a lovely living

Monthly Archives for July 2014

Navy Lace


While on the hunt for a new shirt and tie for my husband, I managed to come home with a new top and cuff for myself. I can’t help it, walking into TJMaxx is like sending a kid into a candy store! This top was too pretty and priced too well to pass by. And then I hit up Macy’s where I happened to find this Lucky Brand cuff on clearance for $7.99, originally $65. You really can’t blame me, the jewelry dept. is right next to the mens dept. I’m starting to think there’s reasoning behind that.

Our town (State College, PA) holds a huge Arts Festival every year full of art, food and live music. Approximately 100,000 people attend each year, so it’s quite the event. I wore this outfit an evening we spent strolling the streets, eating kettle corn and catching fireflies with live music in the background. It was one very enjoyable summer evening.








Details: Top via TJMaxx (similar options) /  7 For All Mankind DenimSandals: Pour La Victoire via Gilt (similar) / necklace (similar) / Lucky Brand bracelet (on sale in store at Macy’s) / Michael Kors watch


Today I’m sharing a dish that I recently tried from Real Simple. I love pasta and goat cheese and with the addition of some fresh summer veggies it seemed like a no brainer. This dish could serve as your meal, but in my house we served it as a side to some grilled chicken. I mentioned I love goat cheese but I wouldn’t mind trying this out with some feta which has a little more kick. My husband’s only complaint was that it was too much pasta for the veggies, so you may want to up the vegetables or cut back a bit on the amount of pasta you use. Other than that it was a great addition to our dinner.



Here’s the recipe via Real Simple:


  1. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Reserve ¾ cup of the cooking water; drain the pasta and return it to the pot.
  2. Meanwhile, heat oven to 350° F. Spread the walnuts on a rimmed baking sheet and toast, tossing occasionally, until fragrant, 8 to 10 minutes.
  3. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the corn, garlic, ¾ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper and cook, tossing occasionally, until the corn is tender, 2 to 4 minutes.
  4. Add the cooked corn, tomatoes, zucchini, and ½ cup of the cooking water to the pot with the pasta. Cook over medium heat, gently tossing, until the liquid is slightly thickened and coats the pasta, 2 to 3 minutes (adding more cooking water as needed to loosen the sauce).
  5. Serve sprinkled with the oregano, walnuts, and goat cheese.

8 of My Summer Go-To’s

We’re about half way through summer and although I’m expecting to start seeing the ‘back to school’ ads any day now, I plan on ignoring them all and continue to embrace the summer months. Today I’m sharing with you the items that I have been turning to over and over again. Most of my time is spent running around with my kids, taking them to/from camps etc. and splashing around at the pool. However, if you’re not a full-time mom, or a mom at all, you will likely find that most of these items may be on rotation for you as well, especially on the weekends. Check them out and let me know what other go-to’s you’ve been turning to this summer:
Summergotos1. From my Converse, to Toms and various other sandals, easy-on/ easy-off shoes are a must.
2. Sunglasses. I know that’s a given and I often turn to my Rayban aviators.
3. I’ve mentioned this tinted moisturizer before, but I couldn’t leave it off of this list. It’s on my face just about every single day.
4. Denim shorts. I have a few different pairs (some rolled, some cut-off) but they are the my easiest go-to for summer bottoms.
5. I have a handful of t-shirt dresses and tunics that I use as swimsuit cover-ups such as this one. Since I’m not at the beach, I like to have something that can carry me through more of the day than a basic cover-up.
6. Fedora’s and caps are a fun accessory to throw on and can easily add a bit more interest to the simplest of outfits.
7. You’ve seen this tote in various outfit posts (ie here and here) and it’s been the perfect summer switch-up to my Madewell tote.
8. I couldn’t leave out my water bottle. I do my best to keep it with me at all times as a constant reminder to stay hydrated.


