nursery progress.

Posted on: Thursday, June 26, 2014

My apologies for the radio silence yesterday. I had grand plans of photographing a few projects and drafting some blog posts on Tuesday, but all of that was derailed when I found out my dog needed to be put down. Needless to say, Tuesday was spent at home with my family, bawling my eyes out. I always try to keep this blog positive and upbeat, but man, this year has been TOUGH. We’ve had four deaths of loved ones (two humans, two animals) in just four short months and it’s hard to put a positive spin on any of those losses. I keep thinking of that quote by Zora Neale Hurston: “There are years that ask questions and years that answer” and I’m thinking 2014 just might be another year of questions. xo

Dresser in the Nursery | Ann-Marie Loves

As I’m quickly beginning to realize, this baby could come anytime. Like, ANYTIME. Ideally, I’d like her to stay put until 40 (or heck, even 41!) weeks, but should she have other plans, I want to 100% ready. Maybe not in the parenting sense, but definitely in the decorating sense ;)

Since her room is part nursery / part office, I wanted to make sure that the parts that belong to the baby really make a statement. The white dresser and shelves were purchased at IKEA and help act as a great minimalist canvas for the rest of the decor. I should also note that instead of a cloth changing pad, I decided to go with a foam version that will (hopefully!) lighten our laundry load the slightest bit.  Plus, it was half the price of the Giggle version that I originally had my eye on AND it came in my favorite color. Thumbs up.

Dresser in the Nursery | Ann-Marie Loves
Dresser in the Nursery | Ann-Marie Loves

The shelves are an ever-changing mix of books, photos, plants, and adorable baby sunglasses…!

Dresser in the Nursery | Ann-Marie Loves

I think it goes without saying that this kid would get a woven wall hanging in her room, right?

Dresser in the Nursery | Ann-Marie Loves

Some baby accessories are just too cute not to display. These teeny tiny gold sandals and heart hair clip make me smile every time I look at them!

Dresser in the Nursery | Ann-Marie Loves

There was some awkward open space between the shelves and the dresser, so I decided to loosely tape up a couple of my favorite wedding photos and my second baby shower invitation. I figure she will eventually be able to rip them off the wall, but in the meantime? They’re staying put.

Dresser in the Nursery | Ann-Marie Loves

I thrifted this basket a few months back thinking that it would be plenty big for all of the baby books I’ve collected / been gifted. Yeah, I was wrong. This baby has more books than I do. Now I’m on the hunt for a bigger basket…

Dresser in the Nursery | Ann-Marie Loves
Dresser in the Nursery | Ann-Marie Loves

One of my favorite baby shower gifts was the round brass wall hook from Anthro. I never would have thought to add it to my registry, but I think that’s part of the reason I love it so much! I decided to use it as a hook for hanging a simple yarn tassel mobile over the changing pad.

Dresser in the Nursery | Ann-Marie Loves

I had maternity photos taken in the nursery last Friday and have already changed up a few decor elements…I don’t see myself ever being finished with this space!

P.S. Don’t forget that tomorrow (June 27th) is the last day to stock up on rubber stamps before I retire them :)

desert bunny baby shower | part two.

Posted on: Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Desert Bunny Baby Shower | Ann-Marie Loves

My idea of the perfect party involves breakfast food, a laidback atmosphere, a fun outfit, and great company. Thanks to my good friend Val and my amazing mom, my second baby shower fit all those criteria and then some. Aside from the awesome theme (desert bunny for the win!), I think that my most favorite part of all was that Val made this event a mother / daughter celebration. Even though my friends and I still see each other fairly often, seldom do we get to spend time together with our precious moms in tow. It was such a great way to bring everyone into the mix and celebrate the next generation of moms + daughters!

Desert Bunny Baby Shower | Ann-Marie Loves

desert_bunny_7

Desert Bunny Baby Shower | Ann-Marie Loves

Gorgeous tablescapes and a chance for me to put my wedding glassware to use again!

Desert Bunny Baby Shower | Ann-Marie Loves

black and white striped skirted onesie?! You’re too good to me, Janelle.

Desert Bunny Baby Shower | Ann-Marie Loves

Desert Bunny Baby Shower | Ann-Marie Loves

I was also the lucky recipient of so many incredible handmade gifts that my daughter and I will treasure for years.

