a lovely living

Monthly Archives for June 2014

Skirting Around

I’ve been turning to dresses a lot this summer because they can make getting dressed extremely easy, but skirts have sure been tempting me lately. There’s always the classic mini which, despite its name, does not require that you bare more than you’re comfortable with. Many mini’s while short, can also remain classy and cute. Midi skirts are something I am warming up to. I had one on the other day and it took me a few attempts pairing a top until my husband confirmed that I did not look like a school teacher (no offense to all of you teachers, I’m talking about the styles of back in my middle school days). When pulled off correctly, I think it’s a lovely style to have some fun with. I’ll hopefully get a post on here wearing one sooner or later. And of course the maxi. There’s nothing that makes a statement like a maxi (dress or skirt). There are an overwhelming amount of styles out now that allow you to wear one as casually or dressy as you’d like.

I’ve selected a few styles from all of these categories for you below. Which length are you the most drawn to?


 Mini  1 / 2 / 3

Midi  1 / 2 / 3

Maxi  1 / 2 / 3

High Five for Friday

When you’re home with children during the summer there’s a fine line between keeping their schedules busy and having them utter the words “I’m bored”. This happened to be a week where swimming lessons, soccer lessons and sports camp fell into the same week. Needless to say, my kids were anything but bored. Even Madelyn, who was basically stuck following her brother around, managed to keep herself entertained. I’m looking forward to the weekend where a bit of relaxation may be involved!

Here’s a look at my week:

1) Running around, staying cool, literally and figuratively.


2) Miss Madelyn and one of her best buddies entertaining one another while their brother’s take their swim lessons. They are actually the same size, the angle’s just off here!


3) One of my outfits this week. Easy breezy. (Anthro top / 7FAMK cropped jeans / Espadrilles)


4) Our church put on a fantastic sports camp this week. Each evening when I picked Jack up he would ask, “Did you miss me Mom? I didn’t miss you because I was with my friends.” I suppose I should be happy about that?


5) Needless to say, I had two wonderful sleepers this week!


 Have a fantastic weekend and I’ll see you next week!

 photo H54Fbutton_zps973d26e1.png

Denim Vest

denimvest2I’ve been wanting to jump on the denim vest train for a while now. I’m not quite sure why it took me so long to finally grab one. Maybe it’s because it took me forever to find a denim jacket that I loved and I felt it may be the same case with a vest? Or maybe it’s because I don’t tend to do much layering in the warmer months? Well, I finally bit the bullet, threw one in my shopping cart and the moment it got here all of my hesitations washed away. What a fantastic piece for the warmer months! It’s been making my outfits feel more complete and looking like I put more thought into them than I really did. I started out as basic as you can get here, with a t-shirt and jeans, but I plan on pairing it with skirts, maxi’s and shorts as well. I may be late to the game on this one, but better late than never!







Details: Gap vest / JCrew t-shirt (similar) / AG jeans (similar) / Madewell sandals (similar) / Blair Ritchey clutch / Marc by Marc Jacobs sunglasses / Michael Kors watch / Lia Sophia ring



You read that correctly, chocolate and whiskey. Oh and I can’t forget the caramel whiskey sauce that’s drizzled over top of it. Ahh-mazing. I wouldn’t call myself a big whiskey drinker, or a whiskey drinker at all for that matter, but the flavor that it gives to this decadent dessert is out of this world. I took this to my sister-in-law’s baby shower the other weekend and was nervous serving it to other’s since I had yet to taste it. Thankfully it was a huge hit and I believe I even broke a few diets momentarily. In my opinion, bundt cakes are remarkably easier to make than regular cakes because they typically don’t require any icing (preparation or application), yet they turn out beautifully every time. You should probably add this to your ‘to bake’ list asap.



This recipe came from Love & Olive Oil. Not only is their food delicious, but the authors, Lindsay and Taylor, are quite entertaining writers. You may want to bounce around their blog a bit!



  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup dark or dutch-processed cocoa powder, sifted
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup whole buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 1/4 cup decent quality Tennessee whiskey or bourbon


  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • pinch cream of tartar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons whiskey or bourbon


  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Generously butter a standard (12-cup) bundt pan. Dust with 1 tablespoon each flour and cocoa powder, and tap and turn until pan is completely coated. Dump out excess.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt, whisking until thoroughly combined. Add eggs, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla and mix with an electric mixer on medium-low speed until dry ingredients are almost incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add warm water and whiskey and mix until just combined and no dry ingredients remain (do not overmix). Pour into prepared pan.
  3. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the deepest part of the pan comes out clean. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack until cool enough to handle, then gently invert onto a wire rack. Allow to cool completely.
  4. To prepare caramel, place sugar and cream of tartar in a medium, high-sided saucepan set over medium-high heat. Pour water around edges. Bring to a boil, then cover and cook for 2 minutes (the steam buildup will help dissolve any stray sugar crystals on the sides). Remove cover and continue to boil, without stirring, until sugar caramelizes to a light amber color, about 5 to 7 minutes. Watch it carefully, as it can go from golden brown to burnt in no time if left unattended.
  5. Remove from heat and quickly whisk in cream and butter (mixture will bubble vigorously), then return to low heat and whisk until completely smooth. It may seem like it is seizing, but keep whisking and all the hard caramel chunks should dissolve. Remove from heat and let cool for about 2 minutes, then stir in whiskey. Transfer to a heat-proof container and let cool to room temperature, about 1 hour, or until thickened yet still pourable.
  6. Pour about half of the caramel over the top of cake, letting it drip down the edges and pool at the base. Slice and serve and drizzle with additional caramel as desired. Cake will keep, stored in an airtight container, for up to 5 days.


