Entries Tagged as 'life happens'

oh, hi!

Posted on: Monday, May 8, 2017

Ann-Marie Loves

Oh, hi! It’s been a minute.

I promise I haven’t abandoned this place altogether! I’ve penned several posts in my head, but actually finding the time to sit down and write them out…well, life keeps getting in the way. I recently picked up a new gig as the photographer / blogger for Pacific Play Tents and it has been such a fun change of pace! I am so excited to be part of an amazing company and I am enjoying every minute of this new experience. That being said, I’m still learning how to juggle my growing workload with my growing family. There’s certainly no such thing as balance. I get most of my work done after the kids go to bed, catch up on e-mails well past midnight, and squeeze in a few workouts somewhere in there, but I feel happy. I’m doing something that I love and it’s paying the bills.

So life is good. I’ve got lots to tell you! xo

tips for staying on top of the mess.

Posted on: Thursday, April 13, 2017

Tips for Keeping a Clean House With Little Ones | Ann-Marie Loves x Lemi Shine

It’s not the dirty diapers. It’s not the crying jags. It’s not the lack of sleep (okay, it’s kind of the lack of sleep). My biggest hang up about being a mom of two little ones is the messes! Oh em gee, you guys, everyday is a struggle to stay on top of the toddler tornado. We live in a small space so if we don’t rein in the clutter and clean up after ourselves, this tiny little house can look like a disaster in 0.2 seconds.

Thankfully, Lemi Shine reached out to me again (read my first post here!) and totally inspired me to streamline my routine and give this this house a serious spring cleaning! While I am certainly no expert and could use allllll the help I can get, I have learned a thing or two about what works for me when it comes to keeping a clean house. In partnership with Lemi Shine, I’m here to share some of my top tips for staying on top of the daily mess:

Tips for Keeping a Clean House With Little Ones | Ann-Marie Loves x Lemi Shine

Prioritize. My mom instilled in me one very helpful life lesson: there can be dishes in the sink, there can be a mountain of laundry on the bed, but COME HELL OR HIGH WATER, the bathroom will be spotless. There are no two ways about it. Because of this hard fast truth, I always begin my cleaning routine by grabbing Lemi Shine’s Glass + Surface Cleaner and wiping down the bathroom counters, making sure the mirrors are free of water spots, and scrubbing the toilet. I’ll also swap out the towels and make sure they are hanging evenly on the towel rack (OCD at it’s finest!). From there, I’ll work outwards and clean up other high traffic areas, including the kitchen, the living room, and the dining room.

Tips for Keeping a Clean House With Little Ones | Ann-Marie Loves x Lemi Shine

Tips for Keeping a Clean House With Little Ones | Ann-Marie Loves x Lemi Shine

Recruit help. 2.5 has been an interesting age, to say the least. One day my toddler is sweet as can be and other days she’s…not. I’m trying my hardest to channel my inner Janet Lansbury and allow Briar to have both the space and the boundaries that she craves, but man! Easier said than done. However, when we are in the midst of a difficult moment, I’ve learned that I can turn it around on a dime if I ask Briar to help me with a task — any task. In fact, she loves being a helper, whether it’s something as small as grabbing a diaper for Landon or something as big as helping me cook dinner. This usually means a task will take twice as long to get completed than if I were to just do it myself but it’s so worth it when I can see it building Briar’s self esteem and empowering her to make her own decisions. Plus, it’s nice to have extra help!

Tips for Keeping a Clean House With Little Ones | Ann-Marie Loves x Lemi Shine

Thankfully I feel great about letting Briar help me clean up with Lemi Shine products since they are made of 100% natural citric acids and are free of any harsh chemicals or toxins. I’ll squirt a little bit of Everyday Cleaner on a rag and have her wipe down tables and dressers and even the floor! She takes her job very seriously.

Tips for Keeping a Clean House With Little Ones | Ann-Marie Loves x Lemi Shine

This stuff works like a dream.

