Entries Tagged as 'life happens'

as of late | april edition.

Posted on: Wednesday, April 15, 2015

As of Late | Ann-Marie Loves

Gorgeous florals by The Design Hunters.

Reflecting back on such a fun Saturday night spent dancing myself silly at a family wedding. I have absolutely no shame. NONE.

Marveling with amazement (and terror) at my baby who army crawls all over the place. Baby proofing is now in full-effect!

Watching the season premieres of Veep and Silicon Valley on HBO GO. Cable, what’s that?

Listening to episode after episode of The Girl Next Door podcast. I think “shoot the breeze-style” pods (new abbrev) are my favorite style of pod. P.S. A list of my favorite shows!

Learning so much (and laughing so much) from Laura Miller! I discovered her show Raw. Vegan. Not Gross. on Tastemade and can’t get enough of her quirky yet approachable take on healthy eating.

Raising my glass to this Truthbomb.

Pulling the trigger on a brand new camera…! A big mama one…! No turning back now.

Enjoying the longer stretches of sleep I’m getting at night! I’m sure that I’m jinxing this, but Briar seems to have turned a corner with all the new solid foods in her diet. Girl can suddenly put away 9-10 hours a night! (insert all the prayer hand emojis!)

Loving three recent purchases from Target: reusable silicone squeeze pouches for Miss Briar “don’t even try to feed me with a spoon” Espinoza, Happy Yogis yogurt + fruit snacks (Briar and I share them!), and this banana print baby romper that just about made my life.

Ordering a bunch of prints and revisiting an old friend: scrapbooking.

Feeling pleased as punch with my new favorite nail polish color (currently adorning my fingernails).

Wanting to try this strawberry basil farro salad. (And then follow it up with key lime bars!)

Wearing this black jumpsuit every other day (or is it everyday?). It’s so comfy AND it’s nursing friendly. All the things that I care about in my life.

Looking forward to a trip down to San Diego this weekend! It’s been way too long and I’m way too excited.

Working on my photography website as well as dreaming up a baby / kids-related shop (think prints, invitations, decor, and more!) that will debut shortly. Yay for new adventures!

happy place | pasadena.

Posted on: Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Spontaneous Adventures | Pasadena | Ann-Marie Loves

Spontaneous Adventures | Pasadena | Ann-Marie Loves

I’m pretty sure the secret to happiness is this: waking up and deciding on a whim that your day must include a spontaneous adventure. Then, pursuing such spontaneous adventures. That’s exactly what Briar and I did yesterday, after realizing that it had been far too long since we last visited Pasadena. So I buckled her into her car seat and off we went!

Spontaneous Adventures | Pasadena | Ann-Marie Loves

Spontaneous Adventures | Pasadena | Ann-Marie Loves

Spontaneous Adventures | Pasadena | Ann-Marie Loves

Spontaneous Adventures | Pasadena | Ann-Marie Loves

Spontaneous Adventures | Pasadena | Ann-Marie Loves

Spontaneous Adventures | Pasadena | Ann-Marie Loves

We hit up some of our favorite spots: a latte and toast at Lavender + Honey, a little shopping at Tiny Universe, and a walk through some of the most charming neighborhoods in town. There’s something about getting out of the house and being in a beautiful place that energizes me and puts me in a fresh frame of mind. I need to do this more often…

how to do disneyland with an infant | part two.

Posted on: Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Yesterday I shared my best tips for bringing an infant to Disneyland and today I’m sharing the details of what I pack for my seven month old.

How to Do Disneyland with an Infant | What to Pack | Ann-Marie Loves

Food + Supplies. Like I mentioned before, Briar is now at the age where we can alternate nursing with feeding her solid foods. The combination of the two makes for a pretty smooth Disneyland day. For a seven month old, I pack a sandwich-sized Ziploc bag of Cheerios, a banana, and a small bowl and spoon. The Cheerios are great for keeping her entertained while the adults eat or we wait in line. The banana is great for multiple meals throughout the day (I only cut off a small portion each time, mix it up in her bowl with a little water, and feed it to her with a spoon). I chose a banana over other fruits and vegetables because it comes in it’s own container, doesn’t need to be refrigerated, and can be easily mashed up. I also pack a small sippy cup that I fill with a little bit of water so she has something to drink when eating solids. And then of course, I bring two bibs, because it’s easier than changing her outfit fourteen times a day.

