Friday, November 16, 2012

Guest Post: Souvenir Coaster DIY

Postcard Coaster Finished Text

Be sure to check out Sweet Pea Sylvie for a guest post that I did on how to make coasters out of your souvenir postcards.  Take a look here.  You'll want to stay on her blog for a while to read the awesome things she posts.

 Update Sweet Pea Sylvie no longer exists so I've reposted the Souvenir Coaster DIY for all of you who'd like the directions.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Keeping up with Life of Lovely

Hi everyone!

Thanks for reading our blog.

We'd just like to remind you about different ways you can keep up with us.

Have a lovely day!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Two Minute Make-up Routine

Two Minute Make-Up Routine

Getting ready in the morning after spending the night with a few friends, I suddenly realized that I’m the only one of us who wears make-up every day.  As we talked while I carefully applied mascara in the bathroom mirror, my friends discussed how they usually felt too rushed in the morning to bother with make-up. 

It seems like many women feel the same way, but putting on make-up in the morning doesn’t have to be a production.  For an everyday look, a simple make-up routine that enhances rather than hides or changes your features is easy to follow.  At most my basic routine takes 2 minutes leaving plenty of time for your beauty sleep.

Step One: Sunscreen

Even if you decide to wear no make-up at all, sunscreen is essential.  Protecting your skin will keep it healthy in the long run.

Step Two: Foundation

Don’t feel that your foundation has to cover every inch of your face.  As long as the shade matches your skin, you only need to cover up areas that are red or uneven. 

Step Three: Mascara

Using small strokes, coat only your top lashes with mascara.  For everyday make-up, mascara on the bottom lashes really isn't necessary.  Take your time since rushing this step usually causes mistakes.

Step Four: Lipstick

For the finishing touch, lipstick, you can use a color close to your natural color.  However, swiping a bright color just in the center, the using your finger to spread it like a lip balm creates a more natural looking color.

With only four steps and four products, you have an almost effortless, basic routine that you have time for each morning.

What does your make-up routine look like?

Monday, October 1, 2012

49 Dresses: Shabby Apple Giveaway!

Just thought some of you might want to enter the giveaway on one of my favorite blogs -

49 Dresses: Shabby Apple Giveaway!: Happy October guys! To start off the month, I've got a wonderful giveaway to share with you guys. Shabby Apple , one of my favorite retro a...

Book Review: The Brontes: Wild Genius on the Moors

 Most recently, I've just finished reading a book called The Brontës: Wild Genius on the Moors: The Story of a Literary Family by Juliet Barker.  I didn't know too much about the Brontës before I started reading.  Of course, I knew there were three sisters, and I've read Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights.  That hardly makes me a scholar in this area though.

According to Barker, most of the traditional accounts of the Brontë sisters make many misrepresentations about their lives.  One of the purposes of this book is to look at accounts not studied before in order to dispel what she calls the Brontë myths.  The book covers the entire family, not just Charlotte, Emily, and Anne.  Like I said, this isn't an area I've studied, so I have no idea about the history, but this didn't hinder my enjoyment of the book.

The book was more interesting than I had imagined it would be before I started reading (a good thing because it's over a thousand pages long.)  Barker is good at writing and transitioning from one subject to another.  After finishing the book, I now want to reread the two books I've already read and add more of the Brontës' books to my reading list.  If you've enjoyed any of the Brontës' books, Barker's The Brontës will be an interesting read.  I certainly enjoyed it!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Sew 50s: Guest Post from Sue

Today we have a guest post from Sue at Chevron and Lace.  Her blog has awesome DIYs as well as personal posts and photos.  We're happy to have her here! - Elizabeth

Tell me if you were one of these kids:

In elementary school, Mom did all your shopping. You didn’t care what you wore, as long as it didn’t get in the way of your play time and Mom didn’t care if it got dirty. Then you hit sixth grade and all of a sudden, what you wore mattered. If sixth grade wasn’t bad enough, you entered Junior High (Middle school, whatever). Not only did your clothes matter, but where you got them! American Eagle and Hollister were the peak of Junior High fashion, but for those of us whose mothers were thrifty and still bought our clothes, it was a tragedy. “JC Penney’s again?” It’s like a mother’s worst nightmare. All of a sudden your child cared about what they wore!

