a lovely living

Monthly Archives for February 2014

High Five for Friday

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! Some love it, others find it lame and I fall somewhere in the middle. I’d much rather my husband bring home a bunch of flowers on any ordinary day rather than purchase roses that are marked up like crazy (it is our money after all). But now that we live near family and my sister so sweetly volunteered to babysit for us (thanks Sarah!), we are certainly taking advantage of a night out. Regardless of what your plans are, I hope you’re staying safe and warm! This winter is just out of control!

The rest of my week looked a bit like this:H54F214

  1. Homemade granola from a sweet friend. I’m going to have to look into this.
  2. What a process it is bundling kids to play in the snow! I swear it takes just as long to dress them as they end up playing outside.
  3. It’s hard to believe that this little newborn will be going to Kindergarten next year. He was a few weeks old in this photo and now we’re in the process of deciding on and registering for ‘real’ school. Time really flies.
  4. We had plenty of time to prepare my son’s valentine’s on out snow day. He chose the cards and I chose the treat, can you tell? ;)
  5. I used this recipe from the Food Network for a pork loin yesterday and it was incredible! I couldn’t understand why my husband was eating every bite as he began carving it until I snuck a piece for myself. Seriously, give it a try.


Enjoy your day and your weekend! See ya Monday!

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

Be My Valentine

heart5Is there anything more appropriate than hearts to incorporate into an outfit this week? I was happy to snag this cute French Connection top at TJMaxx a few weeks ago and this was the obvious time to break it out. I really wanted to wear some cute suede pumps with this ensemble, but my ankles were frozen enough the afternoon we shot this. To keep the outfit comfortable, I threw on my boyfriend jeans (wonder why they don’t make ‘husband jeans’?) and grabbed the Kate Spade bag that was given to me by my husband on my birthday. As soon as the weather starts to brighten up, this thing will be out in full force! In case you weren’t aware, Kate Spade is having a clearance sale through the end of the day. You can check it out here!





 Details: JCrew blazer (similar) / French Connection top (via TJMaxx) / Gap jeans / Target belt / Kate Spade bag (similar option on sale) / DV by Dolce Vita booties (similar) / Michelle watch / Jcrew bracelet / Marc by Marc Jacobs sunglasses / JCrew Factory necklace

Healthy Greek Hummus Dip


As I promised towards the beginning of the year, today I have another healthy recipe for you. I’ve had great feedback on the minestrone and stuffed pepper soups I had posted about here, so if you haven’t tried those yet, you may want to give them a shot. Now, on to this tasty hummus dip. I believe I originally found it on Pinterest (as I find all things wonderful), but it stems from Heather at The Lovely Cupboard and you can find the recipe here. I’ve made it numerous times and it’s gotten fantastic reviews. It looks like a pretty dip, but the taste is even better than you would expect.




You could use various foods for dipping, but I cut up pitas, sprayed them with a bit of olive oil and popped them in the oven for 8-10 min to make them slightly crisp.


This is one quick (especially if you use store bought hummus), easy, and healthy addition to share at any get-together!

My Daily Makeup Routine

Every once in a while I re-evaluate my make-up routine, but for the most part it is pretty consistent. When I discover a wonderful new product, such as Benefit’s They’re Real mascara, or Urban Decay’s Naked2 eyeshadow pallet, I adjust it as needed and keep the rest as is. Bare Minerals has been my go-to makeup for the past 3 or so years and it’s worked wonderfully. I typically use it year round, with the exception of my casual, summer days where I may only throw on some of Laura Mercier’s tinted moisturizer as a base.

My typical routine goes something like this:

  • Apply well-rested under each eye to cover up any lack of sleep and my genetically acquired under eye circles
  • Apply foundation
  • Apply warmth in the shape of the number 3 from forehead to cheek to chin on both sides of face to add a touch of color to my wintry white skin
  • Apply blush on my upper cheek bones
  • Apply mineral veil to hold everything in place
  • Apply eyeshadow
  • Apply eyeliner (I like to use gray on an average day which is less harsh than black)
  • Apply They’re Real mascara to upper and lower lashes
  • Apply lipstick (MAC’s syrup is one I turn to often)


 (click image to enlarge)

Of course on days when concealer is necessary to cover any blemishes, I would throw that on as well. And if I know I’ll be having an extra long day I may start this process using Benefit’s POREfessional primer. Other than that, this is the routine that I could basically do in my sleep! Nothing fancy, but it gets the job done and leaves me feeling put together.

