a lovely living

Monthly Archives for April 2015

Striped Maxi


Well I’m a few days short of reaching full-term in this pregnancy and all I can say is that I am feeling very pregnant. The kicks and jabs that used to bring a smile to my face now catch me off guard as they send jolts through my body. Only a handful of shirts continue to cover the basketball(s?) I’m carrying and pants are quickly becoming my enemy. Thankfully the weather is allowing for dresses and maxi’s are my go-to. Stick with me a few more weeks and I may be styling some muumuu’s for you ;) That being said, I’m still able to throw on two favorite items of mine. This chambray shirt (which is no surprise if you saw my post earlier this week) and these Soludos espadrilles which are nearly as comfortable as going barefoot. Thankfully they come in quite the array of colors and prints so you’re guaranteed to find a pair you love!








Details: JCrew shirt / Dress (similar here and here) / Soludos espadrilles / Madewell tote / Rayban sunglasses / Lucky Brand bangle (option) / Necklace (similar)

Banana Nutella Dessert


It must be the beautiful spring weather that has me in the mood to not only change up my wardrobe but also to start incorporating more fresh and lighter foods. Although this dessert isn’t necessarily ‘lighter’ in fat or calories (unless you’re counting the fact that I used reduced fat Oreos and cream cheese?), it’s certainly a fun and refreshing treat for your family or friends to enjoy. Both of my children loved being involved in the prep work for this one. I think they were just drawn into the layering action….or the Oreos…that’s more likely. Regardless, it’s awesome. Just make sure to chill it for a while before preparing the individual servings. I’d say closer to 2 hours to make sure it has time to chill through. The colder the better in my opinion.



Banana Nutella Trifle via Glorious Treats:


Oreo Crumble
10 whole oreos
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Whipped Cream
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 Tablespoons powdered sugar

Nutella Cream
4 oz. (1/2 of a block) cream cheese
1/3 cup Nutella (hazelnut spread)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup powdered sugar

2 ripe bananas


Prepare oreo crumble-
Place cookies (cookie and filling) in a large ziplock bag and use a rolling pin to crush the cookies. Place crumbs in a bowl and pour melted butter onto crumbs. Stir until crumbs are evenly moist. Spread crumbs onto a rimmed baking sheet and bake at 350*F for 6-8 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool. (Crumbs may appear soft and/or oily when still hot, but will become crisper as they cool).

Whipped cream-
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat cream until it begins to thicken. Add vanilla and powdered sugar (while mixing) and continue to beat until the cream has more than doubled in volume and when you stop the mixer and lift up the whisk, the cream stays in place. Be careful not to over beat, or the cream will become clumpy and too stiff. Scoop finished whipped cream into a bowl and keep in the fridge as you prepare the remaining layers.

Prepare Nutella cream-
In the bowl of an electric mixer (no need to wash if there are small remnants of whipped cream), beat cream cheese until smooth. Add Nutella and blend until fully incorporated. Continue mixing and slowly pour in heavy cream. Beat until the cream is fully incorporated and the mixture has thickened and increase in volume. Add vanilla and powdered sugar (while mixing). Mix until all ingredients are well blended and the mixture is light and fluffy. Place in the refrigerator until ready to assemble desserts (up to 2 hours).

Assemble dessert-
Both the whipped cream and the Nutella cream can be placed (separately) in a large piping bag or large ziplock bag for easy (and prettier) layering. You may also simply spoon those elements into the dishes.
Slice bananas.
Begin assembly by adding a spoonful of oreo crumble to the bottom of each dish. Add a layer of Nutella cream, then a layer of sliced banana. Repeat layers… crumbs, Nutella, bananas. Add a layer of whipped cream and garnish with a slice or two of banana and a few oreo crumbs. Garnish just before serving. If making ahead, the desserts can be store in the refrigerator (without the garnish) for up to 2 hours. Save 1/2 of a banana (in the peel) and slice just before serving.

