Entries Tagged as 'see the world'

backyard camping + kohl’s giveaway.

Posted on: Friday, July 22, 2016

Ann-Marie Loves x Kohl's Camping Collaboration

I grew up camping fairly often, both with my family and with Girl Scouts, and I have incredible memories of sitting around campfires, sleeping in tents, and waking up to fresh air. There’s nothing quite like spending time in the great outdoors, yet for some reason I’ve become that person that values warm showers and air conditioning over tasty s’mores and sleeping under the stars. However! I am determined to give camping another go simply because I know Briar will absolutely LOVE it. That girl has never met a pile of dirt that she didn’t love and I owe it to her to give her as many outdoor experiences as possible.

So while I warm up to the idea of spending a few nights in nature, I’ve decided we can tackle the next best thing: backyard camping! In partnership with Kohl’s, we pulled together our camping essentials and “roughed” it in the backyard for a fun-filled adventure.

Ann-Marie Loves x Kohl's Camping Collaboration

First things first: coffee!

Ann-Marie Loves x Kohl's Camping Collaboration

Using the impossibly cool blue enamelware percolator + mugs from Stansport, I was able to enjoy a fresh batch of coffee while Briar enjoyed a cold mug of milk.

Ann-Marie Loves x Kohl's Camping Collaboration

Ann-Marie Loves x Kohl's Camping Collaboration

Things were off to a very good start.

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We put together a little dining area and enjoyed popcorn made with Stanley’s 13-piece prep and cook mess set. Briar was all about the popcorn situation. She loved sneaking in bites and scooping spoonfuls back and forth between the bowls using the big ladle (which she quickly adopted as her own).

Ann-Marie Loves x Kohl's Camping Collaboration

Cheers to dining al fresco!

Ann-Marie Loves x Kohl's Camping Collaboration

Ann-Marie Loves x Kohl's Camping Collaboration

The ciao! baby portable high chair proved to be super helpful when it came to feeding this little gal. The cup holder kept her water bottle close at hand and the easy-to-clean surface was perfect for quick clean-up after polishing off a whole bowl of popcorn!

Ann-Marie Loves x Kohl's Camping Collaboration

Ann-Marie Loves x Kohl's Camping Collaboration

In addition to acting as the perfect makeshift table, the Stanley 30-quart cooler kept our beverages nice and cool during a blazing hot summer day.

Ann-Marie Loves x Kohl's Camping Collaboration

Ann-Marie Loves x Kohl's Camping Collaboration

Okay, how awesome is this tent?! I love the retro feel and was pleasantly surprised with how roomy it was inside! It felt very Moonrise Kingdom. Briar was also a big fan of turning the LED lantern on and off, on and off…

Ann-Marie Loves x Kohl's Camping Collaboration

We quickly made ourselves right at home and read Briar’s favorite stories by the light of the lantern. It was such a relaxing evening and I loved having that cuddle time with my girl outside while a cool breeze blew through our tent.

Ann-Marie Loves x Kohl's Camping Collaboration

Our first camping experience was a success! I’m feeling a little more confident now about taking our adventures on the road to a more remote destination. Three cheers for the great outdoors!

 

Now it’s your turn to stock up on camping goods! Click HERE be entered to win a $50 Kohl’s gift card! NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Ends 8/1/16 at 11:59:59 p.m. PT. Open to legal residents of the US/DC who are 18+ yrs of age. For full details see Official Rules. Good luck! Winners will be contacted on or about August 8th.

Thank you to Kohl’s for collaboration on this post. I was compensated and received products from Kohl’s Camping department for my review, but all opinions and experiences are solely my own.

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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.

travel town.

Posted on: Monday, July 4, 2016

Travel Town | Ann-Marie Loves

After talking about taking a trip to Travel Town for months, John and I finally took Briar yesterday and had so much fun! It’s a free open air museum situated in Griffith Park with lots of old trains and plenty of land to explore. Briar was beyond thrilled to be out of the stroller and able to run herself silly and I was more than happy to capture every moment with my camera!

Like I mentioned before, John and I are trying to squeeze in as many adventures with Briar as our only babe before the next one arrives in a few short months. She has thankfully turned out to be an amazing little travel companion (knock on wood that the second one is just as laidback!) who is at the perfect age for really appreciating new experiences. Of course we will continue to go on fun day trips when the little guy makes his appearance (mama bear needs to get out of the house!) but we know it will never be the same as it is right now.

