Posted on: Thursday, December 15, 2016

Day Trip to Solvang | Ann-Marie Loves

This past weekend we joined John’s family up in Solvang for a little day trip and we had so much fun! The weather was total perfection: cloudy, cool, and feeling like Fall. I’ve been to Solvang a handful of times but this was the first trip for Briar and Landon. It’s always a treat to experience familiar things through brand new eyes…it’s easily one of the best parts about being a parent! Briar had a great time running around, marveling at the Christmas lights, and sharing an ice cream cone with her cousin Luna. Landon spent most of his time sleeping in his bear suit (which instantly puts him to sleep??) in the stroller. And Mama Bear had a great time drinking wine and taking tons of photos ;)

Day Trip to Solvang | Ann-Marie Loves

Day Trip to Solvang | Ann-Marie Loves

Day Trip to Solvang | Ann-Marie Loves

Day Trip to Solvang | Ann-Marie Loves

Day Trip to Solvang | Ann-Marie Loves

Day Trip to Solvang | Ann-Marie Loves

Day Trip to Solvang | Ann-Marie Loves

Day Trip to Solvang | Ann-Marie Loves

Day Trip to Solvang | Ann-Marie Loves

Day Trip to Solvang | Ann-Marie Loves

That night, my heart felt very full as I sat in the passenger seat next to my husband as we drove along the cloudy coast back home with our two sleeping babies in the back seat. It’s rare when I feel like I can just sit still and quiet my inner to-do list but something about that moment put me at ease and made me so grateful.

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.


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.

want, need, wear, read | baby + toddler gift guides.

Posted on: Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Celebrating the holidays with little ones is a million times more fun that I could have ever predicted. I’m pretty sure that I will be the one who can’t sleep on Christmas Eve because I’ll be too excited to see Briar’s reaction to everything in the morning! But since my kids are still little and don’t have any concept of what to expect, I feel like it’s the perfect time to institute the notion of buying items that fit the categories of “want, need, wear, and read.” Here are some of my favorite things that I’m considering for Briar and Landon this Christmas:

Want / Need / Wear Read | Infant + Toddler Gift Guides | Ann-Marie Loves

01. Toaster. One of Briar’s longstanding favorite toys is her play kitchen (or “chicken,” as she calls it) so this wooden toaster would be a welcome addition.

02. A-Frame Dollhouse. An A-frame dollhouse! I mean, come on…this is beyond.

03. Rainbow Puzzle. Briar’s puzzle skills are growing by the day and this rainbow one would be challenging enough for her to for the next few months.

04. 360 Degree Toothbrush. You can never have too many toothbrushes…especially ones that my toddler will actually use!

05. Snack Catcher Bowls. We have a few of these already and they are so handy for car trips, stroller rides, or even while watching one of her favorite shows.

06. Unicorn Backpack. This little backpack would be perfect for the days she spends with her grandparents.

07. Denim Jacket. Denim jackets are such a classic piece and this faded color matches the one that I have in my size.

08. Printed Leggings. Leggings are such a toddler wardrobe staple and I adore this floral print.

09. Tutu Dress. This tutu dress is so sweet and easily lends itself to playing dress-up!

10. My Dad Used to Be So Cool. I saw a flip through of this book on Instagram and thought it was so clever and so apropos for John’s number one fan.

11. Dragons Love Tacos. I’ve heard nothing but great things about this story!

12. My Quotable Kid. Briar is now speaking in full sentences and has so many cute / funny things to say on a daily basis…I don’t want to miss a thing!

Want / Need / Wear Read | Infant + Toddler Gift Guides | Ann-Marie Loves

01. Triangle Clutching Toy. As the second child, Landon doesn’t need too many toys or books since we already have so much, but it’s always nice to get a few new things that are just for him.

02. Wubbanub Fox. The jury is still out as to what Landon really think about pacifiers but I’m thinking this cute fox will sweeten the deal.

