a lovely living

Monthly Archives for March 2020

Today wraps up two weeks of social distancing and schooling the kids at home. Well, actually doing everything at home. Many of us were full of energy and ideas last week and this week feels a little less enthusiastic. The reality of the virus is settling in. The numbers are rising (confirmed cases and unemployment rates) and a lot of it feels out of our control. Jack and I find ourselves helping where we can, staying put and praying often.

The past two weeks haven’t been anything near perfect, but I wanted to share what it’s looked like around here. Maybe it’ll feel similar to what you’re going through or give you an idea or two while we all venture through this uncertain time.

We started keeping a running list of all the good things that have resulted from the Corona Virus. This includes everything from getting to spend more time as a family to not having to go to the dentist ;) I also added that our dining room is getting more use than ever before. It’s become the work/class/puzzle room and the place where you can find most of us all morning long.

We have flexible arrangements these days.

My neighbor, Unoriginal Mom, ordered a bunch of crafts from Oriental Trading to share with us and the girls have been all over them!

School looks very different, but has been in session this past week. Seeing the kids on their own Zoom call has been entertaining to watch and uplifting for them to be able to see their classmates!

I honestly can’t say we’ve found a perfect rhythm to our day, but we’re trying to keep a good balance of having fun and learning in a different manner. Here the kids were making signs for businesses that they were creating on their own.

I’m doing my best to get a workout in at the start of my day. It gives me a boost, gets my blood pumping and helps me to focus on the day ahead. The kids jump in here and there which is fun for me to have buddy’s!

School projects are still in the works. This was Madelyn’s Canadian mobile.

We’re taking advantage of online resources too. The girls love listening to Storyline Online, Mo Willems lunchtime doodles and Mystery Doug.

My kids have used perler beads at friends houses previously, so I decided to order some to have here. They’ve actually kept my oldest (10 years) occupied for hours. He’s been creating rewards for good behavior :)

I may be finding myself in sweatpants regularly these days, but Audrey is keeping the bar high! She keeps our house from being anything but boring these days.

We’ve all become bread makers this past week and I can’t tell you what’s better. The bread itself or the glorious smell that results!

Here’s the recipe we’ve been using. Trust me, I’m not a bread pro, so if this can come out of my oven, it can come out of yours too ;)

Lastly, we’ve been appreciating every sunny day that we’ve been getting. We are thankful for walks and time to play outside. I’ve had numerous teachers tell me that the kids will appreciate this time home more than anything and they will not be lacking in their schooling in years to come. So I’m going to continue to do the same. Enjoy this time and count all the blessings that are coming from it!

With the majority of life happening within the walls of your home right now, I wanted to share some of the things you may find yourself on the hunt for. Lounge-wear to start, because is anyone wearing anything else? I’m reaching for all the cozy things every morning, including a bra you won’t realize you’re wearing. Also a bit of workout wear, because I’m guessing some of you are trying to get in some activity one way or another. I’ve also been keeping candles burning to add some ambiance and a fresh scent throughout the home. It’s all about the little things right now. The best part is, everything is on sale. Nordstrom is actually offering an extremely rare 25% sitewide (with a few exclusions). Aerie is 40-60% off and JCrew and Loft also have some major discounts going on.

Thinking of you as we finish out what is the first week home for most of us. My only word as you jump into the weekend is GRACE. Grace to yourself, grace to your spouse and grace to your children. Don’t worry, none of us are doing things perfectly right now, but we will get through it <3

The majority of us are coming up on our first full week of self-isolation. I’d love to ask how that’s been going for all of you, but I’m not so sure I want to know that answer! Each household finds themselves in a unique situation right now, but we are all home for the foreseeable future with our kids, and most likely our spouse. For those families that have someone in the healthcare industry, first off thank you! It’s not only scary, but also another factor to consider as you care for both your spouse and your children. You guys are heros!

