a lovely living

Monthly Archives for March 2016


I’m beyond excited today as I finally get to share with you all a project I have had my hands on for the past 5 or so months! For those of you that follow along on Instagram, you’ve had a few sneak peeks! I’m an HGTV, Pinterest, Houzz, Instagram junkie when it comes to all things home. In fact, growing up I had always wanted to be an interior decorator but life led me down some other paths and circled back around to here. Here is where a number of factors led a good friend of mine (who happens to live a few houses down the street from me) to slightly twist my arm into letting her hire me to help re-design her kitchen. We’re not talking new backsplash and fixtures, but a complete gut renovation. Thankfully she had already decided to work with Hackman Builders in town who I happened to already be acquainted with. I slightly reluctantly and slightly ecstatically agreed to jump on board with her. It’s one thing for me to recommend a top or dress to you all, but quite another to spend someone else’s hard earned money on a kitchen remodel, hoping they’ll love it! I had more than a few dreams (or nightmares rather) revolving around backsplashes etc., but not to worry, it all came together perfectly, phew!! I get that I already ruined the big AFTER reveal, but it’s just too gorgeous to hide ;) So backtracking a bit, here’s what we started with…


Did you have to look at the pictures a few times to make sure I wasn’t tricking you? I still keep doing double takes!

I learned a ton during this process and thank Hackman Builders for teaching me so much along the way. We all had numerous meetings where we slowly pieced everything together. My friend wanted a traditional feel, and I did my best to make it feel updated without going modern. We started knowing she wanted a white kitchen, the color is Chiffon to be specific. We chose the doors in a traditional overlay (as opposed to a full overlay which would cover the entire cabinet), which kept with the traditional vibe. We then agreed on a quartz countertop that we both loved right off the bat. I’m a subway tile fanatic for it’s classic and timeless appeal and she knew she wanted some color and not just white for her backsplash. We decided on a ‘mushroom’ colored tile in a matte finish.




One of the obvious transformations was the removal of the peninsula and addition of the island. Her kitchen feels immensely larger now that the flow of the kitchen has been opened up.



We stuck with bronze hardware to coordinate with the rest of her home and to bring a beautiful contrast to her cabinets. Her light fixtures came from Hite Co. and although I was slightly panicked (after we placed the order) that they’d be too large for the space, it turns out they are perfect. Their openness keeps them from feeling to heavy or obtrusive and it ties in beautifully to her bronze candelabra chandelier in her dining area.

Here’s another great before and after…



My friend replaced her wood floors throughout her whole first floor (I’m pretty sure it took us close to 3 weeks to narrow down the right floor…wood selections are no joke!) and we also repainted her kitchen, dining area and living room. We used SW Accessible Beige (a color that I’ve used in many rooms in my own home) but we cut it by 50% to lighten it up. It’s a beautiful greige with a nice warmth to it.

One other area that we updated was her desk area. We turned a great deal of unused space into a mega storage area while keeping a desk area for the family. The tall pantry now serves as her main source of storage with additional storage overhead (did I mention she has plenty of storage now?!).



Since everything else was being updated, we went ahead and did a quick update to her powder room as well. We carried the same cabinet (sorry you can’t see that here) and paint color into this space, hung a new mirror and light fixture and tada! Don’t mind me, I have no idea how you’re supposed to get a good shot of a powder room, haha!


I mentioned that my friend lives down the street from me, so you had better believe that I was down there daily checking in. Not so much that I didn’t trust what was going on, but more so because it was like watching HGTV in real life :) I could have easily parked myself on a chair with a cup of coffee and watched all day long! The builders were also working on a tight schedule to make things happen as quickly as possible, so when I tell you that they finished this project in 2 weeks and a day, I promise I’m not lying. Although, had I not watched it all happen I don’t think I’d believe it myself!

I’m so very thankful for this experience and even more so for a friend like this one. We’ve only known each other for a few short years, but we’ve already been there for each other during some difficult times.  I think we both know without a doubt that we’ve been placed in each others lives for a reason ;) Thank God for wonderful neighbors!!


I hope I was thorough enough in my descriptions, but if you have any questions at all please ask away! I’d be more than happy to chat about any of it :)

Builders: Steve Hackman Builders
Countertop: HanStone quartz in Walnut Luster
Paint: Sherwin Williams Accessible Beige (cut by 50%)
Pendants: The Hite Co.
Powder room mirror: Home Decorators
Powder room light fixture: The Hite Co.
Subway tile: American Olean, Urban Canvas, matte mushroom

Easter 2016


I hope you all had a wonderful Easter weekend! Although I sometimes feel like we are now a traveling circus of 5 with many moving parts, there’s nothing I love more than being the mother of these three beautiful kids. We all made it (almost on time) to our church service yesterday morning. My son has a good grasp on the whole meaning of Easter, and my three year old daughter is getting there. After her Sunday school she kept talking about ‘Jesus dying with a cross’ or ‘Jesus dying in a cross’….we’re getting there ;)  Afterwards we made a quick pit-stop for what has become a tradition of taking some family pictures. The kids were cold, and hungry and well, you’ll see the progression of their emotions in the photos that follow! Once we got to my in-laws, enjoyed a wonderful lunch and got everyone changed into their comfy clothes they were quite reenergized :)






And then things started to go downhill….quickly…





Until they were fed, changed and out for an easter egg hunt…





Marisa: Target lace top / LOFT pants

Madelyn/Audrey: Target dress



Spring Transition


Spring is quite the transition period. Breaking out of the winter sweater routine and turning to lighter layers can sometimes leave me staring blankly at my closet for periods of time as I readjust my brain each morning. What makes things a bit easier is having pieces like basic t-shirts and a great utility vest to turn to. If I swapped to closed toed booties and my go-to tote, this outfit could just as easily be used to transition into fall. But with some peep-toe shoes, a bright bag and pink lips it works just as well as the temperatures rise and the bulbs begin to bloom…thank goodness we’re going in that direction!







