Entries Tagged as 'celebrate'

diy leafy photo backdrop.

Posted on: Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Leafy Photo Backdrop | Ann-Marie Loves

This past weekend I got to work on a photo backdrop for my sister-in-law’s surprise birthday party and it was so much fun to put together. With no real theme to work off of, I decided to go with something that would be colorful in photos but not be too difficult to execute. So after a run to Joann’s for colored paper, I started on the leaves!

DIY Leafy Photo Backdrop | Ann-Marie Loves

To get these shapes, I did a quick Google search of various leaves and saved a few of my favorites to my desktop so I could cut them out with my Cameo using this insanely awesome trick. It’s a little tedious to work in the Silhouette software but totally worth it when you can take an image from the interwebs and turn them into a tangible object! To save on time, I ended up only cutting about a third of the total leaves with the Cameo and then hand-cutting the rest with a sharp pair of scissors. Once all the leaves were cut out, I taped two huge sheets of kraft butcher paper together and started arranging the shapes and then gluing them down.

DIY Leafy Photo Backdrop | Ann-Marie Loves

I was very happy with the way it turned out! (Briar was thrilled about it too, as you can tell.) I haven’t worked on a project of this scale in quite some time, so it was a great creative challenge!

P.S. Happy happy birthday, Jen!

diy baby pilgrim hats.

Posted on: Wednesday, December 2, 2015

DIY Pilgrim Hats | Thanksgiving | Ann-Marie Loves

A good friend (and mama of three!) once told me that when it came to deciding on how many kids to have, you should imagine how you want your Thanksgivings to look when your children are grown. Do you want a full + lively table or a small + quiet dinner? I think about this all the time as I handle the daily minutia of raising an energetic little one. As difficult as bringing up kids can be, I love the idea of a Parenthood-style family seated around my table during the holidays. I mean, is it too late for the Bravermans to adopt me?

DIY Pilgrim Hats | Thanksgiving | Ann-Marie Loves

Even though I only have one baby at the moment, I still want to make each Thanksgiving as special as possible. This year, I decided to make super simple baby pilgrim hats for Briar and her cousin Luna. I saw the DIY tutorial on Say Yes a few days before the holiday and knew it was exactly what I had the time and the creative energy for. The night before Thanksgiving I ran to the craft store to pick up a few sheets of cream-colored felt, hot glue, and a spool of hot pink ribbon. When I got home, I took a rough measurement of Briar’s head (meaning I didn’t measure at all) and then used the tutorial to quickly whip up two pilgrim hats just in time for the big day! It took a little convincing to keep the hats on the babes’ heads, but it sure made for a fun photo shoot!

Now I just need a couple more baby pilgrims in my life and my future Thanksgivings will be set.

birthday weekend in santa barbara.

Posted on: Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Birthday Weekend In Santa Barbara | Ann-Marie Loves

For my birthday, I only wanted one thing: a trip away with my husband sans baby. As much as I love Briar, I hadn’t spent a night apart from her since she was born so the thought of being baby-free was, well, all too appealing. And guess what? It was wonderful! Actually, it was one of the best birthdays I’ve ever had. Just me, my husband, and one of the prettiest cities in  the world. Briar spent the weekend with my parents and while John and I missed her terribly, it was exactly what we needed to reconnect as a couple.

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Some of the highlights include: coffee at The French Press, hot chocolate at Handlebar Coffee Roasters, seafood enchiladas and margaritas at Cava, shopping on State Street, brunch at Scarlett Begonia, and sunsets over the Pacific. If this weekend was any indication of what 29 will be like, then I am READY.

29.

Posted on: Tuesday, November 17, 2015

29 | Ann-Marie Loves

This past Sunday I turned twenty nine. TWENTY NINE. The final year of my twenties. In all honesty, I feel amazing…spectacular, even! Twenty eight was not my best year by a loooooong shot and I am more than happy to put it in the past and begin anew. But that’s not to say twenty eight was a complete bust; there were many beautiful moments, both big and small.

