Entries Tagged as 'see the world'

how to do disneyland with an infant | part one.

Posted on: Monday, March 30, 2015

How to Do Disneyland with an Infant | Ann-Marie Loves

I know, I know. The thought of taking an infant to an overpriced, overcrowded, overstimulating environment makes some people break out in hives. I totally get it. But I can also confirm that despite all of those things, it is 100% WORTH it. I’m a big believer in taking Briar (almost) everywhere I go, and as a result, she’s become my laid back, highly adaptable co-pilot.

Here are a few things I’ve learned about taking an infant to Disneyland:

How to Do Disneyland with an Infant | Ann-Marie Loves

Plan meals ahead of time. Briar is now at a perfect stage where I can alternate nursing with solid foods, which makes the whole day so much easier than when I had to stop and nurse her every two hours. For a half day with a seven month old, I packed one banana (along with a small bowl and a baby spoon) and a Ziploc bag of Cheerios. Both of those foods lasted quite some time and kept Briar thoroughly entertained and satiated. I also packed a sippy cup that I would fill with water so she could take a few sips (slash pour the rest all over the place) whenever she had a solid food meal or snack.

How to Do Disneyland with an Infant | Ann-Marie Loves

Bring the stroller AND the carrier (and grandma). When it comes to getting around and keeping your baby happy, you need options. Now that Briar is old enough to sit up and face forward in her stroller, it’s like a whole new world for her (and me!). We have a Britax B-Agile which I absolutely love because it’s lightweight, folds up easily, the seat can be adjusted upright or laid down with a simple pull, and the shade is huge (meaning my pale baby is safe from the sun / given privacy during naps). The stroller does the bulk of the work throughout the day, but when it comes to taking Briar on rides, nursing her on the go (it can be done!), or calming her when she’s fussy, that’s when the carrier comes in handy. I usually bring the Ergo, but I also love the Boba wrap as well. However, if I’m being honest, the best transportation of all is in the arms of Nana…always bring Nana ;)

How to Do Disneyland with an Infant | Ann-Marie Loves

Skip the tram and walk. If ever given the choice to walk or ride, I always walk, because, well, I just like walking. However, this is particularly handy when you have a stroller in tow. The walk from the parking structure to the park gates is approximately 10-15 minutes and is much easier (in my opinion) than waiting in line for the front seats of the tram and having to fold / unfold your stroller. Consider it your warm-up for the walking marathon you are about to embark upon.

How to Do Disneyland with an Infant | Ann-Marie Loves

Take advantage of the Baby Care Center. This place is amazing. There’s a private nursing area with comfy chairs, there’s a diaper changing station, there are high chairs, there’s a place to store your pump…Disney has thoroughly thought out the baby situation. I think my favorite part about it is being able to sit in a quiet, air-conditioned space with my little one, free from any distractions. Other great (semi-private) places to nurse: Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, the train, the back corner of Hungry Bear Restaurant, the Haunted Mansion, or any ride that you can wear your baby in a carrier.

How to Do Disneyland with an Infant | Ann-Marie Loves

Bring comfort items. Since Disneyland can be incredibly stimulating, it’s nice to have comfort items at the ready for when your little one needs a reprieve. I always make sure that we have several pacifiers on hand (at least half of them end up on the ground), small toys that can be attached to the stroller, and a few lightweight blankets for nap time. Whenever Briar has had enough, I’ll take her to the Baby Care Center for a little peace and quiet or I’ll lay her in her stroller and pull the shades down so some of the noise and lights are blocked.

How to Do Disneyland with an Infant | Ann-Marie Loves

Ride those rides! There are SO many rides you can actually take babies on. I have had an annual pass for years and I had no idea how many rides babies could board! I’m not just talking about Fantasyland rides, I’m talking about the Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean, and any others that do not have a height restriction. The other great feature Disneyland offers for parents of babies is a Rider Switch Pass. Let’s say you and your significant other want to ride Space Mountain: you simply request a Rider Switch Pass when you get in line and then both of you can alternate riding with watching the baby. Win win, right?

