Entries Tagged as 'life happens'

as of late | august edition.

Posted on: Wednesday, August 26, 2015

As of Late | Ann-Marie Loves | Card by Goldpress Paper

Wanting to frame this adorable hand-lettered card from Goldpress Paper!

Feeling incredibly grateful for my health after a bout with food poisoning last week. Also, it makes me think I may not be THAT ready for first trimester nausea again ;)

Reading The Year of Magical Thinking after renewing my library card on Monday. So far, I really like it!

Listening to The Momo Show nonstop. Also! I have a title for my future podcast series. I’ve told a few people about it already and I’m excited to get the wheels in motion.

Walking now more than ever thanks to the encouragement of my new Fitbit! Late night laps around the house to reach 10k steps is a daily occurrence.

Eagerly awaiting the end of summer (not until late October for Southern California), but still trying to enjoy “summery” moments: feeling the A/C on my face as I shower, having so many hours of daylight to shoot photos, taking Briar swimming…I guess summer’s not that bad. Actually, yes it is.

Rewatching Parenthood and feeling all the emotions on a deeper level now that I’ve been at this parenting gig for a whole year.

Planning upcoming photo shoots and feeling total excitement, which is how creative projects should always feel!

Loving everything ban.do at the moment! I seriously love my new Florabunda planner (I FEEL SO ORGANIZED!) and the watermelon cooler bag that I turned into Briar’s new diaper bag. Give me all the kitsch.

Reveling in happy memories from the bridal shower that we threw for my dear friend Janelle last Saturday. I’m beyond excited for her big day.

Thinking ahead to the holidays! We have a few good Halloween costume ideas up our sleeves. Let’s see if we can execute them before October 31st at 4pm…

Loving Elise’s Get to Work Book videos. I love to get inside the minds of super organized + efficient people.

Treating myself to iced coffees from the Starbucks drive-thru every few days. Yes, I could totally save money by making my own iced coffee at home, but there’s nothing quite like somebody handing me my drink through the window of my air-conditioned car. Also, it keeps Briar contained for five minutes and that is NO SMALL FEAT.

Hearing good things about this book and adding it to my wish list.

Living by this quote from Danielle LaPorte: “Focus on the energy of the solution.” BOOM.

workspace wednesday | share your voice.

Posted on: Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Share Your Voice | Ann-Marie Loves

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the importance of sharing your voice, even when the market seems like it can’t accommodate one more person. I have fallen into the trap of “there’s no more room for me, so I’ll just sit on the sidelines and watch others shine” way too many times to count. I’ve convinced myself that this world has enough bloggers / photographers / Instagrammers / designers / podcasters already, so why would anyone care about my point of view? When I type it all out like that, it makes me feel sad! I would never ever tell a friend that there’s not enough room for her at the table, so why would I treat myself that way?

But after a recent workout class, I had a radical change in perspective…

Here’s what happened: Zumba is my favorite workout and it has been for a few years now. There are three teachers at my gym who are amazing in their own unique ways, but there’s one in particular who is INCREDIBLE. He’s the type of teacher who fills a class every single time. In fact, I have to get to the gym a half hour before each class just so I can reserve my spot! He’s one of those teachers who makes a challenging workout feel like play…I smile and laugh the whole entire sweaty hour. During his class on Monday, I couldn’t help but think, “I am SO GLAD he is sharing his gift with us!” He could easily dismiss the idea of teaching since there are so many other people out there doing the exact same thing as him. He could talk himself out of getting in front of the class for fear that people may not like his style (and the truth is, some people don’t!). He could come up with a million and one reasons to stay home and avoid the hassle of creating a workout routine, finding the right music to dance to, and then memorizing it all so that others can follow along. But the thing is, he doesn’t. He shows up, day after day, week after week, and brings so much light and joy to his loyal students. His innate knack for motivating others to work hard while having a great time is CONTAGIOUS.

