Entries Tagged as 'life happens'

as of late | march edition.

Posted on: Monday, March 3, 2014

Ann-Marie Loves

Feeling: like this is the week to make things happen! My game face is on.

Rocking: the belly band with my pants now. I can still button them, but only if I decide that breathing is not a necessity.

Agreeing: wholeheartedly with this quote.

Enjoying: the heavy rain / free car wash here in Southern California! It’s such a rarity, there’s no need for anyone to be upset. (Ellen’s bit about it at the Oscar’s….hilariously spot on).

Stumbling: upon amazing new-to-me blogs all the time! It always feels a bit like magic when that happens. Right now I can’t enough of The Makerista, Thou Swell, and Pilgrim. (What blogs are you currently loving?)

Listening: to “Happy” on repeat. If I knew about this song back in October, it SO would have been our recessional song!

Knowing for certain that Baby Gap will be the death of me. A white eyelet dress? A pink cable knit crew sweater? A turquoise printed coat? When will these clothes come in my size?

Grateful: for quality time with my mom these past few weekends. She really is the best.

Still: very much on a Parenthood bender. We just finished up season four and I have to say…it just gets better + better. (P.S. Did I tell you that I saw Joel at a local coffee shop here in Pasadena a few weeks ago? Made my LIFE.)

Craving: eggs. I’ve been eating them daily in the form of hardboiled or scrambled, although all I really want is eggs Benedict. I’ve already got a running list of all the foods that I can’t wait to reintroduce into my diet once the baby gets here.

Loving: the heck out of my handheld milk frother. I make lattes every single morning now and they are divine (if I do say so myself!).

Needing: to run to Target this afternoon to see if they have the latest issue of Domino in stock! And also, to pick up one of everything.

Excited: to read Natalie Holbrook’s forthcoming book.

Compiling: a list of all the crafty things I want to make for the baby, from quilts to nursery decor to cute little beanies. Sweet Paper Crafts and Made by Hand have been a major sources of inspiration!

Planning: a flash sale on all stamps in my shop sometime this week. Stay tuned ;)

workspace wednesday | career goals.

Posted on: Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Happy Here E-Course | Ann-Marie Loves

At any given moment, I can rattle off several items from my laundry list of dreams (buy a new car, turn my blog into a viable source of revenue, save X amount of dollars each month, etc), but it wasn’t until recently that I really pushed myself over the edge and started turning goals into reality. This past December felt like a bit of a throwaway month for me (that brutal first trimester…), but it was also the perfect time for me to take a step back and reevaluate exactly what I wanted to achieve in 2014. I spent a lot of time writing in my journal, setting hard deadlines in my planner, and really envisioning the future I wanted to create for myself and my growing family. Although I have no idea what the future holds or how my plans will change once the baby arrives, I am pretty pumped about these four goals that I currently have in motion:

- One new e-course every month. I have so much fun brainstorming ideas for topics, coming up with a game plan, and bringing it all together, so I set a fairly lofty goal for myself. E-courses are great because even though they are a ton of work up front, it’s all passive income every time the class sells. The best part of all is there’s no ordering, packaging, or shipping involved; I simply send over the link and move on with my day! Plus, one of my pie-in-the-sky dreams is to eventually pen my own book, so I figure this is the perfect training ground until I reach that goal. (P.S. the photo above is a little teaser for my next e-course launching early next week!)

- Five blog posts per week. This is something I’ve been meaning to do for such a long time, but 2014 is the year I pushed myself to really make it happen. And you know what? It’s actually pretty easy! I have a huge list of blog topics that I want to cover, so I make a rough outline each month and fill in the blanks as I best see fit. The more I blog, the more content I come up with, and the more momentum I gain to keep it going day after day!

- Regularly promote my work on social media. Each morning as I settle in with my coffee and laptop, I link up my latest blog post to Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest (and occasionally Instagram, but only if it’s something I REALLY want to share). For so long, I resisted any sort of self-promotion because it felt a bit shameless, but after watching many inspiring people do it in an organic, conversational way, I decided to give it a shot. I’ve found that it’s been an excellent traffic driver (especially Pinterest!) and a great way for me to gauge which posts perform better than others.

- Clean the kitchen everyday. Okay, so maybe this isn’t exactly career-related, but waking up to a squeaky clean sink is one of the best ways to start my day. Sadly, our apartment doesn’t have a dishwasher and washing dishes is the BANE of my existence (right next to unmade beds and towels hung haphazardly on the rack). Regardless, it’s a job that has to be done, so I put on a good podcast, crank it out, and then revel in the amazing sense of satisfaction I feel once the task is complete!

How are you achieving your goals this year? Do tell!

ann-marie loves.