For another group of you that may or may not be used to being home, but are now adjusting to having your kids home, it likely feels like a whirlwind every day. Just me? We are being smothered with charts and resources and crafts and games and all sorts of tools to utilize as we venture into this temporary world of homeschooling. All of which I am quite thankful for because this is brand new territory for me and I need all the help I can get! Many of you have started up online schooling which is headed our way next week, and honestly I like my idea of ‘pretend’ school better! Some parents have schedules laid out, others are just enjoying time home and keeping it low-key during this time off. I’m somewhere in between, enjoying some loose structure in the mornings and allowing the kids to be free outdoors in the afternoon. Wherever you fall, it’s fine! Do what works for your family in this crazy, uncertain territory. You won’t find any judgement here.

As many of us have had all eyes on our kids and the abrupt shift in their lives, I’m not sure anyone was prepared to adjust work schedules and welcome one (or both) spouses home. Not only do the children need to be cared for (oh yes, and schooled), but many parents are now adjusting and learning how to work remotely from home. I can imagine the strain that this may be causing on relationships, because we’ve been there.

Jack has been working from home for 10 years now and I’ve managed to keep a flexible schedule that has allowed for me to essentially remain a stay-at-home mom as well. What works as a fairly well oiled machine now, wasn’t always the case. Jack first started working from home shortly after our first child, Jack, was born. At the time we lived in a 700 sq ft apartment which basically forced him to use an office space just down the street. When we made the move from Hoboken, NJ to State College, PA we finally had the space which allowed him to stay home. Sounds great, right? As many of you are likely experiencing right now, that’s not really the case! I’m not going to take sides on this matter, because all roles are vital, but it’s going to be very important, (for everyone’s sake) that you find a system that works for you. Kids need to be cared for and those that are able to work remotely need to have a space to best make that happen.

Jack and I wanted to share some tips that have taken us years to figure out in an effort to help ease some strain for you guys!

  • BE FLEXIBLE AND SHOW GRACE TO ONE ANOTHER: First things first; it’s hard on both of you! One of you will need quiet while the other cares for the kids. And kids are not quiet. Flexibility and grace on both ends are key. Do your best to designate areas that will be for work/school/play etc. Maybe basements or bedrooms start serving as multi-purpose areas for these next few weeks. It’s also important to implement a system where everyone knows when a parent is on a conference call. A sign or simple sticky note could easily work. Jack simply locks his office door so that the kids don’t barge in ;) It’s also key to let the kids know early on that mom or dad has work to do, it’s not a free for all just because they are home right now. This is the reason Audrey always wants to know when it’s the weekend and dad is no longer off limits :) Jack also recommends noise cancelling headphones if you happen to have them. They can be a sanity saver!
  • SET A WORK SCHEDULE: It took us a while to learn this, but coming up with a working schedule for Jack made a huge difference for us. I needed to know when he was ‘on’ and ‘off’ the clock so that I wasn’t being a burden to him asking for normal household help (hey, can you go wipe Audrey’s bum in the bathroom) when he was in ‘work-mode’ but happened to be in the kitchen grabbing a snack. This is all the more relevant when there aren’t necessarily required office hours. His schedule has worked into being 8-5:30pm and he knows that I’m watching the clock every minute after ;) During the summer months, he’ll try to take a lunch break with all of us when he’s able which is nice. But otherwise, the kids (and I) know that Daddy is off-limits.
  • ASSIGN HOUSEHOLD DUTIES: If both spouses are home, then there is more of everything happening. More food, more dirty dishes, more paperwork, and overall just more stuff. During one summer years ago, Jack knew I was feeling overwhelmed with all the tasks that I had to keep up with. He asked if he could take on some of the daily responsibilities I was juggling and you would not believe what a relief that was for me. Dishes and making our bed were the two main things that he took over and has done (especially when the kids are home) for the most part ever since. If you saw me joking on my Instagram stories the other day, I lovingly refer to him as my ‘dish fairy’ :) He makes sure that all of the dishes are loaded into the dishwasher post-breakfast and before he starts work and does the same during his quick break for lunch. He does make quite a mess at lunch, lol, but I can’t complain since he almost always has it wiped down afterward. He also takes care of making our bed in the morning which I greatly appreciate. These may not sound like much, but for me they were triggers that would immediately overwhelm me if I walked into a house with three kids, grocery bags in hand and a kitchen that was flipped upside down. Taking on those small tasks has honestly saved my sanity every now and then. You’ll have to assess your own household and situation to see how tasks and responsibilities can be divided, but my hope is that you’ll come to an agreement and end up appreciating one another instead of having to whisper nasty comments under your breath. Don’t worry, I never did that ;)

