a lovely living

Monthly Archives for August 2015



We’re reaching the end of summer and I recently realized there are a number of items I didn’t wear nearly as much as I had hoped to. I blame the baby for my uniform of t-shirts and denim shorts that consumed my summer, but I can still look put together every now and then! I first showed you this top that I grabbed at JCrew here shortly after I had Audrey. Did any of you happen to pick it up as well? It’s availability is very limited now but I link to a similar one below. So take this post as my encouragement to you to dig out those summer clothes that may have only gotten worn once or twice and give them one more spin before the season ends!

PS Can you spot the evidence of my battle with the oven? She won.






Details: JCrew top (option here) / JCrew pants / Marc by Mark Jacobs sunglasses / Necklace (similar) / Wedges (similar)

Back To School

It’s that time of year where all of the babes head back to school. My son Jack will be starting 1st grade next week and Madelyn will be heading to two-day preschool the following week. It’s also that time of year where I realize my son shot up a few inches over summer and my daughter’s ankle leggings are nearly shorts! Back to school shopping was always a favorite time of year for me. I guess you could call it a perk of being a kid being able to get a new wardrobe each season as you grow! I’ve put together some outfit inspiration for those of you in my same boat. It was hard to narrow down the selections with the amount of cuteness out there!



Outfit 1: dress / tights / shoes

Outfit 2: shirt / pants / shoes

Outfit 3: shirt / pants / shoes

Outfit 4: shirt / pants / shoes

Outfit 5: dress / pants / shoes

Outfit 6: shirt / pants / shoes


You know those go-to meals that you turn to regularly? The ones your whole family loves and can be made in one pan fairly quickly? This is one that quickly became just that for our household. No joke we have made it once every week for the past month and no one has tired of it yet. Full of ingredients that we all love and topped with melted cheddar…you’ll want seconds I promise ;)


One Pan Cheesy Chicken Broccoli and Quinoa via Cooking Classy:

1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, diced into 1-inch cubes
3/4 cup chopped yellow onion
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 (14.5 oz) can low sodium-chicken broth (1 3/4 cup)
1 cup dry quinoa
1/4 tsp dry thyme
2 1/2 cups chopped fresh broccoli florets
4 oz shredded sharp cheddar (1 cup)

Heat olive oil in a deep skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add onion and saute 2 minutes, then add chicken and cook 2 1/2 minutes stirring occasionally. Add garlic and saute 1 minute longer (chicken should be cooked on outsides but inside doesn’t need to be fully cooked through at this point because it will boil and simmer). Add in broth, quinoa and thyme and season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a full boil then cover, reduce heat to a simmer and cook 12 minutes. Then quickly lift lid, sprinkle broccoli over top, recover and simmer about 8 minutes longer or until quinoa and broccoli have cooked through (it may have a little broth in the bottom still at this point and you can carefully drain it off if desired, just don’t pour everything down the drain!). Sprinkle cheese over top, cover and heat 1 – 2 minute until cheese has melted.


Neutral Peplum


I love this outfit. Soft pastels, feminine details and whites that managed to remain spotless with three children! I’m still working on the last of the baby weight, but was thrilled when I (comfortably) got back into these pants over the weekend. I was searching for a top to pair them with and found this top from last year with the tags still attached. Whoops! I’m happy to wear it now as I gladly welcome peplum most anytime. Obviously it’s not available any longer, but I sought out some other peplum tops that I’d love to get my hands on (links below) and wouldn’t wait a year to wear!







Details: LOFT top ( love this, this, this and this) / JCrew pants / DV by Dolce Vita shooties (similar) / Kate Spade sunglasses / Stella & Dot earrings

Life Lately

Happy Friday, all! It’s hard to believe we’ll be heading into the last full week of August next week (and the last week before school begins for our household)! I can’t decide if summer has flown by or if it’s felt like forever. One thing is for sure though, it’s been hectic! I’m thrilled that I was able to visit with both a cousin that lives across the country and great friends of ours from our Hoboken days all within the past week. It’s also nice to finally have the space to do some entertaining without having to cram everyone into a condo! It’s the little things :)

Here’s a look at what’s been going on around here lately (warning, it’s all about girls this week!):

My girls. 3 yo Madelyn is quite the character and Audrey is just getting a taste of it! She already adores her big sis who smothers her with attention!LL8212

Sweet Audrey (she doesn’t leave my side much!) and my one and only sister who just got engaged!!! They are working on a date for next year but I’m looking forward to diving into some planning with her over the next year or so :)


I’ve mentioned how fond I am of Luckett’s store before, so I went on a hunt during one of their flea markets and found the perfect dresser for Madelyn’s room. It’s exactly what I had wanted and just perfect for her room.


15 weeks old tomorrow and already growing up too quickly. I need to squeeze in these moments as often as I can!


Have a great one!

