Entries Tagged as 'see the world'

santa barbara wine tasting.

Posted on: Thursday, February 16, 2017

Urban Wine Trail in Santa Barbara | Ann-Marie Loves

There are two things I’ll never turn down: wine and Santa Barbara.

Urban Wine Trail in Santa Barbara | Ann-Marie Loves

Lucky for me, I was invited to spend a day up in SB exploring their Urban Wine Trail in celebration of my sister-in-law, Jamie’s, birthday. After a week of heavy rains, the storm let up for one day and we jumped at the chance to walk up and down the bustling streets, popping into wineries when we were ready for our next glass. It was perfect. And of course, I was more than happy to document the day! Here are some of my favorites:

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Urban Wine Trail in Santa Barbara | Ann-Marie Loves

Urban Wine Trail in Santa Barbara | Ann-Marie Loves

How awesome is that wall?

Urban Wine Trail in Santa Barbara | Ann-Marie Loves

Urban Wine Trail in Santa Barbara | Ann-Marie Loves

Urban Wine Trail in Santa Barbara | Ann-Marie Loves

Urban Wine Trail in Santa Barbara | Ann-Marie Loves

Taste-wise, I had my favorite glass of sauvignon blanc at Pali Wine Co.

Urban Wine Trail in Santa Barbara | Ann-Marie Loves

Urban Wine Trail in Santa Barbara | Ann-Marie Loves

John’s cousin, Veronica (of Design Hunters fame!), and her new husband, Kris, are always such a treat to hang out with! The ceremony at their recent wedding was the most beautiful ceremony I’ve ever witnessed. I’m sure you’ll be seeing photos from their big day all over Pinterest very soon! ;)

Urban Wine Trail in Santa Barbara | Ann-Marie Loves

Urban Wine Trail in Santa Barbara | Ann-Marie Loves

Urban Wine Trail in Santa Barbara | Ann-Marie Loves

It’s a blast to have willing models to photograph! I’m so accustomed to wrangling unwilling children (and husbands) into my photos – ha!

Urban Wine Trail in Santa Barbara | Ann-Marie Loves

Jazz + wine all day, yes please!

Urban Wine Trail in Santa Barbara | Ann-Marie Loves

Urban Wine Trail in Santa Barbara | Ann-Marie Loves

Urban Wine Trail in Santa Barbara | Ann-Marie Loves

Urban Wine Trail in Santa Barbara | Ann-Marie Loves

Our trip coincided with the Women’s March. We were all so bummed to have missed out on taking part in the Los Angeles march ourselves, but felt incredibly heartened to see so many people in Santa Barbara coming together to spread the same message.

Urban Wine Trail in Santa Barbara | Ann-Marie Loves

Lunch was at Cava in Montecito and it was amazing, as always. This time I ordered a chile relleno and it is offically now my go-to item! Yum.

Urban Wine Trail in Santa Barbara | Ann-Marie Loves

Urban Wine Trail in Santa Barbara | Ann-Marie Loves

And finally, our last stop of the day was to McConnell’s for ice cream and coffee.

Urban Wine Trail in Santa Barbara | Ann-Marie Loves

Urban Wine Trail in Santa Barbara | Ann-Marie Loves

Urban Wine Trail in Santa Barbara | Ann-Marie Loves

Urban Wine Trail in Santa Barbara | Ann-Marie Loves

Such a perfect day! I can’t wait to do it again soon!

kidspace.

Posted on: Friday, February 3, 2017

Kidspace Children's Museum | Pasadena, CA | Ann-Marie Loves

Right after Landon was born, John and I tried our best to make sure Briar had a smooth transition into big sisterhood. In between hanging out at home and visiting grandparents, we also peppered Briar’s days with a few family outings, including one to Kidspace Children’s Museum in Pasadena. We’ve been here many times and each visit feels like a new experience as Briar is able to enjoy it in different ways. Truth be told, I just love any excuse to get out to Pas ;)

This particular trip marked our first visit as a family of four and we had a great time! Landon slept through most of it in the wrap while John chased Briar around and I got to take lots of photos. Here are some of my favorite shots from the day:

Kidspace Children's Museum | Pasadena, CA | Ann-Marie Loves

Kidspace Children's Museum | Pasadena, CA | Ann-Marie Loves

It’s an indoor / outdoor museum with so many awesome exhibits and play areas to explore.

Kidspace Children's Museum | Pasadena, CA | Ann-Marie Loves

Kidspace Children's Museum | Pasadena, CA | Ann-Marie Loves

Ahhhhh, I could just eat her up!

Kidspace Children's Museum | Pasadena, CA | Ann-Marie Loves

Kidspace Children's Museum | Pasadena, CA | Ann-Marie Loves

Kidspace Children's Museum | Pasadena, CA | Ann-Marie Loves

Note the soaking wet shirt. Always bring an extra pair (or five!) of clothes when taking little ones to this museum.

Kidspace Children's Museum | Pasadena, CA | Ann-Marie Loves

This display totally gives me future room decor inspiration for Landon.

