a lovely living

Outdoors

We were out running a few errands as a family this past Saturday which, as a family of five, can be quite a production! We probably spent 45 minutes at Dick’s checking out all the clearance goodies while my husband sought out some new running sneaks. The girls took turns pushing each other in the stroller throughout the store which is pretty hysterical being that neither of them can actually see over the stroller! Thankfully I don’t think we caused too much of a commotion, or at least we didn’t receive any eye rolls that I caught. And Audrey of course had the cashiers awing as we left. The charmer that girl is!

While we were out and about Jack and I pulled off at the entrance to a walking trail to take some pictures. We took note of all the couples hiking by themselves and laughed at how comical we’d be if we brought our crew with us! Guaranteed we’d loose at least one wandering child into the wilderness! It did get us excited for the future however, looking ahead to days when we’ll all be able to get out into nature a bit more all together and enjoy more of what our town has to offer.

For those of you that follow along on Instagram, I shared this turtleneck over the weekend. It’s on mega sale and is still stocked in most sizes. I adore the loose fit and the unexpected color combo, but it also comes in a blue/grey stripe if that’s more up your alley! As for the coat, it is actually Land’s End that I found locally and have received compliments on every time I’ve worn it. The pink has sold out online (but if black is your color, it’s available and so chic), so I’m linking some other options below.

Details: JCrew shirt / Land’s End coat (similar here and here) / Madewell denim (similar) / Timberland Boots / LeSpecs sunglasses

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Closet Staples

When it comes to my closet, I find that I mainly fill it with a lot of closet staples and sprinkle in fun/frilly pieces here and there. Take this outfit for example. I’ve been heavily rotating these faux leather leggings (can’t rave about them enough) since fall, pairing them with tunic tops, sweatshirts and sweaters. I’d love to have them in ‘wine’ too! The booties I have actually owned for a few years now, but coming from Madewell, I knew they would stand up to the test of time. This tunic sweater was a recent purchase, and I love it’s length, shape and comfort level! And being that I’ve already worn it a number of times, I can tell it’ll quickly become a staple. This coat, although bright and rather bold, has been one of my go-to coats for years now. I tend to invest a little more into coats when I know it’ll pay off year after year. The latest version of this coat is still available, but in limited colors/sizes (see below for links). And to top off this look, I threw on a Kate Spade scarf that I scored at TJMaxx last year. It adds so much personality that this outfit otherwise would have been lacking! There are actually two other similar versions of the scarf available right now (here and here), but don’t forget to keep an eye out for the steals when you’re shopping around the bargain stores!

Details: LOFT sweater / JCrew coat (similar here, here and here) / SPANX leggings / Madewell booties (similar) / Kate Spade scarf (similar here and here) / LeSpecs sunglasses / LOFT earrings

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Cozy Up!

I’m going to start sounding like a broken record if I keep bringing up the frigid weather in every post aren’t I? But since our outfits revolve around weather each and every day it’s hard to skirt around it! January and February are the months where I do my best to stay warm and cozy as often as I’m able. After all the dressing up over the holidays it’s nice to relax and enjoy some comfort. March comes around and I start getting antsy, trying to wear lighter layers than I should….but we’ll get to that when the time comes ;)

For now, I wanted to share all of the warm and cozy things with you, so you can hunker down with me! And if you’re skipping away to somewhere warm and sunny, well, take me with you!!

There are some fab markdowns happening too. This fur lined hoodie, faux fur coat, plaid scarf, leather gloves and pink beanie (reg price) are each under $35. Not to mention this leopard beanie that’s less than $8!

Click images for details:

 

Ruffled Shoulders

It appears the bitter cold weather is back to hang around for a bit. I don’t mind 30 degree weather, but waking up to single digits is not my cup of tea! Despite the cold, I was brave enough to bare my shoulders to give you a glimpse of this adorable sweater. I use the term sweater lightly because it’s very light-weight, but regardless, it’s sweater material and it’s adorable in the most understated of ways. It’s also marked down to $25 and comes in grey and black and is surprisingly still well stocked.

