielovespaper.bigcartel.com

Lately I’ve been feeling a nagging pull to change things up with my career. I will admit that there has been many a day in which I just want to hang up my self-employment hat and find a steady 9-5 with a steady paycheck. I’ve always accepted fluctuating income as par for the freelance course, but now with a baby due in a month and an insurance deductible so outrageously high that I could just cry (AGAIN), I’m on a mission to shake things up and breathe new life into my career.

Ann-Marie Loves Paper | Rubber Stamps are Retiring on June 27th | annmarielovespaper.bigcartel.com

The first thing on my list: retire my stamps.

I’ve been at the stamp game for over two years now and it has taught me SO much about the ins and outs of running a small business. I’ve learned about everything from dealing with shipping, pricing, packaging, and marketing to customer service, designing, time management, taxes, competition…the list goes on. As of right now, I currently have over 70 stamp designs for sale and it feels like quite an overwhelming inventory for this one-woman operation to manage! So in an effort to streamline my shop (and my life) and try something new, I’m retiring all of my current stamps by Friday June 27th.

Ann-Marie Loves Paper | Rubber Stamps are Retiring on June 27th | annmarielovespaper.bigcartel.com

But! I’m not bowing out of the stamp game just yet. Instead, I’ve decided to release 4-5 limited edition stamp designs each month, which will only be available for a single month; no less, no more. July 1st marks the first installment of the brand new stamp designs and if you purchase $30 or more of my soon-to-be retired stamps, you’ll receive a 20% off coupon code for any limited edition stamp design starting 7/1/14!

Thank you SO MUCH to everyone who has supported my little business over the years! I am beyond grateful to you and can’t wait to show you what else I have up my sleeve! xo

my pre-mom style.

Posted on: Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Mom Style | Ann-Marie Loves

As I get closer and closer to becoming a real live mom, I’ve noticed my style morphing ever so slightly. While I’m certainly not at the point of mom jeans just yet, I have been favoring comfort and practicality over anything too fussy or time-consuming these days. But at the same time, I’m not quite ready to forgo my pre-baby style entirely! Last week I had bangs chopped for the first time in a few years and it makes me feel like a brand new person. The rest of my hair is still long enough to throw in a top knot because really, who wants to spend extra time blow-drying their hair? Not this gal.

Mom Style | Ann-Marie Loves

I’ve also been giving into maternity clothes more and more, because frankly, I am running out of wardrobe options and I do need to leave the house and interact with society every once in awhile. Plus, maternity clothes are the comfiest things EVER. We’re talking stretch, stretch, and more stretch…what’s not to love about that? I’ve been wearing this pink + white super soft nightgown to bed and thanks to it’s nursing-friendly straps, it will continue to get plenty of mileage long after the baby arrives. I’m also loving my black + white striped dress that I plan to wear to my second shower. But! I still like to spice things up with regular clothes too! For example, this white denim vest from Target is in heavy rotation since it doesn’t require any buttoning or zipping and hides…umm…”pregnancy softness?” (read: BACK FAT), like a champ.

Mom Style | Ann-Marie Loves

And as for footwear, I am ALL about the Birks these days. They are quite possibly the ugliest shoes I have ever owned and definitely the biggest size I have ever worn (thanks to my perma-swollen feet), but my goodness, they are so comfortable and require no bending down to put them on. Now that’s a win if ever I’ve heard of one!

baby showers are the best.

Posted on: Monday, June 16, 2014

Baby Shower No. One | Ann-Marie Espinoza

How gorgeous is the Espinoza gene pool?? Holy moly, I chose well! ;)

Bridal showers are fantastic. They are the perfect excuse to wear a tight white dress, indulge in cocktails with your best friends, and squeal over latte bowls, lingerie, and linens that help to get married life off on the right foot.

But then there are baby showers.

I never realized just how truly special these kinds of get-togethers are until I had my first one this past Saturday. Since my sister-in-law and I are both expecting girls this year, our amazing family threw us a beautiful backyard double shower to celebrate the forthcoming members to the Espinoza clan. I love that baby showers are not just about the moms-to-be, but more importantly, they’re about the new lives that will be here before we know it.

