a lovely living

Monthly Archives for February 2016

Another Great Tee


As I sit watching the Oscar’s and writing this post I can’t help but feel slightly less than glamorous….but let me tell you, I sure was comfortable! Let me start with this t-shirt. A few weeks ago I discussed the basic tee and shared some of my favorites that I tend to slightly splurge on. Well, this just goes to show me that there are always exceptions…always. I love Old Navy but typically don’t have luck with their t-shirts. This one however, is a different story. It has a great weight to it and the quality really impressed me. It has a loose, boyfriend fit but at the same time lays really well. I’m still nursing, so t-shirts are my best friend and I’m now contemplating getting more colors. We had a 60 degree day yesterday and I’m hoping this wasn’t a tease but more of a sneak peak of what’s to come. Breaking out my jean jacket and ecru pants without having to worry about getting snowy slush on them was a dream! Keep it up Mother Nature, I’m on board.







Details: Old Navy t-shirt / Pilcro jacket (similar) / JCrew pants / Stella & Dot necklace (similar and on sale) / Michael Kors watch / RayBan sunglasses


We’ve been on quite the soup kick lately in our home. Soups in the winter are my equivalent of grilling in the summer. Delicious and (typically) healthy. Although my kids are pretty good with their veggies, this gives me even more of a chance to load them up! I’m a big fan of SkinnyTaste’s recipe’s and when I made this one for the first time it was a huge hit with everyone. Even Audrey who is 9.5 months and wants to consume everything we are eating could not get enough of this. She was practically hysterical every moment the spoon was not in her mouth, no joke. What’s great about this one is that there are options to cook this on the stove (which is how I made it and I’ll share below), the crock pot or an instant pot. With all that being said, I highly recommend it…as does Audrey ;)



Beef, Tomato and Acini di Pepe Soup via SkinnyTaste


1 lb 90% lean ground beef
1- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 cup diced carrot
28 oz can crushed or diced tomatoes
32 oz beef stock
2 bay leaves
4 oz small pasta such as Acini di pepei*
grated parmesan cheese, optional


In a large pot or Dutch oven, saute the beef and salt on high heat until browned, breaking the meat up into small bits.

Add the onion, celery and carrots and saute 3 to 4 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, stock and bay leaves, cover and cook low until the beef and the vegetables are tender, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours (you may need to add more broth or water if it evaporates too much).

Cook pasta according to package directions, drain and add to soup.

Serve with grated parmesan if desired.

Loving Lately: Beauty Edition

It’s been a while since I’ve chatted beauty on here, so I wanted to take the time to share some of my favorite beauty products at the moment. Some you may have seen on here before and others are more recent finds, but all are worth chatting about. The funny thing is, just about every one of these products I discovered because of other bloggers. The sea of beauty products is entirely too intimidating to me, so I love when I read reviews from other women sharing products that really stand out to them. I don’t have the time or energy to try every different wand for mascara, or every shade of lipstick MAC has to offer and don’t even get me started on tracking down the perfect hair products (ahhh!). So thank you, thank you bloggers for helping me to find some of my favorite beauty products. Read on and you just may discover some of yours…

MAC Lipstick in ‘syrup’: This is my go-to everyday lipstick. I’m not sure how long I have been using it, but the tube is nearly empty and that never happens for me! I have quite a collection of lipsticks that have piled up because I grow tired of the color and move on to the next. Not the case with this one. It’s the perfect pink…not in your face, but enough that makes you feel put together.

Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer: This one has definitely been on the blog before because it’s been a staple for years. Some days I wear it alone (especially in the summer) and other days I’ll add some foundation on top. It gives a fresh look without overpowering or making it look like you’re actually wearing any make-up. Some days I’ll add in a drop of their primer which adds a bit of a dewy glow to the skin.

Too Faced Better Than Sex mascara: This would be the latest addition to my make-up bag. I’ve been a Benefit’s They’re Real fan for a few years now, but I’m pretty sure this one has turned me. There’s something about the thick wand and it’s shape that grabs my lashes and transforms them. Whether you’re on the hunt for a new mascara or not, I think you should give this one a try!

Amika Undone Texture spray: This is another product I’ve been using for years and it’s still going strong (well, not the first bottle, I’ve been through many of them!). When I first wash my hair (which I typically do every other day) and dry it, it ends up a little too smooth and shiny for my liking. I realize that’s the point of washing one’s hair, but it doesn’t work for my style. This spray adds the perfect about of texture and ‘un-done-ness’ and I rarely go a day without it.

