a lovely living

Monthly Archives for October 2014

High Five for Friday

Happy Friday, guys! I’m so thrown off this week with my son having off school yesterday and today, I can’t keep track of what day it actually is! I was laughing with my husband yesterday because I forget just what a Chatty Kathy my son can be. It was very apparent to me as my husband was working, my daughter was napping and my son could barely contain himself during our ‘quiet time’. I’m very thankful he is so willing and open to share everything and anything with me and I hope that doesn’t change too much in the future. I hear all too often how parents need to pry information out of their kids and I just chuckle in my head because I could basically replay every school day in my head for my little guy! Oh peace and quiet will come someday, right? I know, I know, and then I’ll want the commotion ;)

Here’s a look back at my week:

1) My handsome, chatty, sports fan living it up during football season.


2) After last week’s little huge mishap, we’ve begun making some small steps forward.


3) Chilly weather brings out the fleece leggings.


4) Great report at Jack’s first Kindergarten teacher conference. Thankfully he remembers his manners when he’s out of the house! He couldn’t wait to start studying his new ring of sight words that his teacher gave to us. I so admire his eagerness to learn!


5) I forget what life was like before I had a local Chick Fil A. It’s just about the only fast food I can stomach and the kids are guaranteed to let off some steam! SO much so that I couldn’t get a single non-blurry shot of them!



Have a great weekend!!

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

Time for a Sale

Well guys, technically I had an outfit post planned for today but then it decided to rain all day yesterday when the shoot was to take place. While it rained and my daughter napped (and my son was in school) I had a chance to browse the Shopbop sale. In case you missed it, today is the last day for their Friends and Family event where you get 25% off of your purchase using code FAMILY25! I’m a big fan of this sale especially because you can snag a great price on some items that typically aren’t on sale. Case in point, the Madewell tote below. I have owned this bag for over a year now and to my knowledge it has yet to go on sale.

Narrowing down this list isn’t going to be nearly as much fun as it was creating! But I think my husband would potentially drop over if I placed this entire order. Family’s gotta eat!



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I’m sure it’s obvious by now that I have a weakness for all things cinnamon and sugar. There’s just something about that combo that I can rarely pass by. This pull-apart bread isn’t difficult by any means. You do, however, need to pay careful attention to the instructions when it comes to the cutting portion. I ended up cutting the strips incorrectly which led to a loaf pan that wasn’t quite full (as you can see below). Luckily I was able to re-cut some of the sections and manipulate the dough a bit. It ended up working perfectly and you’d never know anything went wrong by the pictures. I’m just letting you know so you can avoid having to tackle any manipulations when you try this heavenly goodness yourself.



Cinnamon Sugar Pull-Apart Bread via Two of a Kind:


⅓ cup milk
¼ cup water
2¼ teaspoons active dry yeast
¼ cup sugar, divided
4 tablespoons butter, melted
2¾ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs

Filling and finish:
¾ cup light or dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
pinch of salt
3 tablespoons butter, softened
2 tablespoons sliced almonds (for topping, optional)

Make the dough:
In a large bowl, heat milk and water until warm – about 30 seconds in the microwave should do. Add the yeast and 1 tablespoon sugar. Whisk together until thoroughly combined and let sit until foamy, about 10 minutes.
Add the remaining sugar and the rest of the dough ingredients (butter through eggs) to the milk mixture, stirring everything until it comes together to form a shaggy ball. Then knead the dough by hand (or with a dough hook attachment) until it’s smooth and elastic – this will take about 10 minutes (or less if using a stand mixer). Shape dough into a ball and place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover and let it rise until doubled in size, about 1-2 hours.

Make the filling:
While the dough rises, combine the brown sugar, cinnamon and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.
Shape and bake the loaf:
Grease a 9″x5″ loaf pan or Pullman loaf pan (for a loaf with perfectly straight sides).
After the dough has risen, turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface. Roll out dough to a 12″x24″ rectangle.
Spread the butter over the dough into an even layer. Sprinkle the brown sugar filling over the butter.
Using a sharp knife or bench scraper, cut dough lengthwise into 4 equal-sized strips. Stack the strips on top of one another and cut the stack into 6 equal-sized pieces.
At this point, you can layer the dough stacks, cut sides up, neatly in the loaf pan. (It helps to tilt the loaf pan a bit to keep your stacks from folding over on themselves.) Or, for a messier look, cut each dough stack in half, stretch it into a rectangle, fold it in half and then place in the pan with the folded edge perpendicular to the bottom of the pan. It’s OK if some stacks stick up higher than others.
Cover loaf with a clean kitchen towel and let rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
About 15 minutes before dough has finished rising, preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Sprinkle top of loaf with sliced almonds, if using, and bake for 40-45 minutes until golden brown. If the top of the loaf gets too brown before it is done baking, cover loosely with foil.
Remove pan from oven and turn out bread onto a wire rack. Let cool slightly before serving.