How to Do Disneyland with an Infant | What to Pack | Ann-Marie Loves

Toiletries + “Just In Case” Supplies. The thing about babies is, you never really know what they’re going to do while at Disneyland. Will they have gas? Will they soil their clothes within the first five minutes? Will they (god forbid) get sick? Since I’m never sure what’s coming down the pike, I like to come prepared. For a full day at Disneyland, I bring a minimum of ten diapers and a travel-size pack of wipes. I keep these necessities (as well as a waterproof changing matsunscreen, and a million pacifiers) in a small zip bag that I throw in my backpack since I’m usually the one that takes Briar to the restroom.

How to Do Disneyland with an Infant | What to Pack | Ann-Marie Loves

In addition to the immediate necessities, I pack a nose bulb, Boogie Wipes, gas drops, and Tylenol. Since I hope not to use these things but still like to have them on hand, I put them in a Ziploc bag and keep it in John’s backpack (where all of our non-immediate items hang out). I should also mention that I always have a bottle of Babyganics hand sanitizer in the pocket of our stroller caddy, because, well, GERMS.

P.S. In case you forget any of these items of simply don’t want to bring them, you can always purchase them through the Baby Care Center on Main Street.

How to Do Disneyland with an Infant | What to Pack | Ann-Marie Loves

Clothes. So here’s the part of the packing where I inevitably lose track of time…baby clothes are just too cute! For a warm day at Disneyland, I bring two extra onesies, two pairs of leggings, a sweater or sweatshirt, extra socks, pajamas, a floppy hat, and sunglasses. I like to keep Briar’s outfits as fuss-free as possible, so I avoid anything with too many snaps or buttons. If I’m really on my game, I’ll change Briar into her pajamas before we head home so the transition from car seat to crib is as seamless as possible. I should also mention that I always pack at least two plastic bags (shopping or Ziploc) in case any items of clothing get wet…or worse (EEK).

How to Do Disneyland with an Infant | What to Pack | Ann-Marie Loves

Carrier. I have a Boba wrap (shown above) and an Ergo and I honestly love them both equally. The Boba would be great if you want to pack light and plan on wearing your baby most of the day, so you don’t have to tie / untie the several yards of fabric over and over again. That’s what I used when Briar was two months old and just a tiny little thing. On the other hand, the Ergo is perfect if you plan on keeping your baby in the stroller during the majority of your trip since it can be easily taken on / off and stashed in the stroller storage compartment when not in use. I also find that it’s much easier to nurse in an Ergo than a wrap because I can loosen the straps quickly and snap the hood in place for extra privacy. No matter which carrier you prefer, this is one of the most important items you can bring to ensure a successful day at Disneyland.

How to Do Disneyland with an Infant | What to Pack | Ann-Marie Loves

Toys. Disneyland is bright! And colorful! And stimulating! But sometimes it’s nice to have some familiarity on hand to keep your baby from completely losing her mind. I always bring Briar a handful of her favorite toys, but the clincher is, they have to be able to hook on to her stroller by way of this wonderful teething necklace. Not only do the toys remain in her stroller (and not on the ground), but she can also chew on the beads and soothe those poor little gums.

With a little planning and prep work, taking an infant to Disneyland is completely doable! I cannot recommend it enough!

how to do disneyland with an infant | part one.

Posted on: Monday, March 30, 2015

How to Do Disneyland with an Infant | Ann-Marie Loves

I know, I know. The thought of taking an infant to an overpriced, overcrowded, overstimulating environment makes some people break out in hives. I totally get it. But I can also confirm that despite all of those things, it is 100% WORTH it. I’m a big believer in taking Briar (almost) everywhere I go, and as a result, she’s become my laid back, highly adaptable co-pilot.

Here are a few things I’ve learned about taking an infant to Disneyland:

How to Do Disneyland with an Infant | Ann-Marie Loves

Plan meals ahead of time. Briar is now at a perfect stage where I can alternate nursing with solid foods, which makes the whole day so much easier than when I had to stop and nurse her every two hours. For a half day with a seven month old, I packed one banana (along with a small bowl and a baby spoon) and a Ziploc bag of Cheerios. Both of those foods lasted quite some time and kept Briar thoroughly entertained and satiated. I also packed a sippy cup that I would fill with water so she could take a few sips (slash pour the rest all over the place) whenever she had a solid food meal or snack.

