mom style | moms of infants edition.

Posted on: Thursday, May 28, 2015

Mom Style | Mom of Infants Edition | Ann-Marie Loves

I’ve decided that the next best thing to having my own sister is having a sister-in-law who also doubles as one of my best friends. Over the years, Jamie and I have grown super close. So close, in fact, that aside from our husbands, we were the first people each other told about our respective pregnancies! Jamie and I are opposites in many ways, but we also have a ton in common, including being new-ish moms to baby cousins (born three weeks apart!).

Having infant daughters has naturally changed our personal styles a little bit, so I thought it would be fun to share the products that each of us uses on a daily basis.

Mom Style | Mom of Infants Edition | Ann-Marie Loves

Ann-Marie’s Picks:

+ Fedora Hat // I am such a hat girl and I wear this Cotton On fedora entirely too much! Similar hat here.
+ MAC Mineralize Rich Lipstick // I bought this lipstick in Elegant Accent for my wedding and still wear it as often as possible. It’s just the right shade for enhancing my pale skin without being too overwhelming.
+ Top Knot // Styling my hair is easily my least favorite beauty task (I’d rather shave my legs!), so more often than not, you’ll find a giant bun atop my head. This also means I have a million and one ponytails floating around the house!
+ Rings // The only jewelry pieces that I wear every single day are my wedding ring and a handful of super thin silver bands that John picked out for me on our honeymoon. I feel naked without them! Similar rings here.
+ Poncho // Wearing this poncho instantly makes me feel pulled together AND it is the ultimate cover up for nursing! Similar poncho here.
+ Backpack // A few years ago, I switched from using a standard purse to using a small backpack. This bag carries everything that I need for myself and Briar, plus it keeps my hands free.
+ Dry Shampoo // My hair errs on the oily side of the spectrum (GAH), so I live and die by my Suave dry shampoo.
+ Sunglasses // Okay, if I could only have ONE accessory, it would be sunglasses. Whenever I find a style that I love, I stock up on them knowing that they WILL be dropped or sat on or left behind somewhere. This tortoiseshell pair is my current favorite.
+ Red nail polish // Whenever my nails are painted, I feel more motivated. Strange but true. Tigerlilly is my go-to shade.

Mom Style | Mom of Infants Edition | Ann-Marie Loves

Briar and Luna are finally at the stage where they interact with each other…so much fun to watch!

Mom Style | Mom of Infants Edition | Ann-Marie Loves

Jamie’s Picks:

+ Humble Hilo Bag // This bag is so versatile. I mostly use it for my diaper / day bag, but it’s big enough to be used as an overnight bag, too. I switch between the shoulder strap and handles.
+ Striped Shift Dress // I love the length of this dress and it’s non-formfitting cut. The stretchy material makes it nursing-friendly plus you can never go wrong with a black and white stripe. I’d choose a dress over any other type of clothing any day of the week. Similar dress here.
+ Royal Jelly Body Butter // This body butter does wonders for my dry hands and my under eye area. It’s thick and creamy, relieving dry and itchy skin. I’ll use this alone or mixed with coconut oil.
+ Nail Polish // I’ve worn OPI’s Mod About You off and on for the last ten years. I feel that it complements my skin tone. It’s my go-to color.
+ Coconut Oil // I have found that coconut oil works best with my skin type. I like how light it feels on the skin. It’s gentle and doesn’t make me break out. I use it all over my body, not just on my face.
+ Lace Bralette // I found my current favorite lace bralette at a small clothing boutique near my house for $4.99! It’s soft and stretchy making it nursing-friendly. I also like pairing it with a loose fitting tank. It’s looks much prettier peeking out of a tank than a regular bra does. Similar bralette here.
+ Curling Iron // A large barrel curling iron is my must-have for my hair. It’s not every day that I can wash and blow dry with a little one yelling for Mama every two seconds. When my hair is oily and I don’t feel like putting it up in a bun, I turn my curling iron on and do a few loose textured curls. Spray it with some Big and Sexy hair spray and I am ready to go.
+ Sandals // These Target sandals are comfortable and light, plus they pair well with a maxi dress or jeans and a tank. I live in sandals.
+ Black Mascara // Any black Revlon mascara that makes it into my cart these days is my favorite. I love the look of long lashes. Instant glam!

Mom Style | Mom of Infants Edition | Ann-Marie Loves

Moms, what are your must-have items?

as of late | may edition.

