Entries Tagged as 'life happens'

briar’s name.

Posted on: Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Briar Soleil | Ann-Marie Loves | Photos by LaRousse Photo

John and I have been together for almost ten years. TEN YEARS. That decade includes high school, college, post-college, marriage, and now parenthood. In that time, we’ve had maaaaaany a disagreement, but the one thing we both wholeheartedly agreed on? Our baby’s name.

Briar Soleil | Ann-Marie Loves | Photos by LaRousse Photo

Given the fact that naming a human is, uh, a big freaking deal, we had to set some ground rules early on. Any name that we chose had to meet the following criteria:

- phonetic spelling
- absolutely no symbols or punctuation marks (trust me, the struggle is real!)
- had to pass the coffee order test (would a barista be able to understand this name instantly?)
- had to be somewhat unique

Briar Soleil | Ann-Marie Loves | Photos by LaRousse Photo

My favorite girl’s name over the past couple of years has been Soleil. I love the sound of it, I love the spelling of it, I love the meaning of it. But after running it by my friends and realizing not everyone immediately knew how to pronounce it, I decided it would be far better suited as a middle name. Luckily, John’s favorite name, Briar, complemented Soleil perfectly. The name Briar was unique; it felt modern and classic at the same time. It was unlike anything we had ever heard before, but not so outlandish that it would haunt her forever. We were both in agreement: if we were lucky enough to have a daughter one day, her name was going to be Briar Soleil.

Briar Soleil | Ann-Marie Loves | Photos by LaRousse Photo

So when I found out I was pregnant last November, I not-so-secretly hoped for a girl. “Please please please let it be a Briar Soleil” was all I could think (aside from “OHMYGODWHATAMIDOING?!”). We had our girl’s name on lock.

Briar Soleil | Ann-Marie Loves | Photos by LaRousse Photo

Ever since the night that we knew the baby was a girl, we referred to her as Briar. We spent countless hours throughout my pregnancy dreaming out loud about what she would look like, what she would sound like, what she would be like. She was such a mystery to us and all we could do was hope that her name would fit her well.

On August 8th, after going two weeks past my due date and feeling like we would never meet her, we finally locked eyes with our daughter for the first time and we knew: she was our Briar Soleil.

Photos by the amazing La Rousse Photo

glassware hutch makeover.

Posted on: Monday, October 13, 2014

Glassware Hutch Makeover | Ann-Marie Loves

Good news, guys: the nesting instinct is still live and kicking! (Insert a million “thumbs up” emojis here). My free time may be more limited these days, but I am still very much obsessed with making this house a home for my little family.

The other day, I decided to take advantage of one of Briar’s midday naps and paint the back wall of our dining room hutch. It was a simple project that took maybe an hour and only required a single bottle of Martha Stewart craft paint + a paintbrush. As a new mom, I’ve learned that any kind of task that can be started + finished in a single stretch is a major victory!

Glassware Hutch Makeover | Ann-Marie Loves

How it looked before painting the back wall.

The back story behind this hutch: 

A few weeks after moving to Pasadena, I spotted it abandoned on the curb and instantly knew it had to be mine. I had SO MANY pieces of glassware from our wedding just sitting in boxes…needless to say, the timing could not have been better! Sure, the hutch wasn’t perfect and the brown paint job was, well, not exactly my favorite. But the price point! (Or lack thereof.) It was truly meant to be. So I convinced John to help me lug it in the house and it’s been sitting in our dining space ever since.

Glassware Hutch Makeover | Ann-Marie Loves

I still have grand plans of painting the whole thing white + then wallpapering the back wall, but in the meantime, the bright pop of aqua is totally filling that void. I love the color that it brings to our dining room and I am so thrilled with the way it showcases my glassware!

Glassware Hutch Makeover | Ann-Marie Loves

Nesting instinct, feel free to stay forever.

diaper bag essentials | infant edition.

