Entries Tagged as 'lists'

tips for dealing with anxiety.

Posted on: Monday, February 20, 2017

Tips for Dealing With Anxiety | Ann-Marie Loves

Yesterday was one of those days where I felt overwhelmed about everything. There was nothing in particular that made me stressed; rather it was a mix of ongoing anxieties and new stressors paired with postpartum hormones. I’ve always felt things pretty deeply. I don’t cry at the drop of the hat like I used to (puberty was a cruel biotch), but I am acutely aware of energies and emotions around me, and every once in awhile, they knock me down. Thankfully, I’ve picked up a few tricks in my thirty years that help me to regain control of my thoughts. Here are my top five solutions:

1. Exercise. I know, I know. Nobody wants to hear that they have to get their body in motion to get their mind right, but I promise you, IT WORKS. One of my favorite way to exercise is about as simple and inexpensive as it gets: a long walk in the fresh air. Yesterday I loaded Landon up in the stroller and went for an hour long walk to meet up with John and Briar. It wasn’t super scenic and the threat of rain was upon us the whole time, but it felt good to get outside and get my body moving. Walks are even better when you have a favorite podcast or playlist to keep you company.

2. Meditation. I’m finding that meditation is hard to come by with two babies in the house but I need it now more than ever. Sometimes when I take a shower at night, I’ll let the water run for a few minutes while I sit on the floor of the bathroom and close my eyes and breathe. It’s nothing fancy but it resets my looping thought patterns and brings me back to the present moment. I have a few favorite ways to meditate:

a. I close my eyes and focus on the bridge of my nose and breathe slowly in and out.

b. I close my eyes and slowly direct my attention from the top of my head to the bottom of my feet, consciously relaxing each body part as I work my way down (i.e. my head is tingly, my jaw is loose, my hands are limp, etc).

c. I listen to guided meditations (so many free podcasts and YouTube videos out there!) and / or instrumental music or nature sounds and focus on what I am hearing.

My all-time favorite meditations are the ones done after a yoga class when you lay in shavasana. In fact, my dream-of-all-dreams workout class would be 45 minutes of a high-energy Zumba workout followed by 20-30 minutes of restorative yoga followed by a 20 minute guided meditation. I would be a new person by the end each class. (Somebody please invent this.)

3. Clean up. There’s nothing quite like having my living space in disarray to make me feel like my life is completely out of control. I find that the act of getting things organized and put back in their proper homes can shift my mood dramatically. I’ve also noticed that the act of cleaning (especially folding laundry) is meditative in and of itself.

4. Change of scenery. Sometimes all it takes to break a negative thought cycle is to change up my environment, which can be as small as taking the trash out or as big as a day trip to one of my favorite places. A change of scenery almost always equals a change of perspective.

5. Journaling. I’ve been obsessed with journaling for as long as I can remember (which might explain why I love blogging), so when I’m feeling particularly drained, I’ll get all my thoughts out of my head and onto paper. I’ve also started writing letters to my intuition after listening to this podcast and watching this video. It’s such a helpful tool for really getting to the root of my anxiety…I can’t recommend it enough!

On a related note, I recently heard this quote by Glennon Doyle Melton from this book, via this podcast, and had to stop what I was doing to write it down:

“We can choose to be perfect and admired; or real and loved.”

I choose the latter. xo

as of late | january edition.

Posted on: Monday, January 30, 2017

As of Late | January Edition | Ann-Marie Loves

Debating whether or not I should put holiday stuff away or just leave it up forever, hence the bottlebrush tree photo above. Ha!

Stealing away pockets of time to read Erin Loechner’s inspiring new book. I am SUCH a fan of her writing style.

Listening to this episode of The Lively Show and having my mind blown.

Speaking of podcasts, I’ve also been enjoying Awesome With Alison and The Other F Word.

Staying up way too late. It’s typically the only time I have to myself so I live it up (and by live it up, I mean wash the dishes and answer e-mails) but then I inevitably regret it in the morning.

