Entries Tagged as 'celebrate'

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!

briar’s first birthday | invitation progress.

Posted on: Monday, July 13, 2015

Hand-lettered Birthday Invitations | Ann-Marie Loves

This past weekend was a big one. There was a sprained ankle (Mine! Zumba! Gah!), first steps for Briar (I’M SO PROUD I COULD EXPLODE), and lots of fun working on my almost-one year old’s birthday party invitations! It’s hard to believe that in just a few short weeks, Briar will have made a full trip around the sun. I could swear we just brought her home from the hospital?

Hand-lettered Birthday Invitations | Ann-Marie Loves

But instead of wallowing in the fact that my baby is getting older, I am focusing on all the fun things ahead. Namely, birthday crafting! For the invitations, I’m jumping on the hand-lettering bandwagon and pairing my handwriting with a little watercoloring. (There will also be a photo involved, if only I could just get her to stay in one place for five seconds…)

Hand-lettered Birthday Invitations | Ann-Marie Loves

I’m pretty sure I could write out her name all day, everyday. I used to FILL notebooks with lettering just because I loved playing with my handwriting and trying out different words in different ways (anyone else?). The thing about hand-lettering is that I need a marker with a wide tip to achieve my best look, so I busted out my forgotten Copic markers and went to town. Those markers are expensive but they really do work like a dream.

Hand-lettered Birthday Invitations | Ann-Marie Loves

I also had a great time creating full page watercolor washes to use as a background texture. I am by no means an expert painter, but I do find it to be incredibly relaxing, especially with a fun podcast on in the background.

Hand-lettered Birthday Invitations | Ann-Marie Loves

I’ve already scanned in all of my favorite samples of the lettering and watercoloring (using this method!) and I am so excited to pair them together to create a finished product. Stay tuned for more party updates coming soon!

briar’s infant gift guide.

Posted on: Friday, December 19, 2014

If Briar could talk, here’s what she would ask for for Christmas:

Infant Holiday Gift Guide | Ann-Marie Loves

01. Plan Toys Happy Puppy // Until we get Briar a real pet, this puppy will hopefully be a good substitute.

02. Munchkin Fun Ice Ring Teether // Since everything goes in Briar’s mouth these days, she might as well get a little teething relief.

03. Minnetonka Fringe Bootie // Sure, Briar can’t walk yet, but in a few months, we’ll need cute shoes for her little feet! Plus, these match the mama-sized pair that I have on my own holiday wish list ;)

04. Infantino Carrier Cover // As Briar’s gotten bigger, I’ve been favoring the Ergo more than the wrap, so this carrier cover would be perfect for keeping my little babe nice + toasty during these frigid (ha!) California months.

05. Graco Bumper Jumper // It’s hard to believe Briar is already able to (mostly) control her movements…I mean, wasn’t she just a spastic newborn yesterday? I’m hoping she will gets lots and lots of joy (and good exercise!) out of this doorway jumper.

06. Pink Piano // Am I asking for incessant loud noise with this piano? Quite possibly! But have you ever seen anything cuter?! Briar so needs this.

07. California Baby Lotion // I’ve been a California Baby fan since the day Briar took her first bath, so as the air gets colder and drier, I’ll be turning to this lotion more and more!

08. Boon Dive Bath Tub Appliques // Briar loves her baths almost as much as she loves her bath toys. These will be so fun when she moves to the big tub.

09. Crewcuts Long-Sleeved Skirted Onesie // Briar has the sleeveless version of this super chic striped onesie, but as babies do, she’s already outgrowing it. This long sleeved option in a size she can fit into months from now would be perfect!

easiest christmas card ever.

Posted on: Thursday, December 18, 2014

Holiday Cards Made with Digital Brushes | Ann-Marie Loves

Given the fact that I just had Briar’s birth announcements made a few weeks ago (did you know I had a baby?), the idea of designing, printing, addressing, and shipping Christmas cards felt like an insurmountable task. But! As I was experimenting with gift tag ideas using my new digital brushes, I realized that it would be SO SIMPLE for me to bust out a quick holiday card design. Beyond simple, actually.

Holiday Cards Made with Digital Brushes | Ann-Marie Loves

I started by dragging one of my favorite Instagram photos into Photoshop. Since it was already cropped nicely into a square, I left it as is.