Desert Bunny Baby Shower | Ann-Marie Loves

Desert Bunny Baby Shower | Ann-Marie Loves

Bunny garland, hand-dyed cheesecloth, and painted desert plants! DIY elements never go unnoticed by me.

Desert Bunny Baby Shower | Ann-Marie Loves

Trying to stay cool in the shade. (Again, whose idea was it to have a summer baby? ;))

Desert Bunny Baby Shower | Ann-Marie Loves

My wonderful mom, my amazing Espinoza family, and my gigantic 35 week bump. I never realized just how pregnant I look until I went through all my baby shower photos over the past two weekends…WHOA THERE.

Desert Bunny Baby Shower | Ann-Marie Loves

I was so caught up in the moment that I failed to take all of the photos that I wanted to get, but this is one I will always cherish. I’ve grown up with a tight group of nine girls and learned so much about the mother / daughter relationship as a result. I can say that all ten moms (including my own!) are the epitome of unconditional love and selflessness. If I can be HALF as good at motherhood as they are, my daughter will be one lucky gal.

desert bunny baby shower | part one.

Posted on: Monday, June 23, 2014

Desert Bunny Baby Shower | Ann-Marie Loves

Invitation designed by JayAdores

Despite the fact that my heartburn has reached a whole new level of crazy and my feet + ankles (okay, kankles) have grown about four sizes overnight, I feel completely overwhelmed with love and gratitude for all of my closest friends and family members. This past weekend marked my second baby shower and much like the last, it’s hard for me to articulate just how special it is to be surrounded by loved ones who already have such a vested interest in Baby Espinoza without ever having met her…! I received some incredible gifts, but truly (and as cliche as it sounds), the best gift of all was the presence of so many of my favorite people packed into my parents’ backyard on a warm Sunday afternoon. Having a baby really is the best. Heartburn, fat feet, and all.

P.S. More photos to come!

baby album | part ten.

Posted on: Friday, June 20, 2014

Baby Album | Ann-Marie Loves

Yesterday as I was adding the latest pages to my baby album, I was marveling at how thick the book has gotten in just a few short months (I love a fat album!). Okay, so maybe 8 months isn’t that short, but man…it feels like time has just FLOWN BY. I have no idea where November through May went, but I’m so happy I took the time to write down my memories and use up more of my scrapbooking supplies (diapers are quickly starting to take over my craft space!).

Here are my two most recent pages:

Baby Album | Ann-Marie Loves
Baby Album | Ann-Marie Espinoza

For the first page, I finally used some of my all-time favorite papers from Crate Paper + Sassafras. I figure, if I don’t use them now, then when in the WORLD will I? There’s always going to be something new + exciting out on the market…no need to hoard!

Lately I’ve been trying to document the everyday moments that John and I share together, including this scene from a weekend morning on the couch in our PJ’s. In just a few weeks, there will be another person in the mix, so I’m making the most of the time we currently have by ourselves :)

Baby Album | Ann-Marie Espinoza

I cut out the triangles using this punch and I added a little fringe to the underside of my photo thanks to these awesome scissors.

Baby Album | Ann-Marie Espinoza

For the second page, I took the heavyweight cardstock insert that came in a pack of Capture page protectors and loosely covered it with white paint for a little bit of texture. I also used random bits of paper + embellishments that were sitting on my desk, including tag punch outs, the backing to a set of jeweled bobby pins that I received at my baby shower, a KP letterpress card, and the “This is My Fave” stamp from my shop (quick PSA: don’t forget to stock up before it’s too late!).

Baby Album | Ann-Marie Espinoza

I’m trying to determine how and when I should finish this album off and I can’t quite decide. To be continued! ;)

In case you missed it: Part One | Part Two | Part Three | Part Four | Part Five | Part Six | Part Seven | Part Eight | Part Nine

retiring my stamps + starting fresh!

Posted on: Thursday, June 19, 2014

Ann-Marie Loves Paper | Rubber Stamps are Retiring on June 27th | annmarielovespaper.bigcartel.com

Lately I’ve been feeling a nagging pull to change things up with my career. I will admit that there has been many a day in which I just want to hang up my self-employment hat and find a steady 9-5 with a steady paycheck. I’ve always accepted fluctuating income as par for the freelance course, but now with a baby due in a month and an insurance deductible so outrageously high that I could just cry (AGAIN), I’m on a mission to shake things up and breathe new life into my career.

