a lovely living

Monthly Archives for October 2013

The Perfect Snack


Happy Halloween everyone! As you are sure to be surrounded by candy for the next week (longer if you’re taking kids trick-or-treating tonight as we are) today I’d like to share with you a quick, no bake, healthy snack. This recipe for Energy Bites is fairly popular on Pinterest and I have been making them regularly since I first tried them  two or so years ago. If you love peanut butter, coconut and chocolate as much as I do, this will surely hit the spot. They have taste similar to haystacks/no-bakes, but with a healthy twist. Once you mix the ingredients, chill them and shape them into round balls, you simply place them back in the fridge and grab them as you please. They’re perfect for kids and adults alike. (more…)

Budget Talk

Okay friends, today I am going to chat about what can be a sensitive topic (for me especially), and that’s budgets. The word alone makes me feel cringe and feel restricted, but life really isn’t about having it all is it? I do have a love for fashion and decorating and shopping in general, but I truly am thankful to have a husband that keeps me reigned in.

My husband Jack and I started dating in high school at the age of 15 and it was one of those cases where we just knew God had us planned for each other early on. I give my father credit for doing his best to teach me about finances from an early age and Jack loves to tease me about how I would be on his case for saving for our kids’ college funds (prior to even being engaged, mind you) during our years of dating. At some point between then and now, I have become the one that needs to be kept in line. I mean, the kids can always get scholarships, right? ;)

When Jack and I were living the DINK (double income no kids) lifestyle, we had some flexibility and didn’t necessarily feel the need to report every purchase to each other. We’d put a certain amount from each paycheck into savings and the rest was up to our discretion. Well, since then two sweet children have entered the picture and it was decided that I would stay home to raise them. From that point on we knew we needed a system to keep ourselves on track. We had heard of the envelope system where you basically put cash for various categories (ie groceries, entertainment, personal etc) into envelopes and when the cash is gone for that period, you wait until the next to make any more purchases. Jack is an avid Dave Ramsey fan, so this is where everything generated. Maybe the whole envelope system was a tad too daunting, but we did give ourselves a budget and began tracking all of our expenses.

It was probably three years ago that we discovered the app EEBA (Easy Envelope Budget Aid). This app was exactly what we needed. We both downloaded it to our phones, set up all of the individual budgets and synched it to one another’s phone. This allows us to enter expenses immediately and it is automatically updated for each other. I should note that this is what we use for all of our variable expenses, the fixed are noted as well, but as the term indicates, they’re fixed and do not need tracking.

I’m sure there are numerous other budgeting apps as well, but this happens to be the one that works well for us.

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To be quite honest, there are times we are over budget, yes it happens, but what is important is that at any given moment we each know exactly where we stand financially for that time period. I don’t know if you ever get into heated financial discussions with your spouse, but we certainly used to and now those discussions are basically non-existent.

I realize that I have been focusing on using this as a couple, but this app is most certainly for individuals as well. It’s all too easy to spend away when you have no one to keep you in line. This app can help anyone get on track to save and get yourself into a place where you are happy knowing exactly how your finances line up.

Hopefully some of you find this helpful and I know others will quickly hide this post from your husbands ;) but I promise, once you get comfortable with it, it’s well worth it.


Keeping baby warm…

…and healthy! That’s every parents’ goal as we go through these chilly to frigid months, right? As you well know, or will soon figure out, life is no fun at all when a child is sick. Keeping them warm and bundled is step number one and I have a handful of items that will come in handy for those of you with young ones. There are also a couple of things you’ll appreciate having on hand when that inevitable cold comes along.

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Playing Dress-Up


Although it’s true that I enjoy styling the ‘everyday’ outfit, I’ll jump at the chance to get dressed up for an event. We attended a friend’s wedding this past weekend and although I had initially planned on renting a dress, well, plans changed. But I do trust your opinions, believe me ;) I found this Juicy dress that hadn’t been worn in a few years and when this bib necklace caught my eye on BaubleBar, I knew it was the perfect excuse to buy it. (more…)

High Five for Friday

Happy Friday, all! This week marks the week that I broke out my wool coats for the first time this season. I love them, but I wasn’t exactly ready for them just yet! We also had our first trick or treat outing of the year at the Penn State All Sports Museum. Players from various teams handed out the candy which I thought was very kind to take the time to do. Poor Jack, who is a HUGE fan, got so intimidated by the football guys (including their star quarterback) and refused a photo. Maybe next year.

We’ll be attending a wedding this weekend and getting the chance to catch up with many friends from high school. Jack and I will be spending the night away (thanks to the grandparents!) but who wants to bet we’ll still be wide awake by 7am?! I sure hope not.