Let’s also talk about high-waisted jeans for a moment because they are basically all I wear these days. Putting on anything else just feels like I’m leaving everything all to exposed! I don’t need to worry about bending over and constantly hiking up, and not to mention the fact that they give you legs for days! And that’s never a bad thing is it? I held off on this pair for a while, but the button fly (and the rave reviews) finally got me. The chewed hem will be fun to pair with sneakers, booties and mules when mother nature eventually allows ;)

Details: Madewell sweater / Madewell denim (similar) / Boots (similar) / Jacket (similar) / Nickel & Suede earrings / LeSpecs sunglasses / Monogram necklace

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Dressing Room Diaries: LOFT

Happy Friday! I ventured in to LOFT yesterday because I had been seeing some of their new arrivals trickling in and was excited to give them a try (on) ;) They’re also offering 40% off full-priced styles and I know we all love a good sale!

Check out what came into the fitting room with me…

I’m just going to start here, because nothing can compare to Lou & Grey sweatpants! At home especially, I love lounging around in their sweats and a comfy top. Let’s just say I have a few pairs in my closet. Just as I walked out of the fitting room with them, some of the employee’s were surrounding the rack discussing the same pants. Apparently they had just been put out within the hour and were already all the rage! This sweater is also amazing. It has a great fit and was very comfortable. Had I not already bought a similar one recently, I would have brought this one home with me.

This shot cracks me up because the angle makes it looks a though I’m showing off a baby bump….which I’m not ;) The perfect hand placement and all, lol! But I promise, in person, this sweater won’t make you look pregnant. Unless you are pregnant, in which case it would look adorable on you!

The denim pants are also super cute, check out the snap detail at the ankle. They have a great amount of stretch to them which makes them extremely comfortable.

The new arrivals include a bunch of beautiful florals. This embroidered sweater is example A! I love the colors, the embroidery and the 3/4 sleeves, especially for the spring.

This was probably my favorite floral top. I love that it was paired with stripes. A little fun, a little preppy, a lot of style! I also love the button fly on these jeans. I still tend to battle the rear gap in some of their denim, but if you don’t, you’ll want to check these out!

Another adorable top that could be dressed up for work or worn on the weekend with denim. I love the bell sleeves and I’m always up for a good peplum!

How cute is this top? The bright colors are screaming for spring with its Lily Pulitzer-ish vibe. It would look so crisp paired with some white denim!

I’ll leave you with one final adorable top. In case the florals didn’t sell ya, maybe the pearls will :) Another piece that will be absolutely perfect for spring.

So how about you guys….ready to start prepping your spring wardrobe or still cozy-ing up in all things warm?!

 

Transitioning/Downsizing: The Move from House to Condo

Today I wanted to share with you all a project that actually wrapped up early fall of last year. I’ve had the images for a while now, but as soon as the holidays hit, my content had to follow suit. With everyone now tearing down their Christmas decor and working on refreshing their homes, it actually feels like the perfect time to share this post with you.

I had a wonderful time working with the Bontrager family as I helped to transition them from the home they raised their two daughters in, to a condo that suits their current lifestyle oh-so perfectly. With one college age daughter still living at home, we were able to create her own little retreat as well as a ‘music room’ for mom and a ‘man lounge’ for dad. From what I’m hearing, their transition has gone much smoother than anyone had anticipated ;)

The goal was to use as much from their current home as we could manage, tackle a few renovations to the condo and then fill in the missing gaps. We painted, updated fixtures, redid countertops and installed new carpet all prior to the move and I worked on tracking down the missing pieces to help make this condo feel like home. It didn’t hurt that Mr. Bontrager’s building company had a hand in all of the renovation work ;)

Let’s walk trough some images and I’ll share more details with you as we go!

They have a beautiful entryway where some of their current pieces were utilized. Fresh paint and a new light fixture were the updates we made in this area.

They found this storage piece that also serves as a desk for quick and easy access to pay bills etc.