Tips for Keeping a Clean House With Little Ones | Ann-Marie Loves x Lemi Shine

Tips for Keeping a Clean House With Little Ones | Ann-Marie Loves x Lemi Shine

Do what you can. I often hear this Teddy Roosevelt quote echoing in my head: “do what you can with what you have where you are.” It’s a simple adage, but man, it rings so true as a working mom who also would like to have an occasional moment to myself. I feel like I’m always ten steps behind of schedule but I’m slowly learning that I CAN make things happen if I just use small pockets of time to tackle tasks. If I have fifteen minutes, I’ll throw Landon on my back like a baby sloth (thank goodness for Ergos!) and clean up a single room instead of feeling like I have to clean the WHOLE house or nothing at all.

Tips for Keeping a Clean House With Little Ones | Ann-Marie Loves x Lemi Shine

Tips for Keeping a Clean House With Little Ones | Ann-Marie Loves x Lemi Shine

I also try to multitask whenever possible, so I’ll unload the dishwasher while I wait for the oven to heat up, or I’ll wipe down the bathroom counter while I supervise bathtime. Everyone has fifteen minutes to spare so use those time slots to your advantage!

Tips for Keeping a Clean House With Little Ones | Ann-Marie Loves x Lemi Shine

Create a routine. One of my favorite tips for keeping the house clean is to build non-negotiables into my everyday routine. For me, this means doing laundry and running the dishwasher every single day. I know this sounds like a lot, but I promise it’s not that hard when it becomes a habit! One of my proudest clean freak strategies is my laundry maintenance. Every night I throw a load of laundry into the washing machine and fold the load as soon as it comes out of the dryer. This way I never have a mountain of laundry to deal with AND our clothes don’t get wrinkled. Truth be told, I don’t mind folding clothes and hanging them up. There’s something about the act of making neat piles and having an organized closet that makes me feel like I have a tiny bit of control over my life. At the end of every week, I’ll run a regular cleaning cycle with Lemi Shine’s Washing Machine Cleaner to remove hard water build up and any funky odors.

Tips for Keeping a Clean House With Little Ones | Ann-Marie Loves x Lemi Shine

I also have a rock solid dishwasher routine that helps to keep our tiny kitchen clean and ready for the next meal. Every night before bed, I load the dishwasher and let it run while we are sleeping. Then in the morning (or early afternoon, depending upon how insane our morning is), I’ll unload it. I also like to encourage everyone to put their dirty dishes and silverware directly into the dishwasher instead of letting them sit in the sink (unless they need to be soaked, of course). Much like my laundry routine, I also use Lemi Shine’s Dishwasher Cleaner every 1-2 weeks to keep our dishwasher in tip top shape and ensure that our dishes get squeaky clean.

Tips for Keeping a Clean House With Little Ones | Ann-Marie Loves x Lemi Shine

High five to clean living!

Be sure to check out Lemi Shine’s website to learn more about their products, find stores near you that carry their products, and best of all, redeem discounts to try the products for yourself! Happy Spring Cleaning!

This post was sponsored by Lemi Shine, but all opinions, ideas, and photos are my own.

weekend hikes.

Posted on: Thursday, March 16, 2017

weekend hikes in southern california | ann-marie loves

These past few months have brought A TON of rain to Southern California which has been so wonderful. Not only is great for the endless drought but it has really made the natural landscape incredibly lush and green! It’s a feast for the eyes. Recently, John and I have been taking advantage of the cool weather and going on long hikes every weekend with our little ones. We load them up in the double BOB stroller and hit the trails for a little fresh air and a solid workout.

weekend hikes in southern california | ann-marie loves

Briar has really taken a liking to hiking as well! She is more than happy to walk for long stretches and collect rocks along the way.

weekend hikes in southern california | ann-marie loves

weekend hikes in southern california | ann-marie loves

Landon loves hiking, too. It’s the perfect opportunity for him to catch up on his sleep.

weekend hikes in southern california | ann-marie loves

So much water! It may not look like much but when you’re used to seeing everything dried up, this is such a treat!

weekend hikes in southern california | ann-marie loves

weekend hikes in southern california | ann-marie loves

weekend hikes in southern california | ann-marie loves

What’s the point of hiking all those hills if you can’t treat yourself afterwards? Thin Mints really took this hiking adventure to the next level.

weekend hikes in southern california | ann-marie loves

We’re the most annoying parents ever.

weekend hikes in southern california | ann-marie loves

Thank goodness for that stroller. It may be a beast to push uphill (feel the burn!) but it can handle any terrain like a champ!

weekend hikes in southern california | ann-marie loves

weekend hikes in southern california | ann-marie loves

I love our new weekend tradition!

tips for dealing with anxiety.