Turning into quite the news junkie, what with all that is happening in America right now. Everyday feels like a new crisis.

Drinking cascara lattes from Starbucks as often as possible. They’re so good.

Loving all the rain we’ve been having here in Southern California! After a long hot summer, this steady stream of rain has been a GIFT.

Checking my horoscope everyday.

Aiming to blog at least three times each week. Originally I wanted to blog every weekday this month but, you know, LIFE. Three times feels very manageable.

Deciding if I want to keep my hair short or grow it out so I can wear a giant top knot again. Hmmm…

Enjoying my little four month old a my almost-two-and-a-half year old. Sometimes I’m still a little shocked that I have two kids. I mean, where did they come from??

want, need, wear, read | baby + toddler gift guides.

Posted on: Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Celebrating the holidays with little ones is a million times more fun that I could have ever predicted. I’m pretty sure that I will be the one who can’t sleep on Christmas Eve because I’ll be too excited to see Briar’s reaction to everything in the morning! But since my kids are still little and don’t have any concept of what to expect, I feel like it’s the perfect time to institute the notion of buying items that fit the categories of “want, need, wear, and read.” Here are some of my favorite things that I’m considering for Briar and Landon this Christmas:

Want / Need / Wear Read | Infant + Toddler Gift Guides | Ann-Marie Loves

01. Toaster. One of Briar’s longstanding favorite toys is her play kitchen (or “chicken,” as she calls it) so this wooden toaster would be a welcome addition.

02. A-Frame Dollhouse. An A-frame dollhouse! I mean, come on…this is beyond.

03. Rainbow Puzzle. Briar’s puzzle skills are growing by the day and this rainbow one would be challenging enough for her to for the next few months.

04. 360 Degree Toothbrush. You can never have too many toothbrushes…especially ones that my toddler will actually use!

05. Snack Catcher Bowls. We have a few of these already and they are so handy for car trips, stroller rides, or even while watching one of her favorite shows.

06. Unicorn Backpack. This little backpack would be perfect for the days she spends with her grandparents.

07. Denim Jacket. Denim jackets are such a classic piece and this faded color matches the one that I have in my size.

08. Printed Leggings. Leggings are such a toddler wardrobe staple and I adore this floral print.

09. Tutu Dress. This tutu dress is so sweet and easily lends itself to playing dress-up!

10. My Dad Used to Be So Cool. I saw a flip through of this book on Instagram and thought it was so clever and so apropos for John’s number one fan.

11. Dragons Love Tacos. I’ve heard nothing but great things about this story!

12. My Quotable Kid. Briar is now speaking in full sentences and has so many cute / funny things to say on a daily basis…I don’t want to miss a thing!

Want / Need / Wear Read | Infant + Toddler Gift Guides | Ann-Marie Loves

01. Triangle Clutching Toy. As the second child, Landon doesn’t need too many toys or books since we already have so much, but it’s always nice to get a few new things that are just for him.

02. Wubbanub Fox. The jury is still out as to what Landon really think about pacifiers but I’m thinking this cute fox will sweeten the deal.

03. Rainbow Stacker. Stacking rings are always a hit and this wooden version is just so beautiful.

04. California Baby. California Baby is the mainstay in both kids’ bathing routines. It’s especially gentle on Landon’s super dry skin.

05. Black and White Swaddle Blankets. Swaddle blankets are my number one suggestion for new moms because they are not only great for swaddling but they’re light and soft enough to use as a nursing cover, as a burp cloth, or as shield from the sun.

06. Water Wipes. Maybe wipes aren’t the most exciting gift but Landon’s at the perfect age where he doesn’t know the difference ;)

07. Plaid Shirt + Pants. I adore this two piece set because it reminds me so much of John!

08. Black and White Striped One-Piece. One can never go wrong with black and white stripes.

09. Blue Jacket. I love the fleece lining on this jacket.

10. Firefighter Fred. Soft books are always a safe bet for introducing babies to reading.

11. Baby’s First Year. I haven’t purchased a traditional baby book for Landon yet but I am eager to get one going! This particular book has darling illustrations!