We had the best time at Travel Town and can’t wait to go back when the weather cools down a bit! Here are some of my favorite photos from the trip:

Travel Town | Ann-Marie Loves

Travel Town | Ann-Marie Loves

Travel Town | Ann-Marie Loves

Travel Town | Ann-Marie Loves

Travel Town | Ann-Marie Loves

Travel Town | Ann-Marie Loves

Travel Town | Ann-Marie Loves

Travel Town | Ann-Marie Loves

Travel Town | Ann-Marie Loves

Travel Town | Ann-Marie Loves

Travel Town | Ann-Marie Loves

Travel Town | Ann-Marie Loves

Travel Town | Ann-Marie Loves

Travel Town | Ann-Marie Loves

Travel Town | Ann-Marie Loves

Travel Town | Ann-Marie Loves

Travel Town | Ann-Marie Loves

Travel Town | Ann-Marie Loves

Travel Town | Ann-Marie Loves

Travel Town | Ann-Marie Loves

Travel Town | Ann-Marie Loves

Travel Town | Ann-Marie Loves

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 :)

happy place | lavender + honey in pasadena.

Posted on: Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Lavender & Honey | Pasadena, California | Photos by Ann-Marie Espinoza

Whenever I’m in the vicinity of Pasadena (which, between doctor appointments and looking for a new place, means quite often!), it’s pretty much a guarantee that I will make a stop at Lavender + Honey. There are so many great places to get an excellent cup of coffee in Pasadena but this one takes the cake. It opened in August 2014 — the same month Briar was born! — but I didn’t actually stop in until a few months later. With this next baby, I won’t be making the same mistake. I’ll definitely be stopping in on the regular to take advantage of their delicious caffeinated beverages!

Lavender & Honey | Pasadena, California | Photos by Ann-Marie Espinoza

My standard order is an iced honeybee latte and L+H toast (goat cheese, lavender, and honey on bread). You guys, I’m not joking when I say that I dream about this meal. Briar had her first taste of the toast the other day (in between sneaking sips of my coffee) and she was just as hooked. I guess that means I have to share with her now?

Lavender & Honey | Pasadena, California | Photos by Ann-Marie Espinoza

The decor and the lighting are a photographer’s dream come true.

Lavender & Honey | Pasadena, California | Photos by Ann-Marie Espinoza
Lavender & Honey | Pasadena, California | Photos by Ann-Marie Espinoza

When I’m in the mood for something more savory, I’ll order the Pasadena toast (avocado, lemon juice, and red jalapeño on bread). So good.

Lavender & Honey | Pasadena, California | Photos by Ann-Marie Espinoza
Lavender & Honey | Pasadena, California | Photos by Ann-Marie Espinoza
Lavender & Honey | Pasadena, California | Photos by Ann-Marie Espinoza

I happened to catch the cafe at the end of the day when there weren’t too many people…definitely a rarity! Whenever there’s a seat available, I love to take advantage of the upbeat, inspiring energy of L+H and get a little work done. You know how there are some coffee shops that make you feel somewhat inferior? Like you’re not cool enough to buy an overpriced cup of coffee? This is not that place. In fact, Lavender + Honey is the exact opposite! Everyone I’ve come in contact with — from the patrons to the baristas — is so friendly and inclusive.

Lavender & Honey | Pasadena, California | Photos by Ann-Marie Espinoza
Lavender & Honey | Pasadena, California | Photos by Ann-Marie Espinoza

And THIS is why I’m obsessed with Pasadena: preserved old buildings given new life by modern establishments. Plus, L+H is a bit of anomaly in LA in that it has it’s own free public parking lot with plenty of spaces!
Lavender & Honey | Pasadena, California | Photos by Ann-Marie Espinoza

If you’re ever in the neighborhood, I highly recommend stopping in!

Lavender & Honey | 1383 E. Washington Blvd, Pasadena, California 91104

honeymoon feature in the knot.

Posted on: Thursday, February 4, 2016

Pacific Northwest Honeymoon in The Knot | Ann-Marie Loves

Sometimes I feel a little self-conscious about how much I love color. The trend in recent years has been to be as monochromatic as possible. All the cool kids have super minimalist, black and white Instagram and Pinterest feeds, while I’m over here like GIVE ME ALL THE COLOR! I think this is part of why I’m still so surprised by how much people resonated with my wedding. There were many times during the planning process when I would pore over wedding blogs and think, “am I doing this right?” Is this going be a total disaster or a total success?” Luckily the latter turned out to be true, but trusting my own design and color inclinations above the noise of what was trendy or popular during the process was a big hurdle that I had to get over.

