Entries Tagged as 'life happens'

santa barbara museum of natural history.

Posted on: Monday, July 18, 2016

Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History | Ann-Marie Loves

This past weekend was one for the books! On Friday, my mom and Briar and I took our third trip to Disneyland for the week (had to maximize my annual pass until it expired!). Then on Saturday we went to the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History (more about that below!). And finally, on Sunday my mom and I saw the final showing of Beautiful at the Pantages Theater in Hollywood. Whew!

Now onto the museum. First of all, I have no idea what it is, but the lighting in Santa Barbara is always incredible. Every time we’re there, I can’t help but stage a photo shoot. My mom and brother came with, so it was extra nice to pass the camera to them and sneak in a few family photos. Here are some of my favorite captures from the day:

Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History | Ann-Marie Loves

Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History | Ann-Marie Loves

Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History | Ann-Marie Loves

Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History | Ann-Marie Loves

Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History | Ann-Marie Loves

Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History | Ann-Marie Loves

Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History | Ann-Marie Loves

I was more than happy to let John chase the toddler around while I took photos ;)

Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History | Ann-Marie Loves

Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History | Ann-Marie Loves

Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History | Ann-Marie Loves

Not too shabby for a 29 week bump photo backdrop, eh?

Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History | Ann-Marie Loves

Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History | Ann-Marie Loves

Briar was not so sure about the real-life dioramas – haha!

Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History | Ann-Marie Loves

Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History | Ann-Marie Loves

Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History | Ann-Marie Loves

Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History | Ann-Marie Loves

The highlight of Briar’s day was definitely exploring the “Museum Backyard” where she was able to play with dirt, rocks, and water to her heart’s content. I loved watching her get down and dirty in her dress and I really enjoyed this sentiment that was tied to a tree:

The Backyard is a space for children to learn. Expect trial and error. Give your child a chance to meet challenges and assess risk. This is how kids develop self confidence. Let them figure things out for themselves. Problem solving is good for kids. It’s another way to develop self-confidence. Your choice of words can make a big difference. Instead of “be careful” which expresses your fears, tell your kids to “be smart” or “be aware.” Cuts, bumps, and bruises are a normal part of childhood. If your child has an accident, don’t panic. Children read you! When the child is calm, ask “what did you learn?” They will tell you. Expect children to learn from their mistakes. Don’t pass your fears on to your kids. Nature is amazing and kids are naturally curious. Allow them the experience without your judgment. Relax and let your kids decide what they want to do. Kids that experience non-structured play in natural settings are smarter, happier, and healthier.

YES. YES. YES.

summer in the pool.

Posted on: Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Summer in the Pool | Ann-Marie Loves

With summer in full-swing here in Southern California, we are spending our days underwater. If you’re a long-time reader, then you already know that summer is, well…not exactly my favorite season. It’s especially tricky to get through those endless heatwaves while pregnant and constantly sweating. Speaking of sweating, I have a theory (and please chime in and let me know your thoughts!): people that DON’T sweat tend to love summer while people that DO sweat tend to despise the summer. I mean, it makes sense right?

Summer in the Pool | Ann-Marie Loves

Summer in the Pool | Ann-Marie Loves

But I digress!

Summer in the Pool | Ann-Marie Loves

Summer in the Pool | Ann-Marie Loves

All of this is to say, Briar and I are living in the pool. We wake up, have breakfast, and then immediately throw on our swimsuits and sunscreen and head outside for a dip. I am not usually a huge fan of hanging out in the pool all day (I always feel like I could be doing something more productive), but Briar’s infectious love of swimming and my need to cool down + let my pregnant body feel weightless for a bit is really turning me into a regular pool-goer! We did mommy + me swim lessons in May and while I wouldn’t say she is a proficient swimmer just yet, her skills continue to grow and impress me everyday! It’s so awesome to watch these tiny little people morph into capable humans.

Summer in the Pool | Ann-Marie Loves

Summer in the Pool | Ann-Marie Loves

Plus, the very best part of all is that the time spent in the sun + the water almost always leads to Briar taking a looooong nap in the afternoon (sometimes she will sleep as long as 3.5 hours…!). And that, my friends, is the REAL gift that keeps on giving.

Briar’s Swimsuit // Briar’s Sunglasses // My Sunglasses

as of late | july edition.

Posted on: Monday, July 11, 2016

As of Late | July Edition.

