Entries Tagged as 'adventures'

backyard camping + kohl’s giveaway.

Posted on: Friday, July 22, 2016

Ann-Marie Loves x Kohl's Camping Collaboration

I grew up camping fairly often, both with my family and with Girl Scouts, and I have incredible memories of sitting around campfires, sleeping in tents, and waking up to fresh air. There’s nothing quite like spending time in the great outdoors, yet for some reason I’ve become that person that values warm showers and air conditioning over tasty s’mores and sleeping under the stars. However! I am determined to give camping another go simply because I know Briar will absolutely LOVE it. That girl has never met a pile of dirt that she didn’t love and I owe it to her to give her as many outdoor experiences as possible.

So while I warm up to the idea of spending a few nights in nature, I’ve decided we can tackle the next best thing: backyard camping! In partnership with Kohl’s, we pulled together our camping essentials and “roughed” it in the backyard for a fun-filled adventure.

Ann-Marie Loves x Kohl's Camping Collaboration

First things first: coffee!

Ann-Marie Loves x Kohl's Camping Collaboration

Using the impossibly cool blue enamelware percolator + mugs from Stansport, I was able to enjoy a fresh batch of coffee while Briar enjoyed a cold mug of milk.

Ann-Marie Loves x Kohl's Camping Collaboration

Ann-Marie Loves x Kohl's Camping Collaboration

Things were off to a very good start.

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We put together a little dining area and enjoyed popcorn made with Stanley’s 13-piece prep and cook mess set. Briar was all about the popcorn situation. She loved sneaking in bites and scooping spoonfuls back and forth between the bowls using the big ladle (which she quickly adopted as her own).

Ann-Marie Loves x Kohl's Camping Collaboration

Cheers to dining al fresco!

Ann-Marie Loves x Kohl's Camping Collaboration

Ann-Marie Loves x Kohl's Camping Collaboration

The ciao! baby portable high chair proved to be super helpful when it came to feeding this little gal. The cup holder kept her water bottle close at hand and the easy-to-clean surface was perfect for quick clean-up after polishing off a whole bowl of popcorn!

Ann-Marie Loves x Kohl's Camping Collaboration

Ann-Marie Loves x Kohl's Camping Collaboration

In addition to acting as the perfect makeshift table, the Stanley 30-quart cooler kept our beverages nice and cool during a blazing hot summer day.

Ann-Marie Loves x Kohl's Camping Collaboration

Ann-Marie Loves x Kohl's Camping Collaboration

Okay, how awesome is this tent?! I love the retro feel and was pleasantly surprised with how roomy it was inside! It felt very Moonrise Kingdom. Briar was also a big fan of turning the LED lantern on and off, on and off…

Ann-Marie Loves x Kohl's Camping Collaboration

We quickly made ourselves right at home and read Briar’s favorite stories by the light of the lantern. It was such a relaxing evening and I loved having that cuddle time with my girl outside while a cool breeze blew through our tent.

Ann-Marie Loves x Kohl's Camping Collaboration

Our first camping experience was a success! I’m feeling a little more confident now about taking our adventures on the road to a more remote destination. Three cheers for the great outdoors!

 

Now it’s your turn to stock up on camping goods! Click HERE be entered to win a $50 Kohl’s gift card! NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Ends 8/1/16 at 11:59:59 p.m. PT. Open to legal residents of the US/DC who are 18+ yrs of age. For full details see Official Rules. Good luck! Winners will be contacted on or about August 8th.

Thank you to Kohl’s for collaboration on this post. I was compensated and received products from Kohl’s Camping department for my review, but all opinions and experiences are solely my own.

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santa barbara museum of natural history.

Posted on: Monday, July 18, 2016

Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History | Ann-Marie Loves

This past weekend was one for the books! On Friday, my mom and Briar and I took our third trip to Disneyland for the week (had to maximize my annual pass until it expired!). Then on Saturday we went to the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History (more about that below!). And finally, on Sunday my mom and I saw the final showing of Beautiful at the Pantages Theater in Hollywood. Whew!

