a lovely living

Monthly Archives for December 2017

Merry Christmas

It’s hard to believe that Christmas is upon us. What is it about getting older that makes each year fly by all the faster?! Our week has been packed full of Christmas activities but as long as we can all get some restful sleep I think we’ll fully be able to enjoy these next few very special days :)

Our good friends at J&A Photo captured these images for us and despite Audrey’s opposition to the camera that day, they managed to make it look as though it all went off without a hitch! Trust me, there were tears, but only from one out of five of us, so I’m calling it a win ;)

I know family photos can be daunting, especially when it comes to putting outfits together, so I wanted to share a few quick tricks that I always follow:

  • Coordinate colors. Find a color palette that will not only work in your setting, but will also work where you’ll be using/hanging the pictures.
  • Mix and match prints and solids.  You’ll want a fairly even mix of prints and solids. Prints will add a ‘pop’ and solids will keep the overall look grounded. Here Madelyn’s dress was what I played off of, but I also had my husband layer a gingham shirt under his sweater and Jack wore a plaid tie.
  • Avoid logos/images. I find that they tend to detract from the cohesive feel of a family photo (or an individual shot for that matter). You want the focus to be on your loved ones, using clothes to enhance the image, as opposed to distracting you.

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a blessed year to come! We’ll be traveling next week so things will likely be a little quiet here. But for those that follow along on Instagram, I’m sure there will be plenty of action ;)

Gift Guide for Her 2017

I’m rounding out my holiday gift guide series today with my favorite…the guide for her. I know the time for shipping is just about up, but many of these items can also be picked up in store. Oooor you can surprise yourself with a few things that arrive post Christmas, there’s no harm in that!

You can’t go wrong with a cute monogram necklace or some delicate earrings. I love updating my slippers this time of year, the fuzzier the better. My crockpot is my best friend, but I’m so intrigued by the Instant Pot. I’d love to find one of them under my tree! With many months of winter still ahead, an adorable fleece, a cozy blanket or a pretty scarf would all make great gifts.

Hopefully this helps with any last minute ladies you’re still trying to find gifts for and if you’re already set, then I’ll cheers to you!!


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Bedford Springs

Well, today I turn 36. It feels strange being on this side of 35…the side that’s closer to 40 than 30. And yet here I am, feeling not a day over 30 ;) As it may be, I wouldn’t trade in any of the years and go back. Life isn’t perfect, but it is good.

This picture was taken beside one of Bedford Springs Resort’s mineral springs. The resort is picturesque year round, but it’s just magical this time of year! My husband surprised me and booked a night away over the weekend to celebrate. We weren’t even there for 24 hours, but enjoying a dinner date, sleeping in, working out together, and then having breakfast together was so incredibly refreshing! I forget how much we need that every once in a while with three little ones demanding our attention every waking moment at home. And now, even though I’m not exactly ready for the weekend to end, I’m also ready to jump into this busy week leading up to Christmas!

LOFT has been having non-stop sales lately, and I picked up this sweater on a recent stop in there. It’s so soft and beautiful and the color is striking. It could be dressed up with trousers or worn with sweats, it’s so versatile! And let me also mention these boots, because I’ll be wearing them continuously for the next few months! The past few years I’ve been on the hunt for a casual winter boot that would be great in the snow but that had a sleeker look than my Uggs. I randomly came across these when we were shopping on Black Friday and I knew I had finally found what I was looking for. I turned to my husband and said his hunt for the perfect b-day present for me was taken care of ;)

Details: LOFT sweater / Madewell denim / Coat (similar) / Faux fur stole (similar here and here) / Timberland boots / Necklace

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Yesterday morning we woke to the most beautiful first snowfall of the year. The kids had a two hour delay which brought a smile to my face as I slapped the snooze button ;) I’m ready for the weekend though. With my birthday being Monday we’ve got some fun activities happening over the next few days…my husband is not very good at keeping secrets, he gets too excited, lol! So off we go tonight for a quick get-away and back tomorrow for a fun dinner with friends. Having a birthday one week before Christmas can mean celebrations often merge together, but I’m appreciative of my husband going out of his way to make it extra special.

