Entries Tagged as 'lists'

workspace wednesday | generating blog posts ideas.

Posted on: Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Generating Blog Post Ideas | Ann-Marie Loves

One of the biggest hang-ups that I hear about blogging on a regular basis is the issue of trying to come up with enough content to generate post after post, day after day. I know I struggled with that mental block for years! But ever since I made the decision to write five posts per week, the momentum of the commitment has carried me through and given me more ideas than I ever thought possible! Here’s how I do it:

Generating Blog Post Ideas | Ann-Marie Loves

Brainstorm. To begin with, I always break out my notebook and start brainstorming ideas about posts I’d love to write / create / photograph in the near future. At this stage in the game, I don’t judge my ideas; I simply write them down as they come and move on to the next.

Think about the time involved. Once I have a solid list built up, I think about the logistics of each post and approximate how long it would take me to pull it all together. For instance, a DIY post can take a solid chunk of time, so I plan for it to go live further down the road. But posts about how I’m styling my house or what I’m loving at the moment? I can put those together with minimal planning involved.

Pinpoint recurring posts. Being able to count on recurring posts to fill in gaps is a great way to bulk up my editorial calendar. For example, I like to write Workspace Wednesday posts once a week and provide updates on my baby album at least twice a month.

Let life be your guide. I have to say…getting married and having a baby has done WONDERS for my blog post ideas. I mean, it’s almost like free material! Using the current events in my life as a compass for sharing my story while still contributing relevant ideas to the interwebs (i.e. designing wedding decor, planning a big event on a budget, decorating a nursery, etc) has made scheduling posts a million times easier.

Go with the flow. Even if I have a rough outline about the topics I want to cover in a week, I like to leave a bit of wiggle room for spontaneous post ideas. Lately I’ve been composing the majority of my blog posts in e-mails to myself late at night as I’m getting ready for bed. That’s when all of my clearest thought patterns arise, so I grab my phone and furiously take notes! In the morning, I copy / paste my words into blog posts and then take photos to correspond with each topic.

Prioritize. Let’s say I have a photo-heavy post planned for tomorrow, but the sun is going down and I have run out of time to take decent pictures. That’s when I put that idea on the backburner and use another day’s post in the interim. While I value photos and words pretty evenly, the quality of my images takes the cake as the most important aspect of my blog. All of my pictures must pass my own self-imposed test of “Would I pin this?” If the answer is yes, I happily add it to the post. If the answer is no, well, it’s back to the drawing board. Figuring out what matters most to you is key to lasting success.

Take 30% off ALL rubber stamps using the code "FLASH5" until 3/6/14 at midnight! | Ann-Marie Loves Paper on Big Cartel

P.S. I’m having a flash sale on ALL rubber stamps in my shop! Use the code “FLASH5″ from now until Thursday night (3/6/14) at midnight to stock up and save!

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!

workspace wednesday | today printable.

Posted on: Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Today List | Free Printable | Ann-Marie Loves

Lately I’ve been on a major goal-setting kick. I start everyday with my pen + notebook and jot down everything I want to achieve in the hours that lie before me. Whether it’s a work assignment, an exercise, or a new recipe, it gets written out and (hopefully) crossed off. So after filling up an entire notebook with lists, I decided to create my own set of printables that will help keep me accountable and on track, day after day.

Today List | Free Printable | Ann-Marie Loves

You can download your own list HERE! Happy goal setting!

P.S. I also created free To-Do List and Editorial Calendar printables!

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.


Posted on: Friday, January 3, 2014

Ann-Marie Loves

As of late:

Being reminded daily of how precious life is.
Late night marathons of Sex & The City and bad (read: good) Bravo reality shows.
Long chats with my parents.
A wonderful Christmas spent with my two families.
Sharing my daily rituals on My SoCal’d Life (thank you, Archana!).
Extra time at home to soak up every minute of the season.
Saving my pennies after a crazy month of unexpected car, computer, and Christmas expenses! #tistheseason
Enjoying post-holiday calm.
Listening to Gabby Bernstein on audiobooks as I go about my day.
Knitting another blanket.
Deciding that the word “magic” will be my driving force behind 2014.
KILLER Southern California weather. As in, 75 degrees in the middle of winter kind of killer.
Feeling all kinds of inspired by Emma Robertson’s book, Knitting by Design.
Sneaking in some much needed gym time (I hadn’t worked out since Thanksgiving…who am I??).
Loving the slower pace of work + blogging and the way it’s given me a renewed sense of clarity.
Absolutely certain that 2014 will be a year of growth, joy, and surprises every step of the way.

Happy New Year! It’s gonna be a good one. I just know it.

as of late.

Posted on: Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Ann-Marie Loves

listening: to all sorts of podcasts as I go about my day. I just came across a handful of new shows that I am really enjoying, including Tara Brach and The Dinner Party Download. Of course, all my old faves (Joy the Baker, Simple Mom, After the Jump) are in heavy rotation as always.

thrifting: baskets, bowls, and any other fun containers to house plants in. I am so happy that my new favorite thrift store is literally right around the corner and I can walk there!

writing: wedding thank you notes. Martha says I have a month from our honeymoon to get them out, but for once, I want to get something in early. Plus, it gives me an opportunity to put my new address stamp to use!

loving: my new coffee maker from Anthro! Given our shortage of counter space, I was on the lookout for something along the lines of a French press and this totally fit the bill. All I have to do is fill it with coffee + water (no filter required!) and heat it up on the stove like a tea kettle.