Missing the Joy the Baker podcast! Come back, Joy and Tracy!

Speaking of podcasts, I’m adding a few new ones to my queue thanks to this list.

Wearing this bracelet on repeat.

Making the most of my Get to Work Book now that it’s finally July. Briar took a highlighter to the cover the other day and I nearly cried. So dramatic but I really love that planner!

Planning a mini family vacation in celebration of Briar’s second birthday. Instead of spending money on a party, we figured we would go on a trip instead. It might be our last hurrah as a family of three before her brother comes along!

Adding this striped maxi dress to my cart. Okay, and maybe this pair of reversible pants for the little guy. Annnnnnd while we’re at it, these popsicle jammies for Briar.

Looking forward to the Olympics!

Setting a goal to blog every weekday this month (and possibly after!) and am feeling really motivated and inspired about it!

Living and dying by my new favorite dry shampoo. I use it waaaaay too often in lieu of actually washing my hair (the worst task ever), but I love the texture and body it gives me!

Feeling overheated and sweaty at all times these days. There’s not enough swimming pools and air conditioners in this world to cool this pregnant lady down!

Agreeing wholeheartedly on this article about what it’s like to be an introvert.

Going to miss Disneyland when our annual passes expire this week but am more than happy to take the hot summer off. (Have I mentioned that I’m always hot?)

how i found my new normal with productivity.

Posted on: Friday, July 8, 2016

Change of Workflow | How I've Found My New Normal With Productivity | Ann-Marie Loves

My workflow these days is definitely a departure from what it once was. Before I had Briar (and even right up until she turned one), I was pretty lax about the structure and schedule of the day as a whole. I would work when I had the time or the inspiration, but if there wasn’t a firm deadline looming in my near future, I let the flow of the day dictate the amount of work I churned out. While this sounds great in theory (and for the most part, it worked for my past lifestyle), I always felt a bit all over the place. I’m not a planner by nature and the idea of a rigid schedule usually turns me off, but as I’ve gotten a couple of years of self-employment under my belt, I now understand the value of planning and setting goals.

Nowadays, a few things are different:

  • For one, Briar has become a consistent napper and I can almost always count on her to nap between 1-3 hours in the afternoon. I can’t even tell you how big of a game-changer her daily naps — and the fact that she sleeps through the night! — are! I use her nap time to really buckle down and focus on getting things done, especially tasks that require minimal distractions. I am also very lucky to have my father-in-law watch Briar for a few hours 2-3 days a week, which allows me to either work from home or to work with Amy in her studio. As much as I cherish my time with my baby, there’s nothing quite like time away from her to really make me appreciate just how much I love her and want to be with her.
  • Secondly, I’ve become a devoted planner user. I’ve always loved planners and agenda books (pretty sure they were the highlight of my school experience), but I haven’t been as consistent about using them regularly as I am now. I started last summer with a Ban.do planner (the spiral bound version) and absolutely loved it, but then when I saw that the new Get to Work Book was launching, well…I couldn’t help but finally order one for myself (and I’m so glad I did!). As a designer, I find that using beautifully-designed products enhances my experience, so I am more than happy to open up my GTWB each morning and set goals for myself. Every week, I like to write out all the things I know I have to get done and then fill in more information as it becomes available to me. In the mornings, I’ll make Briar and myself breakfast and while she is entertained for a few minutes, I’ll write out my to-do list for the day in my planner. I absolutely love this ritual and find that it really does help me set the tone for the entire day.
  • Finally, I’ve come to the realization that I can’t be the night owl that I once was. I used to be able to stay up wayyyyy too late and crank out work during those quiet hours, but I just can’t do it anymore. After chasing a toddler around all day (and growing another baby), the last thing I want to do at night is sit down and work. This realization has given me the push I need to get as much work done as I can during the daytime so that my nights can be free for relaxing with my family and getting to bed at a relatively normal hour. I find that I am much more productive when I set those clear boundaries for myself, plus, it plays into my theory that mini goals are really the most effective way for me to get things done!

I realize my life will once again get turned upside down when the new baby arrives this Fall, but this time I feel much more prepared to make adjustments as I go and use the tools I’ve set in place to work to my advantage.

P.S. I wrote an e-course on productivity called Make It Happen!

nana + briar bake chocolate chip cookies.

