a lovely living

Monthly Archives for January 2016

It’s that perfect time of winter where it’s likely we have a lot more cold to endure, but the prices on the cold weather pieces that we need start dropping! You may know that I’m a fan of statement coats, so today I have gathered 9 beauties that may make it a little easier, or at least a little more fun, to brave the weather in the upcoming months.


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I have always been a fan of the basics. By basics, I am referring to those articles of clothing that you reach for as a starting point and good foundation to your outfits. This includes, but isn’t limited to, your denim, t-shirts, basic sweaters, bras, underwear, everyday shoes etc. The majority of my outfits revolve around these pieces and if I don’t have ‘the right jeans’ or ‘the right layering shirt’ to work into an outfit I’m envisioning, we have a problem. We laugh about it, but when I was visiting an Anthro with some girlfriends a while back (visiting that store is a major treat now that I don’t have one anywhere near me!), they walked out with a few beautiful pieces and I ended up purchasing…wait for it…a white cotton tank! I didn’t hear the end of that one for a while, haha, but I’m telling you, when you find the right basics, it’s a dream come true :)

To start out, today I am discussing the basic white t-shirt (tanks and long sleeves included). One thing important to note as I discuss basics in general is that I’m not pegging ‘basic’ as ‘classic’. If you’re personality is preppy or boho, then by all means, your basics should reflect that as well. When it comes to white t-shirts, I like to mix it up a little bit. I like to keep a range of shirts everywhere from fitted to swing top, long, high/low, v-neck, crew neck etc. because different styles work into different outfits.

My point is not to make this feel overwhelming to you. I’m guessing you may have an idea of what shapes/styles/brands work best on your body. And if you don’t, let me recommend ordering a bunch of shirts from Nordstrom or ShopBop or somewhere that offers free shipping/returns and have at it. See what works in what sizes and brands the best for you. I’ve had some practice with this over the years and if you scroll through many of my posts I guarantee you’ll start to see some of my basics pop out at you. To give you a starting point, here are my most favorite brands that I have come to trust when it comes to basic tee’s (no, this isn’t a sponsored post):


These brands don’t exactly fall on the cheap side, but for me, this isn’t an area that I want to cheat. I’m much more willing to splurge on my basics than I am on the ‘fluff’ pieces that I only wear once in a while…unless it’s a fancy Kate Spade gift…but gifts are meant to be special ;). The main reason being that the higher quality makes a huge difference to me. A great benefit to knowing the brands that work well for me is that when I am able to hunt them down in a sale or find them randomly at TJMaxx, I can grab them without hesitation whether that’s what I was shopping for or not. Basics are a very personal choice, however, and the brand, price point, fit, style will all need to fit into your lifestyle. But if you find your $10 perfect tee, I’ll be envious for life!

Here are a handful of shirts from my favorite brands that i’d highly recommend. A few of these are on my wish-list as well and I’d love to get them in my closet (2, 7 and 9 to be exact)!


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I’m likely going to be continuing this conversation in the weeks to come because all of a sudden I seem to be reading about ‘basics’ rather often and I’m realizing I’m not alone in my love for them! I think it was a quote by Michael Kors that I recently read stating that 70% of your wardrobe should be made up of basic pieces while the other 30% should be the ‘fluff’, or something to that extent. I agree with that ratio whole-heartedly. Trendy, fun, frilly pieces (ie this top) are great fun and can really let your personality show through, but without the basics, many of those looks can prove difficult to achieve.

My apologies on the novel today! Hopefully some of you found this helpful. Apparently I have quite the passion for basics, so be prepared!

Pepped Up Datenight


Ok girls, this top is SO much fun! When it arrived I had a hard time narrowing down how I wanted to style it. With the storm passing through over the weekend, I decided to shoot a few looks indoors, just so you’d have options ;) Despite the various styles, I’d say pumps are a must with this one. The over-zealous peplum pairs perfectly with 3in+ heels! These outfits could be worn on date nights at any point, but with Valentine’s Day approaching, it seems all the more appropriate to go a little over the top. My regular readers may also take note of the fact that I am wearing black….and being that black is not on my color wheel, I tend to wear it very rarely. Well, this top made the rare appearance worth it!

So, which is your favorite look? I may be partial to the pink pants!











Outfit 1: SheIn top c/o / Zara pants (option and option) / Nine West pumps (love these too) / necklace (love this option)

Outfit 2: SheIn top c/o / LOFT denim / red pumps (similar) / BaubleBar necklace (similar)

Outfit 3: SheIn top c/o / JCrew skirt (similar) / black booties (similar) / JCrew Factory necklace / Stella & Dot bracelet

Crock Pot Chicken Noodle

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Is there anyone that’s not a fan of a piping hot bowl of chicken noodle soup? I was fighting a head cold this week and thankfully I had already had this meal planned out for our family. Talk about timing. For such a classic dish, there must be a gazillion recipes you can find for Chicken Noodle Soup. But what I love about this one is that it’s done in the crockpot. And it tastes pretty darn good! Maybe one day I’ll have the time to make stock from scratch and whatnot, but I don’t see that day anywhere in my near future. So, in the meantime I’ll take advantage of the fact that I can throw all of the ingredients into a pot, enjoy the aroma all day long, have time to spend with my children and sit down to a bowl of delicious soup come dinner time. For those of you that are waiting around for the impending snow this weekend, you may want to add chicken and noodles to your milk and bread list ;)


Chicken Noodle Soup adapted from Cooking Classy:


1 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts
5 medium carrots, peeled and chopped (1 3/4 cups)
1 medium yellow onion, chopped (1 1/2 cups)
4 stalks celery, chopped (1 1/4 cups)
3 – 5 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
6 cups low-sodium chicken broth (3 – 15 oz cans)
1 cup water
3/4 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried rosemary, crushed
2 bay leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 cups uncooked wide egg noodles
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
Saltine crackers for serving


To a slow cooker, add chicken (un-cut), diced carrots, onion, celery, and garlic.