Posted on: Monday, February 20, 2017

Tips for Dealing With Anxiety | Ann-Marie Loves

Yesterday was one of those days where I felt overwhelmed about everything. There was nothing in particular that made me stressed; rather it was a mix of ongoing anxieties and new stressors paired with postpartum hormones. I’ve always felt things pretty deeply. I don’t cry at the drop of the hat like I used to (puberty was a cruel biotch), but I am acutely aware of energies and emotions around me, and every once in awhile, they knock me down. Thankfully, I’ve picked up a few tricks in my thirty years that help me to regain control of my thoughts. Here are my top five solutions:

1. Exercise. I know, I know. Nobody wants to hear that they have to get their body in motion to get their mind right, but I promise you, IT WORKS. One of my favorite way to exercise is about as simple and inexpensive as it gets: a long walk in the fresh air. Yesterday I loaded Landon up in the stroller and went for an hour long walk to meet up with John and Briar. It wasn’t super scenic and the threat of rain was upon us the whole time, but it felt good to get outside and get my body moving. Walks are even better when you have a favorite podcast or playlist to keep you company.

2. Meditation. I’m finding that meditation is hard to come by with two babies in the house but I need it now more than ever. Sometimes when I take a shower at night, I’ll let the water run for a few minutes while I sit on the floor of the bathroom and close my eyes and breathe. It’s nothing fancy but it resets my looping thought patterns and brings me back to the present moment. I have a few favorite ways to meditate:

a. I close my eyes and focus on the bridge of my nose and breathe slowly in and out.

b. I close my eyes and slowly direct my attention from the top of my head to the bottom of my feet, consciously relaxing each body part as I work my way down (i.e. my head is tingly, my jaw is loose, my hands are limp, etc).

c. I listen to guided meditations (so many free podcasts and YouTube videos out there!) and / or instrumental music or nature sounds and focus on what I am hearing.

My all-time favorite meditations are the ones done after a yoga class when you lay in shavasana. In fact, my dream-of-all-dreams workout class would be 45 minutes of a high-energy Zumba workout followed by 20-30 minutes of restorative yoga followed by a 20 minute guided meditation. I would be a new person by the end each class. (Somebody please invent this.)

3. Clean up. There’s nothing quite like having my living space in disarray to make me feel like my life is completely out of control. I find that the act of getting things organized and put back in their proper homes can shift my mood dramatically. I’ve also noticed that the act of cleaning (especially folding laundry) is meditative in and of itself.

4. Change of scenery. Sometimes all it takes to break a negative thought cycle is to change up my environment, which can be as small as taking the trash out or as big as a day trip to one of my favorite places. A change of scenery almost always equals a change of perspective.

5. Journaling. I’ve been obsessed with journaling for as long as I can remember (which might explain why I love blogging), so when I’m feeling particularly drained, I’ll get all my thoughts out of my head and onto paper. I’ve also started writing letters to my intuition after listening to this podcast and watching this video. It’s such a helpful tool for really getting to the root of my anxiety…I can’t recommend it enough!

On a related note, I recently heard this quote by Glennon Doyle Melton from this book, via this podcast, and had to stop what I was doing to write it down:

“We can choose to be perfect and admired; or real and loved.”

I choose the latter. xo

kidspace.

Posted on: Friday, February 3, 2017

Kidspace Children's Museum | Pasadena, CA | Ann-Marie Loves

Right after Landon was born, John and I tried our best to make sure Briar had a smooth transition into big sisterhood. In between hanging out at home and visiting grandparents, we also peppered Briar’s days with a few family outings, including one to Kidspace Children’s Museum in Pasadena. We’ve been here many times and each visit feels like a new experience as Briar is able to enjoy it in different ways. Truth be told, I just love any excuse to get out to Pas ;)

This particular trip marked our first visit as a family of four and we had a great time! Landon slept through most of it in the wrap while John chased Briar around and I got to take lots of photos. Here are some of my favorite shots from the day:

Kidspace Children's Museum | Pasadena, CA | Ann-Marie Loves

Kidspace Children's Museum | Pasadena, CA | Ann-Marie Loves

It’s an indoor / outdoor museum with so many awesome exhibits and play areas to explore.