Ann-Marie Loves Paper | Rubber Stamps are Retiring on June 27th | annmarielovespaper.bigcartel.com

The first thing on my list: retire my stamps.

I’ve been at the stamp game for over two years now and it has taught me SO much about the ins and outs of running a small business. I’ve learned about everything from dealing with shipping, pricing, packaging, and marketing to customer service, designing, time management, taxes, competition…the list goes on. As of right now, I currently have over 70 stamp designs for sale and it feels like quite an overwhelming inventory for this one-woman operation to manage! So in an effort to streamline my shop (and my life) and try something new, I’m retiring all of my current stamps by Friday June 27th.

Ann-Marie Loves Paper | Rubber Stamps are Retiring on June 27th | annmarielovespaper.bigcartel.com

But! I’m not bowing out of the stamp game just yet. Instead, I’ve decided to release 4-5 limited edition stamp designs each month, which will only be available for a single month; no less, no more. July 1st marks the first installment of the brand new stamp designs and if you purchase $30 or more of my soon-to-be retired stamps, you’ll receive a 20% off coupon code for any limited edition stamp design starting 7/1/14!

Thank you SO MUCH to everyone who has supported my little business over the years! I am beyond grateful to you and can’t wait to show you what else I have up my sleeve! xo

workspace wednesday | #GIRLBOSS

Posted on: Wednesday, June 18, 2014

#GIRLBOSS | via Ann-Marie Loves

The other night before I climbed into bed, I decided that I didn’t want to read another book on babies. I didn’t want to read another chapter on sleep training. I didn’t want to read about French parenting styles vs. American parenting styles. (At least for one night.) Instead, I wanted something completely different.

Thus, I bought #GIRLBOSS on my Kindle and devoured as much of it as possible before my eyes couldn’t stay open any longer. It’s so fascinating! I’ve seen a bunch of ‘grams with people raving about the book recently, I figured I might as well jump on the bandwagon too. There are so many nuggets of wisdom sprinkled throughout, but one of my most favorite quotes is:

#GIRLBOSS | via Ann-Marie Loves

BOOM. Love that.

my pre-mom style.

Posted on: Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Mom Style | Ann-Marie Loves

As I get closer and closer to becoming a real live mom, I’ve noticed my style morphing ever so slightly. While I’m certainly not at the point of mom jeans just yet, I have been favoring comfort and practicality over anything too fussy or time-consuming these days. But at the same time, I’m not quite ready to forgo my pre-baby style entirely! Last week I had bangs chopped for the first time in a few years and it makes me feel like a brand new person. The rest of my hair is still long enough to throw in a top knot because really, who wants to spend extra time blow-drying their hair? Not this gal.

Mom Style | Ann-Marie Loves

I’ve also been giving into maternity clothes more and more, because frankly, I am running out of wardrobe options and I do need to leave the house and interact with society every once in awhile. Plus, maternity clothes are the comfiest things EVER. We’re talking stretch, stretch, and more stretch…what’s not to love about that? I’ve been wearing this pink + white super soft nightgown to bed and thanks to it’s nursing-friendly straps, it will continue to get plenty of mileage long after the baby arrives. I’m also loving my black + white striped dress that I plan to wear to my second shower. But! I still like to spice things up with regular clothes too! For example, this white denim vest from Target is in heavy rotation since it doesn’t require any buttoning or zipping and hides…umm…”pregnancy softness?” (read: BACK FAT), like a champ.

Mom Style | Ann-Marie Loves

And as for footwear, I am ALL about the Birks these days. They are quite possibly the ugliest shoes I have ever owned and definitely the biggest size I have ever worn (thanks to my perma-swollen feet), but my goodness, they are so comfortable and require no bending down to put them on. Now that’s a win if ever I’ve heard of one!

baby showers are the best.

Posted on: Monday, June 16, 2014

Baby Shower No. One | Ann-Marie Espinoza

How gorgeous is the Espinoza gene pool?? Holy moly, I chose well! ;)

Bridal showers are fantastic. They are the perfect excuse to wear a tight white dress, indulge in cocktails with your best friends, and squeal over latte bowls, lingerie, and linens that help to get married life off on the right foot.

But then there are baby showers.

I never realized just how truly special these kinds of get-togethers are until I had my first one this past Saturday. Since my sister-in-law and I are both expecting girls this year, our amazing family threw us a beautiful backyard double shower to celebrate the forthcoming members to the Espinoza clan. I love that baby showers are not just about the moms-to-be, but more importantly, they’re about the new lives that will be here before we know it.