12. Farm Tails. The interactive flaps and textures are sure to be a crowd-pleaser among the infant set!

as of late | december edition.

Posted on: Thursday, December 1, 2016

As of Late | December Edition | Ann-Marie Loves

Feeling so excited that the holidays are officially underway! Christmas with little ones is MAGIC.

Taking the babes for walks in our new double BOB stroller and zoning out with a podcast while all three of us get some fresh air. It’s one of my favorite simple joys in life.

Putting together a Spotify playlist for Landon that makes me feel all mushy inside. My favorites on the list are St. Judy’s Comet, Beautiful Boy, and Sweet Baby James.

Treasuring these early infant days where I can put Landon in one spot and know that he can’t go anywhere or get into anything!

Pining after this gold swan wall decor piece! It would be so cute in Briar’s room.

Navigating that postpartum limbo where my body is stuck between where it was and where I want it to be.

Discovering YouTube in a major way! My all-time favorite videos are from Claire Zinnecker (whom I recently found out turned thirty on the same day I turned thirty!). Her style speaks to me in a MAJOR way and I can’t wait to see more from her.

Feeling the pull to clean up my eating habits and taking inspiration from Nutrition Stripped. I love her videos (and her cute kitchen!) and I’m adding her cookbook to my Christmas list.

Writing down lots of blog post ideas (okay, more like e-mailing them to myself).

Starting my December Daily album today. Yessssssss.


Posted on: Tuesday, November 15, 2016

This is 30 | Ann-Marie Loves

Today I turn thirty. Whoa. As I’ve been reflecting back on all that happened during my twenties, I came up with a list of thirty of my favorite things from the past decade:

Becoming a mom. Biggest (and best!) challenge in my twenties, for sure.

Living in four completely different cities.

Seeing my work in print for the first time.

Feeling baby kicks. There’s nothing quite like them!

Moving to Utah on a whim and working at American Crafts. What a cool experience.

Marrying John in a DIY backyard wedding!

Learning how to meditate.

Dancing like a maniac at every wedding I attend.

Falling in love with scrapbooking and turning it into a career path.

Getting to know Briar + Landon.

Decorating a double nursery.

Listening to countless podcasts and even attending a live recording of Bitch Sesh!

Living in the snow for two winters (and deciding that I never need to live in it ever again).

Graduating college.

Instagram and Pinterest. I can’t remember life before them!

Blogging. I really, really love this creative outlet.

Going on long walks in Pasadena.

Taking a full moon chair lift ride with John in Sundance.

Long bike rides with friends.

Discovering scrapbooking. Not only has it been a fun hobby but it’s also been a career and the key to so many open doors in my life!

Spending my 29th birthday in Santa Barbara with John (my first night away from Briar!).

Bingeing on Parenthood. Best show ever.

Getting engaged in Yosemite a few days before Christmas.

Finally figuring out that photography is what I want to do with my life.

Going on a major thrifting spree for my wedding.

Honeymooning in the Pacific Northwest with my new husband and drinking allll the coffee.

Honeybee lattes at Lavender + Honey.

Having annual passes to Disneyland for almost the whole ten years.

Various workout obsessions: Tae Bo, Turbokick, spinning, and my most favorite, Zumba!

Ending the decade with realization that the grass is always greener where you water it. I can’t wait to see what my thirties have in store for me!

hospital bag essentials.

