Entries Tagged as 'happy place'

weekend hikes.

Posted on: Thursday, March 16, 2017

weekend hikes in southern california | ann-marie loves

These past few months have brought A TON of rain to Southern California which has been so wonderful. Not only is great for the endless drought but it has really made the natural landscape incredibly lush and green! It’s a feast for the eyes. Recently, John and I have been taking advantage of the cool weather and going on long hikes every weekend with our little ones. We load them up in the double BOB stroller and hit the trails for a little fresh air and a solid workout.

weekend hikes in southern california | ann-marie loves

Briar has really taken a liking to hiking as well! She is more than happy to walk for long stretches and collect rocks along the way.

weekend hikes in southern california | ann-marie loves

weekend hikes in southern california | ann-marie loves

Landon loves hiking, too. It’s the perfect opportunity for him to catch up on his sleep.

weekend hikes in southern california | ann-marie loves

So much water! It may not look like much but when you’re used to seeing everything dried up, this is such a treat!

weekend hikes in southern california | ann-marie loves

weekend hikes in southern california | ann-marie loves

weekend hikes in southern california | ann-marie loves

What’s the point of hiking all those hills if you can’t treat yourself afterwards? Thin Mints really took this hiking adventure to the next level.

weekend hikes in southern california | ann-marie loves

We’re the most annoying parents ever.

weekend hikes in southern california | ann-marie loves

Thank goodness for that stroller. It may be a beast to push uphill (feel the burn!) but it can handle any terrain like a champ!

weekend hikes in southern california | ann-marie loves

weekend hikes in southern california | ann-marie loves

I love our new weekend tradition!

happy place | lavender + honey in pasadena.

Posted on: Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Lavender & Honey | Pasadena, California | Photos by Ann-Marie Espinoza

Whenever I’m in the vicinity of Pasadena (which, between doctor appointments and looking for a new place, means quite often!), it’s pretty much a guarantee that I will make a stop at Lavender + Honey. There are so many great places to get an excellent cup of coffee in Pasadena but this one takes the cake. It opened in August 2014 — the same month Briar was born! — but I didn’t actually stop in until a few months later. With this next baby, I won’t be making the same mistake. I’ll definitely be stopping in on the regular to take advantage of their delicious caffeinated beverages!

Lavender & Honey | Pasadena, California | Photos by Ann-Marie Espinoza

My standard order is an iced honeybee latte and L+H toast (goat cheese, lavender, and honey on bread). You guys, I’m not joking when I say that I dream about this meal. Briar had her first taste of the toast the other day (in between sneaking sips of my coffee) and she was just as hooked. I guess that means I have to share with her now?

Lavender & Honey | Pasadena, California | Photos by Ann-Marie Espinoza

The decor and the lighting are a photographer’s dream come true.

Lavender & Honey | Pasadena, California | Photos by Ann-Marie Espinoza
Lavender & Honey | Pasadena, California | Photos by Ann-Marie Espinoza

When I’m in the mood for something more savory, I’ll order the Pasadena toast (avocado, lemon juice, and red jalapeño on bread). So good.

Lavender & Honey | Pasadena, California | Photos by Ann-Marie Espinoza
Lavender & Honey | Pasadena, California | Photos by Ann-Marie Espinoza
Lavender & Honey | Pasadena, California | Photos by Ann-Marie Espinoza

I happened to catch the cafe at the end of the day when there weren’t too many people…definitely a rarity! Whenever there’s a seat available, I love to take advantage of the upbeat, inspiring energy of L+H and get a little work done. You know how there are some coffee shops that make you feel somewhat inferior? Like you’re not cool enough to buy an overpriced cup of coffee? This is not that place. In fact, Lavender + Honey is the exact opposite! Everyone I’ve come in contact with — from the patrons to the baristas — is so friendly and inclusive.

Lavender & Honey | Pasadena, California | Photos by Ann-Marie Espinoza
Lavender & Honey | Pasadena, California | Photos by Ann-Marie Espinoza

And THIS is why I’m obsessed with Pasadena: preserved old buildings given new life by modern establishments. Plus, L+H is a bit of anomaly in LA in that it has it’s own free public parking lot with plenty of spaces!
Lavender & Honey | Pasadena, California | Photos by Ann-Marie Espinoza

If you’re ever in the neighborhood, I highly recommend stopping in!