Then came high school. Some maintained their American Eagle and Hollister ideal. Some broadened their horizons and went to the Buckle. Some went the Hot Topic route. Some had no idea what they liked. I was the “No idea what I like” type. Mom left me out to dry with my clothing choices and I was in the dark. The problem was that I liked so many of the styles! I would wake up in the morning and try on five or six different outfits before I decided on one!

Finally I went to college and figured out what I liked, and that was it. Maurices. Maurices, Maurices, Maurices. That was my one style.

Although I still loved Maurices, once I graduated from college, I graduated from the “one type of style” mindset, too. Now I’m a mother and as so many mothers before me can attest, once you have a child of your own, you somehow turn into the mother that raised you. I’ve become my own thrifty mother and decided that some clothes at the store are not worth the price. So what did I do?

Welcome to my blog! I graduated from college, Mom bought me a sewing machine and I’ve never looked back! I am in LOVE with DIY and am a recent convert to vintage! Here’s the latest and greatest of my vintage looks…

Sew 50s!

Headband: Bought ¾ yrd. from Joann’s for less than $2.00!
Shirt: Just a regular ‘ol three quarter sleeve from Downeast Basics
Clutch: Bought it from DEB years ago
Skirt: Homemade skirt!
Shoes: Journey’s (on sale!)

In fact, I had enough left-over from the headband to make a shirt!

In addition to clothes (tutorials included!), I make my own home décor, I write cutesy poems, make delicious food (treats are my favorite!), run, and have the cutest little girl around with a hunk of a husband to boot! Get to know me and my family on my blog, Chevron and Lace.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Favorite Magazines

Favorite Magazines

Recently, I picked up the latest copy of Vogue, the 916 page September issue, from the drugstore and realized that so far this year even though I only buy the magazine a few times each year, I've definitely spent more paying the cover price than I would if I had a subscription.  This probably means that it's about time to go ahead and subscribe to Vogue.

I love looking through magazines, and Vogue isn't the only one that I buy often.  Although I can't justify getting all of these magazines, here's seven of the ones that that I would love to have being delivered to my house.

1.  The New Yorker - Although I don't usually buy The New Yorker, I like looking at the articles on the website.  Having it delivered weekly to the door would be a good way to find out about a lot of interesting topics.

2.  National Geographic - The magazine covers science-ish things, an area I find interesting but don't usually follow quite as much as I should.  Although there are probably better magazines for people who want a more in-depth coverage, National Geographic doesn't go too far above what I can understand.

3.  Southern Living - The recipes alone would be a good enough reason to get this magazine, but there's also gardening, features on famous Southerns, travel, and decorating.  Basically, any house in the magazine could be my dream house.

4.  Vogue - While the fashion in Vogue can be a little intense for some people including me, it's still useful for finding out new fashion trends.  And, the photography is always beautiful to look at.

5.  French Vogue - For some reason, I never bought this magazine while I was in France, but I probably should have.  Although the price to have it shipped to the US is much more than I would pay, it still would be interesting to get France's Vogue.

6.  Garden and Gun - Another magazine based in the South which was launched in 2007.  The sports portion isn't something I would normally look at, but the magazine definitely needs to be on my coffee table next to Southern Living and Vogue.

7.  Verily - A print version of Verily hasn't launched yet, but you can check out it's blog here.  A group of women came up with the idea for this magazine after they felt that most women's magazines don't really relate to most women. The mix of fashion and beauty with article about topics that really concern women has me excited to see how the magazine turns out.

What are your favorite magazines?  Do you want to subscribe to entirely too many too?