How to Do Disneyland with an Infant | Ann-Marie Loves

Pack lightly. Babies require a lot of stuff; the packing list alone can be intimidating! But it’s important to keep in mind that if you bring too much into the park, you’ll spend the whole day schlepping big bags in and out of crowds and lines and tight spaces, and really, that’s a huge buzz kill. After a handful of trips to Disneyland with Briar, I think I’ve finally figured out what works best for John and me: I bring my everyday bag (similar to this) to carry all the immediate essentials (diapers, wipes, pacifiers) and John brings a bigger backpack to carry the less immediate essentials (spare clothes, the camera, a bowl + spoon for Briar). We also utilize the storage underneath the stroller for bulky items, like the Ergo or our sweatshirts. Whenever we need to park the stroller to get in a ride line, we don’t worry about leaving anything behind because we keep almost everything on our person already. If you want to carry even less, you can always rent a locker or store extras in your car for later. (Tomorrow I’ll share all the details of what I pack!)

How to Do Disneyland with an Infant | Ann-Marie Loves

Roll with it. I’ve decided that you can look at bringing babies along to Disneyland in one of two ways: you can either look at it as a major hassle OR you can choose see it as a wonderful adventure for the whole family! I choose to view it through the latter perspective. There’s a lot of prep work that goes on, but it’s always worth it in the end! (Plus, babies are free until they’re three!)

daily walks.

Posted on: Thursday, May 1, 2014

Father of the Bride house | Ann-Marie Loves

Since moving to Pasadena (and being 40+ miles away from my gym), going on daily walks has become my primary form of exercise. While it’s not always as exciting or challenging as my favorite Zumba classes, it’s been the perfect way for me to get out of the house, spend some time in the sunshine, and keep my ever-expanding body in motion. It’s also been a fantastic opportunity for me to explore this big, beautiful town on foot. I’ve discovered new neighborhoods, cute restaurants + shops, and even the Father of the Bride house!

Most weekdays, I’ll wait until John is just about to leave work and then I’ll head out and walk as far as I can go before he reaches Pasadena and picks me up. With a good podcast, a big bottle of water, and knowledge of the key code to the Starbucks’ bathroom along my route (ha!), I usually fit in a 40-60 minute walk, which is just long enough for me at this point in my pregnancy. By the time John finds me, I am very happy to see him and his air conditioned car ;)

I’m already looking forward to the day when I can take my daughter along with me and show her how amazing this city really is!

planting new seeds.

Posted on: Thursday, March 27, 2014

Ann-Marie Loves

This past week has been a bit of a doozy, to say the least. There have been many moments where I am overcome with feelings of “what am I doing?!”, except with more expletives and maybe a tearful outburst or two. But despite this week’s rocky start, I’m now feeling renewed and ready to jump back into the fold. I recently read my 2014 horoscope and whether or not it has any shred of truth to it, I choose to believe it wholeheartedly. I like imagining positivity whenever possible and this year is apparently full of it for Scorpios like myself!

Yesterday I left the house for a bit to run some errands and I have to say, being out and about in this beautiful city was like a breath of fresh air. Sometimes I spend so much time at home, I forget that I get to live in Pasadena (a longtime dream of mine!). I remember writing in my journal about wanting to move here a few years ago and at the time, it seemed like a long shot (this was back in my Utah days). But it’s amazing how a tiny seed of an idea can get planted in your subconscious and before you know it, you’re walking down Colorado Boulevard on a Wednesday afternoon because this is your neighborhood, gosh darn it! Life is a funny thing.

So what I mean to say is, I’m planting new seeds. I’m thinking about what’s next for me and I’m hoping for the best. First up: a brand new e-course in which I share all of my favorite tips + tricks for styling, shooting, and editing photos for blog posts! (Look for it to launch by the end of the month!)

P.S. The photo above? Old. Pre-wedding. Pre-baby. But totally fitting of my mood ;)

pigment | san diego.