Posted on: Wednesday, July 6, 2016

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We’ve been staying with my parents while we figure out our next move and while it’s not always ideal, there are definitely some perks. Case in point: Nana’s famous chocolate chip cookies! Last week while I was at work, my mom sent me photos of Briar helping her bake cookies (while wearing her new apron, of course). First of all, I couldn’t get over how cute Briar looked, but secondly, it totally opened my eyes to all the new things we can do together now that she is almost two years old! (I need to remember to include her in more activities!) So yesterday, Briar got back in the kitchen to help Nana with another batch of chocolate chip cookies and this time I was there to capture the process:

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I was so impressed with how serious and focused she was! I am not a huge fan of baking (I am a huge fan of eating baked goods, however), so here’s hoping she takes after my mom and carries on the chocolate chip cookie legacy!

27 weeks.

Posted on: Friday, July 1, 2016

27 Weeks | Ann-Marie Loves

(27 Weeks is part of my Baby On Board digital stamp collection!)

You guys, I just looked at my planner yesterday thinking that I was twenty five weeks along and was slightly shocked when I realized, nope, I’m twenty seven weeks along! WHAT IN THE WORLD.

27 Weeks | Ann-Marie Loves

I’ve been looking back on photos from when I was pregnant with Briar and when she was just a tiny newborn and it BLOWS MY MIND to think that we are in the midst of doing it all over again! I swear I feel like I’m living in the twilight zone. I don’t think there’s any “perfect” age gap between siblings, but I’m feeling pretty good about the spacing between Briar and her brother (about 26 months apart). We thankfully have a few key issues ironed out that I was initially worried about (sleeping through the night, weaning, using words to communicate effectively), so that gives me confidence that we can weather this huge life transition with a tad bit more ease than if the two babies were closer in age. But if all else fails there’s always wine, right??

27 Weeks | Ann-Marie Loves

Briar is learning that she has to be a little more gentle with mama these days and she is doing a great job. We’ve been reading from our collection of “new baby” books everyday (this one and this one are our faves) and I really think she’s grasping the concept of becoming a big sis! We can get her to say “baby brother” quite a bit and she even said his name for the first time the other day…music to my ears!

27 Weeks | Ann-Marie Loves

As for how I’m feeling, well, I can’t really complain! The heartburn is kind of insane and my bump is now at the point where it gets in the way of daily activities (i.e. rolling over in bed, bending down to pick something up, breathing) but I swear I’m so preoccupied with other things that I don’t have time to focus on being uncomfortable. Plus, this baby kicks me nonstop and I love watching him make my belly move so much that it makes even the hairy parts of pregnancy all worth it. (By the way, baby kicks are still the most surreal feeling, even the second time around!) I was looking at photos from the last week of my pregnancy with Briar (41 weeks) and thinking “oh my god, do I look like that now?!” Ha! I’ll admit that I feel a bit like a house these days but I know it’s all for a good cause ;)

27 Weeks | Ann-Marie Loves

I’m making a conscious effort to enjoy this moment while it’s still just the three of us. We’re taking little family day trips whenever possible and giving Briar our undivided attention. She and I have been hitting up Gymboree and the pool on an almost daily basis and it’s been so much fun to have that quality time with her, just the two of us. I’m so proud of the kind little person she has become and I can’t wait to see her as a big sister!

27 Weeks | Ann-Marie Loves

27 weeks in the bag! Holy moly.

(P.S. Cookies are always the best way to convince a toddler to pause for photos.)

as of late | june edition.

Posted on: Monday, June 20, 2016

As of Late | June Edition

Loving these videos from Claire Zinnecker. I’ve been following her on Instagram for years, so it was a treat to find her new series!

Spending almost everyday in the pool with my little fish.

Living in dresses these days. I recently went on a bit of a late night shopping spree at Pink Blush Maternity and love everything I bought.

Speaking of shopping, I’ve been hitting the mother-lode with boy clothes + toys! I went thrifting for the first time in a long time last week and found some adorable pieces.

Going back and forth over middle names. Boys are way harder to name than girls are! (P.S. I don’t have a middle name.)

Drinking orange juice like it’s going out of style  (lord help me pass my glucose test in a few weeks…! Yikes.).

Hearing this episode of the Pregnancy Perfect podcast with C. Jane Kendrick and then immediately doing a deep dive into her blog. I love her voice and unconventional perspective on life.