Mediterranean Orzo Salad


With the end of summer closing in on us, one thing I’m not looking forward to is the end of grilling season! So in the meantime we’ll be cramming in all the burgers and grilled chicken that we can! I recently made a lemon chicken and knew this Mediterranean Orzo Salad would pair perfectly with it. It’s literally bursting with flavor and has gotten rave reviews each time I serve it. It can be served warm or chilled based on your preference (I prefer chilled!) but it’s a great addition for any picnics you may still have lined up!


Mediterranean Orzo Salad via Iowa Girl Eats:

6oz dry gluten free or regular orzo pasta
1-1/2 cups grape or cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
1/4 cup pitted kalamata olives, sliced
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup chopped parsley
2 Tablespoons capers
For the Lemon Dressing:
1/4 cup lemon juice
salt and pepper, lots
1 teaspoon honey
1 clove garlic
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Cook pasta according to directions on package then drain and set aside to cool slightly.

For the Lemon Dressing: combine lemon juice, salt, pepper, honey and garlic in a food processor then process while slowly drizzling in olive oil. Taste then add more salt and pepper if necessary.

Combine cooked pasta with remaining ingredients then drizzle with enough dressing to coat. Toss then serve, or refrigerate until ready to serve.


Keeping it Casual


Hope you all had a great weekend! We had some great friends visiting from out of town that we don’t get to see nearly enough. We kept ourselves quite busy despite the heat wave that seems to be passing by. Just as I was starting to get excited for fall I can’t see much below 80 degrees for at least the next 10 days. Looks like I’ll be spending these last few weeks of summer keeping the kids entertained in the heat wearing something similar to this. I can’t find the tank online, but I did pick it up this past week at Old Navy. I love a cute graphic tee/tank and you can’t beat their prices! Enjoy the heat and soak up the sun while you still can!





Details: Old Navy tank / JCrew shorts (similar) / Dolce Vita sandals / Madewell tote / Rayban sunglasses

A Little Fringe

Fringe has really been making a statement lately and although I haven’t added any to my closet just yet, I’m totally on board. Here are two ways I’d love to add the trend into my outfits. Both are great transitions for fall. Yes, I mix greys and browns, I actually really like the combo. And what color shoe would you do with outfit #1? I couldn’t decide!


Outfit 1: top / necklace / pant / shoe          Outfit 2: shirt / denim / shoe / bag

Have a great weekend!

Front Door


One of my favorite projects that my husband and I have tackled since moving into our home is updating our front door. I wanted our entrance to feel friendly and welcoming both to our guests and to our neighborhood. I turned to my Pinterest board and knew almost right away what color I wanted to use, Sherwin Williams ‘drizzle’. It’s a near perfect match to a robin’s egg which we compared when my son found one in the yard. Changing the color of a front door can be daunting because it plays a large part in the overall look of your house. I read a number of blogs before and during the process to make sure I was doing my best to not make any mistakes. In the end, I kept reminding myself, it’s only paint!

I began by painting a sample swatch on the corner of the door so that I could see it both day and night and get a feel for what it would look like. I’m sure my neighbors wondered if/when I was actually going to paint it because our door looked like this for some time…


We decided to leave the door on and taped off the entrance with a large sheet of plastic. If you have a storm door you’d be able to eliminate that step. We then used a liquid deglosser (my new best friend) which allowed us to eliminate the need to do any sanding.


When I began painting, I switched between a roller and brush to precisely cover all areas of the door. What I read over and over was that thin, even layers were key. Here’s what it looked like after two coats…


It’s important to let each coat dry completely, which is why we started early in the day. Granted, I was going pretty light over a dark red door, but it ended up taking 4 coats until I was happy with the outcome (I read others that took up to 7!). Whatever it takes, it’s worth it.


My MIL insisted we needed a proper doorknob for our bright, new door so she treated us to a new one. I have to agree, it does wonders :)


The sidelights were something I really struggled with. Do I paint them the same color as the door? Go with black to match the shutters? Or cream to match the house? I ultimately ended up going with white to really make the door pop and ended up painting the trim as well. I’m so happy with the way it turned out. After this project the house really started to feel like it was ours. Welcome, friends!


Timeless Threads


JCrew has been one of my favorite stores for years. Actually decades at this point, but that makes me feel really old! I remember flipping through the new catalogs when I was in high school (pre-internet shopping days) and getting to choose a sweater, maybe two if I was lucky, that my mom would order for me for school. I think that was the beginning of my appreciation for quality clothing. Those sweaters lasted me years and years and I find the same to hold true today. The majority of pieces that I purchase from JCrew tend to be timeless staples that I turn to year after year. This chambray shirt and these pull-on shorts included. Both pieces have been on the blog before (the shirt quite a few times) and I still love them more than ever. So where am I going with this? I guess it’s to let you know that investing in quality, timeless pieces pays off. But you probably already knew that, didn’t you :)








Details: JCrew shirt (similar) / JCrew shorts / necklace via TJMaxx / Lucky Brand sandals / Michael Kors watch / RayBan sunglasses