Now onto the museum. First of all, I have no idea what it is, but the lighting in Santa Barbara is always incredible. Every time we’re there, I can’t help but stage a photo shoot. My mom and brother came with, so it was extra nice to pass the camera to them and sneak in a few family photos. Here are some of my favorite captures from the day:

Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History | Ann-Marie Loves

Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History | Ann-Marie Loves

Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History | Ann-Marie Loves

Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History | Ann-Marie Loves

Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History | Ann-Marie Loves

Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History | Ann-Marie Loves

Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History | Ann-Marie Loves

I was more than happy to let John chase the toddler around while I took photos ;)

Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History | Ann-Marie Loves

Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History | Ann-Marie Loves

Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History | Ann-Marie Loves

Not too shabby for a 29 week bump photo backdrop, eh?

Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History | Ann-Marie Loves

Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History | Ann-Marie Loves

Briar was not so sure about the real-life dioramas – haha!

Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History | Ann-Marie Loves

Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History | Ann-Marie Loves

Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History | Ann-Marie Loves

Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History | Ann-Marie Loves

The highlight of Briar’s day was definitely exploring the “Museum Backyard” where she was able to play with dirt, rocks, and water to her heart’s content. I loved watching her get down and dirty in her dress and I really enjoyed this sentiment that was tied to a tree:

The Backyard is a space for children to learn. Expect trial and error. Give your child a chance to meet challenges and assess risk. This is how kids develop self confidence. Let them figure things out for themselves. Problem solving is good for kids. It’s another way to develop self-confidence. Your choice of words can make a big difference. Instead of “be careful” which expresses your fears, tell your kids to “be smart” or “be aware.” Cuts, bumps, and bruises are a normal part of childhood. If your child has an accident, don’t panic. Children read you! When the child is calm, ask “what did you learn?” They will tell you. Expect children to learn from their mistakes. Don’t pass your fears on to your kids. Nature is amazing and kids are naturally curious. Allow them the experience without your judgment. Relax and let your kids decide what they want to do. Kids that experience non-structured play in natural settings are smarter, happier, and healthier.

YES. YES. YES.

summer in the pool.

Posted on: Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Summer in the Pool | Ann-Marie Loves

With summer in full-swing here in Southern California, we are spending our days underwater. If you’re a long-time reader, then you already know that summer is, well…not exactly my favorite season. It’s especially tricky to get through those endless heatwaves while pregnant and constantly sweating. Speaking of sweating, I have a theory (and please chime in and let me know your thoughts!): people that DON’T sweat tend to love summer while people that DO sweat tend to despise the summer. I mean, it makes sense right?

Summer in the Pool | Ann-Marie Loves

Summer in the Pool | Ann-Marie Loves

But I digress!

Summer in the Pool | Ann-Marie Loves

Summer in the Pool | Ann-Marie Loves

All of this is to say, Briar and I are living in the pool. We wake up, have breakfast, and then immediately throw on our swimsuits and sunscreen and head outside for a dip. I am not usually a huge fan of hanging out in the pool all day (I always feel like I could be doing something more productive), but Briar’s infectious love of swimming and my need to cool down + let my pregnant body feel weightless for a bit is really turning me into a regular pool-goer! We did mommy + me swim lessons in May and while I wouldn’t say she is a proficient swimmer just yet, her skills continue to grow and impress me everyday! It’s so awesome to watch these tiny little people morph into capable humans.

Summer in the Pool | Ann-Marie Loves

Summer in the Pool | Ann-Marie Loves

Plus, the very best part of all is that the time spent in the sun + the water almost always leads to Briar taking a looooong nap in the afternoon (sometimes she will sleep as long as 3.5 hours…!). And that, my friends, is the REAL gift that keeps on giving.

Briar’s Swimsuit // Briar’s Sunglasses // My Sunglasses

nana + briar bake chocolate chip cookies.

Posted on: Wednesday, July 6, 2016

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We’ve been staying with my parents while we figure out our next move and while it’s not always ideal, there are definitely some perks. Case in point: Nana’s famous chocolate chip cookies! Last week while I was at work, my mom sent me photos of Briar helping her bake cookies (while wearing her new apron, of course). First of all, I couldn’t get over how cute Briar looked, but secondly, it totally opened my eyes to all the new things we can do together now that she is almost two years old! (I need to remember to include her in more activities!) So yesterday, Briar got back in the kitchen to help Nana with another batch of chocolate chip cookies and this time I was there to capture the process:

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I was so impressed with how serious and focused she was! I am not a huge fan of baking (I am a huge fan of eating baked goods, however), so here’s hoping she takes after my mom and carries on the chocolate chip cookie legacy!

travel town.