Summer Wedding


My closet isn’t full of designer clothing, but when I am able to find a bargain from a designer I love, I jump on it. I happened to snag this Trina Turk dress at a shop in Hoboken, NJ a few years ago. I didn’t have any immediate plans for it at the time, but it was a piece I loved, that I knew would get use, at a reasonable price point. A few years later and it was exactly what I needed for a hot summer wedding we attended this past weekend. The bright print allowed me to play with some fun jewelry including this gold fringe necklace. I also decided to do a little tasteful nail art with my manicure. I took note’s from Caroline at House of Harper and did a reverse french manicure which turned out beautifully. Ok, didn’t personally do it, but the manicurist tackled it perfectly! You may want to give it a try for any upcoming events you have on your calendar.








Details: Trina Turk dress (similar) / JCP a.n.a. shoes / Francesca’s necklace and bracelet (similar) / earrings (similar) / ring (old)


High Five for Friday

Happy Friday! Coming off of the 4th of July weekend this week continued to feel like a whirlwind. My husband was away in NY for a few days so the kids and I got to share plenty of one on one time (as if we don’t already!) There was plenty of park and pool time and I even managed to get a lunch out with one of my dearest college girlfriends. I love those relationships that pick right back up each time you see someone. We’re off to a wedding this weekend and my sister in law is ready to pop any minute (as in giving me a nephew), so it’s bound to be the exact opposite of quiet around this place!

Here’s what I captured on my phone this week:

1) Getting ready for the fireworks on the 4th. Apparently State College, PA ranks 4th in the nation for their show? Or at least that’s what I read!

2) I love finding a beautiful scarf for a few bucks on clearance at Old Navy!


3) Anything to keep this girl busy. She literally does not stop moving while she is awake. But boy does she nap hard!


4) Anthro catalog mail day and I’m in trouble! These peep toe booties have me wishing they were stacked in my closet!


5) My guy behind the camera. I’m thankful he has a good eye! And is pretty easy on my eyes as well ;)


Have a fantastic weekend everyone!

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Hot Summer Days

loftshort7With a hint of a tan going on and some hot humid weather, I’ve found myself turning to white quite often recently. I love the elements of interest that the stripes and buttons add to the sailor shorts but I knew I still needed a pop which is why I threw on this coral crossbody. My mom walked in this particular afternoon with this necklace and as any good mom would, she let me borrow it. And then I forgot to give it back. Sorry mom.







Details: JCP Mango top (similar) / LOFT shorts (similar) / Madewell sandals / crossbody (similar) / Nine West hat / Michelle watch / Necklace (borrowed but options here) / Riley on Main bracelet (old)

chickenquinoa1 With two young children to feed, there’s always a fine line between adding too much spice (for them) and not having enough flavor (for us). When I found this recipe that I was eager to try, I simply prepared the kids’ chicken on the mild side and went full on for my husband and myself. Talk about a healthy, flavorful meal, it’s making my mouth water just seeing this picture again! I recommend adding the avocado cream sauce. It only requires an avocado and greek yogurt and is the perfect complement to the chicken and quinoa. This is a great summer meal without any guilt attached.

Here’s the recipe I found via Sarcastic Cooking:

  • 2 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
  • ½ Teaspoon of Paprika
  • ¼ Teaspoon of Salt
  • ¼ Teaspoon of Pepper
  • ¼ Teaspoon of Cayenne Pepper
  • ¼ Teaspoon of Onion Powder
  • ¼ Teaspoon of Cumin
  • 1 Teaspoon of Olive Oil
  • 2 Cups of Low Sodium Chicken Stock
  • 1 Cup of Quinoa
  • Juice and Zest from One Lime
  • A Dash of Salt and Pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons of Cilantro, chopped
  1. Combine all the dry seasonings in a small bowl. Mix them together and then season both sides of each chicken breast.
  2. Add the teaspoon of olive oil to a large pan or skillet. Heat the olive oil for a minute over medium/high heat. Add the chicken breasts to the pan. Cook for seven minutes on each side with the lid on.
  3. Add the chicken stock and quinoa to a medium sauce pan. Bring to a simmer over medium/low heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for ten to fifteen minutes with the lid on, until all the stock has been absorbed.
  4. After the chicken breasts have cooked all the way through, remove them from the pan and let them rest for seven minutes before slicing them.
  5. Add the warm quinoa to a large bowl. Toss in the lime zest, lime juice, salt and pepper, and chopped cilantro. Mix to combine.
  6. Serve the sliced chicken breast on top of the quinoa.
  7. If you find the blackened seasoning too spicy, you can add a quick and easy avocado cream sauce to cool it down. Just place the flesh from an avocado along with two tablespoons of Greek yogurt in a food processor and puree until smooth.