Here are links to all of the products listed above:



I recently realized that nearly my entire collection of pants has slowly transformed into all skinny pants. I throw on my boyfriend jeans every so often, but for the most part the skinnies have taken over. With this realization, I went searching for my old flare jeans, and let me tell you how good it felt to switch things up for a day! Not only were my calves happy to breath, but flared pants always give such a flattering silhouette.

Another item that’s been in hiding lately are my blazers. Blazers layered under wool coats are terribly uncomfortable to me which is probably why I haven’t broken them out lately. However, looking back on my past week, I ended up in blazers three times. Apparently I’m beginning to tire of the whole sweater/skinnies uniform. So here you have it, two items that were happy to find their way out of my closet, a trusty blazer and flared jeans.





flare3Details: JCrew blazer (similar) / Lucky Brand jeans (similar) / JCrew shirt / Baublebar necklace / Madewell tote / Michael Kors shoes / Jcrew bracelet (similar)



High Five for Friday

Happy Friday, friends! As we continue through winter, it feels as though we can’t go 2 or 3 days without a school delay or cancellation. And to be honest, a delay for pre-school doesn’t exactly feel worth it. Today however, school is on and it happens to be pajama day at Jack’s school, how fun is that? I’m considering making it a pajama day at home as well. Anyone care to join?!


  1. The Superbowl didn’t turn out to be much of an exciting game at all, unless of course you’re a die-hard Seahawks fan, but at least half-time was entertaining. My son started out routing for the Bronco’s (mainly because Peyton is Eli’s brother and Eli lives in the town we used to call home, Hoboken) but half way through began cheering on the Seahawks. Goes to show you what type of fan he is!
  2. During one of our snow days this week, I bought some pre-made cookie dough to have on hand. It’s been ages since I’ve bought pre-made dough and I won’t insult any brand in particular, but there’s a definite reason why I make my cookies from scratch. Even my 4 yo kept saying how ‘lousy’ they were, although he certainly had more than his fair share ;)
  3. Child #2 was my sick bug early on this week. As most moms will agree, the only good thing about a sick child are the extra cuddles that come with it.
  4. Some days I wish I could fit into my daughters’ outfits. Maybe minus the hat ears!
  5. I ordered this Tribeca Pink Collar from my cousin who sells Cookie Lee jewelry and couldn’t wait for a chance to wear it! It’ll be making more appearances on here for sure.

Have a fabulous weekend everyone!

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


Sweet Valentine Treat


Anyone looking for a Valentine’s treat that is simple to prepare yet involves a bit more thought than a box of chocolates? Whether it’s for a friend, acquaintance or your child’s teacher, these chocolate covered pretzels are sure to hit the spot.  It doesn’t get any more complicated than melting chocolate, dipping pretzels, adding sprinkles and cooling. Annnd you’re done!


Not only are they a wonderful treat, but they’re awfully pretty too!


Grandma’s Ham Pot Pie


You know those family recipes that are warm, comforting and taste better each time you have the chance to enjoy them? My grandma’s ham pot pie is one of those such recipes. My mom, sister and I are always saying that we need to learn how to master this meal on our own, but I’m not sure my grandma will ever let that happen! For the time being, I have at least taken the next step and documented the meal as it was being prepared, mostly by her! For those of you that are precise with measurements, you’re going to hate this. I’m one of those people, but I’m trying to learn how food can turn out delicious with a dash of this and handful of that. So just note, measurements in this recipe are approximate. Feel free to add more or less of anything as needed.

My grandma, mom, sister and I always have a great time when we’re together. They’re three people that I am so very grateful to have in my life. We actually spent this afternoon together a few weeks ago and my grandmother has since headed to Florida for a few weeks leaving us to enjoy all of this snow alone. Since we seem to be back in the thick of winter weather, I figured this was an appropriate recipe to share.