Posted on: Monday, July 4, 2016

Travel Town | Ann-Marie Loves

After talking about taking a trip to Travel Town for months, John and I finally took Briar yesterday and had so much fun! It’s a free open air museum situated in Griffith Park with lots of old trains and plenty of land to explore. Briar was beyond thrilled to be out of the stroller and able to run herself silly and I was more than happy to capture every moment with my camera!

Like I mentioned before, John and I are trying to squeeze in as many adventures with Briar as our only babe before the next one arrives in a few short months. She has thankfully turned out to be an amazing little travel companion (knock on wood that the second one is just as laidback!) who is at the perfect age for really appreciating new experiences. Of course we will continue to go on fun day trips when the little guy makes his appearance (mama bear needs to get out of the house!) but we know it will never be the same as it is right now.

We had the best time at Travel Town and can’t wait to go back when the weather cools down a bit! Here are some of my favorite photos from the trip:

Travel Town | Ann-Marie Loves

Travel Town | Ann-Marie Loves

Travel Town | Ann-Marie Loves

Travel Town | Ann-Marie Loves

Travel Town | Ann-Marie Loves

Travel Town | Ann-Marie Loves

Travel Town | Ann-Marie Loves

Travel Town | Ann-Marie Loves

Travel Town | Ann-Marie Loves

Travel Town | Ann-Marie Loves

Travel Town | Ann-Marie Loves

Travel Town | Ann-Marie Loves

Travel Town | Ann-Marie Loves

Travel Town | Ann-Marie Loves

Travel Town | Ann-Marie Loves

Travel Town | Ann-Marie Loves

Travel Town | Ann-Marie Loves

Travel Town | Ann-Marie Loves

Travel Town | Ann-Marie Loves

Travel Town | Ann-Marie Loves

Travel Town | Ann-Marie Loves

Travel Town | Ann-Marie Loves

weekend trip to san luis obispo.

Posted on: Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Weekend Getaway to San Luis Obispo | Ann-Marie Loves

There’s nothing quite like a physical change of scenery to boost my mood and give me a fresh perspective. This past weekend, John and I spent a night up in San Luis Obispo and we had the best time. We’re both big fans of the central coast and SLO is the perfect mix of relaxing and stimulating.

Weekend Getaway to San Luis Obispo | Ann-Marie Loves

On the way up the coast, we stopped off in Santa Barbara for a quick coffee break at The French Press. I love having a running list of coffee shops to visit everywhere I travel! (What’s your favorite coffee shop? I want to add it to my list!)

Weekend Getaway to San Luis Obispo | Ann-Marie Loves

Weekend Getaway to San Luis Obispo | Ann-Marie Loves

Scout Coffee is a must if you’re anywhere near San Luis Obispo. It’s nestled in the perfect spot downtown and has the cutest decor and some of the best lattes I’ve tasted! I kind of want to move in.

Weekend Getaway to San Luis Obispo | Ann-Marie Loves

Weekend Getaway to San Luis Obispo | Ann-Marie Loves

Weekend Getaway to San Luis Obispo | Ann-Marie Loves

Apple cider at the Apple Farm…it tasted just as good as it smelled! It was a pretty chilly weekend up in SLO so a warm drink hit the spot.

Weekend Getaway to San Luis Obispo | Ann-Marie Loves

John and I have been on a major pot pie kick lately so it was a no-brainer that I would order one at the Apple Farm. Oh man, it was good. 

Weekend Getaway to San Luis Obispo | Ann-Marie Loves

Weekend Getaway to San Luis Obispo | Ann-Marie Loves

Weekend Getaway to San Luis Obispo | Ann-Marie Loves

Coffee, coffee, coffee.

Weekend Getaway to San Luis Obispo | Ann-Marie Loves

So happy to travel through life with this guy. We were reminiscing about different memories throughout our relationship and we came to the (startling!) realization that this year will mark twelve years together. TWELVE! I have no idea where the time has gone but it’s been an amazing adventure.