Kidspace Children's Museum | Pasadena, CA | Ann-Marie Loves

Kidspace Children's Museum | Pasadena, CA | Ann-Marie Loves

Ahhhhh, I could just eat her up!

Kidspace Children's Museum | Pasadena, CA | Ann-Marie Loves

Kidspace Children's Museum | Pasadena, CA | Ann-Marie Loves

Kidspace Children's Museum | Pasadena, CA | Ann-Marie Loves

Note the soaking wet shirt. Always bring an extra pair (or five!) of clothes when taking little ones to this museum.

Kidspace Children's Museum | Pasadena, CA | Ann-Marie Loves

This display totally gives me future room decor inspiration for Landon.

Kidspace Children's Museum | Pasadena, CA | Ann-Marie Loves

Such a good newborn. Sleep, sleep, sleep.

Kidspace Children's Museum | Pasadena, CA | Ann-Marie Loves

Kidspace Children's Museum | Pasadena, CA | Ann-Marie Loves

Kidspace Children's Museum | Pasadena, CA | Ann-Marie Loves

Kidspace Children's Museum | Pasadena, CA | Ann-Marie Loves

Kidspace Children's Museum | Pasadena, CA | Ann-Marie Loves

Kidspace Children's Museum | Pasadena, CA | Ann-Marie Loves

Kidspace Children's Museum | Pasadena, CA | Ann-Marie Loves

Look how gorgeous the natural landscape is! You guys, Pasadena is my FAVORITE.

Kidspace Children's Museum | Pasadena, CA | Ann-Marie Loves

And of course, what trip to Kidpsace is complete with a roll in the sand (most of which she took home in her shoes)?

When John went back to work, I was feeling extra bold so I took the two year old and the newborn to Kidspace by myself, and you know what? It wasn’t a total disaster! Yes, it was a ton of work and yes, Briar took off running while I was trying to nurse Landon (in the sandpit, of all places), and yes, we were all pooped by the end, but it was fun! I felt like that trip was where I got my sea legs for taking two kids out in public. I mean, if you’re going to learn, you might as well dive head first into the deep end! ;)

 

 

 

as of late | january edition.

Posted on: Monday, January 30, 2017

As of Late | January Edition | Ann-Marie Loves

Debating whether or not I should put holiday stuff away or just leave it up forever, hence the bottlebrush tree photo above. Ha!

Stealing away pockets of time to read Erin Loechner’s inspiring new book. I am SUCH a fan of her writing style.

Listening to this episode of The Lively Show and having my mind blown.

Speaking of podcasts, I’ve also been enjoying Awesome With Alison and The Other F Word.

Staying up way too late. It’s typically the only time I have to myself so I live it up (and by live it up, I mean wash the dishes and answer e-mails) but then I inevitably regret it in the morning.

Turning into quite the news junkie, what with all that is happening in America right now. Everyday feels like a new crisis.

Drinking cascara lattes from Starbucks as often as possible. They’re so good.

Loving all the rain we’ve been having here in Southern California! After a long hot summer, this steady stream of rain has been a GIFT.

Checking my horoscope everyday.

Aiming to blog at least three times each week. Originally I wanted to blog every weekday this month but, you know, LIFE. Three times feels very manageable.

Deciding if I want to keep my hair short or grow it out so I can wear a giant top knot again. Hmmm…

Enjoying my little four month old a my almost-two-and-a-half year old. Sometimes I’m still a little shocked that I have two kids. I mean, where did they come from??

mom style | the second time around.

Posted on: Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Mom Style | Second Time Around | Ann-Marie Loves

There have been some new additions to the family since my sister-in-law, Jamie, and I last made a Mom Style post!

Mom Style | Second Time Around | Ann-Marie Loves

I had Landon in September…

Mom Style | Second Time Around | Ann-Marie Loves

Mom Style | Second Time Around | Ann-Marie Loves

And Jamie had Laith in July.

Mom Style | Second Time Around | Ann-Marie Loves

Needless to say, we’ve doubled our group of kiddos! With new kids means new challenges and time constraints for us, so we thought it would be fun to show you all of our favorite products that we turn to these days now that we are moms of two.