As John and I unpacked our car full of baby gifts last night, we couldn’t help but revel in just how lucky our daughter is to have such an incredible group of people who already love her so much. I often look back on our engagement and our wedding and think about how I thought things couldn’t possibly get anymore fulfilling than they were in that moment. Ha! I was so naive. I am here to report that having a baby takes the concept of fulfillment to a whole new level.

So what if my body’s nowhere near as fit as it once was or I can’t enjoy a glass (or three) of wine just yet? Everyday of pregnancy is a welcome reminder that there are much more important things in life to celebrate :)

workspace wednesday | how to write a blog post in a pinch.

Posted on: Wednesday, June 11, 2014

How to Write a Blog Post in a Pinch | Ann-Marie Loves

Whenever I find myself fishing for blog post ideas (or in my case, at 11pm on a Tuesday night after returning from a three-hour childbirth prep class to an overheated home and wondering what in the world I could possibly write about in the shortest amount of time possible because I am dying to take a cold shower and hop into bed and catch up on Instagram until my eyes close), the solution is almost always a list of journaling prompts. Not only are these kinds of posts quick and easy to put together, but they’re so much fun to write! (Seriously, if I could structure my whole blog around this format of writing, I would be one happy camper.) I found this particular set of prompts by way of Designlovefest and Bleubird and couldn’t resist putting my own spin on them:

Eating: watermelon, peaches, and strawberries. Oh, and graham crackers with chocolate frosting.

Drinking: water, water, and more water (but wishing it was wine, wine, and more wine).

Practicing: calligraphy! It’s kind of tedious, but I kind of love it. (I’ll share photos soon!)

Mastering: the art of sleeping while someone does nonstop somersaults in my stomach all night long. It’s the very best kind of sleep disturbance.

Learning: how to pop out a baby and subsequently take care of it. Thank goodness for baby classes! We’re finding out just how little we actually know about tiny humans.

Trying: to walk or do a Tracy Anderson workout video most days of the week. Keyword: trying.

Playing: The JV Club (if I want to laugh) or Tara Brach (if I want to relax) on my iPhone while I clean the house.

Finishing: up insurance-related tasks that I’ve been putting off for quite sometime. Gosh, being an adult is so not fun sometimes. Nor is it cheap.

Reading: Great with Child, Bringing Up Bébé, and all the People magazine issues that my mom sends home with me.

Remembering: that I have a hair appointment this week! Woohoo! I’m thinking of going Kerri Strug circa 1996 now that I’m about to become a mom. Not really. But maybe?

Wearing: Gap leggings and a sports bra. Occasionally a shirt.

Cooking: little to nothing, with the exception of oatmeal in the morning.

Working: hard now so I can work less hard later.

Traveling: around town in my new car! Feels good to have a safe set of wheels.

Wanting: a more reliable internet connection (ours is less than stellar). To know the secret to affording a child (let alone multiple children…?!). To give back to all those who have given so much to me (I’m looking at YOU, Mom and Dad). And most pressingly, to climb into bed next to my sleeping husband, surround myself with pillows and two fans, and revel in the fact that I am SO LUCKY. In spite of crappy internet service and exorbitant health insurance costs and the fact that I am sweating well into the midnight hour, my life is overflowing with joy and love. So really, no complaints here.

as of late | june edition.

Posted on: Monday, June 2, 2014

As of Late | June Edition | Ann-Marie Loves

And the great changing table mobile prototyping of 2014 continues…

Coming: to terms with the fact that most of my shoes no longer fit my feet. The first time I noticed this was two weekends ago when I put on my (normally) loose-fitting tennis shoes and noticed that they were super snug. Then! The next day when I went to put on my favorite pair of booties, I couldn’t even get the zipper up! So it seems as though the fashion forecast is calling for flip flops and running shoes from here on out.

Sleeping: in and not feeling the tiniest bit of guilt about it. Late nights and early mornings are in my very near future. But for now? Blissful, uninterrupted stretches of my favorite pastime.

Reading: Great with Child, after several people recommended it to me. OMG. So good.

Reveling: in the small things these days. Natural light in the kitchen and bathroom. Beautiful baby shower invitations. Never-ending group text messages with good friends. Iced coffee with milk. Wedding photos (finally) on display in our home. Watching the baby roll around. The season finales of Modern Family and Parks + Rec.

Limiting: my thrifting trips to one day a week. Sometimes I just have to be honest with myself and reign it in.