The moral of the story? THERE IS ALWAYS ROOM FOR YOU. Even though your point of view may not align with every single person on the planet (nor should it!), it will absolutely align with some people. So please, share your voice! The world needs to hear from you.

P.S. I just listened to Elise’s latest podcast episode and I loved her guest Caroline Burkle’s quote: “Your strengths can benefit someone else’s strengths.” Perfect.

staying present in motherhood.

Posted on: Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Creative Options + Thoughts on Staying Present in Motherhood | Ann-Marie Loves

From the moment you find out a baby will soon be joining your life, it’s hard to keep yourself from constantly fantasizing about the future. What will my baby look like? What costume will she wear for Halloween? How are we going to pay for college?! In fact, most of last year, I made all of my decisions based off of the timeline of “Pre-Briar” and ‘Post-Briar.” Pre-Briar life meant attending loud concerts on a whim, spending a whole day of working without interruptions, and sleeping in on any given Saturday BECAUSE I COULD. Post-Briar life means lining up babysitters when I want to go out, squeezing in work during naptimes, and not sleeping in on any given Saturday BECAUSE I HAVE A BABY. I think it’s only natural for moms to be preoccupied with the future; after all, we’re the ones steering the ship!

Creative Options + Thoughts on Staying Present in Motherhood | Ann-Marie Loves

However, I am now on a mission to stay in the present moment as often as possible and enjoy each fleeting second exactly as it is. Sure, it’s not always how I envisioned it would look or feel, but that’s all part of the fun, especially as a mom of a young toddler. Briar is growing up SO FAST (so fast, you guys!) and I want to live every minute with her, instead of wishing for a more “perfect” scenario or mentally plotting out the distant future. This is why I am now bucking my to-do list for a short time everyday and really allowing the both of us to enjoy time together.

Creative Options + Thoughts on Staying Present in Motherhood | Ann-Marie Loves

This past weekend, we spent some time outside so I could work on her scrapbook and she could play with her toys. Even though we were only going out in the backyard, I found it was so handy to pack up my craft supplies in a Creative Options’ Two Tray Box and Briar’s toys + books in a fabric Craft Caddy.

Creative Options + Thoughts on Staying Present in Motherhood | Ann-Marie Loves

Briar’s caddy was filled with all of the essentials for briefly occupying a girl on the move: her favorite books, her BlaBla doll (whom we named Olivia), her gold Saltwater sandals (should she decide to venture off the mat) (which she immediately did), and plenty of Cheerios!

Creative Options + Thoughts on Staying Present in Motherhood | Ann-Marie Loves

My box was stocked with all the essentials for a crafty gal: neon pink ink, sharp scissors, wooden alpha stamps, colorful pens, and lots of washi!

Creative Options + Thoughts on Staying Present in Motherhood | Ann-Marie Loves

Our joint playtime was certainly not perfect (as it turns out, mom’s “toys” are way more fun than Briar’s toys!), but it was a great way for the two of us to spend some structured quality time together. Plus, when it was time to go back inside, all I had to do was pick up our caddies and our mat…no extra clean-up necessary! Life is good, you guys. Let’s embrace it just as it is!

P.S. For more ideas on how to incorporate Creative Options’ products into your life, be sure to check out their Facebook page, Amy Tangerine’s blog, and this fun video!

santa barbara zoo.

Posted on: Monday, August 17, 2015

Santa Barbara Zoo | Ann-Marie Loves

Last week marked Briar’s third trip to the Santa Barbara Zoo, and this particular time was easily the best one yet. Twelve months is a really fun age for taking her places. She’s generally agreeable (assuming there’s an endless supply of snacks on hand), she’s super easy to entertain (hello, car keys!), and allowing her to explore her world on foot (she’s a walking gal!) is such a treat to watch. There’s also the whole not-having-to-nurse-her-every-other-hour thing that makes the whole trip so much more enjoyable than it was during her first trip at three months old.