Drizzle olive oil over top then add in chicken broth, water, thyme, rosemary, bay leaves and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and cook on low heat 6 – 7 hours.

Remove cooked chicken and allow to rest 10 minutes, then dice into bite size pieces. Meanwhile, add egg noodles and parsley to slow cooker.* Increase temperature to high, cover and cook 10 minutes longer (or until noodles are tender).

Toss in cooked, diced chicken. Serve warm with saltine crackers if desired.

*I typically cook my noodles separately which allows me to make egg noodles as well as gluten free noodles for my husband. It also keeps the noodles from getting soggy should you happen to have leftovers!

Valentine Style

With Valentine’s Day less than a month away, I decided to do a little preparation…for you and I. To be honest, I haven’t a clue what our plans will be at the moment. Over the years we have had dates that run the gamut from formal events (funniest memory: Jack once took me on a dinner cruise around NYC and I’m pretty sure we were the youngest couple on the boat….one way or another, we knew we were out of place when everyone sang Neil Diamond as we passed the statue of Liberty, haha!) …the whole way back to dinner and a movie at home once the kids are in bed. I’m guessing that the majority of you likely have plans that fall somewhere in the middle, but I’ve put together outfits that should have you covered no matter what you do.


Outfit 1: dress / bag / pumps

Outfit 2: jacket / pumps / bag / pants

Outfit 3: shirt / jeans / necklace / booties

Outfit 4: shirt / mug / slippers / sweatpants

Anyone have anything fun lined up?

Striped Poncho


Sweater coats have certainly taken a front seat  in my closet this year. I don’t know exactly what it is that draws me to them. The ease of quickly pulling an outfit together by throwing one on over a few basics? The comfort of what feels like wrapping yourself in a blanket? Yet the chicness that somehow results? Yea, I suppose a little bit of all of that. I know I won’t be straying from them anytime soon, that’s for sure!

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Details: Free People jacket via Gilt  (also love this and this option) / LOFT denim / Madewell tote / Sperry booties (similar)

Turkey Chili


Chili is nothing new around here, but that being said, we’ve never quite found or created that one perfect pot of chili that we want to turn to time and time again. Well, that is until now. This recipe isn’t reinventing the wheel in any way, but it’s the perfect amount of vegetables, spices and heartiness that had us all (kids included) wanting seconds.  This blog has gradually turned into the place that I turn to as I do my meal planning each week so I wanted to make sure this one was quickly added to my list. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

TURKEY CHILI (adapted from this recipe)

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
8oz. sliced button mushrooms
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 pound ground turkey
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 15-ounce can kidney beans, rinsed
1 15-ounce can cannellini beans
1 cup water
kosher salt and black pepper
sour cream, shredded cheese, cilantro for serving

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, mushrooms and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 4 to 6 minutes.

Add the turkey and cook, breaking up with a spoon, until no longer pink, 3 to 5 minutes.

Stir in the tomato paste, cumin, and chili powder. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute.

Add the tomatoes and their juices, beans, 1 cup water, 1 ¼ teaspoons salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Bring to a boil.

Reduce heat, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, 15-20 minutes.

Serve with optional toppings: cheese, sour cream, cilantro.

Get Cozy!

With the holiday’s now behind us and winter setting in, does anyone else find they want to be bundled in cozy layers 24/7, or is it just me? My entire family is one that enjoy’s their ‘comfy clothes’. My husband works from home and is in sweatpants 95% of the time and my son runs to his room for his the minute he gets off of the school bus. Madelyn….well, she’s in her own little world of non-stop tutu’s at the moment, so we’ll just leave her out of this particular discussion ;) The frequent changes may add to my laundry, but I can’t argue as I’d opt for fleece leggings and a cozy sweater any day! We also had our first snow yesterday which just reinforced this post. I sat in our family room, snuggled with a blanket and my baby and watched the fresh, beautiful snow cover the ground. It sure was a pretty sight! For anyone looking to add a cozy layer or two to your own wardrobe, I’ve gathered some great pieces for you to browse…


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Packable Down


January through March are the months where winter really settles in and I often find myself in a constant state of being cold. A few years ago I was all over the super puffy down coats. Especially during the years that I worked and commuted into NYC, I was bundled and warm and ready for the elements. Although I still wear them now and then, I’ve more recently turned to the more compact down coats that are readily available. I purchased this navy one last year and due to the amount of wear it has gotten I added a green one to my closet this year. They are great for day to day, especially if you find yourself in and out of the car often. A perfect layer of warmth without unnecessary bulk. And for those of you around young kids, they easily wipe clean from any slobber/drool/grime etc. unlike wool coats ;)








Details: Down coat (see other options below) / SheIn scarf c/o / LOFT denim / Sperry boots


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Bow Coat


When it comes to higher end brands, Kate Spade has to be one of my favorites. Their overly feminine details, bold colors and patterns bring a huge smile to my face. Although most pieces tend to be investment items, mine have all held true as some of my favorites years on end. When my mom, grandma and I were doing some outlet shopping a few months back, I fell in love with this coat. The bright pink, the bold bow and the overall Jackie O style had me. My gracious mother offered to gift it to me for my birthday after I may or may not have pulled out the puppy dog eyes….even at 34 years old ;) The good thing is that my mom and grandma are just as much suckers for all things overly girly. If you’re fortunate to live near an outlet, you may want to check it out. The deals are fantastic! Otherwise, I’ve linked to some other options for you below.








Details: Kate Spade coat (options here, here and here) / Kate Spade sweatshirt / LOFT denim / Shoes (option)