Ann-Marie Loves

grateful: to be living in a very walkable town. Running all my errands on foot and never once having to get in the car? Dream come true.

reading: Tori Spelling’s new book, Spelling It Like It Is. Next up: Poser: My Life in Twenty-three Yoga Poses (one of my all-time faves).

looking: for a good local gym with awesome group classes. I was far too spoiled by my last gym.

hoping: to have everything in it’s place by the weekend. I’ve been working on a few repurposing projects that only need a little more time before they’re ready to rock.

Ann-Marie Loves

inspired: by a few new-to-me blogs! Thanks to Aileen from At Home In Love (which is one of my daily must-reads), I discovered Almost Makes Perfect, 1000 Threads, and Clementine Daily. Which blogs are you loving these days?

surprised: by how quickly the holidays are approaching! Normally I am dying for them to start, but right now all I can think about is setting up my everyday decor before any giant trees are brought into the mix!

laughing: at The Goldbergs! So many of the story lines in that show remind me of my own quirky family, which makes it extra funny for both John and me.

savoring: slow mornings. Daily thrift trips. Staying on top of my workload.


Posted on: Friday, November 15, 2013

Ann-Marie Morris Espinoza | 27

26 has been one of the most eventful years of my life and I am so grateful for all that it taught me. Here are 27 of my favorite moments from the past fifty-two weeks:

1. An anniversary trip to Yosemite for snow, scenic views, and a sparkly ring.
2. Sunshine cocktails at Tasty N Sons in Portland.
3. Having a new place to make a home.
4. Thrifting. I may have gotten a little out of hand
5. Photographing brides, babies, and a million stylized desk shots.
6. Dancing to “I Want You Back” with all of my friends at my wedding.
7. Living in Pasadena! Gosh, I love this town.
8. Forming a fun little family unit with the Jubrans.
9. Bachelorette weekend in Lake Arrowhead. An adorable cabin? My BFF’s? Moscow mules? YES.
10. Zumba! I know, I’m annoyingly obsessed with it, but like rollerblading + Tae Bo before, this is one workout I won’t quit until I kill it.
11. A handful of trips to San Diego.
12. Realizing just how lucky I am to have such a solid group of girlfriends, year after year. We’re in it to win it!
13. Taking Wally for walks. That little guy makes me SO HAPPY.
14. Shrimp tacos. That’s all I ever want to eat!
15. Seeing Fleetwood Mac at the Hollywood Bowl with my mom.
16. Spending time with Sarah at her beautiful home in Utah.
17. Bruno Mars’ “Treasure.” My most played song this year, hands down.
18. Seeing years of hard work pay off at my brother’s college graduation.
19. Taking calligraphy, interior styling, paper flower making, and bunch of other amazing Skillshare classes.
20. Picking up my dream painting for three dollars…!
21. Spending extra quality time with my parents this past summer.
22. Reading Danielle LaPorte’s The Fire Starter Sessions. That book spoke to me.
23. Attending some awesome events, including a handful of Urbanic parties, The Cream, Crafts + Cocktails, Arrested Development’s World Tour, and Eva Black’s Madewell soiree, just to name a few.
24. Honeymooning in the Pacific Northwest and feeling right at home. John and I are PNW’ers at heart.
25. Wedding crafting, wedding crafting, and more wedding crafting!
26. Having another full year of freelancing under my belt.
27. Marrying my best friend. The big day took months + months of planning and it was over in a flash. I love the person I got to marry, the people I got to celebrate with, and the memories I get to take with me.

I’m so excited to see what 27 has in store!

workspace wednesday | as of late.

Posted on: Wednesday, August 7, 2013

 Ann-Marie Loves

As of late, I am:

LOVING: Pinterest even more than ever. How did anyone ever plan a wedding pre-Pinterest? I just don’t understand how it could be possible…?

DRINKING: iced coffee in the morning, Topo Chico sparkling water in the afternoon, and wine in the evening. All three feel very decadent.

WEARING: Gap denim shorts + a button-up tank top nearly every single day.

LOOKING FORWARD: to Fall and all of the wonderful things that come along with it. I’m making a list of Autumn-inspired activities that I want to do over the next few months!

WANTING: to finalize all of the vendors for the wedding by the end of this month.

LISTENING: to “Treasure” by Bruno Mars, “St. Judy’s Comet” by Paul Simon, and “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke on repeat all day, everyday.

HOPING: to secure a new place in the Pasadena vicinity ASAP! We’re having a hard time finding the “right” place that meets our standards (which really, aren’t THAT high) without being outrageously expensive. #bungalowbemine

WRITING: in my journal outside every morning. Feels good.

FEELING: so grateful that this Summer has been unseasonably mild! With temperatures rarely exceeding 80 degrees (!), I am well on my way to becoming a Summer lover!

STRUGGLING: to stay on top of my inbox. But what else is new?

THINKING: that I am so much more productive when my desk is clean + organized.

ENJOYING: so many new-to-me blogs these days! Oh My Little Dears, Oh, I Design, and Odd Daughter Paper are just a few of my new faves!

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