Holiday Cards Made with Digital Brushes | Ann-Marie Loves

Then I chose the “happy holidays” brush and stamped it on the center of the photo. Next, I added a text layer with the words “Love, The Espinozas” to finish it off. Three steps and I was done.

I decided that I would make just enough copies for our immediate families (knowing that they would appreciate a Briar pic more than anyone else), so I grabbed some photo paper and printed them out at home. So easy. So fast.

(If you have any questions about how to use my digital brushes, let me know!)

holiday gift guide for guys + free printable!

Posted on: Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Holiday Shopping Guide for Guys | Collaboration with Kohl's + Free Printable! | Ann-Marie Loves

Despite the inevitable madness that ensues each November / December, I love the holiday season.

I love the decorating. I love the baking. I love the music + movies. But what I really love is dreaming of the perfect gifts to give to all my loved ones. The girls on my list are always a breeze to shop for. The guys, on the other hand? IMPOSSIBLE. I don’t know what it is, but I find myself struggling to come up with ideas for them, year after year! So when Kohl’s approached me about putting together a holiday gift guide for guys, I knew just the person to recruit for help: my husband! (After all, that’s what husbands are for, right?) Thankfully, John was more than up to the task.

Here are twelve of his top picks for guys:

Holiday Shopping Guide for Guys | Collaboration with Kohl's + Free Printable! | Ann-Marie Loves

01. Boat Shoes | 02. Classic Fit Sports Coat | 03. Stainless Steel Chronograph Watch | 04. Solid Twill Cardigan | 05. Mini Jambox Speaker | 06. Tapered Leg Jeans | 07. Hybrid Chino Pants | 08. Aqua Dress Shirt | 09. Plaid Casual Button-Down Shirt | 10. Keurig Coffee Brewer | 11. Nike Toki Low Sneakers | 12. Sherpa Hoodie

Thanks to this list, I won’t be racking my brain at the last minute for the perfect gift for all the wonderful men in my life. (Thanks babe!)

Holiday Shopping Guide for Guys | Collaboration with Kohl's + Free Printable! | Ann-Marie Loves

To help you get a jump on your holiday shopping, I designed a free printable for you to take with you (whether it’s to the mall or your computer!) so you can stay organized in style. Click HERE to download!

This post was sponsored by Kohl’s, but the ideas + opinions are all my (and John’s!) own. For more ideas on what to buy this season, check out Kohl’s holiday gift guide here!

thoughts on diy weddings.

Posted on: Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Thoughts on DIY Weddings | Ann-Marie Loves

I’ve always known that my wedding would be comprised of handmade details. It’s who I am, it’s what I do. That being said, I had no idea just how much work those handmade details would take. Hours, days, weeks, months of work. But was it worth it? 100 PERCENT YES.

Thoughts on DIY Weddings | Ann-Marie Loves

Katie Pritchard Photography

John and I decided to tackle as many projects ourselves as possible, for both creative + financial reasons. Many things were never even a question of asking for others’ help, including our paper goods (save the dates, invitations, menus, place cards, etc). In the end, there were many projects I didn’t get around to (wine labels, programs, paper flowers, the list goes on…), but really, no one but me knew the difference. I had been told this by various people throughout the whole planning process, but of course, I didn’t listen. Some things you just have to learn for yourself!

John + Ann-Marie Espinoza's Wedding | As seen in Wedding Magazine

I will admit that seeing our hard work pay off in the forms of a wedding blog feature and a magazine spread were pretty awesome, but seriously. As cliche as it sounds, the best part of all was that I walked away with a husband at the end of the day. He’s the best and I couldn’t be happier that he stuck by my side despite all my crazy wedding ideas and late night crafting and art directing. We managed to pull off the wedding of our dreams, which was topped only by the honeymoon of our dreams.

Thoughts on DIY Weddings | Ann-Marie Loves

Katie Pritchard Photography

And now…we’re having a baby and the DIY madness has been reincarnated in a brand new, equally as passionate form. Once a DIY’er, always a DIY’er!

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!

Follow on Feedly

Theme by Blogmilk   Coded by Brandi Bernoskie