a lovely living

Monthly Archives for March 2015



 (click on image to enlarge)

Outfit 1: Top / Denim / Bag / Shoes / Necklace / Bracelet

Outfit 2: Dress / Scarf / Booties / Bag / Watch / Earrings

I believe we are officially finding ourselves in the transition period as we head out of winter and into spring! Light layering during spring and fall are my favorite times to dress. A scarf, here a jacket there, it’s the perfect time to put your accessories to use. I recently ordered the tunic dress above which is perfect for the upcoming months. It looks much better in person than it does on the model in my opinion. Although it’s currently a bit too snug around certain areas (ie the bump), I’m looking forward to slipping this on come May. I worked together one possible way I would style it as well as a more casual outfit to get your wheels spinning. A cute tee, broken in denim and simple accessories are a typical go-to for me. Which outfit could you see yourself in?

Navy Layers


Thankfully this outfit works perfectly for maternity style, but I love the fact that it’s an outfit I’d wear during my non-pregnancy days as well. I do my best not to purchase maternity clothes that I wouldn’t buy if I weren’t pregnant because honestly, some of the styles are just horrendous. At the beginning of this pregnancy, I went through my collection of maternity clothes to sort out what I’d be wearing again and what I’d be donating. I surprised even myself with some of the clothes I had from 6 years ago when I was pregnant with my first. I was obviously buying anything that would fit because there were numerous items that didn’t resemble my personal style in the least. Thank goodness I wasn’t blogging back then ;) Granted, I’ve been eager for the day I can get back into my normal clothes for ohhhh 8 months now? But thankfully I’ve been doing my best to come across as ‘Marisa’ and not ‘pregnant Marisa’. After all, mom’s sacrifice enough of themselves for their children, style doesn’t have to be one ;)








Details: Michael Stars draped cardigan (similar here and here) / JCrew maternity pants (non-maternity here) / Motherhood Maternity t-shirt / Anthropologie scarf (option) / Madewell tote / Blackstone boots

High Five for Friday

Friday is here and I am officially exhausted. It’s been a busy week and having my son home for spring break (which meant no chance of a nap for me!) kept things interesting. I’ve also been making preparations as we get ready to head to NY next week for my SIL’s wedding, yay! Haircuts, dry cleaning and making sure those of us that are walking down the aisle (oh yes, me and my bun in the oven are making that walk!), are set. This weekend though, should be rather low key and I’m looking forward to enjoying it :)

Here’s a look into our week:

1) Does daylight savings always throw you guys too? Not in any major, immediate way (outside of getting ready for church Sunday morning after loosing an hour of sleep), but halfway through the week I remember how that hour was taken away and it all clicks why things just feel off!


2) Having an older sibling to read to a younger one is sort of the best thing ever. Not to disregard the cuteness factor, but they were actually managing to keep themselves entertained!


3) I love when he gives me reminders that he’s still my little boy :)


4) I started stocking up for warm weather with these Soludos. I bought a pair last summer and they were immediately comfortable without requiring any break-in period. This year I tried a few other pairs including these from Target which are similar to the Chanel pair (which I will not be purchasing) and this pretty floral pair, but neither compared by a long shot to the comfort of Soludos. And at their price-point, you really can’t go wrong.


5) One more with these crazies, because we spent A LOT of time together this week :) I have to say, I think the getting along slightly outweighed the arguments though, and that brings a smile to my face.



Have a great weekend, all!

Coat Free


It’s exciting times when I can start to step outside sans coat! Granted, I still had to layer with a turtleneck, sweater and scarf, but the sun was shining and it was glorious. I just recently grabbed this scarf at Madewell and the light texture of it makes it perfect for spring/summer. It’ll look great thrown over a maxi dress come summertime. For those of you that are eager to add some spring to your closet regardless of the current temperature, scarves are a perfect transitional piece. Always a good idea in my opinion!







Details: Madewell scarf / Boden sweater (option here and here) / LOFT turtleneck / Motherhood Maternity denim (similar non-maternity) / Dolce Vita boots / Dooney & Bourke bag / Michael Kors watch

I realized that I hadn’t talked beauty in a bit with you all. The main reason is likely because my beauty habits don’t change all that frequently. For the most part, I continue to follow this routine which I discussed with you a while back. But there have been a few tweaks and additions. Let’s discuss briefly:



Posh Neutrals Palette by Bare MineralsBenefit’s Erase PasteLaura Mercier’s Radiance PrimerMAC’s Eye BrowsAmika’s Un.Done Texture Spray


Some days when I don’t feel like wearing foundation, I stick with Laura Mercier’s tinted moisturizer which is fantastic and gives just enough coverage. Recently however, when I wear the tinted moisturizer, I began mixing a drop of Laura Mercier’s Radiance Primer to it before applying. In addition to setting a great base for my makeup, I love the slight glow it gives my skin…how I fool those that tell me I’m ‘glowing’ during pregnancy ;)

Benefit’s Erase Paste is another gem I’ve been using for a while now. My under eyes always need a little help and that will only be intensifying in the months to come! It covers, it holds and I love it.