Lavender & Honey | 1383 E. Washington Blvd, Pasadena, California 91104

birthday weekend in santa barbara.

Posted on: Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Birthday Weekend In Santa Barbara | Ann-Marie Loves

For my birthday, I only wanted one thing: a trip away with my husband sans baby. As much as I love Briar, I hadn’t spent a night apart from her since she was born so the thought of being baby-free was, well, all too appealing. And guess what? It was wonderful! Actually, it was one of the best birthdays I’ve ever had. Just me, my husband, and one of the prettiest cities in  the world. Briar spent the weekend with my parents and while John and I missed her terribly, it was exactly what we needed to reconnect as a couple.

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Some of the highlights include: coffee at The French Press, hot chocolate at Handlebar Coffee Roasters, seafood enchiladas and margaritas at Cava, shopping on State Street, brunch at Scarlett Begonia, and sunsets over the Pacific. If this weekend was any indication of what 29 will be like, then I am READY.

pumpkin patch at underwood farms.

Posted on: Monday, October 19, 2015

Pumpkin Patch at Underwood Farms | Ann-Marie Espinoza Photography

This past weekend we ventured out to Moorpark and visited the amazing pumpkin patch at Underwood Farms. I had a feeling that Briar would enjoy it a lot more this year at the age of fourteen months than she did last year at two months (obvious statement?), but I had no idea how much more I would enjoy it, too! Since the farm is humongous, there were plenty of things to do and it was a blast seeing it all through Briar’s eyes! She and her cousin Luna were especially fond of grabbing fistfuls of hay, which they passed back and forth to each other (ha!). My favorite part was definitely the tractor ride around the farm at dusk. Not only was the sunset lighting PERFECT, but the sweater-worthy weather and the cool breeze made it feel like our first real taste of fall this season…exactly how I like my pumpkin patch experiences.

Pumpkin Patch at Underwood Farms | Ann-Marie Espinoza Photography
Pumpkin Patch at Underwood Farms | Ann-Marie Espinoza Photography

Her little baby chambray shoes paired with those chubby legs. I can’t even.

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Pumpkin Patch at Underwood Farms | Ann-Marie Espinoza Photography
Pumpkin Patch at Underwood Farms | Ann-Marie Espinoza Photography
Pumpkin Patch at Underwood Farms | Ann-Marie Espinoza Photography
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Pumpkin Patch at Underwood Farms | Ann-Marie Espinoza Photography
Pumpkin Patch at Underwood Farms | Ann-Marie Espinoza Photography
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Pumpkin Patch at Underwood Farms | Ann-Marie Espinoza Photography
Pumpkin Patch at Underwood Farms | Ann-Marie Espinoza Photography
Pumpkin Patch at Underwood Farms | Ann-Marie Espinoza Photography
Pumpkin Patch at Underwood Farms | Ann-Marie Espinoza Photography
Pumpkin Patch at Underwood Farms | Ann-Marie Espinoza Photography
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Pumpkin Patch at Underwood Farms | Ann-Marie Espinoza Photography
Pumpkin Patch at Underwood Farms | Ann-Marie Espinoza Photography
Pumpkin Patch at Underwood Farms | Ann-Marie Espinoza Photography

Here’s a little pumpkin patch #tbt for you: Briar and Luna at fourteen and thirteen months, respectively (above), and Briar and Luna at two months and one month, respectively (below). HOLY MOLY, TIME IS FLYING.

Pumpkin Patch at Underwood Farms | Ann-Marie Espinoza Photography

P.S. Our visit to Underwood this past summer!

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.

happy place no. 003 | bookstore + lemonade

Posted on: Friday, August 2, 2013

happy place no. 003 | bookstores

When John took me to Barnes + Noble after a romantic dinner on one of our first dates, I knew he was a keeper.

happy place no. 003 | bookstores

Fast forward almost nine (?!) years later and he still knows the way to my heart. But nowadays, it’s by way of a caprese sandwich + a mini cupcake at Lemonade first ;)

happy place no. 003 | bookstores

Once we get to the bookstore, I beeline for the wedding magazines + the craft / home decor books, find a comfy spot for both us, and then sit and read until they kick us out. Oh, and the latte? A MUST.