Posted on: Monday, March 17, 2014

Pigment | San Diego | via Ann-Marie Loves

I follow a few cool San Diego gals on Instagram and there always seems to be a common denominator amongst their feeds: Pigment! So of course, while in San Diego last week, I had to check it out for myself to see what the hype was all about. The verdict? Pigment far exceeded the hype. I mean, this shop has everything that I want: home goods, stationery, baby accessories, a succulent bar…!

Pigment | San Diego | via Ann-Marie Loves

I must have done five laps around the store, trying to take in every last detail, making sure I didn’t miss anything! I walked away with a Rifle card and a porcelain bunny nightlight for the nursery, but if money was no object, I would surely take one of everything.

Pigment | San Diego | via Ann-Marie Loves

Pigment, you’re a gem.

P.S. While in the North Park neighborhood, I also highly recommend stopping by Coffee + Tea Collective! Five words: BEST LATTE OF MY LIFE. Not only are the drinks wonderful, but the actual shop itself is modern, airy, and full of inspiring details that make me wish I was a local!

if this isn’t nice, i don’t know what is.

Posted on: Tuesday, March 11, 2014

20 Weeks | Ann-Marie Loves

I love Kurt Vonnegut’s quote: “I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, ‘If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.”

Well, right there, on the beach in Coronado, as the sun was dipping into the Pacific and the waves were crashing at my feet, I was thrilled to be exactly where I was. Twenty weeks pregnant, married to an amazing human being, and happy in that moment.

John and I are not a perfect couple. Far from it, actually. I could provide you with a laundry list of all of our flaws, both individual and collective, but really…who is perfect? We’ve been together long enough to know that we can handle life together. It’s hard and messy and full of surprises, but we can handle it. We’re about to embark on our biggest adventure thus far and it simultaneously thrills and terrifies us. We’ve tried many times to wrap our brains around what having a child will be like, but have come to the conclusion that we won’t be able to fully grasp the sheer magnitude of it until we’re knee deep in the throes of it. And that’s okay. We can read baby books, we can pick the brains of every mom we know, we can Google any and all questions that come to mind, but we won’t know what it’s really like until it’s here. No need to plan the unplannable.

So in the meantime, I intend to savor our lives as they are, this minute, this week, this month. Because if this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.

desktop wallpaper | good vibes only.

Posted on: Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Desktop Wallpaper | Designed by Ann-Marie Espinoza

When I saw this quote floating around on Pinterest, it immediately resonated with me. I love how simple and yet profound these three words are. So in the spirit of positivity, I made a desktop wallpaper for you to download and enjoy.

Here’s hoping this image of Manhattan Beach at sunset will fill you with good vibes only.

DOWNLOAD DESKTOP WALLPAPER HERE

bachelorette weekend in lake arrowhead.

Posted on: Monday, February 10, 2014

Ann-Marie's Bachelorette Party in Lake Arrowhead | Ann-Marie Loves

When it came down to my bachelorette party, my bridesmaids nailed it. I gave these girls very little information about what I wanted my bach party to be like (aside from avoiding Vegas at all costs), and somehow they totally read my mind. It was the perfect October weekend, filled with good friends, good conversation, and good food + drinks in Lake Arrowhead.

Ann-Marie's Bachelorette Party in Lake Arrowhead | Ann-Marie Loves
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Ann-Marie's Bachelorette Party in Lake Arrowhead | Ann-Marie Loves
Ann-Marie's Bachelorette Party in Lake Arrowhead | Ann-Marie Loves

We spent most of our time hanging out at our awesome cabin (plotting ways on how we could steal the furniture!) and occasionally ventured out to the main part of town for excellent meals and countless photo-ops. (One thing’s for sure: I put together a solid group of camera-wielding b-maids!).

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Ann-Marie's Bachelorette Party in Lake Arrowhead | Ann-Marie Loves
Ann-Marie's Bachelorette Party in Lake Arrowhead | Ann-Marie Loves
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Ann-Marie's Bachelorette Party in Lake Arrowhead | Ann-Marie Loves

It was beyond better than anything I could have ever planned myself! And rest assured, there was plenty of booze and possibly a blow-up doll named Brad at this party to round out the bachelorette experience (;

P.S. My bridesmaids Jaymee and Janelle wrote about our fun weekend too!

take me to the water.