Santa Barbara Zoo | Ann-Marie Loves

Santa Barbara Zoo | Ann-Marie Loves

While I always feel a tinge of guilt to see caged animals, there’s nothing quite like being face to face with a wild creature whom I otherwise would never see. This gorilla was AMAZING.

Santa Barbara Zoo | Ann-Marie Loves

My mom and I packed a lunch at home so that we could enjoy a picnic on the huge grassy hill overlooking the ocean. (I mean, life is really hard.) It was the ideal place to let Briar roam free and test out her sweet new walking skills. She was also really into eating all of my food, opening and closing the cooler, and climbing her stroller. Toddlerhood is a contact sport!

Santa Barbara Zoo | Ann-Marie Loves
Santa Barbara Zoo | Ann-Marie Loves

Did you know that flamingoes get their pinkish hue from the brine shrimp that they eat? I thought that was a fascinating tidbit! Also, they’re from South America, which I was also (embarrassingly) unaware of until last week. Everyday is a new lesson!

Santa Barbara Zoo | Ann-Marie Loves

Since the zoo is not only a great place to see animals, but a GORGEOUS place to hang out, my camera gets plenty of action while we’re here.

Santa Barbara Zoo | Ann-Marie Loves

For Briar’s first birthday, my parents gifted us with a year-long membership to the zoo, so I have no doubt that there will be plenty of fun adventures in our near future! (P.S. Thanks Nana + Papa!)

Santa Barbara Zoo | Ann-Marie Loves

And just for the heck of it, here’s a photo of Briar and me from her first trip to the zoo, way back in November. Can you say TINY BABY? Oh. Em. Gee.

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!

camera love.

Posted on: Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Camera Love | Ann-Marie Loves

This past weekend I got to play with this amazing workhorse of a camera and this fantastic zoom lens and I. WAS. OBSESSED. I took as many photos as I could (mostly of my favorite moving target) and decided that I need this camera in my life permanently.

Camera Love | Ann-Marie LovesCamera Love | Ann-Marie LovesCamera Love | Ann-Marie LovesCamera Love | Ann-Marie LovesCamera Love | Ann-Marie LovesCamera Love | Ann-Marie Loves

And speaking of my favorite moving target, she will be one on Saturday. ONE. I don’t know if I should laugh or cry?

want what you want.

Posted on: Thursday, July 30, 2015

Want What You Want | Ann-Marie Loves

Yesterday I took myself on a solo date to my favorite coffee shop in my favorite city (I’ll give you one guess where that is!), listened to inspiring podcast episodes (this one, this one, and this one), and really allowed myself to dig deep. In doing so, I came to the startling realization that IT IS OKAY to want what we want. In fact, if we don’t acknowledge our deepest desires, how in the world will they ever come true?! When I think back on my life, there have been a few key moments where I am positive that I manifested my dreams. For example!

- After I graduated college at the onset of the recession (when I couldn’t even get a seasonal part-time job at the mall!), I was hell-bent on working in the scrapbooking industry. I had absolutely no idea how it would happen or what I would even do or how I could possibly find work in a Utah-based industry when I was a California resident. But everyday I would go on walks while listening to The Secret on my iPod (2009, y’all) and imagine being paid to play with paper until I could literally feel it in my bones. Fast forward to July 2010 and I was living in Orem, Utah and working as an in-house scrapbooker / product designer at American Crafts.

- I have always dreamed and journaled and talked about living in two of my favorite cities: San Diego and Pasadena. Both of those dreams have come to fruition.

- And finally, at the beginning of my senior year in high school, I kept a post-it note on my shelf (where I would see it as I put on my makeup everyday) with the Christina Aguilera lyric: “day by day, I’m going to get my way.” Within a matter of weeks, I started dating John (now my husband!) and a few months later, I was accepted into my college of choice.