Posted on: Friday, October 10, 2014

Diaper Bag Essentials | Infant Edition | Ann-Marie Loves

Before I had Briar, I imagined that packing a diaper bag for a Trader Joe’s run would mean packing her entire closet and a whole case of diapers. You know, just in case. Fast forward to the first time I left the house with her in tow and I instantly realized I really only needed a handful of essential items. This is part of the reason I switched from using an oversized bag like this to a striped canvas purse that I’ve had for years (shown above). Not only is this bag smaller and easier to throw items into, but it also fits nicely in the compartment under the stroller or hanging from a Mommy Hook. GAME CHANGER.

Briar’s diaper bag is always packed and ready to go with these essential items:

Diaper Bag Essentials | Infant Edition | Ann-Marie Loves

Diapers. Obvious choice, yes. I still don’t have a particular brand that I buy from consistently, but these adorable Honest diapers get the job done pretty well. I always keep at least three on hand for short trips.

Wipes. When we’re at home, we use soft paper towels and a small water bottle to clean Briar during changings, but for on-the-go purposes, we use travel-size packs of Honest wipes. The resealable packaging makes it perfect for diaper changes on the fly.

Portable Changing Pad. Since we’re not always near a restroom, I pack a portable changing pad for clean-ups in her stroller, on the ground, in the trunk, or anywhere else, and then throw it in the laundry when we get home. (P.S. plastic bags are perfect for storing these kinds of soiled items in the diaper bag until you get home!)

Hand sanitizer. I think hand sanitizers are pretty self-explanatory but such a crucial part of the diaper bag experience ;) This travel-size option from Babyganics is my favorite.

Aden + Anais Swaddle Blankets. I am POSITIVE that one can never have enough of these swaddle blankets! We use them for everything from swaddling to draping over the car seat to protect Briar’s eyes from the sun to covering up while nursing to keeping her warm when we go out on evening walks. The versatility factor is top notch.

Squeaky toys. Typically Briar is NOT a fan of diaper changes, unless we can distract her with a noisy toy, such as this adorable squeaky elephant or anything with a chime inside of it. Distractions are KEY.

Cloth rags. Given the fact that I have a spit-up baby on my hands, I could really use a lifetime supply of these cloth rags. I have them stashed all around the house and keep at least two in the diaper bag at all times.

Pacifiers. This is the one item we don’t DARE leave home without. Against the advice of our baby class nurses and everything we read about newborns, we introduced these NUK pacifiers on day two and haven’t looked back since. They calm Briar down in an instant which makes for one happy family ;)

Change of clothes. My poor summer baby still has yet to experience cold weather, but for chilly nights + overly air conditioned public places, a light sweater is important to have on hand. This particular sweater was a Baby Gap find and I will most likely cry the day that she outgrows it…that’s how much I love it! I also have two onesies in my bag because this girl is the queen of multiple daily wardrobe changes!

What are your favorite items for your little one(s)?

pumping for the win.

Posted on: Friday, September 26, 2014

Breastfeeding is a Learning Curve | Ann-Marie Loves + Ameda Purely Yours Pump

The first few days after Briar was born, the two of us struggled with nursing. Oh man, we struggled.

My tiny little peanut of a daughter turned into a ravenous piranha anytime she sensed food was close at hand, leaving my chest a little (read: A LOT) sore. Then we began having latching issues. Then John and I found out that Briar had lost nearly 10% of her birth weight and we were instructed to chunk that baby back up…STAT.

Enter: my Ameda pump.

Breastfeeding is a Learning Curve | Ann-Marie Loves + Ameda Purely Yours Pump

Talk about total game changer.

Suddenly I was able to feed my child on a regular schedule. I was able to measure just how much milk she was consuming. John and I were able to alternate middle of the night feedings since he could give her a bottle of pumped milk. And selfishly, I was able to take a break from painful feedings for a moment while still keeping my milk supply up.