Mom Style | Second Time Around | Ann-Marie Loves

Ann-Marie’s Picks:

Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay. I was first turned on to this product by a random beauty product video I watched on YouTube and I instantly added it to my Amazon cart. (Clearly I am a sucker for video tutorials.) I usually wear this mask about once a week and I love the way it makes my skin feels so smooth after I wash it off! I tend to have very problematic skin except in the early postpartum phase when my hormones actually work in my favor. Right now I’m in a good skin season of life, so I’m trying to stay one step ahead of the curve by treating my face to some TLC with gentle cleansers, moisturizers, and this mask.

Oversized Hat. I’m a hat person to the very end. They make me feel sleek. They make me feel pulled together. They make me feel like the designer / photographer / blogger that I am. Sometimes I wonder if I wear hats too often (is that such a thing?), but then I stop caring about what others think and just wear the damn hat for the millionth day in a row. Getting older has it’s perks…

Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray. I’ll be honest: there’s not a lot of hair styling going on over here these days. In fact, I consider it a successful day if I get around to brushing my hair…! But every now and then when I actually want to look slightly put-together, I’ll use this amazing texturizing spray on the ends of my hair and rub it in with my fingers until I achieve the right amount of body and shape. It’s a bit pricey but seriously worth every penny if you want killer results.

Get To Work Book. I could go on and on about how much I love this planner and how much it has revolutionized the way I approach my days. I not only use it for planning out the logistics of daily life, but I also use it as a notepad for creating shopping or packing lists, too. And that pink highlighter art on the cover is courtesy of Briar ;)

Wrinkle Releaser Spray. Okay, this is a recent discovery of mine and I don’t know how I was able to ever leave the house before I had this spray! A few quick spritzes to a wrinkled item of clothing, a little tugging, and your outfit is smooth as can be! Who has time for ironing? Just get this spray and get on with your life!

Suede Ankle Boots. I don’t wear heels very often but when I do, I always feel polished and put-together. These lace-up ankle boots instantly take me out of mom-mode and straight into date night! Plus the thick heel makes for (relatively) comfy walking.

Sculpting Brow Mascara. I’ve mentioned this product in past Mom Style roundups, but it’s worth mentioning again. As long as I have this eyebrow mascara and a little foundation on, I feel like I can greet the day with confidence. I’m telling you (especially my fellow blondes!), defined eyebrows make all the difference on a face.

Gold Sunglasses. These glasses are borderline tacky and I think that’s why I love them so much! I adore a little unexpected kitsch in my life and I feel like such a cool mom while heading into Trader Joe’s with a baby in the Ergo and a toddler holding my hand. You have to find those little things that make you feel like the best version of yourself and these glasses totally do it for me.

Essential Oil Diffuser. Quality time to myself is far and few between these days, so one of my favorite parts of the day is when I can sneak away for a shower. I grab a glass of wine, I turn on my new oil diffuser, and I enjoy the five minutes of peace and relaxation before I take on the real world again.

Mom Style | Second Time Around | Ann-Marie Loves

Jamie’s Picks:

Facial Serum. My morning facial routine goes as follows: Honest Company body wash to clean my face, blot dry with towel, apply a few pumps of this facial serum to my face, spray with rose glycerin water, then depending on how dry my face has been I’ll apply a small amount of coconut oil as well. If I’m going to wear a light tinted moisturizer for a more even look I skip the coconut oil and apply the tinted moisturizer. This serum works well as a primer, too.

Chivas Lip Balm. I’ve been leaning more towards organic, cruelty-free, and locally made products. This lip balm comes from a goat farm in Ventura County here in Southern California. Most of the ingredients are organic. The light scent and smooth texture feels and smells delicious. With our home heater set on high lately my lips should be chapped, but this balm has kept them silky smooth.

Rose Water Spray. My cousin introduced me to this product in November and I’ve used it daily ever since. This comes with or without glycerin. I prefer the glycerin for the moisturizing benefit. I use it every morning and often throughout the day to refresh my face (with or without makeup on). Three sprays gives me just the right amount of moisturizing coverage. Anything more I feel the glycerin weighing down on my skin. I will apply heavily at night when my skin is extra dry.

Candles. If I could cover all the surfaces in my home with candles, I would! But for a certain little two year old’s safety, I cannot. Candlelight has a very calming effect on me. I’m always on the hunt for a good smelling, clean-burning candle. Any candle that will make my house smell like cookies or pies baking will make it’s way home with me.