Pacific Northwest Honeymoon in The Knot | Ann-Marie Loves

The same anxiety crossed over into the honeymoon planning phase. It seemed like everyone went on a European adventure or lounged on a remote beach in a tropical location. As amazing as those trips sounded, they just weren’t jiving with the visions that John and I had for our own honeymoon. We spent months mulling over what we should do and we finally came to a conclusion when we got clear about what kind of experience was most in line with our values. Given the fact that we got married in the fall, we wanted an authentic autumn experience where we could wear cold weather clothes, drink really good coffee, see colorful leaves, and explore new-to-us towns together. We also didn’t want to spend a fortune or lose too many days in transit to and from our destination. So the Pacific Northwest it was! And hands down, it was the best week of our lives.

Pacific Northwest Honeymoon in The Knot | Ann-Marie Loves

I just want people to know that weddings and honeymoons don’t have to be a serious, over-the-top production. You don’t have to spend your life savings on a single day of your life (actually, I highly recommend that you DO NOT). You don’t have to follow traditions or do what everyone else is doing. If I can only offer one piece of advice, it’s this: do what feels right to you and your significant other. Everyone (and I mean EVERYONE) is going to have an opinion about what you should do and where you should go, but honestly, it’s your wedding and your honeymoon. Do what you want!

P.S. Our honeymoon was featured in the Spring issue of The Knot! You can read more about each of our honeymoon destinations here!

birthday weekend in santa barbara.

Posted on: Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Birthday Weekend In Santa Barbara | Ann-Marie Loves

For my birthday, I only wanted one thing: a trip away with my husband sans baby. As much as I love Briar, I hadn’t spent a night apart from her since she was born so the thought of being baby-free was, well, all too appealing. And guess what? It was wonderful! Actually, it was one of the best birthdays I’ve ever had. Just me, my husband, and one of the prettiest cities in  the world. Briar spent the weekend with my parents and while John and I missed her terribly, it was exactly what we needed to reconnect as a couple.

Birthday Weekend In Santa Barbara | Ann-Marie LovesBirthday Weekend In Santa Barbara | Ann-Marie LovesBLOG3Birthday Weekend In Santa Barbara | Ann-Marie LovesBirthday Weekend In Santa Barbara | Ann-Marie LovesBirthday Weekend In Santa Barbara | Ann-Marie LovesBirthday Weekend In Santa Barbara | Ann-Marie LovesBirthday Weekend In Santa Barbara | Ann-Marie LovesBirthday Weekend In Santa Barbara | Ann-Marie LovesBirthday Weekend In Santa Barbara | Ann-Marie LovesBirthday Weekend In Santa Barbara | Ann-Marie LovesBirthday Weekend In Santa Barbara | Ann-Marie LovesBirthday Weekend In Santa Barbara | Ann-Marie LovesBirthday Weekend In Santa Barbara | Ann-Marie Loves

Some of the highlights include: coffee at The French Press, hot chocolate at Handlebar Coffee Roasters, seafood enchiladas and margaritas at Cava, shopping on State Street, brunch at Scarlett Begonia, and sunsets over the Pacific. If this weekend was any indication of what 29 will be like, then I am READY.

pumpkin patch at underwood farms.

Posted on: Monday, October 19, 2015

Pumpkin Patch at Underwood Farms | Ann-Marie Espinoza Photography

This past weekend we ventured out to Moorpark and visited the amazing pumpkin patch at Underwood Farms. I had a feeling that Briar would enjoy it a lot more this year at the age of fourteen months than she did last year at two months (obvious statement?), but I had no idea how much more I would enjoy it, too! Since the farm is humongous, there were plenty of things to do and it was a blast seeing it all through Briar’s eyes! She and her cousin Luna were especially fond of grabbing fistfuls of hay, which they passed back and forth to each other (ha!). My favorite part was definitely the tractor ride around the farm at dusk. Not only was the sunset lighting PERFECT, but the sweater-worthy weather and the cool breeze made it feel like our first real taste of fall this season…exactly how I like my pumpkin patch experiences.

Pumpkin Patch at Underwood Farms | Ann-Marie Espinoza Photography
Pumpkin Patch at Underwood Farms | Ann-Marie Espinoza Photography

Her little baby chambray shoes paired with those chubby legs. I can’t even.

