a lovely living

Monthly Archives for December 2013

High Five for Friday!

Well this is it my friends, the final semi-sane week until we jump into the week before Christmas madness! I have to say as much as this month always seems to fly by, I’m really enjoying the season thus far. This week alone we attended a Christmas concert that my mother directed, my son’s preschool concert and we have a holiday get together this weekend. I’ve been cooking, baking, shopping and apart from runny, crusty noses (ugh they last all winter long, don’t they?!) the kids have been under control as well. Oh and our elf, Sam, has only forgotten to return to the North Pole once so far, not too shabby!

Here’s a bit of what I have on my camera roll from this week:


  1. My inspirational mother up there doing her thing (that would be directing) at her concert and my handsome 4 yo son singing every word and not missing one hand motion at his.
  2. I always see the cutest decorations after I’ve already decorated! Leave it to Trader Joe’s.
  3. Christmas cards are in the works thanks to my talented cousin Amanda Kirkham! I’ll share more on this later, I can’t spoil everything just yet! I love when my son looks at my daughter this way, it melts my heart!
  4. The things we do for beauty. And then they gave me a complimentary paraffin hand treatment, which was very kind, but I literally felt like a space person walking around the salon!
  5. After four lessons, my son is finally starting to feel comfortable without his floaties on. Hopefully the swimming follows :)


I hope you’re enjoying the season! If not, take some time to get yourself into the spirit this weekend because Christmas will be here and gone before you know it!

Linking up with The Lauren Elizabeth for High Five for Friday.

Mix and Match Holiday Attire

If they haven’t begun already, I’m sure that many of you have one or more holiday parties to attend within the next few weeks. More than likely, you have pieces in your closet that would work perfectly. I have gathered some clothing and accessories to show you how they can be mixed and matched allowing you to slightly dress up or down an outfit. Not only will this give you more options to choose from, but it’ll also allow you to create completely new looks for multiple gatherings you may be attending.

I began by selecting pieces that had festive appeal including prints, patterns and jewels. Even if you are keeping it somewhat casual with say, a plaid shirt, adding velvet pants, a statement necklace and a textured clutch show that you not only put some thought into your outfit, but that you’re ready to have a good time! A velvet peplum top with leather detail paired with printed pants is an outfit you can’t go wrong with. And if you want to take it up another notch, a sequin mini and an embellished top are sure to make a statement.


Outfit 1: top / pants / shoes / necklace / clutch

Outfit 2: top / pants / shoes / necklace / clutch / bracelet

Outfit 3: top / skirt / shoes / clutch / bracelet / earrings

In case you weren’t in the mood to be creative, I went ahead and did a little mixing and matching for you. I have to say, the plaid and striped sequin skirt is an ensemble that I’d love to try, I think they look great paired together. A solid black clutch and pumps keep the outfit from feeling out of control. You can use your imagination for the rest! Even if you needed to purchase one item, double check your closet because I bet you could do a lot with it. Just get creative!




Tackling those Tricky Gifts

Christmas continues to grow closer and I’m slowly checking names off of my lists. My husband, children and immediate family are obviously on there, but there are many others that I wish to show thanks and gratitude. There are teachers, coaches, trainers, hair stylists, co-workers, postal workers and various other service providers that I would hate to neglect. For these gifts I feel that it’s more of the thought rather then the expense that is appreciated. If you happen to find you have a few of these people on your lists as well, I’m hoping you may be able to check a few of them off by the end of this post. My main goal with these gifts is to use items that are practical and won’t be tossed aside and forgotten about while keeping the price reasonable, around $10-$20.


  1. This is my go-to gift this season. I saw something similar on Pinterest and loved the idea. This particular list of mine consists mainly of females, so I felt that using a festive red polish and a tag that states “for your mistletoes” was a witty yet practical gift that would be put to good use.
  2. I like giving gifts that one wouldn’t typically purchase on their own; personalized stationary is one such item. It’s a thoughtful, personal item and if you add a cute pen, your gift is complete!
  3. I’ve received some luxurious candles as gifts and boy do they make a difference! The smell is so fragrant and many of them seem to last forever.
  4. Gift cards are always a great option, but when you pair someone’s caffeine fix with a monogram mug, you add that extra personal touch that’s appreciated all the more.
  5. With all of the baking you’re likely to be doing over the next few weeks, why not wrap up some cookies or mini loaves or pack them in a cute tin. Homemade goods are always well received. Just make sure you pay attention to your presentation, it can make all the difference :)

Hope that helps some of you! Back to a busy week. Why is December always so crazy?!


choccherry10Oh friends, do I have a delicious treat for you (to bake on your own, unless you want to come visit me of course!). This was a recipe that I had pinned a while back and finally got around to testing. What’s nice is that you can use this recipe to make two loaves or two cakes depending on the occasion (who needs an occasion?) or whatever you’re up for. Other than the cherries, you will most likely have everything on hand to tackle this easy treat. It’s not overly sweet and is a nice consistency; not too dense, not too light. The chocolate and cherry combo with a hint of coffee makes it incredibly difficult to stop at one piece. But heck, cherries are fruit and cocoa comes from trees, so it’s not all that bad! ;)  Here’s the link if you want to give it a shot. (more…)