Oh and guys, I’m sorry to report that we still aren’t perfect! Just the other night I lost my temper after dinner because Jack wasn’t acting present during dinner time. Like he has nothing else on his mind, right?! So take these tips to heart and remember to show grace and love one another. Because how are we to love our neighbors during all of this if we have turmoil happening within our own walls. Love and praying for you all! If you have any specific questions or prayer requests, please leave them in the comments <3

Personal Branding Images

In today’s world, there are a lot of us out there that represent the face of our small (or not so small) businesses. People want to know who we are before they trust us and jump on board with whatever it is we are offering. Traditional headshots still work in much of the corporate world, but for many of us, we need to connect with our clients, customers and followers on a more personal level. Most people get to know me either through this blog or my Instagram account. Both of which happen to be behind a screen. That being the case, it’s all the more important that I present myself as transparently as possible.

When my friends Joel and Andrea of J&A Photography approached me about personal branding images and what my needs would be, I was excited to see what we could come up with. They have such creative minds and I knew these would be anything but your typical headshots, because honestly, that’s not something I was in need of.

I narrowed down some outfits that felt like ‘me’ and brought along a few extra (what do you expect from a style blogger?!) in order to make sure that the professionals behind the camera felt confident in what would work the best in their studio and with their backdrops.

Not only did we get to play around with outfits, but scenery and props as well. I love that they encouraged me to try out various positions with different pieces of furniture which enabled us to get quite an array of images.

I also would not have thought to bring along my laptop or color swatches, but did so at their request. I’m so thrilled that I did because those images are personal to me and help to represent who I am and what I do.

I now have the above image on my Color Consultation landing page and feel that it presents more of a personal welcome than the random image of paint chips that I had previously been using.

I couldn’t be happier with how these images turned out. Obviously, if you are local, I can’t speak highly enough about J&A Photography. You can read more about their packages and what they offer for this type of shoot here. But for those of you that are not local, I’d do a bit of research and seek out someone who’s open to a bit of creativity in the headshot department! It’s worth the time to find someone who’s able to best capture your personality and in turn help you to sell yourself.

By all means, I’d love for you to use these images as inspiration for yourself. Maybe they will help get you thinking a little outside of the box and give you a way to really show off your personality. Present your unique self and let the pros capture it the best!

I should also mention that while my husband does a fantastic job with all of my regular blog photography, these types of images are well worth the time and investment…and retouching, ha!

Thanks again to J&A Photography for their exceptional work. Read more about what they offer, here.

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Sweater-jacket Weather

I don’t know about you, but this time change is going to take a few days to settle in for us! Thankfully, our kids are off on Spring Break this week, so that timing worked out well! We are heading to Hershey, PA later in the week with some friends and everyone is looking forward to a little time away and let’s be real, some chocolate!!

The temps have been creeping up, so even though this sweater jacket layers well under some of my coats, I decided I could actually do without any extra layers this past weekend. This sweater jacket is such a classic, a closet staple, and one that you could have in multiple colors….that mint is calling my name! It’s a piece that can go from casual to business with ease and one I promise you’ll get your money out of. Today it happens to be almost half off which rarely happens! This blue is from last year, but there are ten beautiful colors to choose from. It runs TTS, but you probably have a little flexibility depending on how you prefer the fit. I’m in the XS, but if I wanted it a bit oversized, the S would easily work as well.

Details: Sweater Jacket / T-shirt / Jeans / Booties / Sunglasses / Bracelet

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Insta Lately

Happy Friday! As the last day of school before Spring Break for my kids next week, I’m looking forward to turning that alarm off! We’ll be spending a few days in Hershey, PA next week but I hope to have a few posts up and running…keep your fingers crossed ;) Today I gathered more of those everyday looks from Instagram that you guys seem to enjoy. Some great basics and Spring pieces that have quickly become favorites in my closet!

