a lovely living

Monthly Archives for January 2014

High Five for Friday

What a fun whirlwind of a week I had! It began with a girls’ weekend in NY/NJ which was nothing but wonderful. I got to spend time with some dear friends and enjoyed adult conversation for almost three whole days! In addition, my girlfriend got us tickets to see a live showing of The View. It was my first time seeing a talk-show and it was ever so entertaining. The whole production is much smaller in person than expected, which meant that from the third row we could literally make eye contact with Jenny McCarthy :) After a refreshing break from my day to day, I spent the rest of the week rejuvenated and ready to give my little ones all of the attention they needed.

Here are some pics from my week:H54F117


  1. The lovely ladies I got to spend my Monday with at The View!
  2. There’s nothing like leaving for a few days to return to a super sweet ‘I love you and appreciate you’ card from a super sweet husband. Don’t tell him, but it kinda makes me want to leave a little more often ;)
  3. Later in the week he came home with a french toast bagel from Panera for me (you all know about these, right?) At that point I started wondering what he did wrong…..just kidding…. well, kinda.
  4. Enjoying a lovely game of Go-Fish with the most handsome little man.
  5. My week wouldn’t be complete without a little playtime with my princess.

 I hope your week was even more wonderful! Have a great weekend and see you Monday!

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

Fresh Linens

Every so often I get the urge to change up our bedding. In an attempt to keep myself under control, I have a few duvet covers that I switch out once or twice a year. I do love those that I own, but in a way it’s like clothing where new can feel so refreshing! Well, I’m not caving this time (even though I’d love to), but I figured I’d share some of my favorite bedding ensembles that have caught my eye. #1 is what I’d love to have in my bedroom right now. The blue is so soft and soothing, I think I would sleep extremely well in that bed! And #9 is what I currently have on our bed and years later I still love it just as much.


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 If you happen to update your bedroom, share your pics so I can live vicariously through you! Sleep well ;)

Red Velvet Bundt Cake


I love following the Mix and Match Mama. She’s full of wonderful recipes including a list of 100 (yes, 100) bundt cakes. I decided to make her red velvet version for my grandmother’s birthday. It has chocolate chips throughout and is covered in a cream cheese frosting. It also calls for the addition of vanilla pudding in the mix. I had heard of people adding pudding into cakes and cookies before, but now I know why. Not only was the flavor outstanding but it was incredibly moist. I’ll be adding that again!

redvelvetIt’s a great cake for any occasion but I can see the red being a wonderful fit for Valentines Day!


It’s in the Accessories

jewels2It’s funny how much time I spend admiring, trying on and shopping for clothing when often times it’s the accessories that totally make an outfit. If I were to remove my necklace and scarf from this outfit it would be fine (a word my husband is banned from using when commenting on my appearance in any way), but nothing that would really stand out. Thankfully I have a mother and a mother in law that understand this because my necklace and scarf (oh and bag too) were presents from them. They seem to have my taste nailed down :)






jewels7Details: Elie Tahari coat via TJMaxx / Gap pants / Anthropologie top / Steve Madden boots / Bauble Bar necklace / Kate Spade bag (similar) / scarf gifted / JCrew bracelet



Last week I watched my baby transform into a little girl before my eyes as she got her very first haircut. I was the emotional mom snapping pictures and grabbing a few locks of hair to bring home as a keepsake (maybe this is weird, but my mom still has mine, so the tradition continues).

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Let me begin by saying that my kids are complete and total opposites. Not only are they boy and girl, but their personalities could not be more different and I love and appreciate each one for who they are and the different characteristics they add to our family.

When it came to my son’s first haircut (he was 2.5 years old mind you, with less than an inch of hair) it took multiple attempts before the haircut actually took place. And when it did happen, he was on my lap and many (many) tears were shed. This continued for at least the first three haircuts despite the cool chairs, fancy TV’s or candies that were used as bribery. He hated it but he looked extremely handsome once it was over.Screen Shot 2014-01-09 at 11.15.59 AM

Then there’s my daughter. Of course, being opposites, Madelyn’s hair has been growing rapidly…rapidly into a mullet that was getting worse by the day. I plan on growing out her locks, but after one too many mullet comments from my sister I decided she needed a trim. Of course I was emotional about her sweet baby hair being cut, but I knew I had to bite the bullet at some point. I took her to see my stylist fully expecting her to be on my lap with my hands doing their best to hold her head still so she didn’t end up with any nicks or cuts. I know, totally different child, but I couldn’t fathom a child actually sitting still for a haircut. I did however, bring my camera in tow just in case I got the chance to be psycho mom. Wouldn’t you know it, the little booger sat in her booster (plush pillow underneath and all), reclined, calm and cool as a cucumber the entire time! That alone made me tear up, haha! But I walked around snapping pictures, enjoying the process almost as much as she was. The end result was an adorable baby bob that I cannot get enough of.