Putting together a scrapbook for my little guy. It started out of guilt (“I made one for Briar, I should probably make one for the baby”) and then quickly turned into a super fun creative outlet for me. Every chance I get, I sit down and work on new pages for it!

Pinning like a crazy person again. Every time I make enough space on my phone to download the app, my pinning output shoots through the roof.

Listening to the Unruffled podcast nonstop these days. I am learning a ton about the mysterious behavior of toddlers!

Feeling so psyched to have snagged this neon heart light from Oh Joy on clearance at Target. Now I’m on the hunt for this pink + gold heart ottoman to complete the look!

Rereading Bloom by Kelle Hampton. You guys, it’s so good.

Writing this whole blog post from the waiting room at my doctor’s office – ha! Gotta make these free moments count.

summer living with munchkin’s step diaper pail.

Posted on: Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Ann-Marie Loves x Munchkin | STEP Diaper Pail

I’ll be honest: I am in no hurry to potty train Briar.

I know a lot of people cringe at the idea of having two babies in diapers but for some bizarre reason it doesn’t bother me (joke’s on me?). Sure, diapers are definitely an expense, however, the idea of constantly having to run to the bathroom with a toddler or clean up inevitable accidents on the floor…well, let’s just say I am more than happy to let her make the call as to when she is ready.

Ann-Marie Loves x Munchkin | STEP Diaper Pail

This is especially true as the weather heats up and we spend more and more time outside, either swimming or lounging in the kiddie pool or splashing around at the water table. The last thing I want to do is repeatedly shuttle her in and out of the house in her wet bathing suit to use the bathroom. I mean, I barely want to do that for myself! (Is there any grosser feeling than peeling off a wet bathing suit? Blah!)

Ann-Marie Loves x Munchkin | STEP Diaper Pail

Because of this, I’ve set up a little changing area for Briar on the patio, complete with Munchkin’s new STEP diaper pail and a basket full of swim diapers, wipes, sunscreen, towels, and a few other necessities for outdoor water play.

Ann-Marie Loves x Munchkin | STEP Diaper Pail

Ann-Marie Loves x Munchkin | STEP Diaper Pail

I think my favorite part about the STEP diaper pail (aside from the fact that it eliminates odor better than any other trash system we’ve used!) is how sleek this thing looks! Baby products tend to be hit-or-miss when it comes to aesthetics, so to be able to reap the benefits of form AND function in one product? Well, consider me sold.

Ann-Marie Loves x Munchkin | STEP Diaper Pail

This little watermelon is allllll about outdoor livin.’ If she could stay in that kiddie pool forever, she would be one happy camper. The only way to get her out of the water with minimal tears is to promise her that we will immediately put her in the bathtub…girl knows what she wants!

Ann-Marie Loves x Munchkin | STEP Diaper Pail

Ann-Marie Loves x Munchkin | STEP Diaper Pail

I’m pretty sure this is exactly what the coming summer is going to look like: my naturally tan baby living it up in the sunshine and her pale mama hiding under several layers of sunscreen and a giant hat (ha!).

Ann-Marie Loves x Munchkin | STEP Diaper Pail

If your babe is currently in the diaper stage of life, you can purchase the Munchkin STEP diaper pail at your local Target. And best of all, for every pail purchased, Munchkin will plant a tree! Win win.

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

we’re having a…

Posted on: Monday, May 30, 2016

We’re having a…

We're Having a Boy! | Ann-Marie Loves

A BOY! I can’t even believe it.

We're Having a Boy! | Ann-Marie Loves

I was in such shock (and quite frankly, denial) for a solid week after we found out. Even though I had a gut feeling that it would be a boy, the confirmation of that suspicion threw me into an emotional tailspin that nobody saw coming. All I could think was, “What do I with a boy? What if he’s wild and crazy? What if Briar never gets a sister? What if he wants to play baseball? I don’t even like baseball!” Ugh. It was not my finest week, but I don’t regret a minute of it because I knew I had to really feel those difficult, ugly feelings in order to get to where I am now, which can best be summed up in one word: EXCITED.

We're Having a Boy! | Ann-Marie Loves

(Photo shoots involving balloons and wind and toddlers are highly unpredictable!)