The vaulted ceiling not only adds visual height to the room, but their decision to add paneling to it created a beautiful dramatic effect.

I knew the mantle would require something equally as dramatic and I was thrilled when I came across this mirror at HomeGoods! The floral arrangement Mrs. Bontrager had made was the perfect complement.

This pair of lamps was another HomeGoods score that ended up working perfectly on their sofa table.

New countertops, hardware and a fresh coat of paint were all that this kitchen needed.

With the whole family being blessed with musical talent, a music room was inevitable. There were also a number of stunning rugs to transfer from their previous home which gave us a great start!

The guest bath received a few updates as well, and now better reflects their style.

When it came to the master bedroom, their furniture worked beautifully, but we updated the bedding (HomeGoods…I’m sounding like a broken record, aren’t I?!) and they had the gorgeous floral arrangement made to tie in to the decor and balance the ceiling height.

The master bath got new counters and this mirror from Pottery Barn was installed. The picture doesn’t do it justice!

Upstairs you are first greeted by the ‘man lounge’, designed to be Mr.’s own little oasis.

In addition, the second floor is also home to their youngest daughter who has her own bed and bath. She has a keen eye when it comes to style (I’ll confirm that in a moment with the fabric she chose to recover her reading chair). In her bath we went with a simple black vanity and gold mirror that came from their previous home.

Black is the running theme in here and we decided to go bold with the wall that the bed would be positioned on. Floating shelves and gold reading lamps were the perfect accents.

I have a girlfriend that has done some upholstery work for me personally and I knew she’d be the one to revamp this chair and turn it back into a thing of beauty. The fabric is stunning and compliments the rest of the room beautifully!

It was quite a process for the Bontrager’s who put a ton of work into this move. Downsizing is no small task! But in the end, I don’t think any one of them regrets the decision. They now have a home that works perfectly for their family now and for years to come :)

Sources:
Renovations were completed by Steve Hackman Builders
Sunroom rug: Ballard Designs
Entryway light fixture: The Hite Company
Floral Arrangements: Daniel Vaughn Designs
Master Bathroom mirror: Pottery Barn
Red leather recliners: Klaban’s Home Furnishings
Reupholstery fabric: Waverly
Sofa table: Spectra Wood

Paint colors used:
SW 6249 Storm Cloud
SW 6107 Nomadic Desert
SW 7012 Creamy
SW 7069 Iron Ore

Stars

Sorry girls, I can’t stop with the sweatshirts! The good thing is (well, there are many good things), that they can go a lot further than simply pairing them with sweatpants. I love throwing a collared shirt underneath to dress them up a bit. I also love pairing them with faux leather leggings and either sneakers or booties depending on the day. I wish I could have removed my coat to show off this whole sweatshirt, but at 9 degrees, I’m just happy I was able to smile through the shoot! The velvet-y stars up the playful level of it and have my kids asking why I keep wearing it so often (mind you, it only arrived last week, lol!).

As a side note, if you are still on the hunt for over-the-knee boots this season, scoop some up quickly! Each time I wear mine (and photograph them) I’m forced to find new options to share with you all because they continue to sell out. It’s just that time of year, but with a few good ‘boot’ months left, I’d hate for you to miss out ;)

Details: Madewell sweatshirt (also available here) / Madewell coat (similar) / Shirt (similar) / Madewell denim / Boots (similar) / LeSpecs sunglasses / Nickel & Suede earrings

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Friday Favorites

Happy Friday! My kids managed to get two days of school under their belts this week before having a cancellation due to wind chills falling between -20 – -30 today. I’ve already promised pancakes and hot chocolate and we’ll see what else we can get ourselves into. Maybe I can teach them how to do laundry, lol!

Today I wanted to share with you guys some of my favorites things as of late. Some new, others that have been around for a bit, but all of which I love and I have a feeling you might too. I’ve got a little bit of everything…faux leather leggings to water bottles, all of which I highly recommend!