Posted on: Friday, February 14, 2014

Valentine’s Day has always been one of my favorite holidays, even when I was single. I’ve never viewed it as day reserved only for romantic love, but instead, a day to celebrate all the finer things in life. Like paper goods and chocolate-covered everything. So in the spirit of celebrating love, I made a list of nine things that hold a special place in my heart year-round:

Things I Love | Ann-Marie Loves

1. Crafting. Having a lifelong hobby-turned-career that still brings me tremendous satisfaction year after year? I’ll never stop making things.

2. My husband. Okay, so maybe that was an obvious choice, but I really do love this kid. No one makes me laugh harder. No one makes me smile bigger. No one makes me prouder. We’re in it to win it.

3. Decorating. Having a place to furnish, organize, rearrange, and shop for is quite possibly the greatest domestic joy I know. Plus, it gives me an excuse to go thrifting regularly ;)

4. Our baby. He/she may have been a total surprise, but it’s the best surprise we could have asked for. And now that the second trimester has rolled around, I’m really digging this pregnancy thing!

5. Working from home. I can’t stress enough just how much I love this lifestyle. It’s full of challenges, setbacks, and expenses that probably wouldn’t arise with a regular 8-5 gig, but despite all of that, it makes me genuinely happy to live my life on my own terms.

6. My family. I know I might be biased, but I truly believe I have the best family. My parents and my brother are my rocks through thick and thin.

7. My friends. Gosh, I love my friends. Our bond gets stronger and stronger with each passing year and I don’t know where I would be without these girls.

8. Southern California. Sure, it’s overpriced, overcrowded, and the traffic can be a bit of a nightmare. But it’s 80 degrees in February. I never have to dig my car out of the snow. I can visit the mountains, the desert, and the beach all in the same day. There is never a shortage of things to do, places to see, and experiences to enjoy. I am incredibly grateful to live in such a beautiful place.

9. Breakfast. It’s my favorite meal of the day and the motivation that launches me out of bed in the morning. I could subsist on oatmeal and coffee for the rest of my life!

Valentine's Day Card Printables | Ann-Marie Loves

For all of you later gators (myself included!), Valentine’s Day Card Printables are now 50% off in my shop!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

bachelorette weekend in lake arrowhead.

Posted on: Monday, February 10, 2014

Ann-Marie's Bachelorette Party in Lake Arrowhead | Ann-Marie Loves

When it came down to my bachelorette party, my bridesmaids nailed it. I gave these girls very little information about what I wanted my bach party to be like (aside from avoiding Vegas at all costs), and somehow they totally read my mind. It was the perfect October weekend, filled with good friends, good conversation, and good food + drinks in Lake Arrowhead.

Ann-Marie's Bachelorette Party in Lake Arrowhead | Ann-Marie Loves
Ann-Marie's Bachelorette Party in Lake Arrowhead | Ann-Marie Loves
Ann-Marie's Bachelorette Party in Lake Arrowhead | Ann-Marie Loves

We spent most of our time hanging out at our awesome cabin (plotting ways on how we could steal the furniture!) and occasionally ventured out to the main part of town for excellent meals and countless photo-ops. (One thing’s for sure: I put together a solid group of camera-wielding b-maids!).

Ann-Marie's Bachelorette Party in Lake Arrowhead | Ann-Marie Loves
Ann-Marie's Bachelorette Party in Lake Arrowhead | Ann-Marie Loves
Ann-Marie's Bachelorette Party in Lake Arrowhead | Ann-Marie Loves

It was beyond better than anything I could have ever planned myself! And rest assured, there was plenty of booze and possibly a blow-up doll named Brad at this party to round out the bachelorette experience (;

P.S. My bridesmaids Jaymee and Janelle wrote about our fun weekend too!

as of late.

Posted on: Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Ann-Marie Loves

As of late:

Feeling: more motivated and driven than I have in months. 2014 brought with it a renewed sense of clarity.

Enjoying: the mini facelift I gave my blog recently. A change of scenery is definitely inspiring me to blog way more often!

Reading: Bloom by Kelle Hampton every night before bed. What an amazing story.

Dreaming: of putting together a baby album. There may be scrapbooking involved. Not too much. Just enough. Stay tuned…

Unbuttoning: my pants every time I sit down. Looking real polished these days!

Gathering: inspiration to maybe, just maybe, set up our office. You know, we’ve only lived here for three months. What’s the rush? ;)

Realizing: that the secret to getting myself to do the dishes is to only allow myself to listen to a favorite podcast if I’m cleaning. #bribery #itworks

Hoping: my jury duty group number won’t be called in this week. Although, a day sitting in the courthouse with my laptop could do wonders for my productivity! And Chipotle for lunch? Jury duty’s not sounding so terrible anymore…

Missing: the heatwave we had the past couple of weeks! Old Ann-Marie would have hated every minute of it. But new Ann-Marie? Craving warm weather + blue skies. I guess I really am a Californian!