Weekend Getaway to San Luis Obispo | Ann-Marie Loves

Weekend Getaway to San Luis Obispo | Ann-Marie Loves

Spring in SLO is gorgeous. Everything is in bloom and it’s not too hot yet and it makes me want to move up there ASAP! We saw a young family of four going for a bike ride around town (mom was towing the baby and the dad was sharing a cool tandem bike with the little girl) and I couldn’t take my eyes off of them. I suddenly had serious aspirations to BE them one day soon! Now I just have to convince John to move with me to a cute small town where we can live out my bike riding dreams…

Weekend Getaway to San Luis Obispo | Ann-Marie Loves

We stumbled upon Avila Valley Barn while driving around and it was such a good find! I stocked up on fresh peaches, John picked up a chipotle ketchup, and we ordered an olallieberry-flavored lemonade to share (so good!). I always feel like spontaneous detours make for the best memories.

Weekend Getaway to San Luis Obispo | Ann-Marie Loves

slo-Weekend Getaway to San Luis Obispo | Ann-Marie Loves

Feeling large and in charge these days. This striped maternity dress from Target is getting lots of mileage! And of course, I can’t seem to take off my denim jacket either. Basically, I wear some version of this outfit every single day.

Weekend Getaway to San Luis Obispo | Ann-Marie Loves

Weekend Getaway to San Luis Obispo | Ann-Marie Loves

One night away from Briar is the perfect amount of time to reconnect with my husband and make us miss that little bub! Thank goodness for willing babysitters (aka Nana + Papa) who take such good care of Briar so we can enjoy our trip worry-free :)

thank you!

Posted on: Friday, April 1, 2016

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Happy Friday! Thank you so much for your sweet comments on my last post…I loved reading each and every one of them. I’m now in the second trimester and feeling pretty darn good. My energy is returning, my creativity is making a comeback, and exciting things are on the horizon. Today Briar and I are headed to Disneyland and are looking forward to a fun day at our favorite place! Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

baby number two!

Posted on: Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Baby Number Two! | Ann-Marie Loves

Yep! It’s true! Baby Number Two is due in October (our favorite month!) and we are so thrilled to be adding to our family.

Baby Number Two! | Ann-Marie Loves

The funny thing about this time around was that I was instantly the excited one (overjoyed, really!) and John was a little more anxious about the prospect of another baby. With Briar, I was terrified and he was thrilled, so it’s been an interesting role reversal. However, I think I’m most excited to see Briar as a big sister. She’s obsessed with babies (even “babies” that are her age or older!) and she instinctively knows how to be gentle and quiet around them. Let’s hope she’s still as obsessed when her new sibling arrives!

Baby Number Two! | Ann-Marie Loves

I’m also excited about reliving the newborn / infant phase and (hopefully) appreciating it much more than I did with Briar. With the first baby, there are so many unknowns…is she eating enough? Am I giving her enough attention? Is she taking enough naps? Will she ever sleep through the night? John and I are fairly relaxed parents, but we definitely spent a lot of Briar’s first year wondering if we were doing it right.

Baby Number Two! | Ann-Marie Loves

I’m not afraid of labor and delivery at all this go around. With Briar, I was very nervous about what lied ahead of me, but despite a few hours of intense pain, the bulk of my seventeen hour induced labor was a piece of cake…in fact I slept through most of it! I am dreading the recovery a little bit but this time I have the foresight to know that the human body heals fast! With Briar, I felt like myself again within a week of giving birth. The key is to trust that your body knows what it’s supposed to do and to get out of its way long enough to let nature take its course. (Easier said than done, obvs!)

Baby Number Two! | Ann-Marie Loves

This time around, we only told our parents and a handful of my closest friends before announcing it to the public. I feel like those early weeks are fragile and not to be taken lightly, so I kept my cards close to my chest as long as possible. Of course, this was not easy since I developed a sizable bump at only 9 weeks! I knew that second pregnancies tend to show faster than the first but I had nooooo idea just how fast. All I can say is thank goodness for the oversized sweater trend…may it last well into those first few (I mean several!) postpartum months!

Baby Number Two! | Ann-Marie Loves

Baby Number Two! | Ann-Marie Loves

The other thing about the second pregnancy is I’m not as fixated on what my body is doing at every single moment; instead I’m too busy chasing around a toddler and wondering if I can lay down next to her during naptime! The exhaustion is real but it’s certainly a worthwhile exhaustion.