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Simple Balsamic Vinaigrette

Today, I'd like to share a simple recipe for one of my favorite salad dressing, Balsamic Vinaigrette.  Although you could easily buy it from a store, it's so easy that there's no reason not to make it yourself.

Simple Balsamic Vinaigrette

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard

- Whisk the mustard and vinegar together in a small bowl first.
- Add a bit of salt and pepper to taste.
- Stir while slowly adding olive oil.

Try using a variety of lettuce other than iceberg.  There's really no way to make iceberg lettuce taste good other than to drown it in ranch, cheese, and bacon bits.  For my lunch salads, I like to have romaine lettuce with Balsamic Vinaigrette and grated Pecorino Romano cheese on top.

Monday, August 20, 2012

BTCG: General Guide to Writing an Essay

Back to College Guide

Today, we're offering some tips on how to write a good essay in college.  Since I worked at my university's writing center, I saw students every day to  help them improve their writing, and I quickly learned that there are several easy steps that everyone can take to improve writing quality.  While I've labeled these tips for college papers, most of them work for anything that you write in college or out of college.

Guide to Writing an Essay

- As you begin, make sure that you follow the prompt, answer the question, or do whatever the assignments asks for.

- Make it clear to the reader exactly what your thesis or purpose is.  You wrote the paper, and it makes sense to you.  Since your reader can't read your mind, you must give your readers a topic sentence (thesis), supporting evidence, and a conclusion.

- Ask yourself if everything you've written is important to your thesis.  If a sentence or even an entire paragraph is off topic, it needs to go (even if you need it to make your paper long enough.)

- After you've taken care of the content (the most important part of the paper), you can move to style.  There are two changes I usually suggest for style.  First, vary your sentence structure.  All of your sentences shouldn't be simple, but they shouldn't all be super complex either.  Second, check for overused words or repeated phrases and replace them.

- "I can't do grammar."  You can fix more than you think simply by reading your paper out loud.  You will probably be able to hear things that sound awkward and catch typos.  Both of these are the easiest problems to fix.

- Finally, if you don't know a grammar rule either look it up, ask someone who knows, or use another construction that you do know.

All of these tips are very basic, but following them will greatly improve your writing.  Since writing tips are an area that I know lots about if anyone has anything to add or any questions about other writing issues (whether you're in college or not) that I didn't cover, please leave a comment.  I'll definitely respond, and I would love to write more detailed posts on a similar topic if there's any interest.

If you missed the first two parts to our guide be sure to see Microwave Recipe Treats and DIY Recycled Decorating Projects.


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Thoughts on Writing Letters

Boy putting letter in mail box

While I worked at camp this summer, one of the highlights of the day was going to check the mail.  Like most people, I love getting actual letters in the mail, and while working at camp, I discovered that I enjoy writing letters, too.  I found that even though it's not the fastest form of communication, letters have a personal quality that makes them different from texts, emails, or facebook.

I've been trying to figure out a good way to include more letter writing in my life even though camp has ended.  Because it isn't nearly as common as it used to be, I feel like people my age don't know how to write letters, and it's difficult to figure out how to use letters in a way that enhances the other forms of communication that we're already using.  We like the idea of letters, but we aren't too sure how to make them happen.  I thought about the idea of making a personal letter writing guide, but since I've only recently begun writing letter, I'm still figuring out what works for me.

So, here's what I've been doing so far in my new letter writing spree.

  • Birthday Cards - These are probably the easiest way to begin sending mail.  Everyone has a birthday, and a card that arrives in the mail is much more exciting than a wall post on facebook.  It's also fairly simple if you buy a nice card because all you have to do is add a few lines at the end. 

  • Pretty Note Cards - This includes thank you cards and other kinds that come in packs of multiples.  If you have a few different kinds, than you'll be covered for any occasion to send a card.  These are also fairly easy because depending on how large your hand writing is, the amount that you can write in these is still not too much.  It's perfect for a quick thinking of you and update note.