(P.S. I am so buying that Martha Stewart book when the appropriate time rolls around. Or maybe before! I’m undecided…)

happy place no. 003 | bookstores

We are quite possibly the oldest 26 year old (un)married couple of all time, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

happy place no. 002 | sundance, utah

Posted on: Monday, June 3, 2013

Happy Place No. 002 | Sundance, Utah | Ann-Marie Morris

Happy Place No. 002 | Sundance, Utah | Ann-Marie Morris

Sundance was one of the first places John and I discovered upon our move to Utah in 2010 and it completely bowled us over. In fact, it STILL bowls me over every time I visit. I spent this past weekend in Utah and on Sunday, my good friend Sarah + her husband Mike took me up to Sundance for an amazing brunch at The Foudry Grill.

Happy Place No. 002 | Sundance, Utah | Ann-Marie Morris
Happy Place No. 002 | Sundance, Utah | Ann-Marie Morris

After breakfast, we spent a little time shopping (I’ll take one of everything, please!) and wandering around the resort. Just being amidst the trees + the mountains felt so refreshing. One of these days, I want to rent out one of the cabins (or yurts!) and wake up and breathe in that crisp alpine air with a hot cup of coffee in hand. Heaven.

Happy Place No. 002 | Sundance, Utah | Ann-Marie Morris

Happy Place No. 002 | Sundance, Utah | Ann-Marie Morris

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Happy Place No. 002 | Sundance, Utah | Ann-Marie Morris

From there, we jumped back in the car and went for a scenic drive through the Alpine Loop, stopping along the way for photos. This time of year is an absolute dream in Utah. The temperature is no longer too cold and not yet too hot and it feels amazing. I’m so glad my trip happened to coincide with the perfect weather!

Happy Place No. 002 | Sundance, Utah | Ann-Marie Morris

Happy Place No. 002 | Sundance, Utah | Ann-Marie Morris

If ever you get the opportunity to visit Utah, I highly recommend stopping by Sundance. Not only does the resort have so much to offer (including Full Moon lift rides!), but the idyllic drive through Provo Canyon to get there is worth the trip all on it’s own!

happy place no. 001 | balboa park

Posted on: Friday, May 24, 2013

It’s really no secret by now that San Diego has a hold on me. It truly is my ultimate happy place and I can’t quite shake the feeling that it’s where I want to settle down. Eventually I’ll convince John that we need to move back down there, but until then, I’ll just keep visiting. A LOT.

Balboa Park, San Diego | Ann-Marie Morris

One of my favorite spots in San Diego is Balboa Park. I’m absolutely in love with this place. Not only is the location (perched above the bay + downtown) ideal, but the sheer size of it is incredible! It’s home to a wide variety of museums, restaurants, and even the world famous zoo (all of which I highly recommend).

Balboa Park, San Diego | Ann-Marie Morris

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On Wednesday afternoon, I had time to kill between visiting Elise and trying to avoid rush hour traffic, so I spent a few hours wandering around the park and pausing to snap a photo every five feet. Even though I’ve been to Balboa Park countless times, I discover something new with each + every visit…the park is THAT big.

Balboa Park, San Diego | Ann-Marie Morris

Balboa Park, San Diego | Ann-Marie Morris

This trip, I finally found the walkway that crosses the insanely beautiful Cabrillo Bridge. It stands high above the 163 freeway and offers the most amazing bird’s eye views of the lush San Diego landscape (I may or may not have let out an embarrassingly audible gasp upon first glimpse).

Balboa Park, San Diego | Ann-Marie Morris

I don’t know if it was the thrill of a new discovery or the cozy marine layer creeping in from the bay or just the fact that I took the late afternoon to myself, but I felt so happy standing there in Balboa Park. San Diego, you are my fave.

P.S. If you’re wondering if I ever wear anything other than that black + white dress, the answer is a resounding…NO. (ha!)

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