Entries Tagged as 'tutorials'

tips for taking cute photos of cute kids.

Posted on: Tuesday, December 5, 2017

How To Take Cute Photos of Cute Kids | Ann-Marie Loves

I’ve always been obsessed with photography but I must admit that I didn’t fully refine my skill set until I had kids. Oh man, there’s no greater creative challenge than trying to capture an unpredictable moving target! Between documenting my own kids’ lives, taking client photos, and shooting lifestyle images for Pacific Play Tents, I’ve picked up a few tips and tricks for getting the shot. Whether you have a fancy DSLR or you’re just looking to improve your iPhone game, here are a few of my favorite tips and tricks for nailing it every time:

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diy faux marble necklace.

Posted on: Thursday, September 14, 2017

DIY Clay Faux Marble Beaded Necklace | Ann-Marie Loves

Age three has been a really fun and hilarious age to witness. Briar’s favorite game as of late is called “Target Man” and it involves repeated checkout encounters at — where else? — Target. (I don’t know what this says about my shopping habits??) I am usually assigned the role of the Target employee while Briar gets into character as the Target shopper. She brings me several items to scan (don’t forget the sound effect!) and then waits for me to ask her to swipe her red card (5% savings, baby) and sign for her purchase. She could play this game for hours. I’m good for about three rounds before I convince her that Daddy is a MUCH better Target man.

Something else that she’s been super into is crafting. YOU GUYS. I can’t even tell you what this means to me. As someone whom has asked for art supplies for every single Christmas of her life, I am so pumped that my daughter shares in my love of making things by hand.

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diy rear view mirror ornament.

Posted on: Thursday, August 24, 2017

DIY Rear View Mirror Ornament | Ann-Marie Loves

This has been a BIG week around here! Briar started preschool, Landon started walking, and I went grocery shopping before 9:30 am for the first time in forever (huge feat for a non-morning person)! Needless to say, we’re feeling pretttttty good.

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cold brew date shake.

Posted on: Friday, August 4, 2017

Iced Coffee Date Shake | Ann-Marie Loves

I used to be able to get by on one cup of coffee a day. Then I had Briar and it got bumped up to at least two cups a day. Then I had Landon and it turned into a freaking free-for-all. Most days, I’ll drink two cups of hot coffee in the morning and then a cup of cold brew in the afternoon and I love it so much. I do have to say that there is nothing quite as good as that first cup in AM, especially when it doesn’t need to be reheated several times. All subsequent cups are good but not as amazing as that first hit of caffeine after five hours of interrupted sleep.

Needless to say, I’m always on the hunt for new ways to make my coffee habit even better. Now that we’re in the thick of summer, I like experimenting with different cold brew recipes and was so excited when I had dates on hand and could finally try “The Speed Dater” recipe from this video.

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diy paint splatter iphone case.

Posted on: Thursday, June 22, 2017

DIY Paint Splatter iPhone Case | Ann-Marie Loves

Buckle up, you guys. This just might be my easiest, most self-explanatory DIY ever, yet I persist!

So a little back story: I was browsing Moglea’s website and trying my hardest not to buy one of everything, especially this gorgeous iPhone case! It was love at first sight and I had to have it! Sadly, I have a vintage iPhone SE (it’s not that dilapidated! come on!) so when I went to make the purchase, I was SOL. Womp, womp. Needless to say, I found a little workaround. It’s not as cool as Moglea’s version but it gets the job done for those of us whose cells are so uncool that we might as well be using flip phones (Razr, anyone?).

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diy no-sew nursing cover.

Posted on: Tuesday, April 4, 2017

DIY No-Sew Nursing Cover | Ann-Marie Loves

Let the record show that six months is my favorite infant age. It’s the BEST. I remember loving this age with Briar and I am enjoying it all over again with Landon. They’re just so squishy and interactive but not too mobile yet. I am trying my hardest to savor this sweet spot (and every spot!) of infanthood since I am all too aware of how fast it’s going to fly.

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diy inflatable charm necklace.