Posted on: Monday, January 6, 2014

Santa Barbara | via Ann-Marie Loves

These past few crazy weeks, I became completely fixated on getting myself to the ocean. I wasn’t overly concerned about which beach I ended up at or if I even put my toes in the sand. All I needed was to be in close proximity. I wanted to smell the air, feel the breeze, and soak in those negative ions.

So on Saturday, John and I decided to venture up north to Santa Barbara where we spent the first part of the day at the zoo (we both hadn’t been in years!) and then the second half wandering around State Street, stopping for some pho and major Anthro sales. It was perfect. Not only did it do wonders for my own mood but it helped to get our relationship back on the right track. Whenever we feel disconnected as a couple, we go on a day trip. Without fail, we always head back home feeling reconnected and happy to be in each other’s company.

Maybe one of these days, heading back home will mean heading back to our beach house. It can be in Santa Barbara or San Diego…I’m not picky! ;)

honeymoon | portland, oregon.

Posted on: Thursday, December 19, 2013

Ann-Marie Loves | Pacific Northwest Honeymoon | Portland, Oregon

I enjoyed each and every leg of our honeymoon tour for a variety of reasons, but there was just something about Portland that made me feel like I could stay forever. I still can’t quite put my finger on what it was, but man, I was in love. John and I actually had two visits to Portland. When we took the train from Washington to Oregon, we stopped in town for the best dinner of the whole trip at Tasty N Sons before driving out to Astoria. Sunshine cocktails and Southern-style food. We’re down.

Ann-Marie Loves | Pacific Northwest Honeymoon | Portland, Oregon

So when we came back to stay for the last part of our trip, we were pumped. We couldn’t wait to explore this amazing town that had piqued our interests a few days prior!

Ann-Marie Loves | Pacific Northwest Honeymoon | Astoria, Oregon

Even though Portland was my favorite city, it also happened to be the city in which I took the least amount of pics. Too busy enjoying myself to be concerned with photo ops, apparently.

Ann-Marie Loves | Pacific Northwest Honeymoon | Portland, Oregon

One thing I LOVED about Portland was how stereotypically Portland it was, in the very best way possible. John and I get a huge kick out of Portlandia, but always assumed the show must be a comically exaggerated version of what the city is really like. However, after spending a few days there, I am here to report: THEY SPEAK THE TRUTH. Oh, it was too good.

Ann-Marie Loves | Pacific Northwest Honeymoon | Portland, Oregon

There were two particular conversations we overheard in which we shot each other the “is this real life SLASH are we on candid camera?!” look. During the first conversation in a boutique, a very concerned customer was inquiring about whether a particular item was made locally. The employee’s response? “It was created in California, but the artist used the quills from a Portland porcupine to construct it, so yes, it’s local.” #crisisaverted

Ann-Marie Loves | Pacific Northwest Honeymoon | Portland, Oregon

During the second encounter (at one of our very favorite restaurants), a patron interrogated his server about the type of water filter the establishment uses and where the water comes from for several minutes. The funny thing was that the server didn’t miss a beat. He even invited the customer back to the kitchen to see the filter for himself! Oh man you guys, these conversations truly made our trip worthwhile.

Ann-Marie Loves | Pacific Northwest Honeymoon | Portland, Oregon

A few rounds in the photobooth at the Ace followed by drinks and appetizers at Clyde Common for the ultimate hipster experience.

Ann-Marie Loves | Pacific Northwest Honeymoon | Portland, Oregon

Powell’s Books. One of my all-time favorite places. John and I could have stayed for days if our schedules allowed for it. I had quite a handful of books that I wanted to take with me, but given my severe lack of suitcase real estate, I only walked away with Garden Anywhere. Very apropos though, no?

Ann-Marie Loves | Pacific Northwest Honeymoon | Portland, Oregon

I’ve never seen such a colorful array of leaves before, much less in one place! Unbelievably beautiful.