Inspired Outfit


I often find myself inspired by outfits from other bloggers or magazines. I love when I see someone wearing a certain piece that I have in my closet in a way that I may not think to wear it. I admit, it’s hard to get out of my little box all on my own, I often need to see it done a different way to get my wheels spinning. Well, last week I saw this post at VivaLuxury where she happened to be wearing a JCrew sweater that I own. I immediately loved how she paired a fairly casual sweater with the fanciest of pants. I don’t own silver pants, but I do have a pair of lovely damask printed pants from Target that I scored for a fantastic price (obviously) a few months ago. I threw on a statement necklace, added a bow belt and then bundled up when the temperature dropped. It was most likely an outfit I never would have pulled together had I not been bouncing around blog reading. So get going ladies (and gents), blog hop and find some inspiration! (more…)

High Five for Friday

Happy Friday, friends! After coming off of the hectic week of Thanksgiving, we laid low this week. The kids are battling some colds so we spent time cuddling, watching Christmas movies and when we all needed some fresh air we tackled a little shopping. This weekend we have multiple birthday parties to attend as well as a Christmas concert that my Mom directs (psst, if you live around Hollidaysburg she puts on a great concert, 7pm Sat and 2pm Sun at the Senior High School). Hoping for a healthy family to get through it all!

Here’s a look at my week:


 (click image to enlarge)

  1. Madelyn took over this shopping cart and practically filled it to the brim with what she thought she was buying. She contemplated buying the giraffe, but I had to put my foot down.
  2. Anyone else spending their Gap cash this week? Being the good wife that I am, I put mine towards sprucing up my husbands wardrobe.
  3. I have made this sausage and bean soup a few times now and I highly recommend you give it a try.
  4. My lunches can be rather boring, so this week I enjoyed a delicious margarita sandwich (inspired by Pinterest of course).
  5. What is it about boys and trains? This kid was in heaven at a local train shop that we just discovered.

Have a wonderful weekend and I’ll see you back here Monday!

Linking up with The Lauren Elizabeth for High Five for Friday.


For those that remember, I decided to do my first juice cleanse when I had my wisdom teeth removed nearly two weeks ago. My thinking was that since I wouldn’t be able to chew, I may as well drink something healthy instead of feasting on milkshakes for a week. Sounds logical enough, but it turns out this may not have been the best decision after surgery for a few reasons. I should first note that I did like the cleanse and will be doing another one at some point, I just don’t think I had the best timing.


I ordered through Blue Print Cleanse because I knew a few friends who had done this particular cleanse before and recommended it. I scheduled it to arrive the day before my surgery so that it would be chilled and ready for me when I got back the next day. It arrived on time and pre-chilled so I simply transferred it to my fridge. You can order for as many days as you’d like, I chose to do two days. (more…)

‘Tis the Season

Thanksgiving is over, Christmas shopping has officially commenced, Christmas music is now allowed on my radio and my decor is now complete. Being that we move so frequently (this is the fourth place Jack and I have called home together) each year I decorate I always feel like I’m starting from scratch. I don’t necessarily mind that especially because the more years that pass the more decorations I seem to acquire. By the time we finally get into our “house, house” I hope to have quite the array to play with.

These stockings were made for us by Handmade Pretties’ via Etsy. They were actually featured in a magazine (Better Homes maybe?) a few years ago and I was all over them. When Madelyn came along we added a fourth to the collection.


I found this table runner at HomeGoods and love the casual feel with a hint of silver shimmer. The garland came from HomeGoods as well and I draped it with beads that I had on hand. I’ve had the mini trees for years and end up doing something different them each year. This year they were upgraded to table top ;)


The tree. I mentioned my husband is allergic to pine right? It pains me every time I say that, but since he’s obviously not leaving, I had to hunt down the most live looking fake tree I could find. This one came from Sears of all places and I have to say I’m quite happy with it. (more…)

Gold Pumps


I love this outfit for many reasons. First, I am so into plaid this season, I just can’t seem to have enough plaid flannel tops in my closet. Second, this cloche (I had to look this up myself, so if you didn’t know, it’s a french word meaning bell, as in the shape of the hat). I bought it a few years ago and just found it in my closet. It’s like shopping for free ;) I typically wear cotton or knit beanies, but this hat cloche, which origainally came from Anthropologie, adds a bit more class to the outfit. Next, my amazing TJMaxx find. This Elie Tahari coat was sitting all alone a month or so ago and I threw it in my cart before anyone else could get their hands on it. It’s technically a birthday present (which is in two weeks) but my husband graciously let me take it for a spin. Who am I kidding, he could really care less, haha! And finally, my gold pumps. My outfit actually started with these because I was planning on linking up with my friend Becky at Mommy in Heels for What She Wears: Gold. I’m more of a silver girl, but it’s practially impossible to avoid gold these days. Especially when it comes to a pair of shoes like these! (more…)

Gift Guide

Happy Cyber Monday everyone! If you’re online right now, you’re more than likely going to be sucked into a sale or two (or three or four!). That being the case, I’ve gathered some gifts for just about everyone on your list. I’ve been browsing through the endless catalogs we seem to be getting in the mail lately and I’ve come across some great gift ideas. I enjoy flipping through them because unlike the black hole of the internet, the catalogs eventually come to an end and keep me from wasting even more time clicking and clicking away. In an attempt to possibly save you some time as well, here’s my short list of gifts that may help you cross some names off of your list. From personalized story books, sweaters and glasses to a female emergency kit and the coolest gadget for a guy (as he was proof reading for me he stopped to make sure I was getting this for him), the Oona, check it out!

xmas11 / 2 / 3 / 4


1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5


1 / 2 / 3 / 4


1 / 2 / 3 / 4

Happy shopping everyone! Catch some good sales!