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Pumpkin Patch at Underwood Farms | Ann-Marie Espinoza Photography
Pumpkin Patch at Underwood Farms | Ann-Marie Espinoza Photography
Pumpkin Patch at Underwood Farms | Ann-Marie Espinoza Photography
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Pumpkin Patch at Underwood Farms | Ann-Marie Espinoza Photography
Pumpkin Patch at Underwood Farms | Ann-Marie Espinoza Photography
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Pumpkin Patch at Underwood Farms | Ann-Marie Espinoza Photography
Pumpkin Patch at Underwood Farms | Ann-Marie Espinoza Photography
Pumpkin Patch at Underwood Farms | Ann-Marie Espinoza Photography
Pumpkin Patch at Underwood Farms | Ann-Marie Espinoza Photography
Pumpkin Patch at Underwood Farms | Ann-Marie Espinoza Photography
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Pumpkin Patch at Underwood Farms | Ann-Marie Espinoza Photography
Pumpkin Patch at Underwood Farms | Ann-Marie Espinoza Photography
Pumpkin Patch at Underwood Farms | Ann-Marie Espinoza Photography

Here’s a little pumpkin patch #tbt for you: Briar and Luna at fourteen and thirteen months, respectively (above), and Briar and Luna at two months and one month, respectively (below). HOLY MOLY, TIME IS FLYING.

Pumpkin Patch at Underwood Farms | Ann-Marie Espinoza Photography

P.S. Our visit to Underwood this past summer!

santa barbara zoo.

Posted on: Monday, August 17, 2015

Santa Barbara Zoo | Ann-Marie Loves

Last week marked Briar’s third trip to the Santa Barbara Zoo, and this particular time was easily the best one yet. Twelve months is a really fun age for taking her places. She’s generally agreeable (assuming there’s an endless supply of snacks on hand), she’s super easy to entertain (hello, car keys!), and allowing her to explore her world on foot (she’s a walking gal!) is such a treat to watch. There’s also the whole not-having-to-nurse-her-every-other-hour thing that makes the whole trip so much more enjoyable than it was during her first trip at three months old.

Santa Barbara Zoo | Ann-Marie Loves

Santa Barbara Zoo | Ann-Marie Loves

While I always feel a tinge of guilt to see caged animals, there’s nothing quite like being face to face with a wild creature whom I otherwise would never see. This gorilla was AMAZING.

Santa Barbara Zoo | Ann-Marie Loves

My mom and I packed a lunch at home so that we could enjoy a picnic on the huge grassy hill overlooking the ocean. (I mean, life is really hard.) It was the ideal place to let Briar roam free and test out her sweet new walking skills. She was also really into eating all of my food, opening and closing the cooler, and climbing her stroller. Toddlerhood is a contact sport!

Santa Barbara Zoo | Ann-Marie Loves
Santa Barbara Zoo | Ann-Marie Loves

Did you know that flamingoes get their pinkish hue from the brine shrimp that they eat? I thought that was a fascinating tidbit! Also, they’re from South America, which I was also (embarrassingly) unaware of until last week. Everyday is a new lesson!

Santa Barbara Zoo | Ann-Marie Loves

Since the zoo is not only a great place to see animals, but a GORGEOUS place to hang out, my camera gets plenty of action while we’re here.

Santa Barbara Zoo | Ann-Marie Loves

For Briar’s first birthday, my parents gifted us with a year-long membership to the zoo, so I have no doubt that there will be plenty of fun adventures in our near future! (P.S. Thanks Nana + Papa!)

Santa Barbara Zoo | Ann-Marie Loves

And just for the heck of it, here’s a photo of Briar and me from her first trip to the zoo, way back in November. Can you say TINY BABY? Oh. Em. Gee.

adventures at underwood farms.

Posted on: Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Adventures at Underwood Farms | Ann-Marie Loves

Having grown up in Ventura County, I’ve been on many a trip to Underwood Farms in Moorpark. However, it had been years since my last visit and Briar had never been before, so John and I (along with Jamie, Kareem, and Luna!) decided it was high time to revisit the farm. We had an awesome time (despite the heat) exploring the grounds, visiting the animals (how amazing is that horse!), and digging in the fields for ripe strawberries and olallieberries. Sadly, Briar was developing a double ear infection that day (unbeknownst to us at the time), so she wasn’t her normal cheery self. But that’s okay…we’ll be back for Halloween festivities come October!

Adventures at Underwood Farms | Ann-Marie Loves

Adventures at Underwood Farms | Ann-Marie Loves

Adventures at Underwood Farms | Ann-Marie Loves

Adventures at Underwood Farms | Ann-Marie Loves

Adventures at Underwood Farms | Ann-Marie Loves

Adventures at Underwood Farms | Ann-Marie Loves

Adventures at Underwood Farms | Ann-Marie Loves

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