Discovering: giant, dread-like knots in my hair when I wear the same top knot for a few days straight. How does this happen??

Loving: the show Parenthood so much! Thanks to a bout with the stomach flu last week, I spent the better part of three days on a Parenthood bender. Such a great show.

Trying: my best to keep heartburn at bay, but failing miserably. While it may not be a desirable side effect of pregnancy, I’ll take it any day over nausea! (Pass the Tums, please.)

P.S. Print in the photo above by the talented Clare Elsaesser.

first trimester.

Posted on: Thursday, January 30, 2014

Thoughts on the First Trimester | Ann-Marie Loves

During the midpoint of my first trimester, I could only focus on two things: nap time and bagels.

Thanks to my all day, everyday nausea and exhaustion, there were so many foods I could barely say the names of, much less consider eating, without doubling over in pain. (Butternut squash soup still has this effect on me…bleh!) Weirdly, the only food that appealed to me during this strange time was bagels with cream cheese. Oh yes, carbo loading for a full day of laying on the couch followed up by an eventful evening of laying on the bed! It was one of the finer moments of my life, as I’m sure you can imagine. Luckily, somewhere around week 8, I discovered that if I kept snacking throughout the day (not just on bagels), my stomach would settle and I could actually be a productive member of society again. Of course, the nausea reared it’s ugly head every now and then, but for the most part, I was able to stay one step ahead of it by constantly eating. And I mean constantly.

Thoughts on the First Trimester | Ann-Marie Loves

Because of the never-ending snacking, I had to put the bagels aside and find healthier, less calorically-dense foods out of self preservation and as a way to avoid gaining 50 pounds in my first trimester alone. I’ve been turning to strawberries, apples, mangoes, pomegranate seeds, cucumbers, oatmeal, and quinoa. (Not all at once!) I recently discovered an awesome recipe app called Yummly that is inspiring me to brave the strong (often nauseating) smells of the kitchen and try out new dishes. I’ve also returned to working out a few days a week with long walks, yoga, or Tracy Anderson workout videos. It feels good to be rediscovering my normal self again. I’m happy to be back and even more happy that a teeny tiny baby bump is starting to show up…! (Although at this point, it looks more like a food baby than a real baby! ha!)

While I feel tremendously grateful that my first trimester was mild compared to some unfortunate women, I am so happy to see it go. At nearly fifteen weeks, I am settling into my second trimester quite nicely. It feels good to be back.

workspace wednesday | motivation.

Posted on: Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Ten Tips for Getting Motivated | Ann-Marie Loves

Motivation is one of those topics I’m not really sure I’m qualified to speak on. Like most people, I struggle with this nearly every. single. day. Some days I wake up feeling super super pumped and can crank out work like nobody’s business. But most days? It takes a little convincing to get me going. Here are some of my tried-and-true tricks for getting motivated:


1. Lists. Making lists (especially on pretty notepads!) always helps me to streamline my priorities and gives me visual incentive to get things done. Checking things off looks and feels good.

2. Clean house. If my environment is in disarray, my mind is in disarray. It really is as clear cut as that. So if I know that washing dishes or straightening up my desk will make me feel better about my space, I will take the extra fifteen minutes to knock out those chores before trying to force myself to work.

3. Beautiful things around me. Much like the last tip, I am my most productive self when I am surrounded by beauty. Nothing is more inspiring than a well-styled bookshelf, or a colorful coffee mug filled with my favorite brew, or freshly painted red fingernails typing at the keyboard. I’m absolutely driven by aesthetics.

4. Change of venue. Lately I’ve been killing three birds with one stone by walking to a coffee shop that’s 1.5 – 2 miles away from my house to get work done. Not only do I get exercise and coffee (okay, and a muffin) out of the deal, but I also get to work in a new environment that inspires me to get down to business. I like to set mini goals for my coffee shop work sessions, such as “I will write three blog posts before I leave.” Which brings me to my next point…

5. Mini goals. In addition to making a daily to-do list, I also like to set mini goals for myself. These can be simple, like “cross off six items before John gets home from work” or more involved, like “launch e-course by Tuesday January 28th.” The secret to mini goals is that they’re small and easily attainable. Most of them can be achieved in less than a week, sometimes less than a day! Of course I have long term goals that I always keep in the back of my mind (“buy a house in five years”), but the big picture dreams are not nearly as motivating to me as my daily intentions.