Robe. I have three of these light cotton robes in rotation. They are scattered through out my house…in the bedroom,  bathroom, laundry room. If I’m not leaving the house, you can bet money I’ll be wearing a robe all day long.

Turkish Coffee. I love my coffee! This year for Christmas my husband bought me this Turkish coffee pot. Up until now, we have only enjoyed Turkish coffee while on vacation or when visiting family so it’s been a treat for us to have it at home whenever we want. My husband makes better Turkish coffee than I do and he will tell everyone the same. Sipping a hot cup of Turkish coffee in my home is a double treat. My love language is Acts of Service, so when my husband brings me a steaming, freshly-boiled cup of Turkish coffee, my heart overflows with love.

Aromatherapy Essential Oils. The kids and I have made it a nightly routine to add lavender or eucalyptus to the bath water. Aromatherapy is good for the soul, good for the whole family. When the oils come out, I know bedtime is near.

Organic Cotton Pads and High-Waisted Underwear. First, let’s talk about the cotton “boobie pads.” I am so happy I found these shortly after my first baby. I have tried disposable nursing pads and have hated them every time. The synthetic materials are not breathable and chafe my skin. The cotton pads are thick, extra absorbent, and are easy to care for. I’ve used the same batch for over two years. I put them in the washer and dryer with the rest of the clothes. If I’m on top of my laundry game, they all make it into a garment bag for washing. Secondly, I’d like to talk about my newfound love for high-waisted panties. My last baby was born via c-section. It was an amazing experience: no post-surgery complications, manageable pain, and a smooth recovery. The only thing I have been struggling with are the nerves that were severed at the c-section incision. It’s the strangest sensation; sometimes painful, sometimes numb, sometimes it doesn’t feel like a part of my body. Needless to say, I’ve been very sensitive to touch in that area. Waistbands are uncomfortable when worn over my incision. I’ve found higher waisted jeans, work scrubs, and underwear to be most comfortable. These underwear are my favorite! They are silky smooth, breathable, and super stretchy. The waistband comes nowhere near my incision!

Dr. Bronner’s Soap. My husband and I both use this for body wash. I prefer the eucalyptus scent but he prefers the lavender scent. Since I love him so much, I always pick up his favorite. Nothing feels better at the end of a long day than a hot, steamy shower with a sea sponge lathered up in fragrant suds.

Mom Style | Second Time Around | Ann-Marie Loves

P.S. More Mom Style posts here!

solvang.

Posted on: Thursday, December 15, 2016

Day Trip to Solvang | Ann-Marie Loves

This past weekend we joined John’s family up in Solvang for a little day trip and we had so much fun! The weather was total perfection: cloudy, cool, and feeling like Fall. I’ve been to Solvang a handful of times but this was the first trip for Briar and Landon. It’s always a treat to experience familiar things through brand new eyes…it’s easily one of the best parts about being a parent! Briar had a great time running around, marveling at the Christmas lights, and sharing an ice cream cone with her cousin Luna. Landon spent most of his time sleeping in his bear suit (which instantly puts him to sleep??) in the stroller. And Mama Bear had a great time drinking wine and taking tons of photos ;)

Day Trip to Solvang | Ann-Marie Loves

Day Trip to Solvang | Ann-Marie Loves

Day Trip to Solvang | Ann-Marie Loves

Day Trip to Solvang | Ann-Marie Loves

Day Trip to Solvang | Ann-Marie Loves

Day Trip to Solvang | Ann-Marie Loves

Day Trip to Solvang | Ann-Marie Loves

Day Trip to Solvang | Ann-Marie Loves

Day Trip to Solvang | Ann-Marie Loves

Day Trip to Solvang | Ann-Marie Loves

That night, my heart felt very full as I sat in the passenger seat next to my husband as we drove along the cloudy coast back home with our two sleeping babies in the back seat. It’s rare when I feel like I can just sit still and quiet my inner to-do list but something about that moment put me at ease and made me so grateful.

the grass is greener where you water it.