I’m still a big fan of my Naked2 Eyeshadow palette, but I now go back and forth with this Posh Neutrals Palette by Bare Minerals. I love the colors, which take you from day to night, and also appreciate how well their shadows always apply.

I have extremely thin eyebrows. So much so that I rarely need to pluck in fear that they’ll disappear! I had tried another brow pencil previously, but when I started using MAC’s Eye Brows in lingering I was instantly addicted. It fills in my brows just enough and helps to give them the shape that I lack.

Finally, I wanted to throw in one new hair product that I mentioned last week, Amika’s Un.Done Texture Spray. As I continue to grow out my hair, I have to deal with the fact that it’s constantly changing. I love that this product adds the volume and texture that I need to finish my look at this length and I look forward to the way it’ll enhance my style as it continues to get longer. When you’re not looking for the shiny, Pantene looking hair, this spray gives you the perfectly ‘un-done’ looking style.





Easy on the Feet


All I can say is thank goodness sneakers are so on-trend right now. These days when winter weather boots are not required, I’ve been drawn to either my Converse or these New Balance sneakers. Fortunately they don’t take away from my outfits, but on the contrary add to it. Not to mention the fact that they feel quite heavenly on my feet at this point in my pregnancy. I like to think that they slightly make up for my energy that’s slowly fading away! But don’t worry, you don’t need an excuse to wear them, I actually encourage it!








Details: Elia Tahari coat via TJMaxx (similar style here/cape coat option here) / Madewell scarf (similar) / Gap Maternity sweatshirt (similar non-maternity) / Motherhood Maternity denim (similar non-maternity) / New Balance sneakers / Kate Spade bag

Linking up with Style Sessions

High Five for Friday

My hope is that this will be the last week that I will complain about the weather. With more school cancellations/delays due to snow and ice, I don’t think I’m the only one eager to see a blade of grass and some buds on the trees! We did our best to keep ourselves busy, although I’d be quite content to prop my feet up and read a good book, but that wasn’t going to happen ;) I guess we were preparing ourselves for next week’s spring break…just what we all need, lol!

Here’s a look into our week:

1) This swimsuit that I ordered from Kortni Jeane arrived and I just can’t get enough of it! They also offer women’s suits and if I could narrow down the selections, I’d be ordering one for myself!


2) These two get to enjoy all the perks of Mommy’s cravings. Even when it involves ice cream before dinner ;)


3) Aren’t these beauties fun? One of those unexpected purchases that were totally worth it at 40% off (because I get their emails and use a LOFT card, you saw Tuesday’s post, right?)


4) So very grateful to have a pool in our building. It was about the only way these two were able to burn off their energy this week!


5) I’ve used a few amika products before and I’ve always loved them. I recently started using their un.done texture spray and I’m quickly becoming a fan. Some days I like to let my hair dry a bit more naturally and have been finishing it with this spray to give it an un-done look. I love the way they describe it, “spending time to look like you spent no time at all”. Funny the way we work isn’t it?

Screen Shot 2015-03-05 at 9.41.04 PM


Enjoy your weekend!

Let’s Pretend…

Let’s pretend that spring is actually on it’s way, shall we? Since any outfit shooting was ruled out by mother nature this week, I instead opted to work together some outfits that I’m dreaming of wearing. You know me and my love for pastels….and ruffles! So outfit #1 is obviously right up my alley. I haven’t started shopping for any post-baby clothes just yet (that’s jumping the gun a bit prematurely since I technically have 10 weeks to go), but this sweet top sure is tempting me! I own a pair of rose colored pants from last year, but with blush being all over the place this coming season I sure wouldn’t mind adding these to my wardrobe. As for outfit #2, it’s a perfect everyday ensemble for me. I can’t wait until I’m able to throw on a cotton dress, cute, comfortable sneakers, a light jacket and be on my way! It’s coming my friends, I promise, so get prepared!



top / pants / necklace / bag / shoes


dress / jacket / shoes / bag / necklace / earrings

Quinoa Chicken Parm


For all of my fellow chicken parmesan lovers, this one’s for you. With all of the flavor that you’d expect plus the added bonus of using quinoa, this dish doesn’t disappoint. Most definitely a hit with my family as I hope it will be for yours!