I know this all sounds hokey and woo-woo and quite possibly, huge coincidences, but I truly believe that our thoughts create our reality. I’ve spent way too many days over the past year caught up in a fog of fearfulness and uncertainty. There have been some particularly dark moments where I could barely get out of bed, I was so terrified of what was around the corner. Having a baby in my life has filled my heart with more joy and pride than I could have ever dreamed (seriously, I could burst at any moment), but it has also brought a lot of my inner demons to the surface. I’ve gotten lost in the mindset of “this is not how it’s supposed to be” or “I should be at x-place by now and I’m only at y-place.” While I still have lots of work to do, my focus is much clearer now. I’m finally allowing myself to want what I want and to be completely at peace with those desires, no matter what others may think of them.


This our life, you guys! We have to open ourselves up to the possibility that AMAZING THINGS WILL HAPPEN if we work hard and trust that the universe has our back.

Have you ever manifested any of your dreams? I’d love to hear about it!

adventures at underwood farms.

Posted on: Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Adventures at Underwood Farms | Ann-Marie Loves

Having grown up in Ventura County, I’ve been on many a trip to Underwood Farms in Moorpark. However, it had been years since my last visit and Briar had never been before, so John and I (along with Jamie, Kareem, and Luna!) decided it was high time to revisit the farm. We had an awesome time (despite the heat) exploring the grounds, visiting the animals (how amazing is that horse!), and digging in the fields for ripe strawberries and olallieberries. Sadly, Briar was developing a double ear infection that day (unbeknownst to us at the time), so she wasn’t her normal cheery self. But that’s okay…we’ll be back for Halloween festivities come October!

Adventures at Underwood Farms | Ann-Marie Loves

Adventures at Underwood Farms | Ann-Marie Loves

Adventures at Underwood Farms | Ann-Marie Loves

Adventures at Underwood Farms | Ann-Marie Loves

Adventures at Underwood Farms | Ann-Marie Loves

Adventures at Underwood Farms | Ann-Marie Loves

Adventures at Underwood Farms | Ann-Marie Loves

as of late | july edition.

Posted on: Tuesday, July 14, 2015

As of Late | July Edition | Ann-Marie Loves

Serious Sally on the Fourth of July – ha!

Spending many an afternoon in my parents’ pool with my little fish. My “mom” bathing suit sure is getting a lot of good use!

Enjoying weekly e-mails from Hannah Brencher. She is killing it with the inspiration vibes.

Loving Hey Claire’s YouTube channel. Even though I’m not much for makeup tutorials, I love her storytelling abilities and her clean aesthetic. (P.S. I made a cameo in Amy’s video!)

Wearing one of two outfits most days: this neon pink workout top with leggings or any shirt with my Anthro lounge pants. I’m a work at home mom, guys. Comfort is KING.

Feeling more tired now than I was when Briar was a newborn; the only difference is I’ve become much more adept at pushing through the exhaustion! She’s still waking up 1-2 times a night (LORD BEER ME STRENGTH), so it’s safe to say I haven’t had a full night of sleep in almost a year. Oh em gee.

Listening to Totally Mommy nonstop. It’s my new podcast jam.

Dreaming of taking Briar on a bike ride…while protecting her noggin with this watermelon helmet!

Combing Pinterest and Instagram for birthday party ideas. I can never get enough!

Craving a really good fictional read that I can get lost in. Any suggestions?

Feeling so grateful to all of you who have purchased my new (and old!) digital stamps. It’s so fun to think that my designs are continuing to live on!

Enjoying golden hour walks with my best gal and my iPhone close at hand so I can capture all the gorgeous flowers in bloom!

Thinking back on this time last year when I was “willing” Briar to make her appearance on dates that I thought would make for pretty-sounding birthdays: July 14th, July 22nd, or her due date, July 26th. Of course, she didn’t arrive until AUGUST 8TH, but now I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Scouting out amazing photo locations for future shoots. If you or anyone you know is in need of a photographer, send me an e-mail! :)

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