  • Stationery - For people who like to write long letters, using stationery is the best option.  I enjoy writing, and while I am capable of writing concisely when necessary, I like to send long letters.  After all, you send short messages via text or email, so you want your letters to differ from those mediums.

Since I'm just beginning to make an effort to write letters, I'd like to hear from anyone else who likes to write letters.  Who do you send them to and why?  What role do you think letters play in communication today?

Monday, August 13, 2012

Fast Morning Makeup Inspired by Jennifer Garner

Jennifer Garner
As a college student, you end up pulling a lot of all-nighters. If you're like me, these all-nighters mean the next morning you'll hit the snooze button on your alarm clock until you absolutely have to get up. For those mornings, you need a quick strategy for pulling yourself together so that it looks like you got plenty of beauty sleep. I think this look the always lovely Jennifer Garner sports is the perfect inspiration for fast, natural looking makeup.

Fresh Fast Make Up Tips

Fresh Fast by jenniferleigh33 on

1. To quickly get Mrs. Garner's dewy glow, start with Aveeno's Positively Radiant Tinted Moisturizer or your favorite light foundation. I choose the Aveeno Tinted Moisturizer because it eliminates the step of applying sunscreen and because it gives you a very natural non-matte finish.

2. Next, with a light hand, apply your favorite bronzer to the apples of your cheeks, nose, chin, temples, and neck. I would recommend using a large brush to make sure the color gets blended well. After you've applied the bronzer, smile and dust your blush onto the apples of your cheeks and towards your hairline. Jennifer Garner's blush is a bit more peachy and bronze than the blush above, so, if you like her look, choose a less pinky blush. I chose the blush/bronzer combo because it's really convenient to have them together in one place.

3. If you have time, swipe the lightest shade of eyeshadow from your lashes to your brow bone. Then, use the darkest shade and apply it from your lashes to the crease of your eye. Now, apply mascara to your top lashes. Even if you didn't have time for the shadow, I would definitely try to make time for mascara because it makes your eyes standout and you'll look much more awake.

4. As a last touch, apply Burts Bees tinted lip balm to add healthy color to your lips. I like the rose shade, but you may find that another shade compliments your coloring better.

Later this week, I'll follow up with a post about how to quickly achieve a look similar to the effortlessly pretty hairstyle that Mrs. Garner is wearing. In the meantime, let us know what some of your tips and tricks are for looking put together when you're in a hurry!

BTCG: Microwave Treat Recipes

Back to College Guide

Welcome to the second post in our Back to College Guide.

One of the strangest things for me about living in a dorm was not having a kitchen.  While some dorms do have kitchen access, most college students living on campus are usually stuck with just a fridge and a microwave.  There are endless types of microwave meals available, but these aren't the only options you have.  It's actually possible to cook some pretty tasty things using just a microwave.

Here's a few ideas for microwave cooking that we've gathered from different sources.  These all make a single serving, so even if you have a full kitchen available, you can use these recipes for when you want a treat, but don't want 23 extra cookies hanging around afterwards.

Single Serve Brownies
Recipe for Single Serve Brownies by Christi at Love from the Oven

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate Cake in a Mug

Nutella Mug Cake
Nutella Mug Cake by Angie McGowan on Babble

Mug of Mac and Cheese
Mug of Mac and Cheese by the Naptime Chef on Babble

Quick note:  So far, I've only tried the first two of these, and they've turned out well.  In these recipes, I usually replace an egg with 1/2 tbsp vegetable oil and 1/2 tsp baking powder.  Then, you can undercook the cookies without having to worry about getting sick.

These turned out to be more microwave baking recipes rather than microwave cooking recipes.  I know that there's lots more out there that can be made in the microwave.  Does anyone have any other suggestions for easy microwave recipes?