Posted on: Wednesday, May 27, 2015

As of Late | May Edition | Ann-Marie Loves

Embracing this idea from The Alison Show! Such a smart workaround for getting out of your own way.

Crafting almost every single day. It feels good to be back!

Looking forward to the launch of U-Jam classes at my gym next week! Has anyone tried it before?

Planning a certain baby’s first birthday and excitedly making a wish list for her. I’m thinking a water table and a push cart are in order!

Going out once a week on a date night with my husband and feeling like it’s exactly what we needed for our marriage. Having a third person in our mix is the best thing ever, but sometimes we need to leave Briar with the grandparents for an evening so we can reconnect.

Pumping up my blonde (read: invisible) eyebrows with this and loving how pulled together it makes me feel! I may be late to the game but I’m so happy to be here ;)

Contemplating the idea of chopping my hair….TBD.

Bingeing on the Kardashians because I can’t seem to look away!

Reading The Happy Sleeper and already learning a ton of tricks for getting my daughter to sleep through the night. Remember when I said she could put away 9-10 hour stretches? Yeah. Totally jinxed myself.

Enjoying nine month old Briar. She’s so much fun these days.

Feeling so honored to be featured (in illustration-form, no less!) on Lovely Indeed, with my Briar Bear. Such a treat.

Listening to the Good Life Project podcast on repeat. Incredibly inspiring.

Thinking about deleting my e-mail from my phone. I could really use more space AND less distraction.

Noticing how many cute maternity clothes are out right now! I have zero plans of getting pregnant again anytime soon, but I am tempted to stock up on striped dresses for the next go ’round!

Savoring these last few weeks of cool weather since I know it won’t be back until November. #sweaterweatherplease

briar’s scrapbook | part two.

Posted on: Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Baby Scrapbook | A Beautiful Mess Messy Book | Ann-Marie Espinoza

I have been on a serious scrapbooking kick lately and I must admit…I’m super excited about it! I started an album for Briar two weeks ago and am happily filling it up whenever I can find a few hours to sit down and play with paper. These pages were made thanks in part to a long naptime, coffee, and the Kardashians on repeat via Hulu. #essentials

Baby Scrapbook | A Beautiful Mess Messy Book | Ann-Marie Espinoza

To fill up the backside of the previous layout, I made another page using my favorite colorful sheet from the first Messy Box kit and the photo I carefully selected to announce Briar’s arrival on social media (such a big decision!). For the embellishing, I was so excited when I remembered that I had some of my favorite stamps on hand: Martha Stewart alphas and Kelly Purkey wooden alphas. What is it about stamping a title that feels so satisfying? I also used a handful of Amy Tangerine stickers, gold Thickers, and lots of enamel dots!

Baby Scrapbook | A Beautiful Mess Messy Book | Ann-Marie Espinoza

As it turns out, I’m really loving the whole “cut photos up and stick them in separate pockets” thing. It’s such a fun way to work a divided page protector! For this page, I kept things simple and used three photos, white watercolor paper, and gold heart Thickers. Holy moly, that middle photo of one day old baby Briar kills me.

Baby Scrapbook | A Beautiful Mess Messy Book | Ann-Marie Espinoza

These photos of Briar in the hospital tug at my heart…how was she ever so tiny? I’m so grateful that we brought the big camera and our iPhones to document those crazy first few days! For this spread, I chose some of my favorite pictures and cropped them to 3 x 3″ to fill out the center pockets of both pages. I also cut up a sheet of watercolor paper that I had loosely painted with black craft paint and used that to tie the spread together. Super easy!

P.S. The first installment of Briar’s scrapbook!

workspace wednesday | unstuck app

Posted on: Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Workspace Wednesday | Unstuck App | Ann-Marie Loves

Two things:

1. I just rediscovered my iPad after letting the battery be dead for several months. Why? Because my post-baby brain is mush.


So truth be told, it’s not a necessity, but it sure is handy for things like browsing Pinterest in bed (v. important!), watching movies / videos / Vine mashups while I work, and my most favorite use, for playing with the Unstuck app.

Workspace Wednesday | Unstuck App | Ann-Marie Loves

I don’t even remember how I stumbled upon Unstuck, but my goodness, it is a workhorse for the mental warfare I wage daily upon myself. It leads you through a series of questions and exercises regarding how you’re feeling and what is holding you back. The exercise shown above is my favorite part. You quickly go through a deck of several cards and place them in the “So Me” or “Not Me” pile to help get to the root of what is bothering you. Genius.