Baby Number Two! | Ann-Marie Loves

John’s excited about the baby but he says he’s also really looking forward to spending extra one-on-one time with Briar once her sibling arrives. Those two have such an amazing bond; I feel very lucky to share parenting duties with someone so hands-on and loving. When we were in the hospital with Briar and I managed to get a little sleep here and there, I would wake up to the sweetest sight of John snuggling her through the night. She barely laid in her little bassinet…John wanted to hold her the whole time! It’s been nineteen months since that hospital stay and he still holds her every chance he gets.

Baby Number Two! | Ann-Marie Loves

We’ve seen the baby via ultrasound three times now and it never fails to blow my mind that another human being is living in my body! Even though this my second baby and I’ve already been down this road, it really is just as exciting (if not more so!) than the first time around.

Here we go!

My outfit: dress // hat (similar) // sandals | Briar’s outfit: dress // denim jacket

honeymoon feature in the knot.

Posted on: Thursday, February 4, 2016

Pacific Northwest Honeymoon in The Knot | Ann-Marie Loves

Sometimes I feel a little self-conscious about how much I love color. The trend in recent years has been to be as monochromatic as possible. All the cool kids have super minimalist, black and white Instagram and Pinterest feeds, while I’m over here like GIVE ME ALL THE COLOR! I think this is part of why I’m still so surprised by how much people resonated with my wedding. There were many times during the planning process when I would pore over wedding blogs and think, “am I doing this right?” Is this going be a total disaster or a total success?” Luckily the latter turned out to be true, but trusting my own design and color inclinations above the noise of what was trendy or popular during the process was a big hurdle that I had to get over.

Pacific Northwest Honeymoon in The Knot | Ann-Marie Loves

The same anxiety crossed over into the honeymoon planning phase. It seemed like everyone went on a European adventure or lounged on a remote beach in a tropical location. As amazing as those trips sounded, they just weren’t jiving with the visions that John and I had for our own honeymoon. We spent months mulling over what we should do and we finally came to a conclusion when we got clear about what kind of experience was most in line with our values. Given the fact that we got married in the fall, we wanted an authentic autumn experience where we could wear cold weather clothes, drink really good coffee, see colorful leaves, and explore new-to-us towns together. We also didn’t want to spend a fortune or lose too many days in transit to and from our destination. So the Pacific Northwest it was! And hands down, it was the best week of our lives.

Pacific Northwest Honeymoon in The Knot | Ann-Marie Loves

I just want people to know that weddings and honeymoons don’t have to be a serious, over-the-top production. You don’t have to spend your life savings on a single day of your life (actually, I highly recommend that you DO NOT). You don’t have to follow traditions or do what everyone else is doing. If I can only offer one piece of advice, it’s this: do what feels right to you and your significant other. Everyone (and I mean EVERYONE) is going to have an opinion about what you should do and where you should go, but honestly, it’s your wedding and your honeymoon. Do what you want!

P.S. Our honeymoon was featured in the Spring issue of The Knot! You can read more about each of our honeymoon destinations here!

it never rains in california.

Posted on: Thursday, January 14, 2016

Briar in the Rain | Ann-Marie Loves

Last week we were lucky enough to enjoy a handful of storms that brought some much-needed water to our dry state of California. Given the fact that we rarely see rain in LA, I knew I had to seize the moment and let Briar experience a little weather in her life! So after breakfast, I put her coat and her shoes on over her PJs (no time to waste!) and we headed out back to find some puddles. And find puddles she did! Girl ran straight into the heart of the downpour, giggling and tilting her head back to catch rain drops in her mouth (I swear I didn’t teach her this!). Then she found some lemons and watched as the rain quickly washed the dirt off of them.

Briar in the Rain | Ann-Marie Loves
Briar in the Rain | Ann-Marie Loves
Briar in the Rain | Ann-Marie Loves

I’m so proud of her curious, adventure-loving nature. Her fearlessness may make me nervous from time to time, but it really is such a treat to watch her explore her world with such abandon. I wish I was as bold as Briar!
Briar in the Rain | Ann-Marie Loves
Briar in the Rain | Ann-Marie Loves
Briar in the Rain | Ann-Marie Loves
Briar in the Rain | Ann-Marie Loves

We played outside for about ten minutes before I brought her in and gave her a nice warm bath. I’ve always thought that rainy days were special, but now that I have a water-loving daughter, they’re downright magical. Bring it on, El Niño!

P.S. We ordered rain boots for the next downpour, should we ever see rain again ;)

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