We're Having a Boy! | Ann-Marie Loves

Instead of being sad about not raising the all-girl family that I always envisioned, I’m excited to have a mini version of my husband and a playmate for Briar. I’m looking forward to having a special relationship with my son that is different from the one I have with my daughter. I’m inspired to find all the cute boy clothes (they’re so elusive!) and make this little guy a stylish babe! I’m really eager to see what the boy version of Briar looks like…will he have curly hair? Blonde hair? Black hair? Red hair? Blue eyes? Green eyes? Brown eyes? There are so many things to look forward to that I have no choice but to be thrilled that he is joining our family. Plus, we already have his name picked out and I can’t wait to hear Briar say it :)

We're Having a Boy! | Ann-Marie Loves

It’s going to be an adventure!

weekend trip to san luis obispo.

Posted on: Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Weekend Getaway to San Luis Obispo | Ann-Marie Loves

There’s nothing quite like a physical change of scenery to boost my mood and give me a fresh perspective. This past weekend, John and I spent a night up in San Luis Obispo and we had the best time. We’re both big fans of the central coast and SLO is the perfect mix of relaxing and stimulating.

Weekend Getaway to San Luis Obispo | Ann-Marie Loves

On the way up the coast, we stopped off in Santa Barbara for a quick coffee break at The French Press. I love having a running list of coffee shops to visit everywhere I travel! (What’s your favorite coffee shop? I want to add it to my list!)

Weekend Getaway to San Luis Obispo | Ann-Marie Loves

Weekend Getaway to San Luis Obispo | Ann-Marie Loves

Scout Coffee is a must if you’re anywhere near San Luis Obispo. It’s nestled in the perfect spot downtown and has the cutest decor and some of the best lattes I’ve tasted! I kind of want to move in.

Weekend Getaway to San Luis Obispo | Ann-Marie Loves

Weekend Getaway to San Luis Obispo | Ann-Marie Loves

Weekend Getaway to San Luis Obispo | Ann-Marie Loves

Apple cider at the Apple Farm…it tasted just as good as it smelled! It was a pretty chilly weekend up in SLO so a warm drink hit the spot.

Weekend Getaway to San Luis Obispo | Ann-Marie Loves

John and I have been on a major pot pie kick lately so it was a no-brainer that I would order one at the Apple Farm. Oh man, it was good. 

Weekend Getaway to San Luis Obispo | Ann-Marie Loves

Weekend Getaway to San Luis Obispo | Ann-Marie Loves

Weekend Getaway to San Luis Obispo | Ann-Marie Loves

Coffee, coffee, coffee.

Weekend Getaway to San Luis Obispo | Ann-Marie Loves

So happy to travel through life with this guy. We were reminiscing about different memories throughout our relationship and we came to the (startling!) realization that this year will mark twelve years together. TWELVE! I have no idea where the time has gone but it’s been an amazing adventure.

Weekend Getaway to San Luis Obispo | Ann-Marie Loves

Weekend Getaway to San Luis Obispo | Ann-Marie Loves

Spring in SLO is gorgeous. Everything is in bloom and it’s not too hot yet and it makes me want to move up there ASAP! We saw a young family of four going for a bike ride around town (mom was towing the baby and the dad was sharing a cool tandem bike with the little girl) and I couldn’t take my eyes off of them. I suddenly had serious aspirations to BE them one day soon! Now I just have to convince John to move with me to a cute small town where we can live out my bike riding dreams…

Weekend Getaway to San Luis Obispo | Ann-Marie Loves

We stumbled upon Avila Valley Barn while driving around and it was such a good find! I stocked up on fresh peaches, John picked up a chipotle ketchup, and we ordered an olallieberry-flavored lemonade to share (so good!). I always feel like spontaneous detours make for the best memories.

Weekend Getaway to San Luis Obispo | Ann-Marie Loves

slo-Weekend Getaway to San Luis Obispo | Ann-Marie Loves

Feeling large and in charge these days. This striped maternity dress from Target is getting lots of mileage! And of course, I can’t seem to take off my denim jacket either. Basically, I wear some version of this outfit every single day.

Weekend Getaway to San Luis Obispo | Ann-Marie Loves

Weekend Getaway to San Luis Obispo | Ann-Marie Loves

One night away from Briar is the perfect amount of time to reconnect with my husband and make us miss that little bub! Thank goodness for willing babysitters (aka Nana + Papa) who take such good care of Briar so we can enjoy our trip worry-free :)

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