Posted on: Wednesday, March 15, 2017

DIY Inflatable Charm Necklace | Ann-Marie Loves

As I sit here typing this, my two and half year old is singing at the top of her lungs while playing in her playhouse on the patio. Normally it’s the type of thing that would drive me b-o-n-k-e-r-s but today it means I can sit uninterrupted at the computer for five minutes and I WILL TAKE IT.

This age has been tricky to say the least; some days Briar is sweet as pie and other days she is…not. But when she is sweet, oh man, I could just eat her up. She is obsessed with necklaces and bows and dresses and all the things you imagine when you find out you are expecting a girl. It’s kind of my dream come true. So when she excitedly discovered these inflatable shapes in my craft stash, I knew I had to make her something special with them. Enter: the inflatable charm necklace!

DIY Inflatable Charm Necklace | Ann-Marie Loves

To make the necklace, I used supplies that I already had on hand: wooden beads, pony beadspink cording, and cool tassels that I found for a buck in the Target Dollar Spot.

DIY Inflatable Charm Necklace | Ann-Marie Loves

Since some of the charms didn’t have pre-punched holes, I added holes where needed using my Crop-A-Dile. I’ve had that tool for-e-ver and I still use it regularly!

DIY Inflatable Charm Necklace | Ann-Marie Loves

Next, Briar and I picked out our favorite beads and started threading them onto the pink cording.

DIY Inflatable Charm Necklace | Ann-Marie Loves

Once the necklace was juuuust heavy enough for a two year old neck, I tied it off and handed it over to Briar.

DIY Inflatable Charm Necklace | Ann-Marie Loves

And she loved it!

DIY Inflatable Charm Necklace | Ann-Marie Loves

We immediately had to head to the park so she could wear her new necklace and I could get some cute photos. I’m sure you think that I styled her outfit for the sake of the photo, but I am here to tell you that she chose EVERY LAST PIECE. Girl knows what she likes.

DIY Inflatable Charm Necklace | Ann-Marie Loves

She drives me insane but I can’t get enough of her.


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

diy geodes + free valentine’s printable.

Posted on: Monday, February 13, 2017

DIY Geodes + Free Valentine's Card Printable | Ann-Marie Loves

A few weeks ago I created a little dress-up area for Briar in the corner of her room. She’s been obsessed with pretty dresses and jewelry and crowns (or “prowns,” as she calls them) for awhile and I wanted to have a dedicated space to house all her fancy things. At the time, I only had two wooden branch wall mounts (purchased from Alder + Co. on our honeymoon!), but two hooks were not enough. So! I thought for a minute about what I wanted to use and decided that geodes would make for awesome wall decor / hangers. Being the cheap person that I am (ha!), I knew there had to be a way to DIY geodes, so I did a little digging on Pinterest and found exactly what I was looking for!

Truth be told, I still have yet to create the hooks BUT in a moment of sudden genius, I realized that DIY geodes would be the perfect Valentine’s card toppers.

DIY Geodes + Free Valentine's Card Printable | Ann-Marie Loves

To create the faux geodes, you will need:

Metallic Pipe Cleaners
String or Fishing Wire
Pencil or Wooden Skewer
Boiling Water

DIY Geodes + Free Valentine's Card Printable | Ann-Marie Loves

First, roll your pipe cleaner into a ball. Next, thread a piece of string through a small portion of the pipe cleaner ball and tie it to a pencil or wooden skewer. This will ensure that your geode doesn’t touch the bottom of the glass so it can keep a round shape.

DIY Geodes + Free Valentine's Card Printable | Ann-Marie Loves

Combine one cup of boiling water and 3 tbsp of Borax and stir until it is completely mixed (takes a minute or two). Then, place your pipe cleaners into the jar and loosely cover with a cloth.

DIY Geodes + Free Valentine's Card Printable | Ann-Marie Loves

After a few hours, you will start to see the crystallization. I let my first batch of geodes sit in the jars for a few days and they turned out great!

DIY Geodes + Free Valentine's Card Printable | Ann-Marie Loves

The geode color is a direct result of the color of the pipe cleaners. Based on my own experience as well as the reviews of others, metallic pipe cleaners work best although you could use plain pipe cleaners and add food coloring to the jar for a similar result.