Here’s a look at my week:



  1. A shot of my fireman and Minnie Mouse. Recycling her birthday dress and saving money until she has an opinion of her own ;)
  2. This little big beauty came from the Bauble Bar necklace sale they had last week. Remember when I asked you to weigh in on which dress I should rent for an upcoming wedding? Well plans changed when I found a Juicy dress I hadn’t worn in a while, and then found this necklace and my outfit kind of fell together. I’ll share details next week!
  3. BCBG shoes. TJMaxx. $39. Adorable. Possibly 1/2 size too small. Do I keep or do I return?! Also, note how well a toddler can behave when they have a bag of animal crackers. Don’t judge, at least they’re organic ;)
  4. Speaking of organic, this soup topped with these croutons from Trader Joe’s have added some much needed yummy warmth to my lunch during this chilly week. You should give it a try.
  5. My nuggets enjoying a popcorn night before bed. Some nights my husband and I are all too eager (and exhausted) to get them to bed, yet as soon as we do we wish they were back out with us. Children are such precious blessings that grow up all too quickly.

Have a wonderful weekend!


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Bold Lips


If you follow my blog regularly, you’ve probably noticed that red is not a shade I am typically drawn to. Most shades are not in my color palette as a Summer (click here for reference) and I find it tricky to find the appropriate cool shade that works on me. This particular lip-color, Stila’s liquid lipstick in beso, came in one of my Birchbox’s a month or so ago and once seeing the red I immediately tucked it away behind the rest of my tubes of lipstick. It wasn’t until I threw on this scarf that the red came to mind. It turns out that it is pretty close to my shade of red and although I definitely felt out of my comfort zone, I think it worked well and I just may try it again. (more…)

…guest posting over at my good friend Becky’s blog, Mommy in Heels!

Feel free to browse around while you’re there. Becky has great style and is always an inspiration to me. Watch out, you might get hooked!

See you back here tomorrow where you’ll see me with the boldest lips I’ve ever had! Such a daredevil I am!

Mini Pumpkin Pies

pumpkinpie5If you recall, I posted about various pumpkin recipes I had my eye on here a few weeks back. Well, I came across these mini pumpkin pies on Pinterest and their simplicity won me over. Pumpkin pie is one of my favorites, and these quick mini pies have been hitting the spot (yes, hitting, not hit!). I’ll have a more time intensive recipe for my absolute favorite pumpkin pie coming next month…it’s so worth it! For now, these will do just fine. (more…)

Animal Print

animalprint2Animal prints are growing on me more and more and if there were perfect seasons to wear them they’d probably be fall and winter. I wanted to lighten up this dark top a bit so I threw a light pink button-up underneath which instantly softened the look. My girlfriend happened to lend me some of her jewels and this JCrew necklace gave a perfect touch of glam. (more…)

High Five for Friday

Each time Friday comes around I am shocked at how quickly it has once again appeared.  The season that I love to get the most out of happens to correspond with the same time the days get shorter and shorter. Not fair! I also realize time is flying by the fact that we already had our first parent/teacher conference of the year. I know, it’s preschool, but there’s nothing I love more than hearing how my little boy is doing while he’s off on his own (ie away from Mommy). In case you were wondering, he’s doing great :) With SO many years of school ahead it thrills me that he goes into and leaves school excited each and every day. I hope to keep that rolling!

As for the rest of my week, this is somewhat what it looked like:


  1. Those of you with children, do you ever dress your children all too similarly to yourself without even realizing it?? Between the denim tops and the leopard print, we were embracing the comments all day long :)
  2. My new everyday nail color. Essie’s ladylike.
  3. My run is being overrun. With all of the sweet treats that I tend to blog about (including this week’s apple pie and the following comment #4), I should make it clear that though I do love to indulge, I do my best not to overindulge. I also offset my sweet tooth by working out 3-4 times/week, eating a balanced diet the rest of the time, and happily sharing my goodies whenever I can! Now, moving on to #4…
  4. Have you run into this in your grocery store yet? If not, I’m sorry for having introduced it to you. Well, no, I’m really not. My girlfriend and I enjoyed this every morning during our week at the shore this summer and now it’s popped up locally. Oh, boy.
  5. Ouch, Martha. I may not be an expert (I suppose if I were I wouldn’t have much left to learn) but there’s no need to offend the blogging world in one fell swoop. I may just take a break from ‘testing’ any of your recipes for a bit. Reference 1:40  http://www.bloomberg.com/video/martha-stewart-speaks-out-bloggers-are-not-experts-ERw6xWfeSCKd~bRGzSsHxQ.html

How was your week?
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