Here are 29 of my favorite moments from 28:

1. Briar sleeping through the night!
2. Enjoying the pumpkin patch at Underwood Farms.
3. Working twice a week with Amy.
4. Many Disneyland adventures.
5. Honey bee lattes on the regular.
6. Discovering so many amazing podcasts! My favorites from the past year are The Girl Next Door, Totally Mommy, and Call Your Girlfriend.
7. Friday night dates with my husband.
8. Having family nearby again.
9. Deciding to pursue what I’ve been wanting to do all along…photography!
10. Learning how to forgive myself. (Still working on that one.)
11. Being a part of my dear friend’s gorgeous wedding at Hummingbird Nest Ranch.
12. Taking all the Zumba classes again! I’m just as in love with it now as I was three years ago.
13. Feeling my heart burst as I watch Briar reach so many milestones with aplomb. She’s such an amazing little girl, I can’t believe she’s mine!
14. Reading this book.
15. Taking a weekend trip to San Diego.
16. Spending New Years in Cambria with family (Briar’s first vacation!).
17. Going for lots of walks with Briar in her stroller and headphones in my ears.
18. Seeing myself and my beautiful bridesmaids on Buzzfeed (#23)!
19. Leggings, poncho, and booties. Oh, and a top knot always. #momstyle
20. LOL’ing over John dressed up as me for Halloween. I haven’t laughed so hard in a long time!
21. My baby turned one!
22. Social media. I’m just as obsessed as ever!
23. Working on Briar’s scrapbook.
24. Feeling so motivated to move and hit 10k steps daily thanks to my Fitbit!
25. Celebrating Briar’s first holiday season (oh em gee, I’m even more pumped for this year!).
26. Loving Parenthood right up to the very end! Favorite show ever.
27. My ten year high school reunion! It was so good to see old friends after all this time!
28. Dancing like a maniac at such a beautiful Espinoza family wedding.
29. Spending my last night as a twenty eight year old in Santa Barbara with my favorite guy. It was exactly what I needed to close one chapter and start another…

halloween 2015.

Posted on: Monday, November 2, 2015

Halloween 2015 | Baby Robot Costume | Ann-Marie Loves

Truth be told, I’ve never been much for Halloween (truth also be told, I am very much for Kit Kats). But now that I have a little one to dress up and celebrate this holiday with, it’s such a fun experience! John has always been a big fan of Halloween, so I relinquish all traditions + costuming responsibilities to him. This year, he decided that Briar would be a robot! Admittedly I was a little perplexed as to how this was going to work since I tend to think of robots as an older kid costume, but John totally nailed it (as usual). He took a long sleeve gray top and leggings from Target and transformed them into robot attire with pompoms, puffy paints, duct tape, twine, enamel dots, buttons, and a little help from my Cameo.

Halloween 2015 | Baby Robot Costume | Ann-Marie Loves
Halloween 2015 | Baby Robot Costume | Ann-Marie Loves
Halloween 2015 | Baby Robot Costume | Ann-Marie LovesSo cute, right? UGH, this girl kills me! The back of her shirt says “Briar Bot” and was cut out of a sheet of duct tape using my trusty old Cameo (forever getting my money’s worth out of that machine!). Since Briar simply refused to nap all day long, she was pretty tired by the time it got dark, so we only went trick or treating to both sets of grandparents’ respective houses. It was just enough for her to fill her pumpkin with treats and get lots of love and attention from her favorite people.

Halloween 2015 | Baby Robot Costume | Ann-Marie Loves

As for me and John, we decided to be each other! Oh em gee, I laughed so hard over some of my mannerisms and sayings that John picked up on and happily acted out for me while in his “Ann-Marie” costume (“So I was listening to this podcast…”). Plus, seeing him in a blonde wig and a poncho cracked me up! To get into my “John” costume, I just painted on some facial hair using black eyeliner and dark brown eyeshadow, tucked my hair under his hat, put on his clothes, and acted super annoyed anytime someone suggested that we take a photo (ha!). All in all, it was the perfect Halloween. Hope yours was wonderful, too!

pumpkin patch at underwood farms.