Workspace Wednesday | Unstuck App | Ann-Marie Loves

I feel like there’s always something holding me back, whether it’s a personal, professional, or relational situation, and Unstuck helps me work through every single problem…sometimes the same problem many times over! It’s kind of amazing how breaking down an issue into small, manageable pieces brings so much clarity.

Workspace Wednesday | Unstuck App | Ann-Marie Loves

Once you’re finished with the exercises, you’re “diagnosed” with a certain behavior style and offered lots of suggestions as to how to get past your mental roadblock. It’s pretty incredible how glaringly spot-on the results are; I always feel like they were written just for me! I highly recommend this app, even if you feel like you are never stuck (and if you’re not, HOW?). Five stars, people.

diy painted bags.

Posted on: Monday, May 18, 2015

DIY Painted Bags | Ann-Marie Loves

Recently, I’ve been enjoying a resurgence of creative energy and I can’t even tell you how happy it makes me. Being crafty and using my hands is how I make sense of my world, so I am beyond excited to be back at it again. Yesterday as I was roaming the aisles of Target picking up the essentials (faux-Birks and loose tanks, as one does), I decided to try out a few new paints from Handmade Modern. I had a few crafty projects in mind and I couldn’t wait to get started!

DIY Painted Bags | Ann-Marie Loves

A few years ago, I purchased a handful of these small zippered bags from the dollar section at Target with the intention of using them to hold bridesmaid gifts. But as it turned out, I was never able to collect all six, so those plans were thwarted (sorry b-maids) and they’ve been sitting in my craft stash ever since. However, when armed with new paint and a need to corral Briar’s stuff in my backpack, I was able to turn those bags into something usable!

DIY Painted Bags | Ann-Marie Loves

To paint the bags, I used a mix of small brushes and different patterns. I allowed each side plenty of time to dry before I flipped them over and painted a similar pattern on the back of each respective bag. Super simple.

DIY Painted Bags | Ann-Marie Loves

Let me just say, I’m kind of thrilled that loose + free-form is where the current style trends are pointing to because I have never been one for straight lines. (There’s nothing that kills my creative mojo more than having to use a ruler!) I’ve also been making a concerted effort to just experiment strictly for the sake of experimentation. The more I can play around without any preconceived notions, the more fun it is to craft!

DIY Painted Bags | Ann-Marie Loves

Even Briar wanted to get in on the action, by slyly dipping her hands in my black paint when I looked down for half a second…!  Ay yi yi. But I guess it just goes to show that she’s a girl after my own heart ;)


briar’s scrapbook | part one.

Posted on: Friday, May 15, 2015

Baby Scrapbook | A Beautiful Mess Messy Book | Ann-Marie Espinoza

It’s been nine months since Briar was born, which means I only have about four million photos of her sitting on my hard drive. I cringe at the idea of those images living there forever, never to be seen by anyone other than me, so I finally had a bunch of photos printed. It felt so good to hold those pictures in my hands and reflect back on all the precious memories that they hold. It was right then and there that I realized that my Briar Bear deserves her own scrapbook. After all, I documented my pregnancy in scrapbook form…it was only a matter of time until I continued the story! So here’s the first installment of Briar’s scrapbook:

Baby Scrapbook | A Beautiful Mess Messy Book | Ann-Marie Espinoza
Baby Scrapbook | A Beautiful Mess Messy Book | Ann-Marie Espinoza

I can’t think of a more perfect overlay for Briar’s scrapbook than the one that came in A Beautiful Mess’ Messy Box kit…I’m obsessed! To add it to my album, I simply punched four holes with a Crop-A-Dile and popped it into place.

Baby Scrapbook | A Beautiful Mess Messy Book | Ann-Marie EspinozaBaby Scrapbook | A Beautiful Mess Messy Book | Ann-Marie Espinoza

For the first page, I kept things pretty simple since I wanted the photos to do most of the talking. I also added in a journaling card with Briar’s stats and a few of my favorite gold papers + embellishments.

Supplies: Dear Lizzy Serendipity Papers // Dear Lizzy Heart Thickers // Amy Tangerine Fabric Stickers // Precision Pen

Baby Scrapbook | A Beautiful Mess Messy Book | Ann-Marie Espinoza

Baby Scrapbook | A Beautiful Mess Messy Book | Ann-Marie Espinoza

Baby Scrapbook | A Beautiful Mess Messy Book | Ann-Marie Espinoza

For this page, I used the backside of the first page protector and broke up the grid by placing a 4 x 6″ photo over four pockets filled with the same sheet of Dear Lizzy ombre paper. I also added a subtle title using Kelly Purkey white letter stickers.

