a lovely living

Monthly Archives for July 2014



Now that August is nearly upon us, I’m doing my best to take advantage of all of the summer things we have yet to check off of our list. One such item was visiting a local amusement park. It’s small and very manageable which makes for an easy outing for our family. Needless to say, I never wear any of my best apparel for these trips. Sneakers, denim and honestly anything washable is what I turn to…for all of us! The kids had a blast and once Madelyn learned that she was required to sit on the rides, she got started to get the hang of it ;)









Details: Anthropologie top (similar) / Boden denim / Converse sneakers / Old Navy scarf / JCrew cap / Michael Kors watch



Caprese Pasta Salad


It’s safe to say we are in full picnic mode. I love picnics because you’re typically only required to bring along one dish, yet you end up having a feast. We’ve been to three within the past week, so I’ve been on the lookout for some yummy side dishes. I had pinned this Caprese Pasta Salad recently and as I scrolled through my pins I realized that I had previously pinned it a year or so ago. I took that as a sign I should give it a shot. We’re not talking complicated here guys, actually the exact opposite. This delicious, fresh salad can be whipped together in the amount of time it takes the pasta to cook and it makes quite the perfect side dish!



Here’s the recipe via Simply Scratch:


2 cups dried Orecchiette Pasta, cooked as directed on the package (I used shells which I had on hand)
1 pint Grape Tomatoes, quartered
1 container Fresh Mozzarella Pearls {or 1 ball fresh mozzarella, cubed small}
1 cup Fresh Basil, sliced into ribbons
Kosher Salt and Black Pepper


2 Cloves of Fresh Garlic, squeezed through a garlic press
1/3 cup Balsamic Vinegar
3 tablespoons Olive Oil


In a small bowl squeeze two cloves of garlic through a garlic press. Pour in balsamic vinegar and whisk. Continue to whisk while slowly, pouring in the three tablespoons of olive oil in steady stream.

Cook orecchiette pasta according to package directions. Drain and then rinse with cold water. Add the cold pasta to a bowl along with the quartered tomatoes, fresh mozzarella pearls and basil ribbons.

Season with kosher salt and black pepper and drizzle with desired amount of the balsamic vinaigrette. Taste and adjust seasonings to your taste preference before serving!




My Kind of Safari


I hate to say it, but I’m already prepping my wardrobe for fall. Not that I’m purchasing fall pieces (outside of the Nordstrom sale), but more like pieces that are season-less. This safari vest is one case in point. I had had my eye on it for some time, but I wasn’t planning on paying retail. It went on sale but I crossed my fingers that my size would be in stock when the sale went on sale. Lucky for me it did and it was. I love this vest. It’s another great layering piece that I’ll constantly be reaching for come fall, but for now how perfect is it layered over some light denim and a tank?








Details: Madewell vest / JCrew tank / JCrew denim / Baublebar necklace / Rayban sunglasses / Michael Kors watch / Wedges (similar) / Anthropologie bracelet



It’s interesting to think about what your everyday go-to items are. The items you’d have a hard time getting along without. I’m not talking food, water, shelter here, but more of the things you’ve become all too comfortable with. I asked my husband to join in and no joke he rattled of five items in no time flat. When it came to my list, I was blank for a good five minutes! My guess is that these are basically his only five items that would even matter whereas in my case I could likely cover a page (front and back) of my survival needs! This would also explain why he has a fraction of the closet and dresser drawers (and pretty much any other area of our place) to himself.  Am I the only one with a minimalist husband?! Most likely not…or at least please humor me ;)

Moving on, here are the lists that my husband and I compiled. Would any of these items be on your list?


1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5




1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5

At least we have one thing in common! A match made in heaven :)

High Five for Friday

Happy Friday, all! It’s been a busy week around here. First and foremost I should let you all know (unless you follow along on Instagram and are already aware) that I became an Aunt! You can see a shot of sweet little Max below. He is absolutely perfect! Of course immediately after he was born my children came down with colds and have been keeping me away from seeing him again! Darn kids, don’t they know I have a nephew that needs some loving?! And speaking of colds, aren’t they the worst in the summer? At least in the winter you don’t mind staying in and bundling up, but who wants to be trapped indoors when the beautiful sun is shining?! I guess we didn’t actually stay in all that much, thankfully when they hit the pool their symptoms are all temporarily relieved :)

Here’s a look at my week in photos:

1) Here he is, the man of the hour, sweet, little Max.


2) Madelyn and Great Grandma stylin’ as twinsies! Good fashion sense must be genetic.


3) When I received this lip color in my Birchbox I nearly passed it off as being too bright for me. Fortunately I tried it on because it turns out I love it! Just the color I needed to add to my makeup drawer.


4) One of my favorite things about summer is the fresh produce. We’re lucky to have this little stand within a half mile of our place. Grocery store tomatoes just can’t compare!!

H54F7251 5) Enjoying our first corn of the season thanks to previously mentioned farmers’ stand.



 Happy weekend everyone! See ya Monday!

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White + Turquois


I’ve mentioned how I’ve been drawn to white on white this summer as last seen here. I’m guessing part of that reason is because the time we’re able to pull off the monochromatic white is very short lived. Here I paired my white denim with a cute, casual t-shirt that I got on sale at Madewell. It’s one of those shirts you find yourself reaching for when you don’t feel like thinking about what to wear. And talk about a perfect pairing, throwing on some turquoise totally made this outfit. Accessories tend to do that for me!







