a lovely living

Monthly Archives for August 2014

High Five for Friday!

Happy Friday all! It’s been a crazy, whirlwind week around here. The weather has been rather sub-par and in addition a virus hit my 5 year old son and had us trapped inside for more time than I was comfortable with. Thankfully the virus passed and my son bounced back to his sarcastic self rather quickly. Despite what may have been going on inside our home, the outside world was a bit more exciting. The release of Redbook’s September issue, featuring the 10 Real Women Style Award winners, allowed me to finally announce the secret that I had been hiding all summer. Thank you again for all of your kind words. It’s still quite overwhelming! Now if only Mother Nature could let us enjoy these last few weeks of summer, all would be right ;)

Here’s a look at my week:

1.) Certainly the highlight of my week. You can read more about all of the fabulous winners here on Redbook.

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2.) Anyone else into Shark Week? It really pumps me up for our beach trip in two weeks (#sarcasm).


3.) While in Gap, I asked the boys to search for some fall clothing. Am I shocked this is what they came up with?


4.) 13 red long stem roses in August? When Trader Joe’s has them for $4.99 you don’t ask questions.


5.) If anything can make a 5 year old boy bounce back from an illness, it’s trucks. Big trucks.


 Have a fantastic weekend and I’ll see ya Monday!

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Chambray Shift


I love shift dresses for all the versatility and ease they can bring to an outfit. Make it a chambray shift dress and I could easily find myself in it every day. Our local TJMaxx frequently carries the Cloth & Stone brand that I am quite fond of and I was thrilled to find this dress on their racks a few weeks ago. Anthropologie also carries the line and although it’s not the exact dress, I’m loving this similar shirtdress as well as this one. Both currently on sale, mind you. Below you’ll find a handful of other casual shift dresses that caught my eye. Anything I can do to make your life a bit easier ;)





Details: Cloth & Stone shift via TJMaxx (see options below) / Stella & Dot necklace / Lucky Brand cuff / Lucky Brand sandals (similar) / Anthropologie bracelet / Marc by Marc Jacobs watch

2014 Redbook Fashion Bloggers

(In the shot above you’ll find the following wonderful, stylish ladies that I highly recommend you check out: Maria: The Style Letters, Georgette: Grown And Curvy WomanCatie: Fleur d’EliseKimberly: Penny Pincher Fashion,  Caroline: House of Harper, Karla: Karlareed (Instagram), Victoria: It’s Versayce,  Kendi: Kendi Everyday, Brittany: The Brilliance of B)

Wow, what a whirlwind yesterday was! Thank you all for your kind words and in joining us as we celebrated the release of Redbook’s September issue. You had a chance to see the final product yesterday (and hopefully you’ll get an even better look when you grab a copy!), but today I’m going to give you a look behind the scenes. You can also view additional footage when you check out Redbook’s video here.

Above is a group shot of all 10 winners toasting to one long, hot (mid 90’s, hot and humid), fantastic day, but this venture began the afternoon prior as we all made our way into the Redbook offices for our fittings. The Redbook team did an amazing job pulling racks upon racks of clothing for each of us based on our own unique styles. From there we all had a chance to piece together two outfits that we felt depicted our style. If only I had those walls of shoes to turn to everyday, what a dream!


Once our outfits were set, their oh-so-talented tailor got right down to work making sure the clothing fit us to a T, while we were invited to a cocktail party thrown by Redbook and JCPenney. I’m so thankful my sister was able to tag along on this trip mainly because I am a terrible NYC driver…oh and because I love her ;) We had a great time getting a chance to meet the other winners and to enjoy the views from the top of Hearst Tower.


The following day we were on our way to the studio bright and early. This day literally brought tears to my eyes multiple times. When you are used to doing your hair and make-up with a 2yo ripping apart your bathroom on a daily basis, having an entire team waiting to beautify you while you relax and enjoy a cup of coffee just seemed surreal. But honestly it was the overall experience that had me so emotional. It made me realize that I was here all because of this blog. All because I took the leap last year and ventured into a world I knew nearly nothing about. It’s amazing where one step can take you. If there’s something you’re contemplating, do it. Just do it! You never know where your path may lead. My path lead me straight into these Dolce Vita booties, and how fab are they?! There’s a shot of Kendi and I following our outdoor shoot as well as one with the make-up artist that worked wonders on me. It was fun getting to pick the brain of a pro on various products/brands.


Our final morning was spent at Manhattan’s JCPenney store. They were so kind to host all of us for breakfast, chat about the upcoming season and pamper us each with $500 gift cards. I was totally impressed with many of the lines they now carry and for those that follow along, you’ve likely seen me wearing more of their clothing. Now you know what spurred that on ;) Then it was back to the car and back to my family!