Supplies: Dear Lizzy Serendipity Papers // Dear Lizzy Daydreamer Map Paper // Dear Lizzy Serendipity Sticker Roll // Dear Lizzy Serendipity Puffy Stickers // BasicGrey Flair Badges

Baby Scrapbook | A Beautiful Mess Messy Book | Ann-Marie Espinoza

Baby Scrapbook | A Beautiful Mess Messy Book | Ann-Marie Espinoza

For the third page, I decided to make a traditional layout…such a fun change of pace! This photo of John and Briar is one of my very favorites from her first day. She had just been cleaned up in the nursery and brought into our room and John couldn’t take his eyes off of her. Such a magical moment. (P.S. Since the 9 x 12″ page protectors are currently out of stock, I improvised and punched extra holes in an American Crafts 12 x 12″ sleeve and plan on cutting off the extra bit and sewing up the side.)

Supplies: Woodgrain Paper // Messy Box Kit // Dear Lizzy Serendipity Papers // Amy Tangerine Foam Thickers // Precision Pen

Baby Scrapbook | A Beautiful Mess Messy Book | Ann-Marie Espinoza


I’m excited to continue to work on Briar’s scrapbook each week! I plan on keeping the album as loose and rule-free as possible; if I miss a few things or go out of chronological order, that’s totally fine. I figure, as long as I’m capturing the big picture of her babyhood, then I’m doing my job.

upcycled ribbon spool turned wall hanging.

Posted on: Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Upcycled Ribbon Spool-Turned-Wall Hanging | Ann-Marie Loves

The other day, John was recounting just how upset I was when I first discovered that our Utah apartment did not have a recycling bin on the premises. I had totally forgotten about that! To combat the issue, I kept a huge box of recyclables in our place and then when it was full, I would force John to help me take them to a recycling center a few miles away. It was a major hassle, but it pained me more to throw away anything that I know can be recycled, or even better, upcycled. You can take the girl out of California…

So recently, as I neared the end of a spool of Dear Lizzy baker’s twine, I knew just how to give it new life.

Upcycled Ribbon Spool-Turned-Wall Hanging | Ann-Marie Loves

To begin, I pulled the labels off of the baker’s twine spool using an xacto knife.

Upcycled Ribbon Spool-Turned-Wall Hanging | Ann-Marie Loves

Next, I took baker’s twine from a different spool and wrapped it all the way around the spool until it was completely covered.

Upcycled Ribbon Spool-Turned-Wall Hanging | Ann-Marie Loves

From there, I busted out my Cuttlebug and cut out feathers using a nesting die and a few sheets of Daydreamer paper.

Upcycled Ribbon Spool-Turned-Wall Hanging | Ann-Marie Loves

Once I had the feathers cut out, I tied long strands of baker’s twine to each shape.

Upcycled Ribbon Spool-Turned-Wall Hanging | Ann-Marie Loves

Finally, I tied each strand to the upcycled ribbon spool and hung it in Briar’s room! Easy to make and easy on the environment.

infant crafting | ziploc bag painting.

Posted on: Thursday, May 7, 2015

Infant Crafting | Ziploc Bag Painting | Ann-Marie Loves

You guys. The day I have been dreaming of since I first saw two faint lines on a pregnancy test has finally come! (Well, kind of.) Yesterday I introduced Briar to the wonderful world of crafting! Truth be told, she wasn’t as excited about it as I was (CLEARLY), but I intend to slowly wear her down until she becomes my little crafting sidekick. #persistence

Infant Crafting | Ziploc Bag Painting | Ann-Marie Loves

A few weeks ago, my good friend Angie posted a photo of her infant daughter “painting” through a Ziploc bag and I knew I wanted to try it out with Briar as well! The supplies are about as basic as they come: cardstock, various craft paints, Ziploc bags, and scissors.

Infant Crafting | Ziploc Bag Painting | Ann-Marie Loves

Place a sheet of cardstock in the bag (I folded a sheet in half, like a greeting card) and squeeze in a few drops of paint. Make sure the bag is completely sealed and then let your little one mash it up as much as they want! I used two different shades of yellow and two different shades of pink to build on the visual interest, but I’m pretty sure I was the only one that cared about that (ha!). Briar was far more concerned about trying to pull the red fasteners off of the bags ;)

Infant Crafting | Ziploc Bag Painting | Ann-Marie Loves

Once the masterpieces are complete, carefully take them out of the bags and let them dry.