Ann-Marie Loves | Pacific Northwest Honeymoon | Portland, Oregon
Ann-Marie Loves | Pacific Northwest Honeymoon | Portland, Oregon

I’d like to think that Los Angeles as a whole is forward-thinking when it comes to being eco-friendly, but my hometown has nothing (and I mean nothing) on Portland. The push for biking over driving, the mandatory recycling, the composting at restaurants…I was in awe. I love a city that does their part to preserve and make the most of their natural resources. But even if the green scene isn’t winning you over, Portland has bridges, rivers, and incredibly talented + thoughtful people. I mean…

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Ann-Marie Loves | Pacific Northwest Honeymoon | Portland, Oregon

And then there’s the shopping. Where do I even begin? Ink + Peat, Alder + Co, Lark Press, Pistils Nursery…the list goes on and on. I left each store feeling inspired and invigorated as a result of the amazing visual merchandising, the unique product selections, and the warm and friendly staff. And isn’t that how a shopping experience is supposed to be? Well done, Portland. You will forever have my business.

Ann-Marie Loves | Pacific Northwest Honeymoon | Portland, Oregon

Yeah, we dig ya, Portland.

honeymoon | astoria, oregon.

Posted on: Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Ann-Marie Loves | Pacific Northwest Honeymoon | Astoria, Oregon

When John and I were planning out the various stops on our Pacific Northwest tour, we purposely tried to alternate the busier cities (Seattle + Portland) with the slower-paced locations (Alderbrook + Astoria). That way, we could go, go, go and see as much of of the big cities as possible, and then catch up on sleep and explore at a slower pace on our next stops. It worked perfectly.

Ann-Marie Loves | Pacific Northwest Honeymoon | Astoria, Oregon

We reached Astoria by way of train from Seattle to Portland (including dinner at Tasty n Sons!), and then picked up a rental car and drove out to the coast. It ended up tacking a few extra hours onto our journey, but being able to see so much of Washington and Oregon from the comfort of the train was well worth the extra mileage.

Ann-Marie Loves | Pacific Northwest Honeymoon | Astoria, Oregon

Kindergarten Cop, anyone?

Ann-Marie Loves | Pacific Northwest Honeymoon | Astoria, Oregon
Ann-Marie Loves | Pacific Northwest Honeymoon | Astoria, Oregon

The view of the Columbia River from The Goonies’ house.

Ann-Marie Loves | Pacific Northwest Honeymoon | Astoria, Oregon

I love a town that preserves and celebrates their buildings’ original character and Astoria fits that bill perfectly. Vintage charm on every single corner.

Ann-Marie Loves | Pacific Northwest Honeymoon | Astoria, Oregon
Ann-Marie Loves | Pacific Northwest Honeymoon | Astoria, Oregon

Even though we had a rental car for this leg of the trip, we were able to do most of our exploring on foot. We walked up and down, back and forth, and schlepped many a handful of antique finds to our hotel. Let me just say that the antiquing here blew my mind. I was in home decor shopping heaven.

Ann-Marie Loves | Pacific Northwest Honeymoon | Astoria, Oregon

The view from our adorably cozy room at Hotel Elliott.

Ann-Marie Loves | Pacific Northwest Honeymoon | Astoria, Oregon

One thing I hadn’t realized about this part of Oregon was how the Columbia River acts as a major (albeit, highly dangerous) passageway for cargo ships. For some reason this piece of information completely fascinated me and I found myself studying up on how giant vessels from all over the world travel through Astoria on a daily basis. So cool to watch!

Ann-Marie Loves | Pacific Northwest Honeymoon | Astoria, Oregon

Amazing lattes and ambience at Astoria Coffeehouse + Bistro on our last day in town.

Ann-Marie Loves | Pacific Northwest Honeymoon | Astoria, Oregon
Ann-Marie Loves | Pacific Northwest Honeymoon | Astoria, Oregon

Perhaps the best part about staying in a small town was that I felt like we able to see everything we wanted to see in the two days we were there. In every other place, I felt like there was still so much to left to explore and experience, but here? It was just enough time. And it was perfect.

Next (and final) stop: Portland!

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