Details: Madewell vest (similar here, here and here) / shirt (similar) / JCrew Factory jeans / Dolce Vita booties (similar) / bag (similar) / Stella & Dot monogram necklace / Pendant necklace (similar) / Rayban sunglasses

Bunny Cupcakes


With Easter nearly upon us, I wanted to share with you a sweet little treat that is pretty quick and easy to whip up. These cupcakes are all over Pinterest and I promise the chance of turning them into a ‘Pinterest fail’ is slim ;) Of course you can make the cupcakes and icing from scratch, but when you’re short on time (as I was this week), the boxed mix and a can of icing will do the job perfectly! It’s a fun little project to get the kids involved with, even if they do eat half of your marshmallows! Outside of icing the cupcakes, all that’s needed is to cut a marshmallow in half diagonally, dip them in sprinkles and place them on top followed by a sprinkle of coconut. What results is an adorable Easter treat!


Striped Peplum


Spring is the perfect time to make use of the cute jackets that get hidden away in my closet. And since it is officially spring (yay!) I’m excited to start packing the sweaters away and pulling out more lightweight pieces. Jackets like this one aren’t only necessary (because in the northeast it’s still pretty chilly) but they can really make an outfit. I love the nautical vibe pared with a girly peplum, and for under $20 you might want to check this one out!







Details: SheIn jacket c/o / JCrew Factory top (love this option) / pant (similar) / shoe (similar) / necklace (similar)

Chicken Avocado Burrito


It recently struck me that I had never shared this delicious, simple and healthy recipe with you guys. I’m not sure how it slipped by because it’s been a regular meal in our house for quite some time now. Diced chicken, avocado, shredded mozzarella and cilantro thrown into a wrap spread with a bit of sour cream, topped with some salsa and served with a side of rice and beans (or whatever you’d prefer)….how could anyone say no?



Chicken Avocado Burrito via OMG Chocolate Desserts:

• 2 cups cooked and shredded chicken (or 2 chicken breasts, salt and pepper- to taste, 1 Tablespoon mustard, 1 Tablespoon olive oil)
• 1 cup grated cheese (I use mozzarella)
• 1 avocado -diced
• 2 Tablespoons cilantro-chopped
• 4 large tortillas
• 4 Tablespoon sour cream
• 1 Tablespoon oil

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a frying pan, place chicken breast sprinkled with salt and pepper and roast for about 5 minutes on each side. Spread 1 tablespoon mustard over the chicken, add about ¼ cup water add cook covered for a few more minutes.
Dice cooked chicken.
Mix the chicken, cheese, cilantro, and the diced avocados.
Spread 1 tablespoon sour cream on each tortilla, add ¼ of the mixture, form a roll.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil into a pan and place all four tortillas on the pan, cook for 2 minutes on medium- high heat. Flip on the other side and cook for another minutes or until the the tortillas are golden
Serve warm.

Chambray Shirtdress


A few weeks back I had a reader ask me a question about this particular dress. She wanted to know how she could dress it up for a casual summer wedding. I gave her a few ideas for some cute sandals and a bright clutch and then the next time I was in Old Navy I walked right into it. The dress was even cuter in person and there was a sale going on (as there frequently is) so I grabbed one and ran to the fitting room. I happened to have these skinny jeans on at the time and as I threw the dress on over top (being too lazy to take them off) I actually liked the look of wearing it as more of a tunic…at least for the time being. I’m in no rush to break out my pastey legs and the temps aren’t quite there yet either. Although I certainly am looking forward to the warmer months where I can throw on flats or cute summer wedges with it for a simple but chic outfit!







Details: Old Navy dress / LOFT denim / Stella & Dot necklace (similar) / Shoes (similar option here and here) / Blair Ritchey PAK  / Michael Kors watch

Easter Style

Happy Monday, ladies! I realized the other day that I have been planning out my children’s Easter outfits for a few weeks now, but have yet to put any thought into what I’ll be wearing. Since time is running out, I went ahead and put together a few outfits (casual to dressy and something in between) to give you a few ideas. It’s hard to believe Easter is in less than two weeks…didn’t Christmas just happen??


dress / bracelet / bag / sandals


top / skirt / sandal / scarf


dress / necklace / pump

High-Low Shirt


Cotton. On a daily basis, that’s what you’ll find me reaching for as I get dressed each morning. With a 10 month old I’m pretty much guaranteed to have some sort of mess on me by the end of the day. Fortunately there are tons of options out there to keep me from feeling too drab in a plain old t-shirt. I’ve had this top for years and it’s not only worked well through the years but during my pregnancies as well. I found a very similar version (in a variety of colors) if you’re interested here.







Details: Shirt (similar) / LOFT denim / Steve Madden flats / scarf (similar)

Short and sweet today ladies! My kids are home on spring break this week (what exactly do they need a break from?) so I’m in ‘go-mode’ all day everyday this week. It’s exhausting, haha! Fortunately the weather has been fantastic and it’s only getting better. So on another note altogether, I’m sharing with you today some of my favorite delicate necklaces. They are totally on trend when it comes to layering, but I always have at least one around my neck at all times. As the months heat up, lighter layers are always better!


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