Within two days of every-two-hour feedings, we plumped our Briar girl up another six ounces. S I X. I’ve had many proud moments in my life, but hearing that number as the pediatrician laid her on the scale is a top contender for proudest moment. When the doctor left the room, John and I high-fived. Teamwork! Thanks to the pump, we were no longer in the scary red zone of infant weight loss. I now had a little more wiggle room to regroup and give nursing another shot…

Breastfeeding is a Learning Curve | Ann-Marie Loves + Ameda Purely Yours Pump

Fast forward six weeks and we’ve got a pretty solid rhythm down. Nursing now feels like second nature, but I still pump a bottle every single day for John to give to Briar before he heads off to work. This not only allows for some important father / daughter bonding time, but it also lets me get in a 6-7 hour stretch of sleep! (Unheard of, I know!) I’m not exaggerating when I say that pumping has truly been the key to surviving the newborn stage.

This post was sponsored by Ameda, but the ideas + opinions are all my own. Ameda + United Healthcare have recently teamed up with Target to offer moms the ability to pick up their breast pump at their local Target pharmacy! You can find out more about this collaboration here!

six weeks.

Posted on: Friday, September 19, 2014

Six Weeks of Briar | Ann-Marie Loves

Today marks six weeks with Briar and everything has new meaning.

Our days are still punctuated with the standard newborn agenda (feedings, diaper changes, and lots of naps), but at this stage in the game, she’s much more receptive and vocal about these experiences. Despite any sleep deprivation I may have, I’m making a conscious effort to really be present and enjoy each moment + milestone while they’re here. When I went two weeks past my due date, those extra thirteen days felt like an eternity. But six weeks of having her here? LIGHTNING FAST.

Six Weeks of Briar | Ann-Marie Loves

Six Weeks of Briar | Ann-Marie Loves

Briar’s personality is slowly starting to emerge and it’s such an amazing privilege to bear witness to her discovering the world. I try to remember that life is literally BRAND NEW to her. The other day the phone rang and as she looked at me with wide-eyed wonder, I realized she had never heard such a sound before! There’s so much that I take for granted that I’m suddenly revisiting with new eyes.

We’re still working on balancing sleep with feedings, but lately we’ve been staying up until 3 am. It may seem a little crazy, but I really do enjoy that time with her. We listen to the playlist I put together for her (“Isn’t She Lovely” and “St. Judy’s Comet” are in heavy rotation), we snuggle together, and every once in awhile, she let’s me get some work done! I know life won’t always be this way, so I’m rolling with it.

Six Weeks of Briar | Ann-Marie Loves

Six Weeks of Briar | Ann-Marie Loves

At six weeks old, she’s staying awake much longer and learning new “tricks” seemingly overnight. For instance, on Tuesday she could only hold her head up for a few seconds without falling back down. By Wednesday, she could sit upright for long stretches without any additional neck support from John or me! Proud parent moment right there.

Her brown hair is starting to fall out and is giving way to what appears to be blonde roots. It’s hard to tell which parent she looks more like, but with blue eyes, incoming blonde hair, and a fiery temper, I think she’s officially my daughter :)

Six Weeks of Briar | Ann-Marie Loves

Six Weeks of Briar | Ann-Marie Loves

Babies, you guys. Such a wild and wonderful adventure.

dear lizzy projects.

Posted on: Wednesday, September 10, 2014

DIY Geometric Banner | Ann-Marie Loves

Before Briar arrived, I went into serious laser focus mode and cranked out as many projects as I possibly could. In fact, the night before I was induced (I didn’t know I would be induced), I stayed up late mopping the whole house, deep cleaning the kitchen sink, reorganizing the coat closet, and crossing items off my to-do list like nobody’s biz. I don’t know if I’ve ever been (or will ever be again!) so productive in my life! Now I’m thanking Pregnant Ann-Marie for plowing through those projects because lord knows that Mom-of-a-Newborn Ann-Marie considers having her coffee before 4pm a major accomplishment. But it’s all good, I promise :)

Some of my favorite projects that I managed to eke out pre-Briar were these three tutorials:

DIY Ribbon Weaving | Ann-Marie Loves

Woven Ribbon Wall Hanging. I think we all know by now that I love a good weaving project. Using ribbon instead of yarn was definitely a bit of a challenge, but with colors like those found in this ribbon set, it was well worth the extra effort!