This has been an experience I’ll never forget and I want to say one final thank you to everyone at Redbook and JCPenney as well as everyone else that treated us like queens that week. Your work didn’t go unnoticed and was truly appreciated!! Also a thank you to my mother. Thank you for letting me take the lead on my sense of fashion from the age of two and showing me by example what it means to be a lady, XO! And finally to you, my readers. None of this would have happened without you. Thank you for following along daily during this past year on whatever path I may have led you down. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for A Lovely Living next!

Don’t forget you have until next Tuesday to enter the JCPenney Tote Giveaway!

RBK_RealWomenStyleAwards_Option 1 UpdateYou guys!! It’s been the hardest secret for me to keep all summer long, but the release date is finally upon us! I had the privilege of being selected as one of the 10 winners of Redbook’s first ever Real Women Style Awards!! Redbookcover For all of you that were voting for me back in April, thank you! This whole experience has been surreal and I’m still pinching myself to make sure it is actually happening. Redbook and their co-sponsor JCPenney put a ton of work into the whole production and I can’t thank them enough. Tomorrow I’m going to take you through a behind the scenes tour of my time in NYC this past June, but for today, we’re all celebrating the release of the September issue of Redbook that we happen to be gracing the pages of! And who better than to have on the cover than Kate Middleton, one of my style icons! If you were to ask me what the best part of this whole experience was, I would say hands down, getting the chance to meet this amazing group of women. These ladies were flown in from around the country and we got to spend three days together. Obviously fashion was the topic at hand, but it was so wonderful getting to really know these ladies. Many of them are fellow bloggers or have huge followings elsewhere, but I highly suggest you start to follow them all because their sense of style is impeccable. Might I also suggest that you grab a copy of the Sept. issue, but as a sneak peek, here’s what you’ll happen to see!


Yes, that would be yours truly strolling the streets of SoHo with one of my blog idols whom I now call a friend, Kendi of Kendi Everyday. We were each asked to put together two outfits that defined our style. One was worn for the outdoor shoot seen above and the other was worn for a solo shot in the studio. I was very happy with the way both of my outfits came together, although when you have Redbook’s closets to sort through, I can’t say it was all that difficult! Here’s the continuation of the story showcasing everyone individually:



There you have it. My secret is out! This was one amazing experience that I will surely never forget.


Now, as a thank you to you, my readers and diligent voters, I am giving away a beautiful tote courtesy of JCPenney. They were gracious enough to give us each a $500 gift card, so I picked this tote up with you ladies in mind as a way of saying thank you!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

As I mentioned, I’ll be giving a ‘behind the scenes’ tomorrow, so be sure to check back for all of those details!!

The Vest


My love of vests has been increasingly growing over the years. I started with the shawl/sweater vests which hooked me while I was pregnant since they always fit, moved on to denim vests and most recently the military/cargo vests. I love them because they can add much interest to an outfit without being too overbearing. Additionally though, vests can be very helpful in adding some coverage when necessary. This maxi-dress, for example, is a favorite of mine, but the halter top and exposed back leave it inappropriate for certain occasions. I wore this outfit to church yesterday and the vest not only fixed the issue of having a bit too much exposed, but also turned it into an outfit as opposed to just a dress. I’ve owned this particular maxi dress for years, but I’ve linked to various other options below, most of which are on sale!







This would be my stunning SIL. She was in town for the weekend visiting with friends and we were thrilled to get to spend some time with her!


Details: Anthropologie dress (see options below) / Madewell vest / Madewell tote / Lucky Brand sandals / Cookie Lee necklace / Rayban sunglasses / Francesca’s cuff (similar)

High Five for Friday!

Happy Friday friends! We’re working our way through August and I’m prepping myself for fall schedules as well as savoring these last few weeks of summer! I’m going to miss my 5yo like crazy, but on the flip-side I’m looking forward to being able to spend some one on one time with my 2yo and get her involved in a few mommy and me classes. Prepare yourselves for some toddler gymnastics pics, they are surely in your future ;)

Here’s a peek into my week:

1) Stealing all the snuggles I can get with this little guy. He always cuddles up to me “because I’m so warm” :)


2) I’ve been so consumed with how distraught I’m going to be as I send my first child off to kindergarten that I’ve failed to think that little sister is going to be quite lost without her big bro by her side! I have some big shoes to fill at home when he gets on that bus!


3) Shoe sale shopping (say that three times fast). I’m ready to jump into bootie mode and can’t wait until these lovelies get to my door. Fingers crossed they fit! You can find them here and here.