DIY Geodes + Free Valentine's Card Printable | Ann-Marie Loves

Once you take them out, let them sit on a paper towel for a little bit to soak up any excess water.

DIY Geodes + Free Valentine's Card Printable | Ann-Marie Loves

Once your geodes are all set, you can start your V-Day cards! For this particular design, I wanted to attach the geodes with a string instead of glue, so I used a paper piercer to punch out four holes for threading. I also decided to use a little yellow distress ink with my go-to blending tool for extra visual interest.

DIY Geodes + Free Valentine's Card Printable | Ann-Marie Loves

How crazy are those rocks?! I had no idea if they would even work out but they are better than I could have predicted! Not only would these be fun for room decor or Valentine’s card toppers, but they would also be fun to bury in sand and use as “hidden treasures” for little ones to find. (In fact, I might have to try that this week with a certain toddler…)

DIY Geodes + Free Valentine's Card Printable | Ann-Marie Loves

P.S. You can download these V-Day cards here! Happy Love Day, everyone!

diy fairy wands.

Posted on: Friday, February 10, 2017

DIY Fairy Wands for Toddlers | Ann-Marie Loves

This past December I nearly lost my freaking mind when I stepped foot into the new Cotton On Kids at one of my local malls. I walked through the store with my eyes wide open and exclaimed “oh my gosh!” every thirty seconds because I wanted to buy ONE OF EVERYTHING. (I honestly don’t remember the last time I felt that excited? Maybe when I was in my scrapbooking heyday and took a tour of American Crafts’ showroom for the first time…now that was a happy day.) I ended up buying quite a few things for my kiddos, including an adorable fairy wand for my two year old. When it came time for her to open her gifts on Christmas morning, she was just as enthused about her new fairy wand as I was about shopping for it.

Since she loves it so much (despite snapping the stick in half in a moment of intense princess playing – ha!), I decided to try making her a few new wands myself. Here’s how I did it:

DIY Fairy Wands for Toddlers | Ann-Marie Loves


Felt Sheets

Heavy Duty Straws

Sharp Scissors

Pony Beads

E6000 Glue (or other heavy duty adhesive)

Multicolored String or Yarn

DIY Fairy Wands for Toddlers | Ann-Marie Loves

Apply the E6000 glue to a small portion of the straw and begin to wrap it with the string. Continue to add glue and more string as you work your way down and let it dry. This is definitely the most tedious (and least fragrant) part but it goes by pretty fast.

DIY Fairy Wands for Toddlers | Ann-Marie Loves

Next, cut out different shapes from felt and layer them together to the front and back of the straw to create the topper. I freehanded these floral shapes but feel free to measure or map out your design first.

DIY Fairy Wands for Toddlers | Ann-Marie Loves

To create the strands that hang down from the top of the wand, cut a 12″ strand of string and add pony beads to both ends. Knot each side and place a little adhesive inside the bottom beads to secure them into place. Then tie the string to the top of the straw in a double knot. Finally, when the toddler wakes up from her nap and is overjoyed to see what you are working on and eagerly wants to “help,” have her sort the pony beads by color ;)

DIY Fairy Wands for Toddlers | Ann-Marie Loves

The entire project took about thirty minutes and it was so much fun to make!

DIY Fairy Wands for Toddlers | Ann-Marie Loves

DIY Fairy Wands for Toddlers | Ann-Marie Loves

Briar is quite the dichotomy as she is equal parts tomboy and girly girl. She’s fearless and seldom shies away from a physical challenge or a tall play structure (much to my terror). She loves playing catch and splashing in puddles and digging in the dirt. On the other hand, she’s also a sensitive soul who idolizes “Princess Minnie and Princess Daisy” and never leaves the house without her jewelry. She loves wearing pretty dresses and baking cookies (real and pretend) and showering her loved ones with spontaneous hugs and kisses. I adore these opposite aspects of her personality and am making a conscious effort to let her be herself without imposing too much of my own judgement on her. I want Briar to be as authentically Briar as she can possibly be without feeling like she needs to ascribe to any stereotypes placed on girls. I am a big believer in the fact that the future is most definitely female :)

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