As John and I unpacked our car full of baby gifts last night, we couldn’t help but revel in just how lucky our daughter is to have such an incredible group of people who already love her so much. I often look back on our engagement and our wedding and think about how I thought things couldn’t possibly get anymore fulfilling than they were in that moment. Ha! I was so naive. I am here to report that having a baby takes the concept of fulfillment to a whole new level.

So what if my body’s nowhere near as fit as it once was or I can’t enjoy a glass (or three) of wine just yet? Everyday of pregnancy is a welcome reminder that there are much more important things in life to celebrate :)

diy baby wardrobe organizers.

Posted on: Friday, June 13, 2014

DIY Baby Wardrobe Organizers | Ann-Marie Loves

Shopping for baby clothes is CLEARLY something I have no problem doing. The only tricky part is trying to figure out which sizes to buy based on how big I estimate my daughter will be at any given month. Will she be tiny and wear a 0-3 well into the cooler Fall months? Or will she be a jumbo baby (PLEASE GOD NO) who wears a size 3-6 months on her way home from the hospital? We won’t know for sure until she’s actually here, so in the meantime, I’m stocking up on all different sizes to ensure this kid is well-clothed. (Such a sacrifice, I know ;))

As a way to organize the different months within the same closet, I created wardrobe dividers using my Cameo die-cutting machine, white cardstock, and adhesive-backed gold foil paper.

DIY Baby Wardrobe Organizers | Ann-Marie Loves

To begin, I measured the diameter of the clothing rod and designed a double circle in the Cameo software to create the shape of the organizer. Using 8.5 x 11″ cardstock, I was able to cut out two circles per sheet.

DIY Baby Wardrobe Organizers | Ann-Marie Loves

Next, I thickened up the organizers by gluing two sheets of die cut cardstock back-to-back with a basic tape runner. Once I had adhesive on a single die cut, I lined it up with another die cut and secured the two pieces together.

DIY Baby Wardrobe Organizers | Ann-Marie Loves

From there, I cut a slit from the edge of the big circle to the center of the small circle so that I could easily pop the organizer onto the clothing rod.

DIY Baby Wardrobe Organizers | Ann-Marie Loves

DIY Baby Wardrobe Organizers | Ann-Marie Loves

To distinguish between the different sizes, I used my tried-and-true adhesive-backed gold foil paper to create the numbers for both sides of the circles.

DIY Baby Wardrobe Organizers | Ann-Marie Loves DIY Baby Wardrobe Organizers | Ann-Marie Loves

And finally, I popped the circles onto the clothing rod and started organizing! Slowly but surely, everything is coming together :)

diy neon tassel keychain.

Posted on: Thursday, June 12, 2014

DIY Neon Tassel Keychain | Ann-Marie Loves

First of all, can we take a moment to talk about how difficult it is to edit photos with neon colors in them? Ummm…virtually impossible. One of these days I’ll figure out the secret to getting the colors juuuust right, but even if that takes forever, I’ll still continue to sneak neon pink into every single project. I’m in too deep to quit now ;)

DIY Neon Tassel Keychain | Ann-Marie Loves

Since getting a new car last month, I’ve been taking extra precautions to make sure it stays in great shape. I take everything out when I am done for the day. I make sure that no food gets on the seats. I click my heels together to remove excess dirt before getting behind the wheel (okay, I lied about that one). The bottom line: the car is getting the royal treatment.

So, I figured it was only fair that my keys receive the same care and attention! Using two different shades of pink twine, I created a quick and easy neon tassel keychain that not only makes my keys look good, but more importantly, it makes finding them a snap!

DIY Neon Tassel Keychain | Ann-Marie Loves

To create the tassel, I followed these same instructions, but modified them slightly to accommodate a keyring.

DIY Neon Tassel Keychain | Ann-Marie Loves

Once I had the strands tied together, I slipped the keyring in the center of the knot.

DIY Neon Tassel Keychain | Ann-Marie Loves

Next, I took single strand (about twice as long as the original strands) and wrapped it around the grouping several times and then secured it with a double knot. Once everything was secured, I trimmed a little off the bottoms of the strands to make the tassel even.

DIY Neon Tassel Keychain | Ann-Marie Loves

Finally, I added my keys back on to the keyring and called it good! Now my car AND my keys are rolling in style.

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