Posted on: Monday, October 19, 2015

Pumpkin Patch at Underwood Farms | Ann-Marie Espinoza Photography

This past weekend we ventured out to Moorpark and visited the amazing pumpkin patch at Underwood Farms. I had a feeling that Briar would enjoy it a lot more this year at the age of fourteen months than she did last year at two months (obvious statement?), but I had no idea how much more I would enjoy it, too! Since the farm is humongous, there were plenty of things to do and it was a blast seeing it all through Briar’s eyes! She and her cousin Luna were especially fond of grabbing fistfuls of hay, which they passed back and forth to each other (ha!). My favorite part was definitely the tractor ride around the farm at dusk. Not only was the sunset lighting PERFECT, but the sweater-worthy weather and the cool breeze made it feel like our first real taste of fall this season…exactly how I like my pumpkin patch experiences.

Pumpkin Patch at Underwood Farms | Ann-Marie Espinoza Photography
Pumpkin Patch at Underwood Farms | Ann-Marie Espinoza Photography

Her little baby chambray shoes paired with those chubby legs. I can’t even.

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Pumpkin Patch at Underwood Farms | Ann-Marie Espinoza Photography
Pumpkin Patch at Underwood Farms | Ann-Marie Espinoza Photography
Pumpkin Patch at Underwood Farms | Ann-Marie Espinoza Photography
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Pumpkin Patch at Underwood Farms | Ann-Marie Espinoza Photography
Pumpkin Patch at Underwood Farms | Ann-Marie Espinoza Photography
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Pumpkin Patch at Underwood Farms | Ann-Marie Espinoza Photography
Pumpkin Patch at Underwood Farms | Ann-Marie Espinoza Photography
Pumpkin Patch at Underwood Farms | Ann-Marie Espinoza Photography
Pumpkin Patch at Underwood Farms | Ann-Marie Espinoza Photography
Pumpkin Patch at Underwood Farms | Ann-Marie Espinoza Photography
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Pumpkin Patch at Underwood Farms | Ann-Marie Espinoza Photography
Pumpkin Patch at Underwood Farms | Ann-Marie Espinoza Photography
Pumpkin Patch at Underwood Farms | Ann-Marie Espinoza Photography

Here’s a little pumpkin patch #tbt for you: Briar and Luna at fourteen and thirteen months, respectively (above), and Briar and Luna at two months and one month, respectively (below). HOLY MOLY, TIME IS FLYING.

Pumpkin Patch at Underwood Farms | Ann-Marie Espinoza Photography

P.S. Our visit to Underwood this past summer!

autumn bucket list printable.

Posted on: Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Ann-Marie Loves | Free Autumn Bucket List Printable

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD

Even though Southern California is still weeks away from really getting into the fall weather spirit (insert all the crying face emojis here), it’s never too early to start planning out all the fun things that autumn has in store for us! I mean, give me pumpkin-flavored everything and I’ll happily turn on the A/C and pretend all is right in the world ;)

Today I’m excited to be sharing an Autumn Bucket List printable, in partnership with Dunkin’ Donuts. I love to daydream about all the goodness that my favorite season has to offer, including creating Briar’s Halloween costume (so fun!), making an excellent autumn-inspired playlist, and finding that elusive perfect fall candle (any suggestions?). I’m also determined to make this the year that I really master the art of (mostly) healthy comfort food cooking + baking. What’s on your bucket list?

briar’s first birthday party invitations.

Posted on: Thursday, August 20, 2015

Briar's First Birthday Party Invitation | Ann-Marie Loves

With an active toddler, a busy workload, and a million other things I need to get done these days, I decided to save my sanity and send out Briar’s first birthday party invitations via e-mail. As much as I love paper and sending out physical happy mail, I knew it was way more important to spread the word about the party ASAP than to worry about packaging / addressing / stamping, etc. Plus, I figured if anyone (i.e. grandparents) really wanted a hard copy of the invite, they could easily print it out themselves. If there’s anything I’ve learned over the past year, it’s to avoid needlessly overcomplicating simple tasks whenever possible!