Benefit’s Erase Paste: Another staple for me. I’ve been blessed with under-eye circles so this is a must in my beauty bag. This concealer stays put all day long and does a wonderful job covering what it needs to cover.

Benefit’s Hoola Matte Bronzer: Technically this is a bronzer but I use it for contouring. I don’t use it everyday but it makes a noticeable difference when I do. My mom actually asked me what I had done differently to my make-up last week, she told me my cheeks looked like a model’s (or was it movie star?)…either way, you get the point. Go get some ;)


Shearling Coat


As eager as I am for warmer weather, I also know I’ll quickly be missing all the fun of layering outfits when the temperatures rise. You may remember the sherpa vest I wore here and continue to throw on regularly. I knew I’d enjoy wearing this (faux) shearling coat as well as it can enhance even the simplest outfit of denim on denim. I’ve gathered a few other fun shearling pieces for you to check out below. Maybe one will fit into your style and enhance your layering while you still can!







Details: SheIn coat c/o / JCrew chambray shirt (similar) / LOFT denim / Madewell tote / Rayban sunglasses / Boots (similar)


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Everyday Cardi


Has anyone else been feeling a little trapped and stir crazy from the snow/ice/rain lately? It forced me to tackle an indoor shoot (which isn’t my preference, I’d much rather put on a freezing smile outdoors!), but it is what it is. You might recall me posting about my favorite fleece cardigan a few months ago. Well, with as much wear as it gets I decided to grab a lighter weight one for the upcoming warmer months. I also wanted a more versatile color in hopes that people won’t notice when I wear it a little too often ;) It’s a fun layering piece, makes a great nursing cover (especially when your 9 month old wants nothing to do with actual nursing covers, or nursing much at all for that matter because they are distracted by everything around them!), and is great for basically any age group. I also recently bought this striped tee at LOFT. My first official spring purchase and I look forward to wearing it un-layered in the future.







Details: Bobeau cardigan via TJMaxx (options here) / LOFT tee / Pilcro jeans / Jeffrey Campbell booties (similar) / Tiffany necklace

Nursery/Children’s Art

I love art work but I always struggle with it. Finding pieces that not only I love, but my family as well can be a difficult task. I’m much more prone to hang photography around our house because we’ve been fortunate to have talented friends and family members capture some sweet memories over the years. There’s nothing like our wedding pictures or newborn photography or my children’s goofy grins to bring a smile to my face when I pass them daily. But I also realize that art work can add a beautiful element to a home. Since it’s slightly out of my comfort zone, I figured I’d start with the children. I’ve had some luck at HomeGoods lately and I love how Minted has really stepped up their game in this department as well. Or maybe they always have and I’m just now realizing it?? Etsy is also a great resource but it takes some time to do the sorting and scrolling! Here are some of my favorites that I came across that would be a perfect addition to any children’s room or nursery.

Do you have any art resources that you’ve had luck with?

nursery:childrens art

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I hope you all had a great weekend and a very sweet Valentine’s Day! Jack and I managed to get out for a lunch date and an afternoon of running around town. It’s always a treat to spend one on one time with him without being interrupted mid- sentence…every sentence, ha! It was a beautiful weekend, but boy was it cold! As in way below freezing bundled in down and every cold weather accessory I own kind of cold. Needless to say we didn’t have a chance to do any shoots outdoors, but I’ve been taking note of all the beautiful dresses and jumpsuits that have been rolling out lately. I’m currently helping to style someone for an upcoming wedding but the problem is that new options keep coming out daily making it extremely difficult to narrow things down! With Easter and wedding/shower season on the horizon I figured I’d share some of the many options that have crossed my mind. After all the groundhog did say we’d have an early spring, right?!


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Under Your Feet

Since moving last year, home decor has been on my mind non-stop. We’re tackling it all little by little which is good because I’m kind of known for changing my mind about things. My husband just loves that (read sarcasm). Oh and I’m eagerly awaiting the release of Joanna Gaines’ (of HGTV’s Fixer Upper) new furniture line which is to be out in the next month or so. I’m slightly obsessed and dying to see what she’s created!