Quinoa Chicken Parmesan via Damn Delicious:


1 cup quinoa
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut crosswise in half
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 large eggs, beaten
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup marinara sauce, homemade or storebought
1/4 cup basil leaves, chiffonade


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly oil a baking sheet or coat with nonstick spray.

In a large saucepan of 1 1/2 cups water, cook quinoa according to package instructions. Stir in Italian seasoning.

Season chicken with salt and pepper, to taste.

Working in batches, dredge chicken in flour, dip into eggs, then dredge in quinoa mixture, pressing to coat.

Place chicken onto the prepared baking sheet. Place into oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown. Top with cheeses and marinara. Place into oven and bake until cheeses have melted, about 5 more minutes.

Serve immediately, garnished with basil, if desired.

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you likely know that I love getting a deal. If you ask my mother, she’d confirm that given options, I always gravitate toward the most expensive items without any prior knowledge of the prices. Good taste? That’s subjective, but regardless, the price tags always work against me! Over the years, I’ve been learning how to play the shopping game. In order to be able to continue purchasing some of the items that I love, I do my best to never (ok rarely) pay full retail price, by working the system. There are a number of steps that I take on a regular basis in order to keep my shopping budget in check. Speaking of budget, that would bring me to step #1…


1) Budget: My husband and I have worked out a budget for our discretionary income where we each allow ourselves a given dollar amount to spend per month. Granted, mine may be a bit higher than his, but thankfully he’s a pretty low maintenance guy ;) Our budgets are always top of mind when it comes to any shopping I do during the month and it certainly keeps me in check. As much as I enjoying shopping, I certainly don’t need it ruling my life.

2) Email Lists: Those dreaded emails, and for those of you gmail users, the dreaded sorting of the ‘promotions’ tab. I admit, I subscribe to a ton of websites. Part of the price I pay is deleting 100+ emails per day, but it can be worth it. Many times, companies send out exclusive email offers that I’d never know about had I not been on their email list. Sometimes these sales prompt a purchase but more often than not, they get tucked away. What is more likely to happen is that I find myself filling my online basket and prior to checking out I do a quick search through my emails. You’d be shocked how many times I am able to use an email promotion/discount/offer that I didn’t even realize I had.

3) Be A Follower: Along the same lines as email, I follow all of my favorite stores that are on Facebook and Instagram. Every so often, stores will chose to advertise a sale through one or many of their social media outlets and if you’re not a follower, you’re missing out.

4) Credit Cards: This one is a touchy subject as I am not claiming to have any expertise in the financial arena. What I know is what has worked for me. First of all, I only use my credit cards when I know I am able to pay them off either immediately or monthly when their statement arrives. Paying interest on my purchases only goes against what I am attempting to share with you (ie ways to save money while shopping). Second of all, I only open credit cards at stores that I shop at frequently and if they offer rewards that are substantial. For example, I have a Gap card that I am able to use for all of my purchases at not only Gap, but also Old Navy, Banana Republic and Piperlime. I know that I shop at all of these stores on a regular basis (check one) and the rewards are something I look forward to (check two). By using their card, I earn dollar rewards for every purchase I make which I in turn can apply toward future purchases. The same is similar with Macy’s, LOFT and TJMxx/HomeGoods/Marshalls which are other stores that I frequent and take advantage of their reward offerings as well.

5) FREE Shipping: I would say that the majority of my shopping happens online. This is in part because I don’t live in an area surrounded by much shopping, but also because I am a full-time mom to 2 (almost 3) little ones and many times the idea of shopping with them isn’t all that appealing, call me crazy. For those reasons, I’ve become quite keen on paying attention to the stores that offer free shipping because those fees can add up quickly. Some stores (like Nordstrom) always offer free shipping, others offer it once you hit a certain dollar amount and yet others only offer it sporadically. This is always something I keep in the back of my mind, and again (referring back to #2) always double check my inbox for any ‘free shipping’ email that may have come in.

6) Referral Programs: A number of sites that I (and many of you) use, offer referral programs. By shopping and sharing with your friends, you can earn rewards (ie dollars) from sites such as BirchBox, Rent the Runway, Stitch Fix, Gilt and RueLaLa to name a few. It pays to share ;)

7) Cross Reference: If you are purchasing an item that may be offered at more than one store, always do a quick online search to see if you are getting the best price for your goods. It only takes a minute, but could end up keeping dollars in your wallet.

8) Wait For The Sale: I know, this one is the most obvious and often the most difficult to follow. But unless it’s an item you are sure will sell out, do yourself a favor and wait for it to get marked down. They always do!

Hopefully you’ll be able to implement and use some of these tips to your benefit. And if you have any other tricks up your sleeve, let me know! As always, happy smart shopping!

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