6. Workout. I know, I know. This is the last thing many people want to hear, but man, working out works. Even if I don’t work out in the morning but I know I will be exercising later in the day, I’m much more motivated to get things done. It’s almost like I have to physically wear myself out before my brain will turn off all the background “noise” and allow me to focus on what needs to be done.

7. Get dressed. For anyone in the regular 8-5 world, this is obviously a no-brainer. But for those of us who work from home? Mmm…not so much. I’ve learned that if I make myself get dressed within an hour of waking up, my day feels infinitely more productive. I like knowing that I can run a quick errand or grab a coffee or heck, even answer the door, at a moment’s notice. Plus there’s something about regular clothes (vs. pajamas) that makes me feel like a real live working adult! (ha!)

8. Blogs / Instagram / Pinterest. While these three things may seem like a great way to put off your to-do list for several hours at a time, they’re also a powerful tool for productivity. I love anything Elise writes on goal-setting. I adore Tara Whitney’s take on Southern California living via her Instagram feed. And a quick scroll through my pins is a surefire way to get my creative juices flowing.

9. Podcasts. I’ve talked about my love for podcasts once, twice, or ten times before, but they bear mentioning yet again. If I’m performing a (relatively) mindless task, such as editing photos or designing new buttons for my blog, I love having a great podcast to keep me company. Recently I’ve been returning to old faves, such as The JV Club, The Art of Simple, and always, Joy the Baker.

10. Nap. When all else fails, I take a nap. Sleep is truly a wonderful thing in that I always wake up feeling refreshed and ready to take on the world!


What are your favorite ways to spark a little motivation?

blog talk + shop update.

Posted on: Thursday, January 23, 2014

New Rubber Stamps! | Shop Ann-Marie Loves Paper on Big Cartel

You’re a Gem (you really are!)

Thank you so much for all of your amazing comments and feedback these past few days. I have lots to share in the coming months (and years! Holy…) when it comes to growing a human. But rest assured, this blog is absolutely positively not about to go 100% baby, 100% of the time. Not even I want to hear about it that often! After all, there’s so much more to talk about, like making dream catchers (oh yes), repurposing thrift finds, and discussing why The Goldbergs is pretty much my most favorite show of all time. Also, I still have plenty to share about my wedding, although I’m wondering if it’s too late for that now? Ha! Timing may or may not be my finest quality (;

In the meantime, I decided to crank out a bunch of new stamp designs! You can see all thirteen of them riiiiiight here.

And! As a bonus, if you fill out my blog / shop feedback survey before this Sunday (1.26.14), I have a 15% discount code with your name on it. Just e-mail me letting me know you filled out the survey and I will send the code to you ASAP!

Thanks so much again, guys! xo

didn’t see that one coming.

Posted on: Monday, January 20, 2014

Ann-Marie Loves

I found out I was pregnant the day before my birthday. Even though all I really wanted was a couple of margaritas to ring in my 27th year, I got a positive pregnancy test instead.

I was definitely taken aback. How did this happen so fast?? I had always assumed that we would have the luxury of a few months before any babies came onto the scene. WRONG. And here’s the thing: I know I am lucky. Incredibly lucky. I realize that now and I feel so grateful that we didn’t have to play the waiting game that so many people around us play every single month. But in that moment (and the next few weeks that followed), I was in complete and utter denial. No effing way was this happening. We’re too young to have kids! How in the world would we pay for another college education when we hadn’t even paid off our own loans yet? We don’t even own a house! Or a dog! My thoughts were an endless loop of holyshitholyshitholyshit. 

But deep down, I secretly knew we would be just fine. Even though we had only been married for thirty seconds, our relationship has been building and strengthening for over nine years. We had had several discussions prior to getting married about wanting to start a family right away and obviously we knew what we were setting ourselves up for. I just had no clue that “right away” would mean “on our honeymoon.”

As for John’s reaction? He was THRILLED. Beyond thrilled, even. He has been excited since day one. And thank goodness for that. He helped to balance out my skepticism and uneasiness about the situation. Whenever I would get bogged down in the logistics of actually caring for a baby, he reminded me of all the fun things to come. Whenever I felt nauseas and wondered why the heck I did this to myself, he would bring me a heating pad and let me have the whole couch to myself. Whenever I snapped at him for no good reason (HORMONES), he took it in stride. The kid’s a saint. Let’s just hope our baby gets his patience and kindness ;)

And for the record, I am ELATED to be having a baby. Beyond elated. It took me a minute, but I came around and I’m not looking back.

P.S. Thank you SO MUCH for all of your well wishes! They mean the world to us! xo

our next great adventure.

Posted on: Friday, January 17, 2014

Baby Espinoza | Ann-Marie Loves

Baby Espinoza | Arriving July 2014!

(We’re so excited!)

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