How to Do Disneyland with an Infant | Ann-Marie Loves

Bring the stroller AND the carrier (and grandma). When it comes to getting around and keeping your baby happy, you need options. Now that Briar is old enough to sit up and face forward in her stroller, it’s like a whole new world for her (and me!). We have a Britax B-Agile which I absolutely love because it’s lightweight, folds up easily, the seat can be adjusted upright or laid down with a simple pull, and the shade is huge (meaning my pale baby is safe from the sun / given privacy during naps). The stroller does the bulk of the work throughout the day, but when it comes to taking Briar on rides, nursing her on the go (it can be done!), or calming her when she’s fussy, that’s when the carrier comes in handy. I usually bring the Ergo, but I also love the Boba wrap as well. However, if I’m being honest, the best transportation of all is in the arms of Nana…always bring Nana ;)

How to Do Disneyland with an Infant | Ann-Marie Loves

Skip the tram and walk. If ever given the choice to walk or ride, I always walk, because, well, I just like walking. However, this is particularly handy when you have a stroller in tow. The walk from the parking structure to the park gates is approximately 10-15 minutes and is much easier (in my opinion) than waiting in line for the front seats of the tram and having to fold / unfold your stroller. Consider it your warm-up for the walking marathon you are about to embark upon.

How to Do Disneyland with an Infant | Ann-Marie Loves

Take advantage of the Baby Care Center. This place is amazing. There’s a private nursing area with comfy chairs, there’s a diaper changing station, there are high chairs, there’s a place to store your pump…Disney has thoroughly thought out the baby situation. I think my favorite part about it is being able to sit in a quiet, air-conditioned space with my little one, free from any distractions. Other great (semi-private) places to nurse: Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, the train, the back corner of Hungry Bear Restaurant, the Haunted Mansion, or any ride that you can wear your baby in a carrier.

How to Do Disneyland with an Infant | Ann-Marie Loves

Bring comfort items. Since Disneyland can be incredibly stimulating, it’s nice to have comfort items at the ready for when your little one needs a reprieve. I always make sure that we have several pacifiers on hand (at least half of them end up on the ground), small toys that can be attached to the stroller, and a few lightweight blankets for nap time. Whenever Briar has had enough, I’ll take her to the Baby Care Center for a little peace and quiet or I’ll lay her in her stroller and pull the shades down so some of the noise and lights are blocked.

How to Do Disneyland with an Infant | Ann-Marie Loves

Ride those rides! There are SO many rides you can actually take babies on. I have had an annual pass for years and I had no idea how many rides babies could board! I’m not just talking about Fantasyland rides, I’m talking about the Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean, and any others that do not have a height restriction. The other great feature Disneyland offers for parents of babies is a Rider Switch Pass. Let’s say you and your significant other want to ride Space Mountain: you simply request a Rider Switch Pass when you get in line and then both of you can alternate riding with watching the baby. Win win, right?

How to Do Disneyland with an Infant | Ann-Marie Loves

Pack lightly. Babies require a lot of stuff; the packing list alone can be intimidating! But it’s important to keep in mind that if you bring too much into the park, you’ll spend the whole day schlepping big bags in and out of crowds and lines and tight spaces, and really, that’s a huge buzz kill. After a handful of trips to Disneyland with Briar, I think I’ve finally figured out what works best for John and me: I bring my everyday bag (similar to this) to carry all the immediate essentials (diapers, wipes, pacifiers) and John brings a bigger backpack to carry the less immediate essentials (spare clothes, the camera, a bowl + spoon for Briar). We also utilize the storage underneath the stroller for bulky items, like the Ergo or our sweatshirts. Whenever we need to park the stroller to get in a ride line, we don’t worry about leaving anything behind because we keep almost everything on our person already. If you want to carry even less, you can always rent a locker or store extras in your car for later. (Tomorrow I’ll share all the details of what I pack!)

How to Do Disneyland with an Infant | Ann-Marie Loves

Roll with it. I’ve decided that you can look at bringing babies along to Disneyland in one of two ways: you can either look at it as a major hassle OR you can choose see it as a wonderful adventure for the whole family! I choose to view it through the latter perspective. There’s a lot of prep work that goes on, but it’s always worth it in the end! (Plus, babies are free until they’re three!)

why i love babywearing.

Posted on: Thursday, March 12, 2015

Why I Love Babywearing | Ann-Marie Loves

Babywearing has been a total joy for me and Briar. I think I always knew it would be a handy, but I didn’t realize just how much I would love it.

When Briar was a tiny thing, I used my Boba wrap to keep her securely snuggled next to me. Not only did the wrap make it easy for me to get things done while holding her, it also facilitated plenty of skin-to-skin time…so amazing! Then, as she got a little bigger and gained better head and neck control (around 3 months), I found the Ergo to be the appropriate carrier since I could put it on and take it off much faster than the wrap.