Posted on: Friday, September 16, 2016

Before I had Briar, I spent lots of time researching what I should pack in my hospital bag to make sure I covered all my bases. While I did a pretty good job (considering I had no idea what I was doing), it was definitely way too much stuff for a three day stay in a tiny little recovery room. This time around, I’m much more realistic about what I will actually use. I only want to pack the bare essentials and then if I need anything else, I’ll have my mom bring it to me (that’s what moms are for, right?). Here’s what I’m definitely packing for baby number two:

Hospital Bag Essentials for Having a Baby | Ann-Marie Loves

01. Infant Car Seat. This might be a no-brainer, but having a way to transport the baby from hospital to home is key. John and I just got this new car seat so that we can accommodate both babies in both of our cars without having to do any switcheroos.

02. Mints. When you don’t have nurses and doctors all up in your business, you probably will have guests that will want to come see you when, quite honestly, you look like you were just hit by a bus (ha!). Being able to pop mints for all those interactions is a win-win for everyone involved.

03. Dry Shampoo. When you’re in the hospital and you have a baby attached to you almost 24/7, styling your hair is not exactly a top priority. Being able to freshen up your look in just a few minutes with a little bit of dry shampoo is so handy.

04. iPhone Chargers. This is one of those items that might be overlooked, but it’s so crucial to have your chargers on hand! You don’t want to miss a moment of your newborn’s first few days because you ran out of battery!

05. Delivery / Nursing Robe. As soon as I saw this robe from Pinkblush, I knew I had to have it. I wore a plain white robe almost nonstop for the first few months of Briar’s life; this time I’ll have something much more stylish!

06. Nursing Pillow. These kinds of pillows are not only great for those long infant nursing sessions, but they’re also the perfect cushion to sit on after having a baby. Take my word on this ;)

07. Hat, Booties, Outfit. Well, this is definitely the most exciting part of the packing! I love going through tiny clothes and choosing the right look for baby’s first introduction to the outside world.

08. NUK Pacifiers. Before we had Briar and we were in the thick of baby care classes, one of the biggest takeaways we learned was not to introduce a pacifier before nursing was well-established. Well, I’m here to tell you that we broke that rule on night two of Briar’s life when I had my mom smuggle a few pacis into our hospital room. As it turned out, they worked like a charm and we never once experienced any kind of “nipple confusion” during our nineteen months of nursing. You do what’s best for you and your family!

09. Camera. Self-explanatory. Take as many photos as you possibly can! Your baby will grow up so fast and you’ll forget just how teeny tiny he was when he made his debut :)

life with a two year old.

Posted on: Monday, August 22, 2016

Life With a Toddler | Ann-Marie Loves

I realize we are only a few weeks in, but life with a two year old is…so much fun. So much work, so much frustration, so much to learn, but so much fun. I swear Briar woke up on her second birthday and was suddenly a new person. She speaks in full sentences, she says words I had no clue that she knew, she is starting to count and recognize letters, and she can throw one heck of a tantrum ;)

Life With a Toddler | Ann-Marie Loves

How cute is this cape??

Briar and I spend most of our days together and although there are (many) moments that I envy those with full-time jobs away from home, I wouldn’t trade this time with her for ANYTHING. Someone that I love and respect as a mother recently told me that even though I often feel like my life is a mess and I have no idea what I am doing, I’m right where I need to be when it comes to raising Briar. She encouraged me to view all the time I get to spend with Briar as an incredible, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that I’ll never get back, so I might as well enjoy it and not wish it away. That simple shift in perspective has really changed my mindset for the better and gotten me through a lot of looooong days. I know Briar better than anyone else and it feels incredible to be the one (along with John) that she turns to when she needs comforting. John and I make plenty of mistakes but when I see Briar’s face light up when she sees us, I know we must be doing something right.