Kidspace Children's Museum | Pasadena, CA | Ann-Marie Loves

Such a good newborn. Sleep, sleep, sleep.

Kidspace Children's Museum | Pasadena, CA | Ann-Marie Loves

Kidspace Children's Museum | Pasadena, CA | Ann-Marie Loves

Kidspace Children's Museum | Pasadena, CA | Ann-Marie Loves

Kidspace Children's Museum | Pasadena, CA | Ann-Marie Loves

Kidspace Children's Museum | Pasadena, CA | Ann-Marie Loves

Kidspace Children's Museum | Pasadena, CA | Ann-Marie Loves

Kidspace Children's Museum | Pasadena, CA | Ann-Marie Loves

Look how gorgeous the natural landscape is! You guys, Pasadena is my FAVORITE.

Kidspace Children's Museum | Pasadena, CA | Ann-Marie Loves

And of course, what trip to Kidpsace is complete with a roll in the sand (most of which she took home in her shoes)?

When John went back to work, I was feeling extra bold so I took the two year old and the newborn to Kidspace by myself, and you know what? It wasn’t a total disaster! Yes, it was a ton of work and yes, Briar took off running while I was trying to nurse Landon (in the sandpit, of all places), and yes, we were all pooped by the end, but it was fun! I felt like that trip was where I got my sea legs for taking two kids out in public. I mean, if you’re going to learn, you might as well dive head first into the deep end! ;)

 

 

 

solvang.

Posted on: Thursday, December 15, 2016

Day Trip to Solvang | Ann-Marie Loves

This past weekend we joined John’s family up in Solvang for a little day trip and we had so much fun! The weather was total perfection: cloudy, cool, and feeling like Fall. I’ve been to Solvang a handful of times but this was the first trip for Briar and Landon. It’s always a treat to experience familiar things through brand new eyes…it’s easily one of the best parts about being a parent! Briar had a great time running around, marveling at the Christmas lights, and sharing an ice cream cone with her cousin Luna. Landon spent most of his time sleeping in his bear suit (which instantly puts him to sleep??) in the stroller. And Mama Bear had a great time drinking wine and taking tons of photos ;)

Day Trip to Solvang | Ann-Marie Loves

Day Trip to Solvang | Ann-Marie Loves

Day Trip to Solvang | Ann-Marie Loves

Day Trip to Solvang | Ann-Marie Loves

Day Trip to Solvang | Ann-Marie Loves

Day Trip to Solvang | Ann-Marie Loves

Day Trip to Solvang | Ann-Marie Loves

Day Trip to Solvang | Ann-Marie Loves

Day Trip to Solvang | Ann-Marie Loves

Day Trip to Solvang | Ann-Marie Loves

That night, my heart felt very full as I sat in the passenger seat next to my husband as we drove along the cloudy coast back home with our two sleeping babies in the back seat. It’s rare when I feel like I can just sit still and quiet my inner to-do list but something about that moment put me at ease and made me so grateful.

family trip to underwood farms.

Posted on: Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Underwood Farms Pumpkin Patch | Ann-Marie Loves

John took three weeks of paternity leave and it was GLORIOUS. I’m not sure who enjoyed his presence more…me or Briar (she has become a major daddy’s girl)! While he was home, we went on a few little day trips as a family of four and even though it was a lot of work, it was SO worth it. That’s pretty much my motto for for life with kids: get out of the house. I go stir crazy if we can’t leave at least once a day so no matter how much chaos might ensue once we are out in public, it’s always worth the fresh air and the change of scenery.

Underwood Farms Pumpkin Patch | Ann-Marie Loves

When Landon turned a week old, we celebrated with a trip to Underwood Farms. (I may or may not have purposely timed our trip around sunset when the lighting was killer). Briar always enjoys the farm experience but she really loved it this year. Landon, of course, slept through the whole thing in his wrap (living and dying by that wrap these days!). And as for John and me? Well, we were (and still are!) in disbelief at how obsessed we are with these two tiny people! They make life so crazy and wonderful.

Here are some of my favorite moments from our adventure:

Underwood Farms Pumpkin Patch | Ann-Marie LovesUnderwood Farms Pumpkin Patch | Ann-Marie LovesUnderwood Farms Pumpkin Patch | Ann-Marie LovesUnderwood Farms Pumpkin Patch | Ann-Marie LovesUnderwood Farms Pumpkin Patch | Ann-Marie LovesUnderwood Farms Pumpkin Patch | Ann-Marie LovesUnderwood Farms Pumpkin Patch | Ann-Marie LovesUnderwood Farms Pumpkin Patch | Ann-Marie LovesUnderwood Farms Pumpkin Patch | Ann-Marie LovesUnderwood Farms Pumpkin Patch | Ann-Marie LovesUnderwood Farms Pumpkin Patch | Ann-Marie LovesUnderwood Farms Pumpkin Patch | Ann-Marie LovesUnderwood Farms Pumpkin Patch | Ann-Marie Loves

 

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.

My blog may contain links to other websites. I am not responsible for the privacy policies of those other websites. When you click on a link, your information may be collected by those other websites, so I encourage you to read their privacy policies.

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!

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