Clothepin Wall Decor | Ann-Marie Loves

Clothespin Wall Decor. Decorating Briar’s nursery will forever be one of my all-time favorite ongoing projects. I love adding new touches here and there, so when I saw these adorable clothespins, I knew they would bring in a little playfulness to the spot above Briar’s changing table.

DIY Geometric Banner | Ann-Marie Loves

Geometric Banner. When it comes to pretty patterned paper and my Cameo, I simply cannot be stopped. I found this awesome shape designed by Amy Robison in the Silhouette store and had to give it a whirl. Now the banner hangs in my office (next to the much-asked-about bunny vase!) and makes me happy :)

as of late | september edition.

Posted on: Wednesday, September 3, 2014

As of Late | September Edition | Ann-Marie Loves

Hi! Hi! Hi!

Missing: blogging! I feel like I have so much to say and share and I’m eager to jump back in on a regular basis. Bear with me if things get a little baby-centric over the next few weeks / months / years ;)

Feeling: so inspired for Autumn after seeing Anthro’s Fall merchandising this past weekend. It makes me want to bake blueberry muffins, knit a blanket (maybe finish this one?), and wear oversized sweaters. If only California Summers would get the memo…

Loving: being a mom. I love it, I love it, I love it. I worried that these first few weeks would do me in, but I’m happy to report that in spite of the exhaustion (oh, it is REAL), they have been downright amazing.

Taking: daily walks, tidying up the house everyday, keeping Larabars at the ready, basking in air conditioning, and letting John take the 6am feeding so I can sleep a longer stretch = the keys to my sanity.

Enjoying: my new lamp from Target. I had my eye on it for awhile, so when the perfect storm of store credit + a 20% discount arose, I jumped on it! It’s always the little things that make the biggest difference, no?

Doing: more laundry than I’ve ever done in my life. Who knew a seven pound baby could fill an entire laundry basket in less than a day?!

Listening: to lots of podcasts, as always. (Are there any good mom or baby related shows I should check out?)

Trying: to decide what’s next for me, career-wise. I definitely feel like I’m at a crossroads and I’m ready for a BIG change.

Itching: to learn how to sew baby clothes! Dresses, rompers, vests…I want to make everything! See Kate Sew’s tutorials have been fueling this desire like nobody’s business.

Dreaming: of the holiday season. So many crafts I want to make! So many photos I want to take! So many places I want to go! Having a little one makes everything more exciting.

Strangely: fascinated by all the surfing videos from the giant waves that hit the California coast last week, especially this one!

Getting: my money’s worth out of my 50mm f/1.8 lens and my new iPhone 5s (first upgrade in three years!) as I photograph Briar’s every move. The kid’s less than a month old and we already have hundreds of photos of her…!

Designing: new stamps for September. I’ll be taking the August edition stamps down on Friday, so get them while you still can!

Wondering: what kind of posts you would like to see on this blog? Any specific topics or tutorials in mind? I would love it if you could help me build my editorial calendar (my brain is just a wee bit fried these days ;))!

how i imagined it to be.

Posted on: Tuesday, August 19, 2014

So much about these last few weeks did not go as I had envisioned.

Thoughts on Having a Baby | Ann-Marie Loves

I always imagined that my baby would come early. At 41 weeks and 6 days, she certainly had other plans.

Thoughts on Having a Baby | Ann-Marie Loves

I always imagined that the doctor I had seen my entire pregnancy would be the one to deliver my baby. She was not (even doctors need to take family vacations). Instead it was the most amazing, encouraging doctor who totally went above and beyond to make sure I was taken care of. He’s truly the best (and definitely the person I want to deliver all my future babies!).

Thoughts on Having a Baby | Ann-Marie Loves

I always imagined that I would go into labor naturally and John would have to rush me to the hospital in the middle of the night. Instead, I was induced in the middle of the afternoon on a random Thursday. I had a doctor’s appointment at 11 am and by 2:45 pm, I was hooked up to pitocin and starting my 17 hour labor.