Infant Crafting | Ziploc Bag Painting | Ann-Marie Loves

After Briar’s artwork was dry, I cut them in half and taped them up to the wall above her crib for her to admire.

Infant Crafting | Ziploc Bag Painting | Ann-Marie Loves

As you can see, she was very proud of herself ;)

kelly purkey kit giveaway.

Posted on: Monday, May 4, 2015

UPDATED: The winner is Ashley Michelson! Congrats Ashley! E-mail me with your shipping information when you get a chance! xo

Kelly Purkey Kit Designed by Ann-Marie Espinoza | Kit Giveaway! | Ann-Marie Loves

Designing the “Oh Happy Day” kit for Kelly Purkey was such a blast. She gave me total creative freedom, so I decided to design products that I would actually want to use…and I did! My scrapbooking skills are, well, a wee bit out of shape these days, but I’m determined to create the occasional layout or spread for the sake of remembering Briar’s babyhood. Plus, once I get into the groove of scrapbooking, I remember how fun it can be! Note to self: get your groove back.

IMG_Kelly Purkey Kit Designed by Ann-Marie Espinoza | Kit Giveaway! | Ann-Marie Loves
IMG_Kelly Purkey Kit Designed by Ann-Marie Espinoza | Kit Giveaway! | Ann-Marie Loves

The kit is now sold out, but Kelly has kindly held one aside so that I can give it away to one of my wonderful readers!

IMG_Kelly Purkey Kit Designed by Ann-Marie Espinoza | Kit Giveaway! | Ann-Marie Loves
IMG_Kelly Purkey Kit Designed by Ann-Marie Espinoza | Kit Giveaway! | Ann-Marie Loves

Supplies: Kelly Purkey kit | Messy Book + Page Protectors | Gold Thickers | Photos by La Rousse Photo

Leave a comment below linking me to something awesome you’ve seen around the internet lately (a blog post, an article, a pin) by Thursday May 7th and I will choose a winner at random! Good luck!

finding clarity.

Posted on: Friday, May 1, 2015

Clarity about Being a Work at Home Mama | Ann-Marie Loves

Lavender + Honey // one of my favorite places to escape to.

The other day, as I was talking to my doctor about all sorts of things, namely postpartum anxiety (I’m struggling with this), how we’re balancing work with our respective new-ish babies (there’s absolutely no balance), where we really want to live (I’ll give you one guess what my answer is…), and whether or not he reads his stellar Yelp reviews (he does), I came to two conclusions: 1. I love my doctor, and 2. I need to get out of the house more…by myself.

These past several months of being a new mom have been some of the best but also some of the hardest. I love having a baby, and at the risk of sounding overconfident, I know that I’m pretty darn good at it. I can roll with the punches, be it the constant onslaught of bodily fluids, or the crying jags, or the fact that I haven’t had a full night’s sleep since last summer. I can totally handle all the standard baby hurdles with no (okay, minimal) complaints. But there is more to Ann-Marie than just being Mom to Briar, 24/7. And that’s where I’ve fallen seriously short.

I’ve neglected my inbox. I’ve neglected my mailbox. I’ve neglected my work. I’ve neglected my blog. I’ve neglected my goals. I’ve been so consumed with anxiety over the unknown that I have gotten to a place where some days, I don’t even recognize myself. Anxiety is something I’ve never really dealt with before, so navigating my way through the wreckage has been a learning curve, for sure.

However, I’m beginning to realize that if I want to continue to be a good mom to my daughter, I need to be good to myself. And that means, spending time by myself. As a major introvert, alone time (or at least time that I’m not caring for an active eight month old) is PARAMOUNT to my happiness. It always has been, it always will be. I need that time to hear my own thoughts, to decompress, and to refuel my energy. I need that time to figure out where I’m going and how I’m going to get there.

So, I’ve been looking for more ways to leave the baby with John or a family member for a few hours. I’ve been hopping in the car, putting on a good podcast, and treating myself to coffee at my favorite coffee shop. I’ve been getting to the gym and losing myself in the music and the movement for an hour. I’ve been working outside the home at least one day a week (and am even considering picking up a part-time job!). These little pockets of solo time are slowly but surely helping to chip away at the emotional walls I’ve been building around myself for the past several months (or maybe even years!).

I am forever a work in progress, but I’m learning to be okay with that. Like Maya Angelou said, “when you know better, you do better.” AMEN.

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