Posted on: Wednesday, December 14, 2016

The Grass Is Greener Where You Water It | Ann-Marie Loves x Cross Pens

2016 has been quite a year, no? I was reading an article that listed the worst years in human history and this past year made the cut…YIKES. Personally, it wasn’t my finest hour on record but it also wasn’t my worst. A lot of really great things happened to me in 2016: I got pregnant, I found a nice rhythm with work, Briar turned two, we moved into a cute place, I had Landon (!), and I came to the startling realization that the grass is greener where you water it.

crosspens-2

I’m sure you’ve seen that quote floating around on Pinterest many times. In fact, I’m sure I’ve pinned it at least three times, but it took until recently (when I really needed it) for the words to hit me over the head and finally sink into my consciousness. The grass is greener where you water it. So true on every single level, right? So what if I don’t have everything that someone else has…look at all the amazing things I do have! After years and years of comparing myself to others, I’ve learned the comparison trap is just that — a trap! — and it never fails to make me lose confidence in who I am and what I have.

The Grass Is Greener Where You Water It | Ann-Marie Loves x Cross Pens

My life may look pretty small on the outside: I spend most of my days balancing two babies with freelance work. I don’t drive a fancy car and I can’t quite afford California real estate just yet. I don’t take many fancy trips. Half of my wardrobe still doesn’t fit me as I maneuver my way through the postpartum phase of life. I spend many days wondering what in the world am I doing?! But in spite of all these perceived shortcomings, I find so much joy in my everyday when I focus on all that I have instead of all that I don’t.

The Grass Is Greener Where You Water It | Ann-Marie Loves x Cross Pens

It’s the simple things that really make life so rich: Drinking coffee from a French press in the morning. Listening to Briar’s little voice tell me stories. Going on adventures with my two babies. Shooting and editing photos. Listening to my favorite podcasts. Decorating my tiny but cozy home. Target runs (especially of the solo variety). Long conversations with my husband. Shopping with my mom. Drinking wine. Dancing until my feet hurt. Making things with my own two hands. Crawling into a warm bed at night.

The Grass Is Greener Where You Water It | Ann-Marie Loves x Cross Pens

One of the easiest ways for me to focus on how green my own grass really is is by writing down memories in my kids’ individual baby journals. We started a journal for Briar before she was born and we continued the tradition with Landon. I don’t write in them everyday or even every week, but whenever I carve out a few minutes to reflect on their milestones and how proud and in love I am with them, my sense of gratitude spills over into every aspect of my life. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy: the more I express gratitude, the more things I have to be grateful for!

The Grass Is Greener Where You Water It | Ann-Marie Loves x Cross Pens

It only took thirty years but I’ve finally seen the light.

This post was sponsored by CrossPens but all opinions, ideas, and photos are my own.

december daily 2016.

Posted on: Friday, December 9, 2016

December Daily 2016 | Ann-Marie Loves

Every time we move, I curse myself for having so many scrapbooks and craft supplies. They’re so much fun to play with but good lord, they are such a pain to move and find room for. That being said, I decided to take a more practical approach with my December Daily this year. Instead of starting a new album, I am just adding a December Daily portion to my ongoing 2016 album. I figure that this will be the easiest way for me to stick with it AND save some space in the closet. Additionally, Briar loves paging this particular album so I know this will get a lot of attention long after December passes.

Here’s the first spread:

December Daily 2016 | Ann-Marie Loves

It wouldn’t be complete unless there was a ton of color!

December Daily 2016 | Ann-Marie Loves

For the introductory page, I am using one of my all-time favorite papers from Amy Tangerine’s Oh Happy Life collection. As soon as I saw it, I put it aside for this particular project knowing that it would be the perfect palette for my version of Christmas. I also used a die cut tag, a Crate Paper pinwheel sticker that I’ve been hoarding for years, and Amy’s holiday stamps.

December Daily 2016 | Ann-Marie Loves

December Daily 2016 | Ann-Marie Loves

Instead of doing a strict daily format, I’m doing an “almost daily” format. Basically, I’m too scatterbrained at the moment to be that disciplined with documenting everyday so I’m just going to wing it and call it good ;) For this page, I used three different photos and added the “love,” “merry,” and yellow paint swipe using my Hand-Lettered Holiday Digital Brushes. I only had about an hour to pull all this together so using the brushes on my before I printed helped to bring in fun design elements without having to dig through my stash.

December Daily 2016 | Ann-Marie Loves

I woke up this morning excited to look at what I made last night. I’m eager to add more to this album! Stay tuned.

 

 

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