Details: JCrew sweater – on sale / JCrew shirt (similar) / Madewell denim / Sperry boots (similar) / Hat (similar)

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Guys Gift Guide 2017

With less than two weeks until Christmas, I’m guessing that many of you are approaching your shopping finish line. I personally always struggle with the guys. Husbands, fathers, brothers….they tend to be the most difficult for me. I’ve spent some time curating a guys gift guide that I’m hopeful will help you check off any remaining guys on your list….it did for me!

1. Yeti Cooler: Both Jack and I are big fans of our Yeti tumblers. They keep our drinks hot or cold for hours on end. According to the reviews on their coolers, it seems that they just might be worth the price tag.

2. Harry’s Shave Set: Harry’s has quickly become Jack’s favorite shaving set and now that it’s available at Target, I’m happy to pick up the refills!

3. North Pole T-shirt: I love a good festive t-shirt, but they aren’t as easy to find for the guys. This one would be right up Jack’s alley. Festive without the tacky.

4. Beats Headphones: My husband loves these headphones. The battery life is fantastic, the sound is powerful and the cordless feature allows him to workout with them or even go running.

5. Sweatpants: If my husband is home, chances are that he’s wearing sweatpants. And every so often they need updated ;)

6. Amazon Echo: If you’re looking for a gift for him that you could actually benefit from? It’s probably the Echo. We’ve had ours for a number of months now and Alexa is kind of my new best friend. I basically use it to have music playing lightly all day long, and it’s been the best thing ever….especially during Christmastime!

7. Capital Gaines: My husband may not be quite as big of a fan of Fixer Upper as I am, but he is certainly a huge fan of Chip Gaines. This was one of the very few items on his Christmas list.

8. Patagonia Pullover: These fleece pullovers are great because they can serve as both a jacket or an extra layer under a coat. They also come in a great array of colors.

9. Ugg slippers: My husband wears these around the house on a daily basis. For the amount of wear they get it’s worth the investment in a pair that will hold up for him and these have passed the test!

10. Butcher Box: Another one of those gifts that you could benefit from too ;) Butcher Box is the leading online source for grass-fed beef (they have chicken and pork too!).  Each box contains a months worth of meat, delivered right to your door. I love any excuse to avoid the grocery store!

Cold Weather

Happy Monday! In case you weren’t counting, we are down to the final two weeks until Christmas! The holiday season is most certainly in full swing. The kids had their school Christmas concert on Friday (oh my gosh were they adorable), our church had their Christmas Extravaganza on Saturday full of cookies and children’s activities (the most interesting gingerbread houses were made) and my mom directed her community chorus concert that evening….it’s safe to say I’m overflowing Christmas!

I’m also quite jealous of all the snow the bulk of the country received and yet managed to miss central PA! If it’s going to be below 30 degrees, then I’ll gladly take a few pretty inches ;) I’d love for you to see the full picture of this top, but you’ll just have to check it out here because I could barely manage to leave my coat unbuttoned let alone take it off! And speaking of this coat, I finally settled on it after trying 3 or 4 others in an attempt to find a new ‘everyday-ish’ coat. I love our town, but sometimes I’d appreciate being able to skip the whole order, wait, ship, wait, receive, try-on, return shipment process! In the end, I hit a great sale (that’s still running through today!) and was able to get free shipping….so I’ll stop complaining now ;)

Details: LOFT top / Madewell coat / Denim (similar) / Boots (similar) / Necklace / Hat (similar here and here)

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Happy Friday! I’m taking you into the LOFT dressing room with me again today for a bunch of reasons. First, there are sooo many cute things right now! Second, everything is 40% off (and card members receive triple points). Third, I’m going to be hosting a style event at our State College LOFT store tomorrow! For those of you that are local I’d love to see you there between 1-3pm to help style you for your holiday events or help you pick out some great gifts for those ladies left on your list. Or just stop in to say hello! And if you’re not local, road trip to Central PA?? :)

Here are some of my favorites that I tried on…

This blouse was one of my favorites. It’s colors are so vibrant and I love the shape and mock neck detail. The velvet pants are also adorable. I have a close up of the side stripe detail further down in the post.

If I didn’t already own an almost identical faux fur stole I would have bought this one. I love the thickness, the color and the way it lays without feeling too bulky around the neck. I highly recommend this for yourself or as a gift!