I have a few girlfriends that are always decorating and re-decorating along with me so it seems we’re always passing ideas back and forth. From paint to wallpaper and renovating kitchen’s (I’m in the middle of designing one with a friend at the moment and hoping she’ll let me share details once it’s complete!) and everything in between. I love playing around with every last detail. That leads me to today’s topic of rugs. I’ve already tackled 3 rugs for our home and I still need 2 more that I haven’t figured out just yet. I always go back and forth on whether I want a beautiful rug that makes a statement or a soft neutral that will blend in subtly with the space. I’ve done some of both so far (neutral for the family room and bold in the dining room and my husband’s office). Needless to say, I’ve spent my time scouring the internet. So today I’m sharing a dozen of my favorite neutral and statement rugs. For me personally, I love neutrals for living rooms and bedrooms. And it can be fun to play with statement rugs for playrooms (see #3 and #5), offices (we used #3 in my husband’s and it’s perfect), nurseries (see #1 and #6) etc. The fun part is that there are no rules when it comes to rugs. You can do whatever suites you and your lifestyle.

What are your thoughts on the matter? Do you tend to lean one way or the other?


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Talking Basics: denim

Alright ladies, today is the second installment in our Talking Basics series (you can see the first featuring the basic white tee here) and we’ll be tackling denim. In some ways it can be a real love/hate relationship…do you feel that way? I love it because it’s a great neutral and a wardrobe staple. Kind of like hardwood floors in decorating. When you have a great base it’s much easier to put an outfit together (or decorate a room, see what I mean?). In another way, finding the right brand, fit, style, color that suits your shape and style can be a real time consumer. I’ve been there and continue to find myself there time and time again!

Let’s start by covering the basic styles of denim. You have skinny, straight, boyfriend and flare. You can also throw in the legging which is basically super skinny, and bootcut which falls between straight and flare. Those take me back to my high school days and I’m honestly not a huge fan of bootcut, so for now I’m just going to set them aside. Outside of the basic styles you’ll also have to decide what wash you are looking for (light to dark and everything in between), what rise (high, mid or low), and if you want any distress to them. All of these choices are very personal and come down to what you feel the most comfortable in and how you’re looking to wear them.

Over the years I’ve built a rather nice collection of jeans but there are many that have come and gone. I swear after each child my body has settled in differently. Not necessarily good or bad, but different. So I once again find myself sorting through those that no longer fit ‘right’ and searching for the ‘perfect’ pair. There are however certain brands that I’m always able to turn to for denim. I’m not one to go cheap on denim for the most part because I can certainly tell a difference in quality. Although I have to say that lately I’ve been having a lot of luck with LOFT’s denim and during some of their sales you can get quite the steal. Other than LOFT, here are some of my tried and true denim brands:


I know a lot of others have luck with Citizens of Humanity and 7 For All Mankind, it’ll just depend what fits your body the best. As I recommended with the basic white tee’s, if you don’t have certain retailers nearby, try ordering from Nordstrom or ShopBop or someone that offers free shipping and returns so that you can go to town ordering a number of different brands/styles/sizes etc.

I like to have at least one pair of the following styles and typically more because I find I lean towards light denim for a while and then switch over to dark. There’s not really a right or wrong there. The same goes for the rise. I have never been a fan of low rise because I always ended up having that dreaded gap above the behind! Thank goodness mid and high rise is the current trend. I finally feel comfortable and plan on keeping it that way even when low decides to make it’s comeback!

You’ll also find the ‘ankle’ option when looking at skinny jeans which is a nice option to have. It creates a slim line when you show your ankle (ie the skinniest part of your leg) and can look great with booties or heels. I actually had a woman comment on my ankle jeans as I was loading my daughter into the car at the supermarket a little while back. She said “I have the hardest time finding that length in jeans!” Ankle was what she was looking for I assured her ;)

Without rambling on and on (and on), here is a narrowed down version of some of my top denim picks for each style. And if you have any other questions on the matter, I’d be more than happy to answer…or pretend I know the answer ;)



Skinny: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4

Straight: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4

Boyfriend: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4

Flare: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4

So how’s your relationship with denim? What’s your go-to?

Jeweled Sweater


Did you all enjoy the Super Bowl? Or maybe the commercials? :) We actually hosted for a handful of friends so I spent more time chatting than watching, but regardless, I had a good time. Hopefully I’ll catch some of the good commercials in the weeks to come! So, onto the outfit…talk about the perfect time to stock up on sweaters. `The prices keep dropping, as does the inventory, but this particular sweater is currently under $30 and still in stock! I love the jeweled detail on this one, and my 8 month old mistakes it as her teether. I’m hoping you won’t have that same problem ;)







Details: LOFT sweater / LOFT denim / Coat (option here and here) / Pumps (similar)