Life With a Toddler | Ann-Marie Loves

The other day as we were walking up stairs, Briar pushed on my legs and said “quicker Mama, quicker!” Quicker? No idea where she learned that.  When she colors with markers and inevitably gets ink on her hands, she demands that I take her to “wash your hands!” as soon as possible. She has definite opinions about her wardrobe (and the wardrobes of others) and often exclaims “cute!” or “pwetty!” when a certain look agrees with her. The best is when she loves something that Dada is wearing (“Cute, Dada!”) – ha! Every morning when she wakes up, she likes to run through the roster of her family members / animals and their whereabouts (“Dada is at work? Uncle is sleeping? Mac is at his house?”). Briar is now a fan of accessories (hats and glasses are her favorites) and will finally let us put her hair in a ponytail. Running errands with her is getting to be a little bit trickier and a little less frequent because she would much rather walk (read: run) than sit in a cart. But most importantly, Briar has been saying “I love you, Mama!” out of the blue, and THAT makes every difficult moment totally worth it :)

Here are a few of our must-have toddler items that we use on a daily basis:

Life With a Two Year Old | Ann-Marie Loves

01. Camelback Kids Water Bottles. We’ve tried a lot of different water bottles over the past two years, but this specific brand and model works perfectly for little hands and never spills! Plus, Briar loves pushing the button and watching the spout pop out!

02. Beaba Multiportion Serving Tray. So I bought this back when Briar was an infant when I had high hopes of making her homemade purées. But as it turned out, Briar was never much for being fed with a spoon by others and instead took to baby led weaning so she could feed herself. However! All was not lost with this tray. In fact, it has become my favorite way to serve Briar meals because the serving sizes are perfect for toddler appetites and it allows me to offer her a wide range of foods in one container.

03. Honest Company Conditioning Detangler. Having a daughter with wildly curly hair has proven to be a bit of a challenge. Not only is it tricky to style but it tangles so easily. Everyday we spritz her hair with Honest Detangler and carefully work out the knots with a soft-bristled brush.

04. GoGo Squeeze Applesauce Packets. Okay, these are not only great for stashing in my backpack and passing to Briar in the backseat to quell any hangriness but I love them too! Even in her pickiest moments, I can almost always get Briar to eat applesauce.

05. Kindle Fire + Kid’s Case. Say what you will about screen time but it has proven to be a very helpful asset to have in our back pocket. Not only is it handy for moments when I need Briar to calm down and stay in one place for a few minutes but I know she has learned so much from the shows we let her watch, especially Sarah + Duck! We bought Briar her own tablet and kid-safe case a few months ago and she can navigate Netflix with the best of them (Sarah + Duck, Clifford the Big Red Dog, The Hive, and anything with Mickey Mouse in it are her faves).

06. 360 Degree Toothbrush. I don’t know about you but it’s hard to brush baby teeth! Briar either flat out refuses to have her teeth brushed or she chews on the brush as we try to work it around her mouth. Luckily, this particular brush has bristles that go all the way around the handle which allows us to reach her top and bottom teeth in one fell swoop. Such a genius concept.

simple activities to keep toddlers busy.

Posted on: Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Simple Activities to Keep Toddlers Busy | Ann-Marie Loves

I’m always on the lookout for simple ways to keep Briar entertained, especially during these insanely hot summer months when the last thing I want to do is go outside. After a little trial and error, I’ve come across three foolproof methods for keeping Briar occupied for short periods of time and thought I would pass them along to you!

01. Crayons. I turned a pack of basic Crayola crayons into hearts recently and they have been in heavy rotation around here. Briar loves to color and often summons those around her to help her draw “apple, nanas (bananas), and duck!” (Always in that order.)

02. Stickers. I’ve been obsessed with stickers as far back as I can remember (Stickopotamus, anyone?), so it comes as no surprise that I’ve passed my love on to Briar. These neon dot stickers from the office supply section are less than two dollars and make Briar just as happy as any Disney or animal-themed sticker. Of course she loves to stick them to walls like any other toddler, but when I’m on top of things, I’ll redirect her sticker-ing to scratch pieces of paper or notebooks.

03. Pompoms. I picked up a pack of pink, orange, and red pompoms from Target and they have been some of the best three dollars and ninety nine cents I’ve ever spent! Briar loves to sort them into small bowls or the multi-portion silicone container that we use for snacks.

these three things: podcast edition.