Trick or Treat

This past weekend I finally broke out my fall decor. Since pumpkins had officially entered our home I figured it was time to tackle some costumes for Halloween. The part that drives me crazy, and I’m hopefully not alone here, is when my children start deciding what they want to be all on their own without any input from me. Who do they think they are?? I’m sure many of you will be having Frozen princesses and superhero’s whether that’s your preference or not. Not that I’m against Frozen, it’s still on our daily ‘dance party playlist’ and we all love it, but I have a feeling there will be more than one Elsa and Anna out collecting candy in a few weeks! As for my little one’s, I’ll have a Transformer and a little piggy (as seen below) on my hands. One was my pick and one was not ;) As I was searching I came across a number of adorable costumes out there including some of the classics. In case you (or your children) have yet to make up your mind, I’ve gathered a few for you here…


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The Poncho


One of my favorite fall layering pieces would be the poncho. A sweater poncho is a great piece to have on hand when you need to add an extra layer of warmth to your ensemble. It’s great to throw on for football games, soccer games, fall festivals, pumpkin picking….I could go on and on. I found this one a few weeks ago at TJMaxx and have seen many other options out there which you can check out below.







Details: Steve Madden poncho via TJMaxx / JCrew pants (similar) / DV by Dolce Vita Shooties (options) / Madewell tote

Shop Poncho’s:

High Five for Friday

Happy Friday, everyone! Nothing crazy out of the ordinary around here this past week. Just keeping up with the norm can be exhausting enough as it is. Oh and then, not exactly a ‘high’ (more like a low) occurred after walking into my 2yo’s room after her nap to a white crib covered in #2. And by covered, I mean painted on. It was awful. I guess it’s time to squeeze potty training in to our schedule whether I was ready or not! Here’s to hoping your week was a little better than mine ;)

A look at my week:

1) Practicing his school picture smile while still half asleep.  Can’t wait to see how it turned out ;)


2) Oh my sweet, little sassy pants.


3) Unfortunate events. I wasn’t joking. I love my kids, I love my kids, I love my kids….


4) Stromboli date with my second main squeeze. I ended up with the bill.


5) Madelyn had a rough week too. Thankfully Hello Kitty makes everything better.


 Have a great weekend! See ya Monday!

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

Lilac + Moss


Oh, hey moss green pants, long time no see! Yea, I’m being facetious which you already knew if you read Monday’s post. So far what I’ve realized about these pants (outside of the fact that they’re overly comfortable and a nice alternative to everyday jeans) is that this shade of moss looks beautiful with pastels. Don’t worry though, if you tend to stick to another color wheel, they also offer them in black. That should cover about all of you, right? And if I could sell you on another must have fall piece, it would likely be this sweater. I love the oversized, boxy fit, the color and the fun texture. Super cozy for the cold months we have ahead of us!








Details: JCrew sweater / LOFT pants (50% off today using code: OURTREAT) / Snakeskin pumps (similar) / Cookie Lee earrings / Kate Spade bracelet (similar) / Michele watch

Potato Leek Soup


I’m a fan of potatoes in basically any form, but as a soup would rank towards the top. Well, after mashed potatoes and french fries, I suppose! I don’t come across Potato Leek Soup on menus all that often, but when I do I am quick to order it. I love how subtle yet delicious it is. So when I came across this recipe on Skinny Taste and saw how simple it was to prepare I jumped on it.  It turned out exactly how I hoped it would and that was only reinforced after my 2 yo finished her second bowl ;)


I don’t own an immersion blender so I transferred it to my standup blender which worked perfectly.


Potato Leek Soup via Skinny Taste:


1 bunch leeks (about 4) dark green stems removed
1/2 large white onion, chopped
2 russet potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
1 tbsp flour
1 tbsp butter
4 cups fat free chicken stock (or vegetable broth for vegetarians)
1/2 cup 2% milk
salt and fresh pepper


Wash leeks very carefully to remove all grit. I usually cut them horizontally and separate the rings to make sure no dirt remains. Coarsely chop them when washed.

In a medium soup pot, melt butter and add flour on low flame. Using a wooden spoon, mix well. This will thicken your soup and give it a wonderful flavor.

Add chicken stock, leeks, onion, potatoes and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer on low for about 20-25 minutes, until potatoes are soft. Using an immersion blender, blend the soup until smooth adding the milk and adjusting salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

Loving Lately: Blues

Regardless of the season, I am always drawn to shades of blue. From clothing to accessories and home decor, I love being surrounded in blues. I’ve grouped together a bunch of items that have recently caught my eye to share with you all. I’m smitten with this cape jacket, so fun yet ladylike. This light blue sweater is very similar to one I purchased last year and I plan on getting just as much wear out of it as I did last fall. These shoes had me at the bow. I’m hoping for a great sale which may allow me to snag them! Aren’t these earrings stunning? Even without a special occasion, I’m thinking I’d wear them with a white button-up and denim. And heels, of course heels. Oh and let me mention this layered sweater. How amazingly comfortable does it look?! I’m pretty sure I’m in trouble with this list, yikes!




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Chill in the Air


I love fall. What I don’t appreciate is when the weather decides to jump from the 70’s to the 50’s in the blink of an eye leaving no time for light layering. I’m hoping this weather was just a tease and we’ll be seeing many sunny 60 degree days this month! My teeth were nearly chattering for this shoot, but I braved the chilly wind and put on a smile, all for you ;) I don’t think I appreciated those quick summer months where weather rarely interfered with our photo shoots. Alright, enough complaining Marisa, it is what it is. Let me briefly mention that I recently picked up these pants from LOFT and haven’t wanted to take them off. Actually, you’ll be seeing them again later in the week styled another way. I love finding alternate options to my everyday jeans and these totally fit the bill!









Details: LOFT jacket (similar) / LOFT pants / JCrew t-shirt (options) / Cookie Lee bracelet / Scarf / Flats (similar)

Linking up with Style Elixir for this week’s Style Sessions

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