Why I Love Babywearing | Ann-Marie Loves

There are so many perks to wearing Briar versus buckling her into the stroller or carrying her in my arms. For one, it’s a million times easier to get through a crowded place (Trader Joe’s, I’m looking at you) sans bulky stroller. Then there’s the whole germ aspect. When she’s snuggled against me, I can limit her exposure to other people and their germs (this was especially helpful during the recent measles outbreak!). And then, of course, there are many times when she’s fussy or I just want her near me, so I’ll put her in the Ergo and we’re both happy. It’s amazing how mutually beneficial the experience is!

Why I Love Babywearing | Ann-Marie Loves

Lately, as we near Briar’s bedtime and she needs that extra bit of help to fall asleep, I’ll buckle her into the Ergo as I clean up the house, brush my teeth, and get us both ready for bed. Usually that’s all it takes to put her fast asleep. Those ten to fifteen minutes of quiet time are some of the best moments of my day.

There are so many simple pleasures that I’ve discovered since becoming a mom and babywearing is certainly at the top of the list!

bedside basket for baby.

Posted on: Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Bedside Basket for Baby | Ann-Marie Loves

Before I had Briar, I made a huge checklist of all things I needed to purchase and pull together prior to her arrival. There was a crib to assemble. A closet to organize. A car seat to install. A diaper bag to pack. These were all necessities, of course, but the most useful things came as a result of living with a nocturnal, ever-hungry, spit-up baby.

Case in point: the bedside basket.

Bedside Basket for Baby | Ann-Marie Loves

When Briar was a newborn and I had to wake her every 2-3 hours for a feeding, I was a bit of a zombie. I savored any amount of sleep I could get, which often meant we kept weird hours in bed (think late nights and early afternoons…!). As a result, the only way I was able to get up for 3 am feedings was knowing that I had a tasty snack waiting for me…Lara bars and apples were a mainstay. I quickly realized that not only was it handy to have these nearby for late night energy, but they were great to have by my bed for a breakfast snack in the morning (er, early afternoon). I also stashed a handful of burp rags, a few diapers, an extra swaddle blanket, and 5 million pacifiers in the basket as well.

Bedside Basket for Baby | Ann-Marie Loves

Now that she’s six months old and sleeps in her own room (but comes in our room for feedings), the basket contents have slightly changed. These days I keep a video monitor, a couple of quiet(ish) books and toys for entertaining her while I try to sneak in a little extra sleep in the morning, a burp rag or two, a few diapers, a nose bulb, and of course, a small stash of pacifiers. It’s so great having all the essentials corralled nicely within arm’s reach.

Bedside Basket for Baby | Ann-Marie Loves

Getting out of bed is overrated.

workspace wednesday | sharing + boundaries.

Posted on: Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Ann-Marie Loves

Last week Elise and I discussed establishing boundaries. Boundaries between work life + personal life. Boundaries between what to share publicly vs. what to keep to ourselves. Boundaries between listening to outside opinions vs. going with our gut. It’s the kind of topic that we could easily have discussed for hours on end! As I re-listened to the episode (and p.s., is there anything more cringeworthy than hearing your own voice?!), all I could think was, no matter how much or how little each person on this planet wants to share, I love that we have the ability to share our stories. I love that we have the ability to determine our own personal boundaries. And I love that as we evolve and grow, we can always change where the boundary line is drawn.

The past year or so has made my head spin and I’ve had one heck of a time getting focused. There have been countless days where I’ve felt completely lost and overwhelmed by all that I’ve taken on and all that I still have ahead of me. It’s exhausting being your own worst enemy, isn’t it? Luckily, just when I think I’m the last person in the world who doesn’t have her shit together, I am reminded that I am not the only one. Far from it, actually. Thanks to people who are willing to share their stories, be it through podcasts, blogs, or books, I find comfort and camaraderie amongst strangers. There is tremendous peace to be found in others’ perspectives.

Right now I’m reading an amazing book called Breathing Room and I find myself taking a screenshot of nearly every single page (Kindle app on my iPhone for the win!). There are so many passages from the book that are like permission slips for me to feel the way that I feel. Here’s one of my favorite quotes:

“Letting others in is a better way to live, even though it requires bringing down our defenses and allowing for the possibility that being seen and being known might be more meaningful than being in control.” – Leeana Tankersley

Sharing is caring, y’all. Thank you for letting me share slivers of my story with you. xo

 

briar turns six months old!