4) I’m just smitten with this shot.  Can you tell me how to get….


5) There’s been a lot going on behind the scenes this week and I can’t wait to finally be able to share the biggest secret I’ve kept from you all summer next week! No, I’m not expecting before your mind wonders there ;) Stay tuned!

Have a fantastic weekend! See ya Monday!

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Floral Kimono


Our weather has been all over the place lately. From the mid 80’s to high 60’s the difference seems quite radical. This is when I’m thankful to have some light, summery layering pieces on hand. I purchased this kimono from Elizabeth & West Fashion House early springtime and have reached for it a number of times since. For the most part, this is how it’s been worn, with a t-shirt, jeans and sandals. I kicked it up a notch here with heels and my Kate Spade bag to enhance the look a bit. The kimono has since sold out, but here’s a similar option, and I’m also loving the length of this number as well as this pretty paisley one. I don’t think it could hurt to have a few on hand!







Details: Elizabeth & West kimono (options here, here and here) / JCrew denim (similar) / LNA via Shopbop t-shirt / Kate Spade bag (similar) / Heels (similar) / Michelle watch / Lia Sophia charm necklace

Shop the look:

Cinnamon Roll Bread


A girlfriend of mine recently had her third child. Her third boy for that matter! She sure is the queen of that house!  In addition to a little gift for their latest addition I also wanted to take them something to enjoy. I didn’t have a ton of prep time, but I had been wanting to try this Cinnamon Roll Bread, so I gave it a shot. To be honest, I did not get a chance to personally sample this one, so I had to base it on the opinions of her sons. Apparently it was devoured rather quickly and their only request was ‘more cinnamon’! So should you desire, feel free to up the swirl ingredients! I wouldn’t be opposed to serving this for breakfast with a cup of coffee…Mmm!



Here’s the recipe thanks to Center Cut Cook:


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg – room temperature, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup milk – I used 1%
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup plain greek yogurt or sour cream


  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons water


  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon milk


  • Pre-heat our oven to 350 degrees and prepare a bread pan by spraying it with non-stick cooking spray or lightly greasing it with butter.
  • In a large bowl combine flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar.
  • In a small bowl combine egg, milk, vanilla extract and yogurt or sour cream.
  • Add the dry ingredients into the wet and stir to combine. You can use a large wooden spoon for this if you wish, no mixer is required.
  • In a small bowl combine swirl ingredients together – 1/3 cup sugar, 2 teaspoons cinnamon and 2 tablespoons water.
  • Use a tablespoon to drop spoonfuls of this mixture over the bread, then use a knife to make swirl designs to incorporate the cinnamon mixture into the bread.
  • Bake for 45-50 minutes or until you insert a toothpick and it comes out clean.
  • Remove the bread from the oven and transfer it to a cooling rack to cool for 15 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, make the glaze ingredients by combining 1/2 cup powdered sugar with 1 tablespoon milk.
  • Remove the bread from the pan and allow it to continue cooling completely.
  • When the bread has completely cooled, pour the glaze over the top and serve. Enjoy!



JCrew is easily one of my favorite stores. It wasn’t until I sat down to work this post together that I realized most of my outfit (top, jeans, shoes) are all from JCrew. I suppose that only reinforces the fact that’s it’s ranked toward the top of my list. I grabbed these wedges on sale last year and I don’t turn to them often enough because I keep them tucked safely away in their box in order to keep them clean. Not the best tactic, I realize. Talking wedges for a minute though, aren’t they the best? You get the extra height without sacrificing any comfort. Win/win in my book! Finally, this top. I recently got it during JCrew’s super sale (my reference to a sale on sale). I loved the feminine take on a classic men’s shirt. I can also see pairing it with a blazer to change the look up a bit and carry it into fall.







Details: JCrew top / JCrew denim (similar) / JCrew wedges (similar) / Madewell tote / Baublebar statement necklace (similar) / Pearl necklace (old) / Kate Spade sunglasses / Bracelet via Riley on Main

Linking up with Mommy in Heels for What She Wears: Wedges and Style Elixir’s: Style Sessions

If you are an avid fashion-blog reader as I am, I’m sure that you receive some, if not a ton, of inspiration from bloggers. Wouldn’t it be great if you could have the chance to shop their personal closets? This is where Bloggers Closet enters the picture. Lauren of Style Elixir (a fantastic blog if you have yet to check it out) had the brilliant idea to create an online marketplace giving you (and I) access to shop other blogger’s closets! Genius, just genius. I finally got around to opening my own shop that’s now ready for business. I’ll be adding items often so be sure to follow my closet for updates!

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Here’s a bit of what you’ll see in the shop!

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Happy Shopping!

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