I’m not always one for bright colors, but here’s another piece that I had to try. If you’re looking for a great sweater that you’d get a ton of wear out of this season, I’d start here!

Another adorable sweater with a fun heart stitched detail. I love chunky sweaters, but I also love some that are lighter in weight and better for layering. The pants are also great, I adore the zipper detail.

This lace top is so sweet and pretty. It would really work for any time of year but it works well paired with these velvet pants

Isn’t that tuxedo stripe detail great?

This velvet kimono is so pretty in person. I’d love to pair it with some high waisted denim and a lace cami.

If you want to talk about the dreamy-est cardigan ever, oh my gosh guys, this is it! I didn’t want to take it off! If you get to a store, promise to at least try it on ;)

Just a cute polar bear sweater because, well, it’s a polar bear!! :)

Oh, this sweater! I walked through the store while wearing it to grab a different size and was already receiving compliments on it! That might be a sign ;) I also love these pants, the belt adds a fun element to them.

I’ll tell you, Lou & Grey has a strong hold over me. Their lounge pieces are so fantastic. My sweats drawer is just about full of their pieces and I swear they keep getting better! Pink lounge pants (that I can’t track down online, ugh!)? Yes please! And this top is super cozy!

Cute mix and match pj’s always make great gifts because I feel as though most women don’t care to spend money in this department. Pair this cute ‘sweet dreams’ tee with some comfy bottoms and surprise someone special with Christmas pajamas!

Let me know if you have any questions about these pieces and I hope to see/meet some of you this Saturday, 1-3pm at our State College LOFT store!

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Holiday Style

I’ve been planning out a holiday style post for a while now, but it took me some time to narrow things down and come up with some ensembles that I feel would resonate with you all. A few weeks back I did a quick poll on Instagram to find out if you guys were looking for more of a dressy/casual look or all out glam (I wish I had an excuse to get all dolled up this year!) for the holidays. The overwhelming majority voted for dressy/casual which would have been my guess. However, I decided to pull something together for everyone from over the top dressy the whole way down to lazy, hanging with the fam outfits. So basically, there should be something for everyone! Let me know which look you’ll be leaning towards this year!

  1. Dress / Capelet / Earrings / Heels

  2. Top / Pants / Stole / Heels

  3. Top / Pants / Earrings / Heels

  4. Dress / Earrings / Booties

  5. Sweater / Pants / Heels / Earrings

  6. Top / Sweater / Leggings / Boots

  7. Shirt / Sweater / Sweatpants / Slippers

Quilted Coat

I hope you guys had a great weekend! We brought home our Christmas tree yesterday and let’s just say it makes quite a statement ;) My husband has an allergy to pine so for years we played it safe and used only an artificial tree. Last year we decided to test it out and keep a real one in our family room. He ended up not having any issues, however last years tree ended up being dwarfed by the size of the room. Well, this year is sort of the opposite. We nailed it on height, but it is one full tree! I was looking for a Concolor Fir because I love the long blue/green needles. Oh, and they smell like a citrus-y pine, it’s amazing. I just didn’t realize how round they were! Everyone loves it though and with the help of my brother, the guys made it look like a piece of cake to cut down and carry back. How about you guys? Have you gotten your tree up yet? Did you nail it this year or is it full of, ummm, character, like ours? :)

Details: SheIn coat c/o / JCrew top (similar here and here) / Denim (similar) / Madewell booties (similar here and here) / Gloves (similar) / Belt (similar) / LeSpecs sunglasses

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Tunic Sweatshirt

I have to apologize for taking so long to get this sweatshirt up on the blog. Some of you scooped it up when I shared it on Instagram and I hope you’re loving it as much as I am. It’s hard to find a good tunic length sweatshirt and when I walked past it at Target a month or so ago I knew I needed it. The bummer is that it’s not available online any longer, but it is still in stores and now on clearance! But with that being said, I also went on an online hunt for you guys and tracked down a bunch of other great options, you can check them out below. I love throwing mine on with sneakers and leggings and then run around town comfortable as can be :)

Details: A New Day sweatshirt (similar, see more below) / Spanx leggings / LOFT jacket, old (similar) / New Balance sneakers / JORD watch (25% off code here)

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