quinoa with mushrooms + veggies.

Posted on: Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Five Minute Meal | Quinoa With Mushrooms + Veggies | Ann-Marie Loves

What does a quinoa recipe have to do with the week before Christmas, you ask? Good question. I have no idea. All I know is that I’ve been running myself ragged the past several weeks and all the germs that my family has been passing back and forth have finally caught up to me. I also know that moms aren’t allotted sick days (especially during the crazy holiday season!) so I’ve been trying to take extra good care of myself whenever possible. As a result, this recipe has become my go-to lunch option since it’s packed full of healthy ingredients AND it only takes five minutes to make AND it leaves minimal dishes for me to wash afterwards. BOOM.

Five Minute Meal | Quinoa With Mushrooms + Veggies | Ann-Marie Loves

Everything that goes into this meal can be purchased at Trader Joe’s (or any grocery store of your choice) and used for a variety of meals. Here’s what’s included:

+ Cooked quinoa (I cooked this batch with vegetable broth)

+ Handfuls of spinach

+ Cherry tomatoes

+ Frozen mushrooms (or you can do fresh if you’re feeling fancy!) (I’m never that fancy.)

+ A little bit of feta cheese (or A LOT of feta, if you’re me)

+ Olive oil

+ Pepper to taste

Five Minute Meal | Quinoa With Mushrooms + Veggies | Ann-Marie Loves

The process is pretty simple: Cook over low to medium heat on the stove with a little bit of olive oil for few minutes and then top with feta cheese and pepper. It really is that easy!

holiday packaging.

Posted on: Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Holiday Packaging | Ann-Marie Loves

When it comes to holiday packaging, I take my job verrrrry seriously. I love wrapping presents and as a result, I am a firm believer that the packaging is just as (if not more!) important the gift itself. While ordering holiday cards through Minted, I added a few rolls of this XO gift wrap paper to my cart because, well, it’s PERFECTION. Not only is this particular pattern great for Christmas, but it’s also perfect for showers or birthdays throughout the rest of the year.

Holiday Packaging | Ann-Marie Loves

Each gift is topped with a plethora of colorful pom poms (never enough poms!) and simple tags that I quickly whipped up in Illustrator.

Holiday Packaging | Ann-Marie Loves

I also picked up gold foil polka dot paper from Target and am making a mental note to stock up on this pattern during the after-Christmas sale! It’s so good.

Holiday Packaging | Ann-Marie Loves

I’d like to think my packaging obsession is rubbing off on Briar. She grabbed the hot pink washi tape when I wasn’t looking and helped to herself to a rather generous strip of it, which she promptly added to her own gift – ha!

Holiday Packaging | Ann-Marie Loves

Clearly I wasn’t doing it right. She kindly fixed it for me ;)

pom pom maker.

Posted on: Monday, December 19, 2016

My Favorite Pom Pom Maker | Ann-Marie Loves

I have an abundance of crafting tools that admittedly collect dust most of the year. Sometimes they involve too much set up or maybe they’re on a high shelf that I don’t feel like rearranging to get to or maybe I just plain forgot about them. Regardless, there are only a handful of tools that I use on a constant basis (hello, heavy duty paper trimmer!). But since I’ve been obsessed with pom poms for a few years, I figured there had to be a tool out there that would help me improve on my creations. Enter: this handy dandy pom pom maker. For only $8 on Amazon, I received two different sized pom pom makers in one pack and they produce perfect little poms in a snap!

So in the spirit of adding toppers to holiday gifts, I thought I would share how awesome this little gadget is:

My Favorite Pom Pom Maker | Ann-Marie Loves

Wind one side of the pom pom maker with your yarn color(s) of choice.

My Favorite Pom Pom Maker | Ann-Marie Loves

Repeat the winding on the opposite arm.

My Favorite Pom Pom Maker | Ann-Marie Loves

Move both of the arms towards the center of the maker.

My Favorite Pom Pom Maker | Ann-Marie Loves

This is what it looks like once it’s closed.

My Favorite Pom Pom Maker | Ann-Marie Loves

Grab a pair of sharp scissors and trim down the center of each side of yarn.

My Favorite Pom Pom Maker | Ann-Marie Loves

Once you’ve cut all the way through both sides, it will look like a yarn sandwich.
My Favorite Pom Pom Maker | Ann-Marie Loves

Cut a short string of yarn and wind it around the center of the pom pom maker and secure it with a double knot (this is what binds the two arms’ yarn together.

My Favorite Pom Pom Maker | Ann-Marie Loves

Pull the pom pom maker apart.

My Favorite Pom Pom Maker | Ann-Marie Loves

Here’s what the pom pom looks like! Pretty cool, huh?

My Favorite Pom Pom Maker | Ann-Marie Loves

Finally, give your pom pom a little hair cut.

My Favorite Pom Pom Maker | Ann-Marie Loves

With a toddler who is constantly redecorating the tree, I love using these pom poms as ornaments AND as gift toppers! I never have to worry about them breaking or being so valuable that I would be sad if they went MIA. I’m just now thinking that I might thread them on a string and hang them as a garland in Briar’s room when the holidays are over…hmmmm. So many possibilities!

morris family holiday cards with minted.

Posted on: Friday, December 16, 2016

Family Holiday Cards 2016 | Ann-Marie Loves x Minted

Do you know what moms really love? FAMILY PHOTOS. Do you know what two year olds really hate? FAMILY PHOTOS.

Family Holiday Cards 2016 | Ann-Marie Loves x Minted

This year I was determined to get a few solid Morris family photo gems for my mom (and me!) to frame and treasure forever, but Briar clearly had other ideas. There were tantrums, there were tears, there were staunch refusals to even look in the vicinity of the camera — ha! It ended up taking two separate photo shoots on two separate weekends when all of us could get together in one place, but thanks to the powers-that-be, we managed to score a handful of cute shots (Briar included!) that were totally Christmas-card worthy.

Family Holiday Cards 2016 | Ann-Marie Loves x Minted

Once I got over the hurdle of getting a few decent photos, I then had to decide which option use on my parents’ holiday cards. And since my kids were in most of them and I am 150% biased on how adorable they are, it became a real challenge to choose a single image! Thankfully, Minted had this perfect collage design (in gold, no less!) which allotted me FIVE separate spots to include my favorite captures of everyone. It was perfect.

Family Holiday Cards 2016 | Ann-Marie Loves x Minted

Once I finally decided on a design (there are so many good ones to choose from!), it was super easy to fill the photos in and order the cards ASAP. My parents have been a tremendous help to me and my little family over the past year (and forever, for that matter) that the very least I could do was help them put together their Christmas cards to send to loved ones near and far.

Family Holiday Cards 2016 | Ann-Marie Loves x Minted

When the cards finally arrived, I was thrilled with how they turned out! But if we’re being honest, no one was more excited than Briar. For someone that put up such a fight against getting in front of the camera, she sure loves looking at the different photos of herself on the card — ha! Two years olds, y’all…

Family Holiday Cards 2016 | Ann-Marie Loves x Minted

If you like to the wait until the last minute (UHH, THAT WOULD BE ME), there’s still time to order your Christmas — or even better, New Years! — cards! Use the code GIFTEVENT to save 15% and be upgraded to priority shipping from now until December 20th. If I can get my two year old to cooperate, you can get your cards ordered! ;)

This post was sponsored by Minted, but all opinions, ideas, and photos are my own.

solvang.

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.

crosspens-2

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.

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