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend ahead!

sweatshirt / leggings

A cozy, tie dye sweatshirt with a cropped fit. Perfect to toss on as you head to the gym or with your fav pair of jeans! Also, some of my most loved leggings that are under $30. New colors are in store but not yet online.

sweater / jeans (similar)

The best Spring sweater I’ve ever laid my eyes on <3 It’s soft and comfortable and the colors are even better in person! I look forward to wearing it with some white denim.

shirt / tee / jeans (similar) / sneakers (similar)

A cute graphic tee and a versatile tunic length button up. I’m already envisioning wearing it tossed on over my swimsuits!

sweatshirt / pants

Two pieces that have become closet staples for me. The cutest (and softest) sweatshirt paired with my straight leg Everlane pants.

shirt (similar) / jeans / shoes / coat / bag

A bunch of basics always come together to create a classic outfit. I now always have this bag in tote and am so thankful not to be juggling my wallet, keys and phone constantly!

sweater / jeans / white denim / sneakers (similar) / loafers

Another great option in the SPring sweater department. The colors bring this one to life and you can see here just how versatile it can be.

sweatshirt / jeans / booties

I love a sweatshirt that can go from sweats to jeans to black trousers and work perfectly with each!

bag / top

You’ve seen this bag before, but I can’t tell you what a void it has filled in my life! It was an investment for me, but already worth every penny. There are a lot of styles and colors to choose from this brand, but once you narrow down your needs, you’ll find there’s something for everyone.

New + Now Loft Sale

Most full-priced pieces are 40% off at Loft today, so I wanted to share my most recent try-on with you guys! So many pretty Spring pieces both for everyday, work and showers/Easter alike! That’s why I love Loft, they always have a little bit of everything! I’m 5’7″ and wearing an xs or 0 unless otherwise noted (Loft typically runs one size large for me). Hope you see something you love!


The prettiest, most feminine jumpsuit. Adore the flowers, ruffles and flattering tie waist. Great for just about any Spring festivity!


Such a darling dress. This blue is even more stunning in person. Love the tiered hemline and floral print.

top / pants

Such a darling eyelet top. It has a shorter cropped fit with enough length to tuck if desired.


Favorite top I tried, hands down. I had on the S here but took home the XS. Super fun and feminine and could be easily dressed up or down for the occasion.

top / pants

Paired it with these fab wide leg pants. I adore the color and the fit, not to mention this particular color combo!


Pretty top. It wasn’t my favorite overall, but I did love the colors!


Same top in this pretty polka dot. I’d love to pair it with red, pink, yellow….any number of colored trousers!

Obv she wore it best <3


Another great top. I love wearing this peplum style under jean jackets during the Spring/Summer months.


I really liked the color and simplicity of this tank, but appreciated the detail on the back…


I love how they added a dolman sleeve to this otherwise basic striped shirt. It gives off a casual and cool vibe.


I loved the vibrance of this top. As easily as it pairs with denim, it also screams for some bright pants! Makes for a great office top.


The pastels and shape of this top had me. Throw it on with some denim cut-offs this summer and you’re set!


Such a beautiful tank! I loved the color and embroidery as well as the detail on the back (see below), but how stunning would it be paired with this skirt?! If only they had had it in store, you know I would have tried it for you!

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Color Refresh

If you wear bright colors and smile pretty, you just may be able to convince people that it’s not freezing outside :) The colors on this sweater were exactly what drew me in. That and the stripes. And the cropped fit. Basically, it’s an overall winner! It’s on sale through today with a Friends & Family discount, fyi. I also decided that there wasn’t any reason to hold off on wearing these mint colored sunglasses. They are the same style as my favorite pair that I also have in ‘beige tort’, and I had a feeling I’d love these just as much. Mixing in a few fun and playful pieces makes dressing in this in-between weather much more refreshing!

Details: Sweater / Jeans (sold out, see similar below) / Coat (see similar below) / Sunglasses / Bag / Shoes

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