If you didn't catch last week's BTCG post, why not see our suggestions for DIY Recycled Decorating Projects.  You can also see the third part - Guide to Writing an Essay.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Life of Lovely now on pinterest

We're happy to announce that Life of Lovely is now on pinterest.  We'll be sharing our favorite pinterest finds there as well as some of our posts from here.

Follow Me on Pinterest

Let us know in the comments if you have a pinterest.  We'd love to follow you too!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Book Review: Ella Minnow Pea

Ella Minnow Pea

It might seem odd to review a successful novel that was published in 2002, but I enjoyed reading Mark Dunn's Ella Minnow Pea: A Novel in Letters too much not to share it with you.  I had never heard of the book until a professor assigned it in one of my English classes.  As much as I like English, sometimes reading for class turns into making it through a book rather than enjoying a book but with Ella Minnow Pea this was not the case at all.  I couldn't put it down once I started it.

The plot focuses around a small community on a fictional island off the coast of North Carolina.  This community has a strong culture of exceptional writing and expression.  Through a series of events, the freedom of expression is taken away from the community.  The main character Ella is a girl who works to regain this freedom.  Not only did the plot draw me in, but the author's style made the book even more enjoyable to read.  The story is told through letters and as each restriction is added to the characters' world, the mode of communication becomes increasingly more creative.

This book has the perfect combination of intriguing plot, writing style, and thought-provoking theme.  A book can be good if it has two of these three things, but Dunn's book is exceptional to me because it has all three.  If you haven't read Ella Minnow Pea yet, this is a read I would advise to anyone who loves books.

Monday, August 6, 2012

BTCG: DIY Recycled Decorating Projects

Back to College Guide

Welcome to the first part in our Back to College Guide.  Even if you aren't a college age student, I hope you'll find these posts interesting and please feel free to share them with any college students that you know.

It's about that time when college students begin moving back into dorms, apartments, and houses near campus.  This means calling roommates and going shopping for furniture and decorations.  Since extra funds can be limited for most college students, DIY is a good way to decorate with unique pieces without creating financial stress.

There are so many sites that feature creative decorating ideas.  Today we're featuring projects that involve using recycled materials you probably already have because respecting the environment and saving money are a combination that make a good start to the school year.

T-shirt shag rug tutorial

craft storage
Craft Storage at BH&G

bathroom organizer

chalkboard tutorial
Chalkboard Tutorial by Sweet Mint Studios

metal flowers from soda cans
Metal Flowers from Soda Cans at Crissy's Crafts

Of course, all of these do it yourself recycled projects are suitable for decorating any space, college dorm room or not.

Check out the second and third posts in this series - Microwave Recipe Treats and Guide to Writing an Essay.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Blog Updates

Hi readers,

You've probably noticed that the posts here have been lacking lately.  Now that I've finished with a few things and have consistent internet access once again, Life of Lovely will be more active again.  You can look forward to seeing Jennifer's recipe for Blueberry Breakfast Cake and my book review of Mark Dunn's Ella Minnow Pea soon.  Throughout the month of August, we'll also have a weekly post featuring some tips for girls heading to college so be sure to look for this and share it with anyone who might be interested.

Keep checking back for more from us in the near future.


Sunday, June 17, 2012

5 Things I Love about the Summer


Even though to me it seems like summer begins in May when school lets out, the first day of summer officially starts on June 20th this year.  Here are a few of my favorite things about the summer months.

1. Books - This summer I've got several books waiting to be read.  Currently, I've got lined up Dietrich Bonhoeffer's The Cost of Discipleship, Arthur Herman's How the Scots Invented the Modern World, Ann Brashares's Sisterhood Everlasting, Deborah Harkness's A Discovery of Witches, MacColl and Wallace's To Marry an English Lord, and Rebecca Well's Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood and Gaston Leroux's Le Fantôme de l'Opéra.  That's a nice mix of genres as well as fiction and non-fiction.  I'll have some book reviews up when I get finished with several of the books.