T-shirt dress


What’s better than finding a casual, versatile, t-shirt dress that can be worn in a variety of ways? When it only costs $29, that’s what! I knew I’d love this Joe Fresh dress the second I saw it hanging in the store and I was right. Not only is it navy, one of my favorite colors, but in addition to wearing it as I did here with wedged sandals, I also plan on wearing it with flats and likely my converse in the future. It’s a great piece that I was happy to add to my closet.






 Details: JCP Joe Fresh dress / Lucky sandals / Madewell tote / Kate Spade sunglasses / Michelle watch / Lia Sophia necklace (similar)


The Weekender

Along with summer come beach vacations where our SUV is typically filled to the brim. In addition to those week long trips I’m sure many of you have a handful of weekend trips scattered throughout the next few months. What’s nice about these mini getaways is that you can pack fairly lightly, at least in comparison to a week away! I recently had a friend ask what my recommendations would be for a nice weekender. I had a few in mind, but that got the wheels turning. As a result, I’ve gathered a variety of fun, chic, practical weekender bags (at all price points) that just may cause you to plan a trip if you didn’t already have one booked ;)



1. Anthropologie $168
2. Kate Spade Saturday $160
3. Lo & Sons $120
4. JCrew $36.50
5. Le Sportsac $116
6. Francesca’s $68
7. Target $34.99
8. Petunia Pickle Bottom $185

High Five for Friday

It’s here, July 4th, Independence Day, and the day I realize that summer is flying by! Summer is certainly not relaxing with two little ones, but we sure are enjoying ourselves! We’re getting as much pool time in as we can and doing our best to dodge the thunderstorms that have been passing by this past week. My kids have been sweaty, filthy, covered in popsicle juice and having a blast. My son and I even enjoyed a nap on the couch together while my daughter was in her crib. It’s a rare sight to get him to sleep anywhere but his bed, so smiled, slept and took it in. I hope you all enjoy time with friends, family and fireworks tonight! Here’s a look back at my week and some sales to catch today before you head out for the day ;)

1.) Dad’s sprint to the ice-cream truck was well worth it for this smile.


2.) Little Miss Sassy Pants sporting one of her new tanks I grabbed at Macy’s this week. You can find it here for $4.99! I love the First Impressions line that they carry. It’s always on sale and super cute. You can see their collection for girls here.


3.) My husband was hard at work re-vamping my blog from behind the scenes. Not much changed with the appearance, but he’s happy that he has a better handle on managing it from his end. The perks of having a techy husband! What you can take note of, and what I’m excited about, are the category pages. They now look something like this, so instead of having to scroll through every post in it’s particular category, you now have more of an image collection to search through. Thanks Jack Zerby, you deserve a pat on the back! Take a look and let me know what you think!


4.) It’s a holiday weekend, which means the sales are here! Here are a few of my favorite’s going on for us gals:

JCrew (extra 40% off final sale with code SHOPMORE): Denim jacket in ecru, Embroidered top,  Mini wedge espadrilles
Dolce Vita (extra 30% off sale with code FIREWORKS14): Viera sandals, Quillan romper
Piperlime (25% off purchase until noon on 7/4): Splendid maxi dress, Chevron dress,  Pleated maxi skirt, Embroidered top
LOFT (60% off select styles): Swimsuit, Square scarf

5.) And for those of you with children, nieces, nephews or grandchildren, here are some of my favorites for the kid’s:

Janie & Jack (exyta 20% off sale): Girl: Striped yellow romper, Striped green top, Swimsuit  Boy: Gingham shirt, Striped short
Tea Collection (extra 40% off sale with code MORE40): Girl: Shift dress, Saltwater sandals  Boy:  Surf teeSanuk shoes
Gymboree (40% off store): Girl: bow top, chambray dress  Boy: Lion tee, Baseball sweatshirt

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