 

 

French Press Coffee Maker: Jack gifted this to me for Christmas and let me just tell you that my morning cup of coffee is now something to get excited about! I know the french press isn’t anything new, but instead of having to get to a coffee shop I now get to enjoy a cup in my pj’s everyday. Jack did his research and with over 11,000 4.5 star reviews, I agree he got a good one ;)

Initial Necklace: I’ve shared this on here before, but this necklace has quickly become a favorite piece of jewelry. It works well with your everyday outfits but is also perfectly understated for an evening out.

Fleece Boots: When I’m looking for something a little more sleek than my Uggs but the temperatures remain well below freezing, I’ve been turning to these fleece boots. They are stylish but perfect for the wintery months ahead.

Faux Leather Storage Bin: This was a recent find that I wasn’t necessarily looking for, yet it managed to functionally fill an empty space in our family room. Perfect for books/magazines or who am I kidding, kids clutter! Leave it to Joanna to design yet another beautiful piece! PS, who else is overly excited about her recent baby announcement?!

Spanx Faux Leather Leggings: I’ll continue to rave about these leggings for years to come I’m sure. They pop on sale every once in a while (and I shout it from the rooftop when they do), but if you have some Christmas money to spend, you won’t regret this purchase.

Fleece Pullover: I still can’t get enough of this fleece. It’s stylish, cozy and comes in a color for everyone!

Glass Vase: I love finding decorative pieces that I am able to utilize in any number of rooms in my home. I pulled this out as soon as the Christmas decor came down and it’s currently being used as part of my dining room centerpiece. You can’t beat the price point either!

Camelbak Water Bottle: One of my goals this year is to focus on drinking more water everyday. I love water, but I am terrible at keeping a glass with me at all times, mainly because most of my day is spent on the run. My new water bottle has been beside me for the past week and even though I haven’t met my goal in ounces every day, I’ve come a lot further than I had been previously!

Stepping into 2018

Hi guys! Happy 2018! I took some time off last week as we spent time traveling and visiting various friends and family. Part of that involved a trip to Boston where we barely stepped foot outside! For those of you in the northeast as well know it’s been colder than cold lately. Inside however, there were plenty of laughs (and drinks) to be shared and our six kids combined barely knew we were there. Most definitely signs of a good time.

I wore this outfit at one point before the temps dipped below freezing. I’d need a down coat now because just looking at this makes me cold! The cardigan is adorable though, with its bell sleeves, draped front and super soft fabric. It also comes in a grey and is on super sale, so make sure you check it out!

Details: LOFT sweater / Denim (similar) / Boots (similar) / Scarf (similar) / Stella & Dot bracelet

Merry Christmas

It’s hard to believe that Christmas is upon us. What is it about getting older that makes each year fly by all the faster?! Our week has been packed full of Christmas activities but as long as we can all get some restful sleep I think we’ll fully be able to enjoy these next few very special days :)

Our good friends at J&A Photo captured these images for us and despite Audrey’s opposition to the camera that day, they managed to make it look as though it all went off without a hitch! Trust me, there were tears, but only from one out of five of us, so I’m calling it a win ;)

I know family photos can be daunting, especially when it comes to putting outfits together, so I wanted to share a few quick tricks that I always follow:

  • Coordinate colors. Find a color palette that will not only work in your setting, but will also work where you’ll be using/hanging the pictures.
  • Mix and match prints and solids.  You’ll want a fairly even mix of prints and solids. Prints will add a ‘pop’ and solids will keep the overall look grounded. Here Madelyn’s dress was what I played off of, but I also had my husband layer a gingham shirt under his sweater and Jack wore a plaid tie.
  • Avoid logos/images. I find that they tend to detract from the cohesive feel of a family photo (or an individual shot for that matter). You want the focus to be on your loved ones, using clothes to enhance the image, as opposed to distracting you.

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a blessed year to come! We’ll be traveling next week so things will likely be a little quiet here. But for those that follow along on Instagram, I’m sure there will be plenty of action ;)

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