Getting Festive

Do you guys realize that July 4th is next week?! It creeps up on me every single year. When it comes to dressing for this festive occasion, it’s often easy to turn to your own closet and mix some pieces you may not otherwise pair together. For myself, I don’t force the use of red, white and blue. I’ll typically turn to red and white or navy and white and the point comes across well enough. When it comes to the kids, however, it can be fun to exaggerate their outfits a bit. I mean, red sparkly shoes and star hair clips? Why not?! I’ve pieced together some outfits below for the whole family to give you a few ideas. July4

Woman: Dress / Vest / Necklace / Bracelet / Shoe

Girl: Dress / Shoes / Hair Clips / Sunglasses / Tote

Boy: Shirt / Hat / Shorts / Flip-flops

Man: T-shirt / Shorts / Sandals


White on White


Daring, right? Especially with two young ones, but somehow I managed to pull it off! And for the crispness of this outfit, it was worth it. Shortly after I purchased this top, my sister was flipping through a magazine and pointed out a white on white outfit and I thought ‘yes’! I put all thoughts of pairing this top with navy aside and took the bold step of throwing on white denim. A few simple accessories and one amazing bag later and I was set. A simple ensemble that’s bound to make a big impact.







Details: JCP MNG by Mango top / LOFT pants / Stella & Dot necklace / Blair Ritchey bag c/o / JCP a.n.a. shoes / Marc by Marc Jacobs watch (similar here and here)

High Five for Friday

Happy Friday, friends! It’s been one crazy week for me, full of wonderful happenings and fabulous people. Part of my week was spent in NY, as you know, and thankfully my sister was able to tag along. We had such a great time together and I was happy to have her aid while navigating through the city (I’d choose walking through Manhattan any day over driving!)…and for the rest of the trip, obv. I returned last night to a ‘Welcome Home’ banner, a crying 5 yo who had just hit his head on a door and a two year that was beginning to piece sentences together! This, fyi, is why it’s so hard to leave your children, they literally change in a matter of days! Oh and I can’t miss filling you in that my husband had fresh baked banana bread on the counter! What?! I had rushed out of the house Tuesday morning leaving a few rotting bananas on the counter and he managed to find my recipe and bake a better bread than I! Sorry ladies, this baker is taken ;)

Here’s a glimpse into my week:

1) This is my beautiful sister in law who is due to have her first child next month. It’s also the first time I’ll be an Aunt and I can’t begin to explain how excited I am!


2) My handsome little guy at one of his swim lessons this week.


3) All dolled up and spending some quality time with this beauty (that’d be my sister).


4) My husband had no clue about my itinerary details while I was in NY and yet he managed to track me down with this special delivery. Like I said, he’s taken ;)


5) Rest assured, some shopping was certainly involved during my travels. This way I can give our UPS man a break!


I hope you all had a fantastic week as well. Enjoy the weekend and I’ll see you on Monday!

 photo H54Fbutton_zps973d26e1.png

Baby Blue

babybluedress1Versatility is a big factor when I consider clothing purchases. When a dress that can be worn with heels, sandals or as a tunic comes my way, and it’s in the softest shade of blue nonetheless, I’m basically sold. I was invited to a CAbi party (personal shopping via homeshows in case you’re unfamiliar) by a girlfriend a few months ago and this dress had my attention. I finally broke it out of my closet for my sister in laws baby shower last weekend. She happens to be having a baby boy hopefully next month and I’m ecstatic to become an Aunt! Parenting is amazing, but having a nephew where my sole purpose is to love and spoil him, is something I’m very much looking forward to!






Details: CAbi dress / shoes (similar) / JCrew Factory necklace / Tiffany necklace / Stella & Dot ring


Pardon my absence…


 (photo credit)

 I was trying to be Super Woman and have all of my posts lined up for this week while I am out of town, but alas it did not happen. I may or may not be able to get my act together for the rest of the week, you’ll just have to check back to see ;) In the meantime I am with my sister in this beautiful city working on a super fun collaboration that I can’t tell you about just yet. Don’t you hate it when bloggers do that to you? I do. In the meantime, you can follow along on Instagram for some sneak peeks of our trip, and as soon as I am allowed, I’ll fill you in on all the fun I’ve been having!

To Birk or Not?


Birkenstocks are back in full force and I can’t get over the array of colors and styles that are now available. They are certainly not limited to the boring shades of brown I sported in high school, that’s for sure. I’ve been watching them grow again in popularity, but I continue to put them in the category of “oh, they look so cute on so-and-so, but they’re just not me”. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for trying new things and getting out of my comfort zone, but if something doesn’t feel right you may just want to let it pass.  Well, a few weeks ago I saw the cutest girl at church who was dressed in an outfit that I could have easily been wearing (what I mean is that we had similar style taste). As I was taking note of her outfit, I was totally drawn to her bright white Birkenstock’s that completed her ensemble. She looked adorable and the white looked so fresh and crisp, perfect for a summer tan! I don’t know why I’m having such a hard time making this decision. What do you guys think? Would you (or do you) wear them?

PS the kids sandals are adorable too!