Briar's First Birthday Party Invitation | Ann-Marie Loves

However, just because I sent out the invites via e-mail, it doesn’t mean I scrimped on design. If you remember back a few weeks ago, I happily spent an afternoon hand lettering Briar’s name and then scanning it in and formatting it in Photoshop. I also was super picky about the photo I wanted to use, so it took many a photoshoot (and many bribes with treats!) until I was able to capture Briar just the way I  had envisioned. Once I had my photo, my handlettering, and my text in place, it wasn’t hard to pair them all together to create the finished product.

http://annmarieloves.com/2015/07/13/briars-first-birthday-invitation-progress/

If you’re planning on sending out an invite via e-mail, here are a few tips for making sure you get your message across successfully:

Make sure your file is sized appropriately. I have made the mistake of sending out GIANT files before and as a result, many people were not able to open the file. This time around, I made sure that my file was small enough to easily open and read.

Include your message in the body of the e-mail. Just in case your recipients can’t (or choose not to) open your attached image / PDF, include all the information from the invite in the body of the e-mail. Also, be sure to create a catchy, informative subject line so that people open your message promptly.

BCC. If you plan on sending your invite to multiple recipients, use the bcc function of your e-mail to quickly reach everyone without having to worry about the dreaded “Reply All.”

Include links (if necessary). The benefit to mailing out an invitation via e-mail vs. snail mail is that you can include appropriate links (i.e. registries or wish lists) in the message. While I wouldn’t recommend sending out wedding invitations or maybe even shower invitations through e-mail, I think it’s a great option for birthdays or informal gatherings.

 

briar’s first birthday!

Posted on: Monday, August 10, 2015

Briar's First Birthday | Ann-Marie Loves

On Saturday, we celebrated Briar’s first birthday in my parents’ backyard. I have to say, as excited as I was to throw Briar a party, I was dreading the fact that my little baby was officially making the jump from infant to toddler. I may or may not have cried my eyes out the night before as I was putting her to bed, but by Saturday morning, I felt like a new person with a renewed excitement for all the good things still to come. Briar's First Birthday | Ann-Marie Loves

Briar's First Birthday | Ann-Marie Loves

We had a loose “summer fun” theme for the party, so I made wooden cacti, a paper watermelon banner, colorful tissue paper tassels, and a few other handmade details. I also busted out the cotton canvas teepee, my favorite colorful rug (a Rose Bowl find!), a thrifted rattan horse rocker, and various inflatable toys.

Briar's First Birthday | Ann-Marie Loves
Briar's First Birthday | Ann-Marie Loves

Briar has never met a baked good that she didn’t like, so to have a whole cupcake to herself? Best day ever. She dove right in and didn’t stop until she was completely covered in frosting.

Briar's First Birthday | Ann-Marie Loves
Briar's First Birthday | Ann-Marie Loves
Briar's First Birthday | Ann-Marie Loves

My favorite part of the party decor was definitely the wall of Briar photos from her first year of life. I had such a great time going through thousands of photos on my computer, having my favorites printed, and then taping them up on the wall. Being able to see a whole entire year’s worth of memories in one place is pretty incredible. I definitely want to do this every year!

Briar's First Birthday | Ann-Marie Loves

Briar's First Birthday | Ann-Marie Loves
Briar's First Birthday | Ann-Marie Loves

Briar's First Birthday | Ann-Marie Loves

However, the real hit of the party was most certainly the water table! Every time I looked over, there were babies screaming and splashing and living it up over at that table. (I seriously think it’s one of our best investments in baby gear thus far!)

Briar's First Birthday | Ann-Marie Loves

Briar skipped her nap, ate a whole chocolate cupcake, and got to celebrate her birthday with her favorite people…it was a good day, indeed! But I think the best part of all was that she slept through the night (the whole night!) following the party! I don’t want to jinx anything, but I sure hope this habit sticks!