Listening: to this song over and over (and over) again.

Taking: on projects that are slightly out of my wheelhouse, but as a result, are pushing me to grow my skills and build my repertoire (insert thumbs up emoji here).

Feeling: incredibly grateful to everyone who has purchased my latest e-course! (And all of the previous ones as well!) I have two more in the works that I am hoping to launch before the baby arrives, but I would love to hear your ideas about anything you want to see :)

Designing: new printables.

Crying: over everything and I MEAN EVERYTHING. Even the most mundane of circumstances will elicit crocodile tears. (I’m tearing up as I write this post.) (Not really.) (But kind of.)

Struggling: with super uncomfortable knots in my upper back when I lay down at night. Luckily, I’ve found that heating up one of those heavyweight eye masks in the microwave and plopping it on my back will usually loosen things riiiight up.

Tackling: my extensive list of things to do before a certain child arrives. Slowly but surely, I’m getting there.

Wishing: my fridge was perpetually stocked with watermelon slices. Please?

Finding: cool moms with stylish children and beautifully-designed nurseries on Instagram is one of my greatest sources of joy. (I’ll share my favorites soon!)

Nesting: mode is full-steam ahead and I love every minute of it.

Realizing: I have plans every single weekend from now until July. And then in July…baby time. WHOA.


Posted on: Friday, May 30, 2014

Art by Lisa Congdon | via Ann-Marie Loves

lllustration by Lisa Congdon

Even though I work from home and Mondays and Fridays are virtually the same thing, Friday is definitely my favorite day of the week. I love the last minute rush to get projects completed before John picks me up from my walk on his way home and we discuss our weekend plans (or even better, our lack thereof). With just a few short weeks to go before a certain someone makes her debut, I’m savoring every last moment that I have with my husband all to myself ;)

Here are links to fun things that caught my attention this past week:

- My friend Eva’s gorgeous family + nursery on 100 Layer Cakelet.

- Jess Lively’s interview with Victoria Smith on the latest episode of The Lively Show.

- This Ron Swanson quote which perfectly sums up the way I feel 99% of the time.

- An impossibly cute dream catcher tutorial.

- A Paper Party! Can this be the theme of all of my birthdays from here on out?

- The adorable video promo for what I imagine to be an adorable book! (So many kids’ crafts books that I want!)

- This round-up of bunny love. (P.S. Have you seen this site before? Incredible!)

- Oh Joy’s beautifully colorful recount of her trip to London.

- These pastel wedding bouquets! They couldn’t be more opposite than the arrangements I chose, but SO STUNNING.

Happy Friday! Have a wonderful weekend!

“Make It Happen” E-Course is Now Live!

Posted on: Thursday, May 29, 2014

Make It Happen | An E-Course on Getting Things Done | by Ann-Marie Espinoza

Happy Thursday! I’m so excited to finally be launching my “Make It Happen” e-course! In this class, I cover all sorts of tips and tricks for getting things done and feeling good about yourself. It’s very akin to my Workspace Wednesday series, except in much greater length and detail.

Make It Happen | An E-Course on Getting Things Done | by Ann-Marie Espinoza

“Make It Happen” includes advice on:

- overcoming those inevitable creative blocks
- developing up a rewards system that fuels you to power through any task
- knowing when to take a break and when to push through
- setting deadlines and sticking to them
- determining your ideal workflow

The class also comes with a free goal setting + achieving printable worksheet that will help you break down any project into bite-size, manageable steps.

Make It Happen | An E-Course on Getting Things Done | by Ann-Marie Espinoza

As a creative freelancer for the past two years, I’ve learned a ton about what it takes to stay on top of my to-do list and make things happen for myself time and time again. I can’t wait to share my knowledge with you!

To purchase “Make It Happen” (for only $9!), click HERE.

workspace wednesday | just dive in.

Posted on: Wednesday, May 28, 2014

photo 2

Peace out, VW. I don’t miss you one bit.