03. Rainbow Stacker. Stacking rings are always a hit and this wooden version is just so beautiful.

04. California Baby. California Baby is the mainstay in both kids’ bathing routines. It’s especially gentle on Landon’s super dry skin.

05. Black and White Swaddle Blankets. Swaddle blankets are my number one suggestion for new moms because they are not only great for swaddling but they’re light and soft enough to use as a nursing cover, as a burp cloth, or as shield from the sun.

06. Water Wipes. Maybe wipes aren’t the most exciting gift but Landon’s at the perfect age where he doesn’t know the difference ;)

07. Plaid Shirt + Pants. I adore this two piece set because it reminds me so much of John!

08. Black and White Striped One-Piece. One can never go wrong with black and white stripes.

09. Blue Jacket. I love the fleece lining on this jacket.

10. Firefighter Fred. Soft books are always a safe bet for introducing babies to reading.

11. Baby’s First Year. I haven’t purchased a traditional baby book for Landon yet but I am eager to get one going! This particular book has darling illustrations!

12. Farm Tails. The interactive flaps and textures are sure to be a crowd-pleaser among the infant set!

december daily 2016.

Posted on: Friday, December 9, 2016

December Daily 2016 | Ann-Marie Loves

Every time we move, I curse myself for having so many scrapbooks and craft supplies. They’re so much fun to play with but good lord, they are such a pain to move and find room for. That being said, I decided to take a more practical approach with my December Daily this year. Instead of starting a new album, I am just adding a December Daily portion to my ongoing 2016 album. I figure that this will be the easiest way for me to stick with it AND save some space in the closet. Additionally, Briar loves paging this particular album so I know this will get a lot of attention long after December passes.

Here’s the first spread:

December Daily 2016 | Ann-Marie Loves

It wouldn’t be complete unless there was a ton of color!

December Daily 2016 | Ann-Marie Loves

For the introductory page, I am using one of my all-time favorite papers from Amy Tangerine’s Oh Happy Life collection. As soon as I saw it, I put it aside for this particular project knowing that it would be the perfect palette for my version of Christmas. I also used a die cut tag, a Crate Paper pinwheel sticker that I’ve been hoarding for years, and Amy’s holiday stamps.

December Daily 2016 | Ann-Marie Loves

December Daily 2016 | Ann-Marie Loves

Instead of doing a strict daily format, I’m doing an “almost daily” format. Basically, I’m too scatterbrained at the moment to be that disciplined with documenting everyday so I’m just going to wing it and call it good ;) For this page, I used three different photos and added the “love,” “merry,” and yellow paint swipe using my Hand-Lettered Holiday Digital Brushes. I only had about an hour to pull all this together so using the brushes on my before I printed helped to bring in fun design elements without having to dig through my stash.

December Daily 2016 | Ann-Marie Loves

I woke up this morning excited to look at what I made last night. I’m eager to add more to this album! Stay tuned.



diy rosemary wreath.

Posted on: Monday, December 5, 2016

DIY Rosemary Wreath | Ann-Marie Loves

Two months into parenting two kids and I finally feel like I am hitting my stride. Sure, there’s plenty of room for improvement but the initial overwhelm has faded. I can now have everyone dressed, fed, packed, and buckled in the car and only be running about half an hour late! (ha!) I have days where I feel like I am killing it in the mom / wife / work-from-home department and I have days where all I can do is count down the minutes until John gets home and I can lock myself in the bathroom with a glass of wine. Life, right?

But for the most part, I’m feeling pretty darn good and when I feel good, I want to make stuff! Yesterday we spent the day at my parents’ house and while both babies napped, I sat outside in their backyard and whipped up a quick rosemary wreath. Here’s how I made it:

DIY Rosemary Wreath | Ann-Marie Loves

The supplies are pretty basic: lots of fresh rosemary branches, sharp scissors (or pruning shears, if you prefer), gold wire, and neon pink cording.