Loving Lately: Chambray

No matter how many chambray pieces I end up having in my closet, there always seem to be more on my radar. I love the versatility of it. The way it can be dressed up or down and paired with such an array of colors, prints and fabrics. For example, you could just as easily pair a chambray button-up with white denim as you could with a long tulle skirt. I recently scrolled past such an outfit on Instagram and can’t stop thinking about it! Perfect reason to plan a princess party for my daughter ;) I also love that you can now find chambray on just about any accessory from espadrilles, to hats and bags. Granted I wear it year round, but spring and summer are certainly when I make the most use of it. Here are some of my chambray picks for you to peruse.

Chambray1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9 / 10




Grey is always a go-to neutral for me. I think I’m drawn to the softness of it. When I use grey during the spring months, I simply add brighter layers and accessories to enhance my look. Since I’m turning daily to the staple pieces of clothing that still fit over my belly, I’m pretty dependent on accessories to keep my outfits from feeling too dull. This Kate Spade wristlet (gifted from my SIL), in one of my favorite colors, is an example of one such accessory. That, in addition to the beautifully detailed scarf and the bright greens and blues of nature kept the look fresh instead of feeling all too muted.









Details: Jacket (old, other favorites shown below, LOVE option #1) / Old Navy shirt / Motherhood Maternity denim (similar non-maternity option) / LOFT scarf (currently available in-store) / Kate Spade wallet (options) / Sam & Libby shoes via Target last year (similar option) / Kate Spade sunglasses


1 / 2 / 3 / 4

Linking up with Style Sessions

High Five for Friday

Happy Friday! This week felt busy yet low-key at the same time. Maybe that’s because my normal routine seems to be wearing on me. Fatigue is certainly setting in and I find myself eager for this little girl to arrive. And once she does I know I’ll be sleep deprived wishing she was still in my belly…if only for a minute ;) Either way, time is certainly flying by!

Here’s a quick look into my week:

1) This sweet batch of clothing from Hello Apparel arrived for all 3 of my little ones this week. Looking forward to seeing them all in them, but especially a sweet little someone!


2) This one has always been extremely girly, but she’s taking it to a whole new level lately. Dressed in ‘princess clothes’ from top to bottom and wearing her heels until her toes bleed (no joke). She even insisted on wearing her tutu to music class this week where she stood and danced in the center of our circle the entire class! A little performer on my hands for sure!


3) Just a reminder that there’s one week left to enter you or a friend in Redbook’s Real Women Style Awards. I know there are so many of you with fantastic style and I encourage you to give it a shot! What do you have to lose?! Plus, this year’s winner will make it onto Redbook’s cover!!


4) I know I’ve mentioned using Rent the Runway on here before. This week I booked my rental for my brother’s wedding this coming summer. Since my size will certainly be up in the air, I’m thankful they always offer to send a second size free of charge. Since I’d never pay $700 in retail, I’m thrilled to be able to wear this little number for $80! You can check it out for yourself here.


5) Ok, this may not fall into the ‘part of my week’ category, but isn’t this lovely? ;) I think I want.



Have a great weekend everyone!

Go-to Jacket


For those of you that follow along regularly and as given by yesterday’s post, you’ve come to know that scarves are one of my favorite accessories. It’s no surprise that I turned to this crisp white one to complete this everyday outfit. In addition to scarves, I also consider this lightweight anorak jacket a spring/fall wardrobe staple of mine. It’s from JCrew years ago and I continue to turn to it regularly. The color feels like a neutral to me which is likely why I find myself reaching for it all too often. I’ve gathered a number of similar styles for you to browse below, I wouldn’t want to leave you hanging!











Details: JCrew jacket (see options below) / Gap Maternity shirt (similar non-maternity) / Motherhood Maternity denim (similar non-maternity option) / Scarf (option) / Shoes via TJMaxx (similar) / Kate Spade sunglasses


1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5

Loving Lately: Scarves

It would make more sense for me to title this post ‘Loving Always: Scarves’, because I’m not sure I’ll ever be over them or have a collection that feels complete no matter how large it becomes. Short and sweet today, I’m sharing a few favorites that have caught my eye. Note how I’ve thrown in a few solids as well. My tendency is to purchase all of the beautifully printed scarves that I come across, yet what I am always lacking when I need them are the plain old, solid colored scarves. They’re something you’ll be happy you have on hand when it’s that one accessory needed to complete your outfit. You can thank me later ;)



1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8


I’ve had this recipe on my radar for a while now. I finally got around to making it for a Staff Appreciation lunch at my son’s school a few week’s ago and I barely got a bite of it before it had disappeared! It always makes me nervous serving something before I get a chance to try it, but apparently I had nothing to worry about with this one. I decided to make it again to take to my parents for Easter dessert. I finally had a full piece to myself (with the exception of bites my daughter stole) and it really is wonderful. Dense, moist and full of amazing flavor. Perfect with coffee for breakfast, an afternoon treat with tea or dessert with a glass of milk :) This one’s a keeper.