This past weekend, John and I bought a new baby-friendly car! With four doors! And a deep trunk for toting a stroller and groceries! And excellent gas mileage! It’s only the second car I’ve ever owned, with the the first being a VW Beetle that got me through high school, college, post-college, and the beginning of married life. To be honest, I was completely and utterly intimidated by the concept of buying a vehicle. I’ve been dreading it for weeks. But as soon as we chose our car, signed our lives away, and drove off the lot, it felt like a huge weight was lifted from my shoulders. I can’t tell you how good it feels to know that if I need to get somewhere, I can get there without worrying about my car breaking down and costing a small fortune to repair (AGAIN).

The dread I experienced in the weeks leading up to the car buying process felt very similar to the dread I often feel when I have an assignment or a task I’d rather not do. The longer I procrastinate, the more the dread builds, and the more anxiety I feel about the looming deadline. It’s a vicious cycle, yet I do it to myself all the time. But the thing is, the task is almost never as bad as I imagine it will be. I rarely suffer through it the way that I anticipate. And by the time it’s finished? I feel like a million bucks! I know this is a lesson I will have to learn over and over again, but I’m writing this post to serve as a reminder to myself that it feels good to JUST DIVE IN. By leaning into an undesirable project, task, or item on a to-do list instead of avoiding it, half of the battle is already won.

So just do it already.

miniature wardrobe | thrifted edition.

Posted on: Thursday, May 22, 2014

Baby Thrift Finds | Ann-Marie Loves

These past few weeks, I’ve been feeling this strange mix of loneliness and restlessness as I work from home by myself each and every weekday. I can honestly say this is a brand new emotional state. As a major introvert, I absolutely NEED extended periods of alone time in order to center myself mentally, creatively, emotionally, etc, so this is all new territory for me. But then again, I’ve never cried over dumb commercials or researched strollers extensively or turned on the oven in a 100 degree heatwave because I wanted biscuits rightthissecond before. So really, nothing should surprise me at this point.

Whenever I’m feeling particularly “blah,” all I have to do is walk over to my favorite local thrift store and spend several minutes browsing through their ever-changing selection of baby clothes. Boom! Instant happiness. Some days I walk out empty-handed and other days (like last Friday!), I can barely contain my excitement as I fill my shopping basket to the brim with amazing finds. I never feel guilty about thrifting for baby clothes because:

a.) even if my daughter only gets a few wears out of each outfit (I’ve been warned that babies grow FAST), I will feel like I’ve gotten way more than my money’s worth;

b.) I only buy things that I would have been willing to pay full price for, so I’m not amassing clothes strictly based on killer deals;

c.) and most importantly, it makes me RIDICULOUSLY HAPPY. Take that, weird pregnancy mood swings!

P.S. My first mini wardrobe installment!

my favorite breakfast | oatmeal with fruit.

Posted on: Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Oatmeal with Peaches, Strawberries + Almonds | Ann-Marie Loves

With the exception of a few days here there (oh, and maybe the whole first trimester when all I could handle was bagels), I’ve eaten oatmeal and fruit for breakfast every single day for the past several years. It’s the easiest thing in the world to make and definitely what gets me out of my nice, cozy bed in the morning. Plus, it’s super healthy!

Here’s what my daily breakfast routine looks like (bathrobe included):

Oatmeal with Peaches, Strawberries + Almonds | Ann-Marie Loves


- 1/3 c. old fashioned oats

- strawberries

- 1 small peach (or apple, depending upon what you have on hand)

- handful of unsalted almonds

Oatmeal with Peaches, Strawberries + Almonds | Ann-Marie Loves

Pour 1/3 cup of old fashioned oats and 2/3 cup of water into a saucepan and heat on the stove at a low temperature.

Oatmeal with Peaches, Strawberries + Almonds | Ann-Marie Loves

Oatmeal with Peaches, Strawberries + Almonds | Ann-Marie Loves

Chop up your fruit and add into a bowl. I like to fill my bowl as high as possible with fruit, but you can add as much or as little as you prefer.

Oatmeal with Peaches, Strawberries + Almonds | Ann-Marie Loves

Be sure to stir the oatmeal occasionally and remove from heat when most of the water has been absorbed and the consistency is thick but moist.

Oatmeal with Peaches, Strawberries + Almonds | Ann-Marie Loves

Pour the oatmeal into the same bowl as the fruit and mix around with a spoon. Finally, top with almonds.

Oatmeal with Peaches, Strawberries + Almonds | Ann-Marie Loves

Pour yourself a cup of coffee, grab a good magazine, and enjoy!

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