Posted on: Friday, July 29, 2016

These Three Things: Podcast Edition | Ann-Marie Loves

On Wednesday, John and I took advantage of our upgrade eligibility and bought ourselves new phones. Even though we’ve had iPhones for years, there’s nothing quite like a brand new toy with 64 gigs of free space just waiting to be filled up! In fact, one of the first things I did (aside from download all the apps I had to delete from my last phone for severe lack of space) was take a 40 second video BECAUSE I COULD. Oh man, I feel like I have a whole new lease on life! And of course, having all this free space also means that I can take advantage of the podcast app and subscribe to allllll my favorite podcasts.

Here are three episodes that I listened to my commute yesterday:

Bitch Sesh. I could write a novel about how much I live for this Real Housewives-themed podcast each week…my love for Casey + Danielle knows no bounds! So I was particularly thrilled to find out that I could listen to the recording of their live show in LA from a few days ago, especially since I was SUPER bummed about not scoring tickets to it in time (luckily I snagged one for their next show in August!). Oh man, it did not disappoint. I barely noticed any 405 freeway traffic because I was too busy laughing hysterically.

Young House Love Has a Podcast. I recently discovered this podcast and was psyched when I realized their latest episode was focused on sponsored posts. My mind was BLOWN with how much Emily Henderson commands for a single post…so inspiring! This is a must-listen for any bloggers or social media influencers looking to gain more insight into the mystery of paid posts.

One Part Podcast. I adore this show and really enjoyed the latest episode with Julia Turshen. I find Julia to be so endearing and relatable, plus Jessica is always a gem.

What are you guys listening to these days?

third trimester essentials.

Posted on: Thursday, July 21, 2016

I’m pretty low maintenance when it comes to pregnancy (postpartum is a completely different story), so I don’t require too many things as the months tick by, but there are definitely some items that I’ve found myself turning to as I get deeper into the third trimester:

Third Trimester Essentials | Ann-Marie Loves

01. Tums. Let’s be real: antacids are the REAL star of the show when it comes to pregnancy. I had crazy heartburn with Briar and I have crazy heartburn with this baby. (What can I say, I’m a lucky gal.) I keep these by my bedside so I can pop them in the middle of the night when reflux seems to be the worst.

02. Fan. I am always hot so I’ve turned my bedroom into a mini wind tunnel with an overhead fan and a portable fan running at all times.

03. Mustela Ultimate Hydration Lotion. The jury is out on whether or not stretch marks can be prevented, but I prefer to be proactive and lather on lotion after every shower. So far, so good!

04. Bathing Suit. Like I’ve mentioned before, Briar and I are beating the heat by spending the majority of our summer days in the pool. Normally I feel a bit self-conscious in a bathing suit, but when I’m pregnant? I’ll happily parade around town in one all day, everyday ;)

05. Peaches. I’m in love with peaches all year round, but when I’m pregnant, I can’t get enough. Lately I’ve been loving them in my morning oatmeal with almonds. Mmmm…

06. Liz Lange Maternity Shorts. I don’t even like to wear shorts normally (they’re not my best look) but when it’s hot out and I need to chase Briar around, shorts are ideal. These have a stretchy band that you can pull over your belly or fold over around your waist to keep them in place. I bought the bermuda style and then cut a small slit on the seam of each leg so they could have a bigger cuff.

07. Firm Pillows. I know a lot of people swear by their pregnancy pillows, but with a queen size bed, a giant u-shaped pillow is not exactly doable. That’s okay though, as long as I have one firm pillow behind my head and one under my top leg to offset the weight of my belly as I sleep on my sides.

08. Maxi Dresses. I’m obsessed with PinkBlush maternity dresses because they don’t scream MATERNITY. Instead, they’re super comfy, super stylish clothes that I can wear long after the baby arrives.

09. Birkenstocks. My feet aren’t swollen (yet) but with the rising temps and the amount of energy it takes to bend down these days, Birks are my go-to footwear.

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