Posted on: Monday, February 9, 2015

Briar is Six Months! | Ann-Marie Loves
Briar is Six Months! | Ann-Marie Loves
Briar is Six Months! | Ann-Marie Loves
Briar is Six Months! | Ann-Marie Loves
Briar is Six Months! | Ann-Marie Loves
Briar is Six Months! | Ann-Marie Loves
Briar is Six Months! | Ann-Marie Loves
Briar is Six Months! | Ann-Marie Loves
Briar is Six Months! | Ann-Marie Loves
Briar is Six Months! | Ann-Marie Loves
Briar is Six Months! | Ann-Marie Loves

WOW. Time is flying. I can hardly believe that it’s been half a year since I met my golden girl for the first time. We’re only one day in, but I can attest that six months is the best age! Briar is a smiling, giggling, rolling, babbling, napping (!) machine and I am so in love.

as of late | february edition.

Posted on: Tuesday, February 3, 2015

As of Late | February Edition | Ann-Marie Loves

Reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up after a big move and feeling inspired to part with half of our belongings. Insta-sale, anyone?

Loving my new wash-and-go haircut. Getting ready in the morning has never been easier!

Watching Briar sleep in her own bed in her own room (at last!), thanks to the magic of video monitors. Even though the night vision is a little (okay, a lot) creepy-looking, I sleep better knowing I can see her sleep better with the click of a button.

Thinking that this is the greatest gift a child could give their parent.

Enjoying this unseasonably warm (even for Southern California) winter. It always feels good to roll the windows down in the middle of January.

Already dreaming of the day I get to decorate a big girl room for Briar. How amazing is this room by Joni of Lay Baby Lay?

Looking forward to Valentine’s Day! Sure, it’s a made-up card holiday, but it’s a holiday nonetheless!

Feeling better and better now that I’ve rejoined the gym and can take my favorite Zumba classes again!

Wishing this insanely cute dress came in my size!

Wanting to try out this edamame guacamole dip.

Spending waaaaay too much time on my phone these days. I need to hide my iPhone from myself…

Mourning the end of my favorite TV show of all time, Parenthood. Anytime I want to feel all the feelings, I’ll re-watch the finale. Holy moly, what an ending.

Thinking that I will never tire of “Uptown Funk.” I said the same thing about “Treasure” and I could still listen to that song on repeat (number 20 would probably agree).

Putting my 2015 printable calendar and holiday stamp digital brushes on deep discount!

daily coffee routine.

Posted on: Thursday, January 29, 2015

Daily Coffee Routine | Ann-Marie Loves

Aside from wanting to pay off bills, get back in shape, and be the best mom that I can possibly be, my big resolution for 2015 is to drink good coffee. Like, really good coffee. And given the fact that I haven’t had a full night’s sleep since August, I feel like my hipster coffee habit is more than justified…it’s essential.

When I told John about my resolution, he listened and signed me up with a craft coffee subscription. (What a guy, that John.) I’m still on my first installment and it is exactly what I was hoping for! Ingredient wise, I like my coffee to be pretty simple: just coffee + 2% milk. But thanks to a few awesome tools and tricks, I’ve learned how to take a regular cup of joe to the next level. Here’s what my morning coffee routine looks like:

Daily Coffee Routine | Ann-Marie Loves

I start by filling the bottom of my stovetop coffee maker with fresh water. Then, I place the hole-y filter (proper term, I’m sure ;)) on top and fill that with coffee grounds. Finally, I screw the lid onto the base and place it on the stove over high heat to boil.

Daily Coffee Routine | Ann-Marie Loves

Once the coffee begins to boil, it’s ready to be taken off the burner.

Daily Coffee Routine | Ann-Marie Loves

Next, I pour approximately one quarter cup of milk into my mug and foam it up using a handheld milk frother. I’ve learned that the secret to making it work is to hold the frother at an angle just below the surface of the milk and only use it for a very short amount of time (maybe ten seconds?). The longer it froths, the more bubbly and flat it becomes, which defeats the whole point of using this tool in the first place. Truth be told, I’m still learning how to finesse it to perfection.

Daily Coffee Routine | Ann-Marie Loves

Once the milk has been frothed, I pour my hot coffee over the center, grab my breakfast, and begin my day.

(P.S. If you use the code l9b-ye8 at checkout, you can save 15% off your first craft coffee subscription purchase!)

How do you like your coffee?

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