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Thank you to Kayla at Portfolio Salon in Boalsburg, PA for treating my little girl like a princess! She’ll be back ;)

High Five for Friday

Well this sure was one frigid week but it looks like we’ll have some nice temps around for the weekend. It actually felt warm being in the mid-twenties yesterday! Sub zero temps, some broken water pipes and school cancellations meant lots of time spent cuddled up with my little ones. We read, we baked, we watched movies and somehow managed to have very few sibling quarrels! I’m heading to NJ/NY for the weekend with some girlfriends, one of which got us tickets to see The View. Watch for me Monday! It is live, right?

Here’s what part of my week looked like:

H54F11031. The week started out with the season premier of Downton Abbey. My husband finds it too boring to keep his attention, but I can’t stop watching!


2. Someone had her first haircut this week! More details to be shared next week ;)


3. Baking a cake for grandma’s/great grandma’s birthday.


4. I missed the People’s Choice Awards, but am loving all of the looks, especially from the always stylish, Jessica Alba.


5. I’d survive without HomeGoods, but it wouldn’t be nearly as fun. This tufted bench found its new home in our bedroom this week.

Have a great weekend and see ya Monday!

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


Wearing Fur and Lace

lacetop5 I have had this hat in my closet for years. I don’t wear it often, but once in a while I find it fun to be a bit obnoxious. My sister originally had it and I assumed she had found it buried in my mom’s closet. As I was writing this post I texted her to ask and it turns out she bought it at a dollar store, ha! It’s all in how you wear it ladies, and hopefully I fooled you into thinking it was a lovely vintage piece ;)

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 Details: JCrew coat / Anthropologie top / LOFT pants / Steve Madden boots / Kate Spade bag (similar)

Devil’s Food Cake


A girlfriend of mine hosted a Christmas party over the holiday’s that I attended. Since I always love an excuse to bake, I offered to bring a devil’s food cake that I had been wanting to try. As much as I love a good Betty Crocker cake, there’s something about making it from scratch that can’t be beat. This particular cake uses a chocolate ganache icing that paired perfectly with the delicious devils food cake underneath.

I was inspired by Pinterest (yet again) and piped some melted chocolate in the shape of trees on wax paper and placed them on the cake once they chilled. I love this idea because you could use the technique to decorate a cake for any holiday; hearts for Valentines Day, eggs for Easter, flowers for Mother’s Day etc. It’s a simple and fun way to embellish a cake and really make it stand out.






Here’s the recipe so you can give it a shot!

Pink & Navy

quilted4 It’s a good thing I love to layer because this frigid weather that’s hovering around us requires nothing less. Today I am linking up with my friend Becky at Mommy in heels as she co-hosts this months What She Wears: Pop of Color. Luckily for me, my wonderful mother in law gave me these lovely pink Joules wellies for Christmas. They are lined and therefore kept my feet toasty as we trekked through the snow. Pink (in any shade) and navy happens to be one of my favorite color combos. They seem to work so beautifully together. quilted5 I’m also loving this quilted navy jacket. I love the sleek look of it which is a nice change amidst my other wool and puffer coats. quilted3 quilted2 quilted1 quilted6

 Details: Ralph Lauren coat / Zara hat / JCrew jeans / Joules wellies / Gap scarf / JCrew sweatshirt (extra 40% off sale) / Gap shirt / Baublebar necklace

Linking up with Mommy in Heels for What She Wears and Style Elixir for Style Sessions

Get In Gear

Although it should always be a priority to keep your body healthy and in shape, the start of a new year always gives that extra push or boost of encouragement to get your butt in gear. That, or those darn marketers (which was also my major, ahem) take full advantage of the timing and make you feel guilty if you’re not attempting to lose some weight. I found it humorous that I received an email from Panera encouraging me to lose 5 pounds in 6 weeks. Thanks for the assumption, Panera. Regardless of your reasoning, it’s always a good time to be healthy and I am always more inspired to workout when I have new apparel or gym gear on hand. There’s something invigorating about a new pair of sneakers. They make me feel like I can run twice as far in half the time. Or a new gym bag. Simply packing your bag before work can almost guarantee you’ll make it into the gym after (or before) work. Or for me, as silly as it sounds, a new water bottle adds a little excitement to my workout. Lame? Probably. But it gets me into the gym!

Here is my attempt to inspire a healthier you in 2014, and I am not insinuating that you need to lose any weight ;) What I am insinuating is that if you’re anything like me, maybe a new jacket or headband or yoga mat will give you the extra boost you need to get into the gym (or down to your basement or wherever it may be). It only takes 30 days to create a new habit after all. This way when your gear loses its novelty, you’ll already be well into a healthy habit. And maybe I’ll even add in some healthy recipes for you this year, wouldn’t that be a treat? ;)


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A few of my thoughts:

Brooks Adrenaline have been my go-to sneaker for my short and long distance runs. I’ve tried others but always go back to this pair. The Nike free sneakers are what I wear for cross-training. They are so light that you barely feel them, yet they give your feet the support they need. I’ve tried many sports bras and the Champion bra from Target continues to be my favorite. The Jade yoga mat was recommended by my instructors and although it’s the only one I have ever used, I have no complaints.

Now have at it, ladies! Get out there, kick some butt and look good doing it!

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