Here are the step by step pictures followed by the recipe. If it sounds foreign to you, it’s because it’s a Pennsylvania Dutch recipe and if you’ve never had it before, you definitely need to add it to your list. Or at least throw it on Pinterest and get back to it at some point ;)


  • 10-12 C and 1 1/3 C water
  • 4C flour
  • 4 tbsp crisco
  • 7-8lb half ham with bone
  • 1-2tbsp parsley
  • 1/2 dozen potatoes, peeled and diced
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • Boil the ham with the bone in 10-12 cups of water for approx. 30 minutes to make ham broth. Once complete, cut ham into pieces and set aside.
  • Mix 1 1/3 C water, flour and crisco to make dough and then separate into a few sections.
  • Roll out each section of dough to approx. 1/4 inch and cut into 2 in. squares.
  • Bring broth to a boil and drop pieces of dough in for approx. 20-25min.
  • While dough is boiling, bring a pot of water to boil and boil potatoes for approx. 10 minutes.
  • Add potatoes, ham, parsley, salt and pepper to the dough/ham broth.

I could kick myself for not getting a picture of us girls that day, but here’s a shot of the four of us (plus my daughter) on Christmas day. Thanks for a fun day girls, let’s do it again!


What are some of your favorite family recipes?



embellished2Today I am linking up with my friend Becky at Mommy in Heels for What She Wears: Favorite Winter Trend. I can’t say that I have only one favorite trend this year, because I have certainly been getting my wear out of tartan and faux furs, but one trend that I am really enjoying would be embellished tops. To be more specific, embellished sweatshirts are what I find myself turning to time and time again (as you can see here and here). Being a full-time mom, it delights me to be able to feel comfortable all day, yet a little embellishment keeps my outfit feeling fun and playful instead of drab and boring.





embellished5Details: JCrew sweatshirt / LOFT shirt / LOFT denim / BCBG Generation pumps (via TJMaxx) / Baublebar necklace / Elie Tahari coat (via TJMaxx) / JCrew bracelet (similar)

So how about you? What trend have you found yourself turning to over and over again this winter?

Linking up with What She Wears and Style Sessions

Loving Lately: 5 Obsessions

Whether it’s by word of mouth, advertisements or randomly coming across a new item on your own, isn’t it always exciting to become obsessed with new products? I tend to go through phases of enjoying certain foods, playing with different types of makeup and using certain accessories on a day to day basis. It’s inevitable that they’ll change, but I enjoy the little love affairs while they last. I have gathered 5 of these such things to share, and who knows, maybe one will strike a cord with you!


1. Naked2 Palette: I realize this isn’t exactly breaking news, being that Naked3 recently made it’s way into stores, but after hearing enough about these eyeshadows I finally decided to get my hands on one. Although all three palettes were beautiful, the 2nd was the one that seemed to call my name. I’ve now been using it daily and enjoy mixing the beautiful hues. The quality of Urban Decay (if you haven’t used any of their products before) is worth every penny in my opinion.


2. Popcorners: If you haven’t tried these, you’re either going to love me or hate me for introducing you to them. My husband refers to them as our crack because we can’t open up a bag without finishing it. I love that there are only 3 ingredients and I can pronounce every one. Oh and they’re gluten free too, in case that’s an issue for you.


3. Camille Beckman Glycerine Hand Therapy: This was a product I discovered thanks to Birchbox. I had been buying countless tubes of hand lotion in an attempt to keep my hands from cracking this winter without much luck. Then this little guy showed up and has been doing the best job so far at keeping my hands hydrated. On top of doing its job, the scent is amazing! It smells better than some of my perfumes which is a great bonus.


4. The Mini Transport Crossbody: You all know about my continued love affair with this tote from Madewell, right? I’ve worn it here, here and here just to give a few examples. Well, now they have introduced it’s little sister, the mini. How wonderful is this bag? I don’t have any current plans to add this little guy to my closet because it would seem a little gluttonous, but I’m sure it would make one of you very happy!


5. Trader Joe’s Smoothies: I’ve recently come to find that every time I’m in Trader Joe’s (typically once or twice per week) one of these smoothies ends up in my cart! Late-afternoon (3 or 4ish) I tend to crave a snack and these have really been hitting the spot. In addition to the Mango, there’s a Very Green and a Power Berry which my kids also love the get their hands on.


How about you? Anything in particular that you’ve been a little obsessed with lately? I suppose I could also add coffee to this list, but that’s just a given ;)