Thoughts on Having a Baby | Ann-Marie Loves

I always imagined that labor would be blindingly painful from start to finish. While it was painful at times, the rest of it was amazingly peaceful and relaxing thanks to the dream drug known as the EPIDURAL. I was able to sleep and allow my body to do what it needed to do without my interfering. The craziest thing is, while I remember certain parts being excruciating, within hours of giving birth, I couldn’t even tell you what the pain felt like. The amnesia is REAL.

Thoughts on Having a Baby | Ann-Marie Loves

I always imagined I would burst into tears of joy upon meeting my baby for the first time. While there was certainly intense joy, I was primarily overcome with a different emotion: RELIEF. I remember seeing Briar as they placed her on my chest and saying “OMG! It’s a baby!” and feeling so relieved that she was finally out. It was a magical moment, tears or no tears.

Thoughts on Having a Baby | Ann-Marie Loves

I always imagined that staying in a hospital would be scary. Instead it was completely mundane, if not boring. All of my nurses and doctors were incredible, but being stuck in a cramped little room for two days was enough to make John and me go stir crazy.

Thoughts on Having a Baby | Ann-Marie Loves

I always imagined that John and I would have a black-haired baby. Ha! Not quite. Briar was born with light brown hair and a full head of blonde highlights. With each new day, her hair gets blonder and blonder. Look at my pale genes go!

Thoughts on Having a Baby | Ann-Marie Loves

I always imagined that the recovery process would be brutal. Periodically it’s super uncomfortable and inconvenient, but for the most part, it’s completely manageable. P.S. I discovered that Boppy pillows aren’t just useful for nursing, they’re also the perfect shape and size for new mamas to sit on ;)

Thoughts on Having a Baby | Ann-Marie Loves

I always imagined that the exhaustion of caring for a newborn would render me useless in all other areas of life. Thanks in a VERY LARGE part to my doting husband, I’m tired but not entirely beat. By alternating nursing with pumping, I’m able to split the workload with John and get in 3-4 hour stretches of sleep at night. Whenever I find it particularly hard to get out of bed for another feeding, I remind myself that this phase is short-lived and eventually I will sleep again.

Thoughts on Having a Baby | Ann-Marie Loves

I always imagined that breast feeding would be painful. I was totally right…and wrong. The first few days were rough. I started to dread feeding time as I braced myself for the pain of the baby latching on. But after strictly pumping for a day or two and giving my poor chest a much-needed reprieve, I was ready to try traditional feeding again. And what do you know…it wasn’t painful anymore!

Thoughts on Having a Baby | Ann-Marie Loves

I always imagined that I wouldn’t enjoy the newborn phase very much. Instead, I love love love it. I want to keep my little one a tiny seven pound human as long as possible! ;)

P.S. Thank you so much for all of your well-wishes! John and I are having the best time being parents to our sweet little Briar!

she’s here.

Posted on: Friday, August 15, 2014

Baby Announcement | Ann-Marie Loves

A week ago today, this little one was placed on my chest and our lives changed forever. John and I are overwhelmed with love — serious love — for our Briar and are enjoying every beautiful, magical, exhausting moment as a family of three.

august limited edition rubber stamps.

Posted on: Wednesday, August 6, 2014

August 2014 Limited Edition Rubber Stamps | annmarielovespaper.bigcartel.com

So much of these past few weeks have not gone as I had anticipated, but I’m making the best of it! My house is cleaner than it’s ever been, I’m getting as much rest as possible, and I’m still burning through my to-do lists on a daily basis. So really, win-win ;) Thanks to the extra time I was given, I was able to put together five new limited edition stamp designs for the month of August:

August 2014 Limited Edition Rubber Stamps | annmarielovespaper.bigcartel.com

01. Hip Hip Hooray | 02. August | 03. This Is the Best Ever | 04. Hello Sunshine | 05. I’ll Drink to That

You can find these stamps + more over at my shop! xo

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