Details: Madewell top / LOFT denim / BaubleBar necklace / Rayban aviators / Anthro bracelet / Michael Kors watch / Sandals via TJMaxx (similar)

I’ll leave you with my mini photo-bomber.



A friend recently posted this link to one of the Pioneer Woman’s latest recipe’s. It was right up my alley so I jumped on making this Lemon Basil Shrimp Risotto. Many times I find shrimp served in less rich dishes, but I loved the creaminess of this version. She mentions that the size of shrimp you use is up to you. She used large ones and cut them up, I chose to grab a bag of smaller sized shrimp. We’ll leave that up to you! The rest is pretty straight forward. Let me prepare you in that it will require some patience as you continue to thicken and cook the risotto (as it does with all risotto), but it’s very much worth it. If you love shrimp…and risotto…and…you get the point, you’ll surely enjoy this!

I should also (sadly) mention that my kids were not a fan of this recipe. Crazy, I know. I tend to post dinner options that are family friendly since that’s what I am typically preparing, but this one they were just not into. They did their best to get through it, Jack eating all of the shrimp/steering clear of the lemon flavored risotto and Madelyn shuttering at the taste of the shrimp yet hauling through the risotto. I guess I could say that as a team they enjoyed it in it’s entirety ;)


Here’s the recipe via The Pioneer Woman:


  • 2 Tablespoons Butter
  • 1-1/2 pound Shrimp (I Used U10 Size; Huge!)
  • 1 whole Onion, Finely Diced
  • 4 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 2 cups Arborio Rice
  • 1 cup Dry White Wine
  • 5 cups Vegetable Broth, Heated (give Or Take)
  • 1 whole Lemon, Zested And Juiced
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons Heavy Cream
  • 18 whole Basil Leaves, Chopped Plus Extra For Serving
  •  Grated Parmesan Cheese For Sprinkling

Preparation Instructions

Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add shrimp in a single layer and cook both sides until opaque in the middle, about 3 minutes. Remove to a cutting board and chop roughly. Set aside.

Return the skillet to the stovetop (do not wash it) and add the onion and garlic. Stir and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until onion starts to turn translucent. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add dry Arborio rice to the pan and stir it around for a couple of minutes, taking care not to burn it. Pour in wine and stir gently, allowing the rice to absorb the liquid. After the wine is absorbed, begin adding warm broth 1/2 cup to 1 cup at a time, allowing the rice to cook and absorb the liquid each time. Stir occasionally as you go, and add the salt and pepper during one of the broth additions. After 4 cups of broth have been absorbed, taste the rice. It should have a slight bite, but if it seems undercooked, add additional broth and cook it until it absorbs until the risotto is the perfect doneness.

Zest and juice the lemon and add both the zest and the juice to the risotto toward the end of cooking. Stir in the heavy cream, the basil, and serve immediately with extra lemon zest and Parmesan cheese on top.


One Outfit Two Ways


I’m not sure if I’m becoming or have always been a t-shirt junkie. I think it’s much easier to become one these days because of the numerous options available right now. With that being said, I wanted to show you how easy it is to wear your t-shirts dressed up and down. I grabbed this skirt on the clearance rack at Target as spring was approaching knowing I’d get a lot of use out of it, and this goes to show you how versatile it can be. They currently have these very similar options available. You could call these day to night looks, but honestly the dressed up version could be worn at any time of day, depending on your plans. The dressed up version would be perfect for brunch with the girls and the dressed down could easily take you to an afternoon or evening ball game. The beauty of versatility.







Details: JCrew t-shirt / Target skirt (similar) / Gap vest / JCP heels / Converse sneakers / Michael Kors watch / Anthropologie bracelet / RayBan sunglasses / Rebecca Minkoff pouch


I fell for THE sale

Well, it happened, I caved. I’m not ready for fall in the least bit, but some of the prices at the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale were just too good to pass up. I think being a blogger makes it impossible to ignore this sale because it’s all anyone is talking about on here. It makes sense and all because when I’m actually ready for fall pieces they’ll be back up to full retail price (which I rarely pay). Since I caved, I’m pretty sure you should too. I gathered a bunch of my favorites for you to check out below. And then you can get lost in the madness as I did.


1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9 / 10 / 11 / 12

Have fun! Let me know what you find!

High Five for Friday

I swear sometimes I blink and it’s Friday again. How does that happen?! Nothing too crazy to report around these parts. The little man has been at a camp every morning this week so I was able to get a little one on one time with my daughter. Even just having the time to sit and read to her like I did so often with my son is enjoyable. Oh, and I mentioned that I was ‘almost an aunt’ last week. Well the little bugger is holding tight, but I can almost guarantee that I’ll have something to report next week!

Here’s a look at my week:

1) Madelyn after a blowout one evening.


2) Fresh flowers in the house are one of my favorite things.


3) Bedtime shenanigans and full of energy until they hit their beds every single night.


4) If you follow along on Instagram, you saw some of the outfits I was tempted by at LOFT’s sale this week. I’m still deciding if sales are good news or bad news!


5) I’m off to another shower this weekend celebrating my cousin’s soon to be bride. It’s a good thing I enjoy wrapping with the amount I’ve been doing lately!


Have a great weekend all!!

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