It’s hard to believe that a whole year has come and gone, but I’m so grateful that we made it this far. John and I can’t remember life before we had our sweet girl!

the first year of motherhood.

Posted on: Friday, August 7, 2015

The First Year of Motherhood | Ann-Marie Loves

Tomorrow my baby will be ONE.

I know everyone says the first year flies by in the blink of an eye, but I really had no clue just how right they were until I lived it myself. I still distinctly remember the way it felt to be pregnant with her. I remember the nervous / excited energy I felt as I was admitted to the hospital on that Thursday afternoon. I remember seeing her face for the first time and trying to comprehend that she was mine. I remember bringing her home and feeling the reality of motherhood quickly sink in. It’s been a really good year. The hardest year of my life, hands down, but also a really good year.

Here are the biggest lessons I’ve learned as a first-time mom over the past 365 days:

Trust that you will rise to the occasion. The logistics of giving birth (ouch), and learning to breastfeed (ouch again), and not sleeping through the night for an entire year (super ouch) are majorly daunting. There were many times that I could hardly wrap my brain around the tasks at hand, but somehow, some way, I rose to the occasion and continued to do so day after day, night after night. Trust that your body and your instincts will not steer you in the wrong direction.

It’s harder and easier than you could ever imagine. I swear that I am constantly reflecting on this simple statement. I honestly thought that working from home while watching a small baby would be fairly simple (“I’ll just work when the baby sleeps!”), but it turned out to be way trickier than I could have predicted. Briar has never been a consistent sleeper for naps or at night, so finding a good balance between work and motherhood has been my biggest challenge thus far. On the other hand, I thought that it would be a huge production every time I had to leave the house with the baby in tow, but it’s actually pretty easy! She’s a great little traveler and I enjoy having her as my sidekick wherever we go. Needless to say, motherhood is full of surprises at every turn!

Get outside every single day. In those first few weeks (and months!), it’s all too easy to get bogged down in the nonstop care of a newborn and lose track of the outside world. I found that getting fresh air at least once a day, whether it was for a long walk (my favorite) or just a quick stroll to grab coffee, was not only a necessity for my mental health, but it did — and continues to do — wonders for Briar, too. Those walls start to close in on you pretty fast if you stay cooped up inside for too long.

The baby fever doesn’t go away. From the day we brought Briar home the hospital, I’ve had crazy baby fever for more babies! I think the whole experience of growing a baby, having a baby, and then watching that child grow into a little person is so intoxicating that I can’t help but want to do it over and over again! (The sleepless nights, however…not so much.)

Take the classes. John and I took a few different classes offered by our hospital prior to Briar’s arrival and we both loved them. It’s not so much that you’ll remember everything or that you’ll be an inadequate parent if you skip out, but it was nice for us to immerse ourselves in baby culture with other soon-to-be-parents. Plus, on our breaks we ate at the amazing (and amazingly cheap!) cafeteria. Win win ;)

Do what works for YOU. There’s so much societal pressure to be a “perfect” mom and to do everything “right,” but really, what does that even mean?! Since we are all approaching life from a different perspective, it’s impossible for us to follow the same path as individuals, much less as mothers. Follow your own trail and figure out what works best for you and your baby. No comparisons necessary.

Ask for help. Don’t be a hero. Ask for help OFTEN. You need that break, not only so you can recharge your own batteries but so you can be more present and engaged with your baby as well.

It just gets better and better (seriously!). For the past couple of weeks, I’ve had momentary pangs of sadness over the fact that Briar is almost a toddler and no longer my tiny little newborn. But for the most part, I LOVE each new phase even more than the last. When she laughed for the first time, I thought it would never get any better. And then she started crawling! And saying words! And now walking! Watching her morph into a real human with distinct opinions and a strong personality has been a total JOY. I can’t wait to see what’s next!

I am so happy / proud / overwhelmed with love for my Briar Bear. Happy birthday, baby girl!

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