Recipe via A Spicy Perspective:


For the Blueberry Cake:

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 3/4 cups all purpose Gold Medal Flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cup buttermilk
Zest of 2 lemons
1 pound fresh blueberries

For the Buttermilk Glaze:

3 tablespoons buttermilk
1 cup powdered sugar

For the Oat Crumble Topping:

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons oats
2 tablespoons sliced almonds


For the blueberry cake: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Spray a bundt pan with non-stick cooking spray and sprinkle lightly with flour. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Then beat in the eggs and vanilla. Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a separate bowl. Turn the mixer on low and slowly add the flour and buttermilk, alternating each, until all incorporated. Finally beat in the lemon zest before turning the mixer off. Use a spoon the stir in half the blueberries.

Pour the batter into the prepared bundt pan and sprinkle the remaining blueberries over the top. Bake for 60-80 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool for at least 20 minutes before flipping out onto a cooling rack. DO NOT try flipping the cake any earlier than 20 minutes, or the cake will stick. Promise! Waiting 30+ minutes is safer.

Once the cake is cooling on the rack, mix the oat crumble. Add all the ingredients to a small bowl and pinch with your fingers to blend the ingredients and break into small pieces. Sprinkle the mixture over a baking sheet and bake in the heated oven for 5-10 minutes. Cool on the baking sheet before proceeding.

For the glaze, whisk the buttermilk and powdered sugar in a small bowl. Drizzle the glaze over the cake and immediately sprinkle the oat crumble over the top of the cake before the glaze dries.

Easter Style


I hope you all enjoyed a wonderful Easter with your families yesterday. My kids seemed to be on overdrive from 6:50am on and my husband and I continue to find candy wrappers laying randomly around the house! We started off the day with a wonderful sermon at church, followed by a trip to the Arboretum on campus at PSU to let the kids run around while we shot some pics of them and spent the rest of the day with family enjoying an Easter feast. It was a beautiful day, albeit a bit windy, but the sun was shining so I was happy!

Maxi dresses and pregnancy are a match made in heaven. I don’t have all that much time to take advantage of them, but for any of you that will be pregnant throughout the coming summer months, make sure they stay at the top of your list. Pregnant or not, you really can’t go wrong with them. Forgiving and slimming, they’ll most certainly be a go-to for me all summer long!










Details: Motherhood Maternity dress (love this and this non-maternity option) / Maurices blazer (similar option here and here) / Target scarf / DV by Dolce Vita booties (similar) / Kate Spade bag (similar on sale) / Kate Spade sunglasses

 Linking up with Style Sessions

High Five for Friday

Happy Friday! Well, we have made it into April, I managed to avoid being the brunt of any April Fool’s jokes, and spring is fighting to get here! I’m battling a sore throat at the moment but am banking on it dissipating by this weekend so that I can enjoy Easter weekend with our family. I hope you all do the same!

Here’s a quick look into my week:

1) We tackled our Easter eggs. I always have grand ideas of trying something new, but I suppose a little rubber band detail will have to do for now!


2) Sometimes all it takes is a new hat to make me stop and see how quickly he’s growing up!


3) There hasn’t been a moment at home this week that this little one didn’t have on a tulle skirt, princess shoes or  something adorning her head. I can’t get enough.


4) I’ve been holding myself back from these cookies all week. If you have been contemplating baking this weekend, I highly recommend.


5) I’ll leave you with a great sale that you may want to go browse….now. Madewell is offering an extra 30% off all of their sale items using code EXTRA30. Here are a few of my favorites:




Older Newer