DIY Rosemary Wreath | Ann-Marie Loves

Gather a thick stack of rosemary branches, approximately 10 – 12 inches each.

DIY Rosemary Wreath | Ann-Marie Loves

Piece the ends of the rosemary branches together and secure the center with gold wire. (I also wrapped a long strand of gold string around the wire because I had it on hand and wanted to use it all up.)

DIY Rosemary Wreath | Ann-Marie Loves

Cut a long strand of the hot pink cording and tie it to two of the upper branches to act as the hanger. Pro tip: Make sure you choose sturdy branches near the front so that your wreath doesn’t tip too far forward or backward when it’s hung.

DIY Rosemary Wreath | Ann-Marie Loves

And now…enjoy!

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.

customizable holiday cards.

Posted on: Friday, November 25, 2016

Creating Holiday Cards with Mixbook x Amy Tangerine | Ann-Marie Loves

There are maaaaaany areas of my current life where I feel that I am falling behind. I can never seem to stay on top of the toddler toy tornado. I wash my hair maybe (?) once a week. I basically wear the same nursing-friendly outfit every single day. My daily to-do list seldom gets finished. But every once in awhile, I pull off a solid victory. Case in point: our 2016 holiday cards!

Creating Holiday Cards with Mixbook x Amy Tangerine | Ann-Marie Loves

A few weeks ago I managed to get several photos of my little family. It was quite the effort trying to convince everyone to cooperate (I’m looking at you, John) but we pulled it off and now I have a little time capsule of this crazy time in our lives. So in a rare moment of peace and quiet, I sat down at the computer with a glass of wine and whipped out our holiday cards using Amy Tangerine’s holiday collaboration with Mixbook. My favorite thing about Mixbook is how customizable their designs are. Being able to manipulate each design element to my exact liking to fit each photo makes the graphic designer in me very happy.

Creating Holiday Cards with Mixbook x Amy Tangerine | Ann-Marie Loves

Here’s what the original layout of the “Merry Christmas” card design by Amy Tangerine looked like. I really love this look but with the centered family photo that I was going to use, the diagonally-oriented layout wasn’t going to work.

Creating Holiday Cards with Mixbook x Amy Tangerine | Ann-Marie Loves

Luckily Mixbook makes it a piece of cake to rearrange and resize every single element. So I started the process by deleting all of the phrases and floral element and then reintroduced the ones I wanted to incorporate by using the Stickers panel on the left hand side of the screen.

Creating Holiday Cards with Mixbook x Amy Tangerine | Ann-Marie Loves

I placed “Merry Christmas” in the upper center and then flanked the phrase using mirrored versions of the floral patterns. So simple to do!

Creating Holiday Cards with Mixbook x Amy Tangerine | Ann-Marie Loves

Once I was done with that, I worked on the back of the card which was equally as easy to put together. I can’t emphasize enough how much I love being able to customize!

Creating Holiday Cards with Mixbook x Amy Tangerine | Ann-Marie Loves

Now that it’s the day after Thanksgiving, we can OFFICIALLY send these cards out the door! Let the holiday madness begin!

P.S. You can save 45-55% off everything at Mixbook from now until November 27th using the code BFRY16! Happy card making!


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.

three years.

Posted on: Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Three Years of Marriage | Ann-Marie Loves | Photo by Katie Pritchard Photography

Photo by Katie Pritchard Photography

Today marks three years of being married to my best friend.

Marriage has been challenging and rewarding. Frustrating and wonderful. Monotonous and full of excitement. It’s all of those things rolled into one and I’m so grateful for the big and small things we’ve experienced together over the past three years (hello Briar + Landon!). Yesterday I went through all of the glassware that I collected for our wedding tablescapes and it took me on a happy little trip down memory lane. I can barely wrap my brain around the fact that we’re three years removed from that special day…it sure feels like it just happened!

Now excuse me while I put on some Al Green and reminisce about our wedding

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