2. Smores - Who doesn't love making smores in the summer?  It's so simple--just graham crackers, chocolate, and a marshmallow.  Whether they're at a bonfire or just made in the microwave, these treats are a necessity.

3. Blueberries  -  These are one of my favorite summer fruits.  I love eating them when they're freshly picked, but you can also make lots of yummy foods with them.  Like cobbler, pie, or Blueberry White Chocolate Cupcakes.

4. Sandals  -  Sandals are definitely a summer staple.  Who wants their feet confined when the weather is so hot?  And besides, with so many different styles of sandals, everyone can find a good pair.  I somehow managed to include sandals on both Part 1 and Part 2 of Five Shoes Every Girl Needs which just shows how much I like them.

5. Sundresses  -  Dresses are my favorite things to wear, but I especially like them in the summer.  They keep you just as cool as short and a t-shirt, but they're much cuter.  I finally found a lace dress in pink which seems like its going to become my favorite dress for this summer.

I'd like to know what are you reading this summer?  And what are you favorite things about summer.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Visited by the Lorax

Recently, I watched a very charming movie called The Lorax. This movie inspired by the Dr Seuss book reminds us that it is possible to unintentionally ruin our beautiful planet. It seems that we are the Thneeds, ruining our environment in our quest for the latest technology and clothes to keep up with the Joneses. We are not being sociologically mindful and thinking about how our material choices will affect others. If we're not careful and don't make changes, we'll lose the plants, animals, and landscapes that make the world beautiful and maybe make ourselves sick.

I've learned from my sociology class, wide scale social change only happens when the conditions are ready for it, and I think that maybe we as a world are ready for it. Lasting social change generally is caused not by one individual but by many individuals that aren't trying to make radical changes but are just making small changes in their everyday lives.

As the Lorax says, "
Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing's going to get better. It's not." So starting now, Elizabeth and I will be making little changes in our lives and sharing them with y'all.

Has anyone else seen this movie yet? What did it make you think about? Have you been visited by the Lorax too?

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Suggestions for February Link Love

We'll be doing our feature of our favorite links from February tomorrow.  Send us an email with your suggestions.  This can be from any site or blog including your own.  If you've got an amazing post from this month, let us know about it!

Have a lovely day!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Book Review - Sweat Shop Paris

Sweat Shop Paris

I'd never heard of the Sweat Shop in Paris when I saw this book available for review on Netgalley, but it seemed so interesting that I decided to take a look at it anyway.

The book Sweat Shop Paris: Lessons in Couture from the Sewing Cafe by authors Martena Duss and Sissi Holleis begins with the story of how the sewing workshop/coffee shop first came into being.  The Sweat Shop is a place where crafters can gather to exchange ideas and rent machines by the hour to do their crafting.

I'm not sure what I was expecting, but this book is not like any other craft or sewing book that I've seen.  Since my taste runs more to the simple and classic, I probably wouldn't be interested in any of the projects in the book.    However, the book intrigued me because in addition to a sewing section, there was also a section on knitting, a section on customizing pre-made pieces, one on decorating, one on how to use different techniques like weaving leather, another with recipes, and a final one with a guide to sewing, crafting, food, clothing and general useful yet cool places in Paris.

In order to be able to use this book, you'll need to have at least the basic of sewing covered.  I'd say that it might be frustrating for someone who is just starting out.  As far as knitting, I can't judge the difficulty of those projects since I don't knit.

I would say this book is definitely for someone who's interested in the more in and edgy side of DIY and crafting.  All of the projects are unconventional and feature techniques that aren't commonly used. If it just isn't quite your style, that's perfectly ok.  As much as I love Paris, it isn't quite for me either.  I'd suggest clicking through a few of the preview pages on Amazon.  If you like what you see there, then you'll love this book.

Monday, February 6, 2012

The 7 Jewelry Essentials

As most people know, one of the easiest ways to transform an outfit is to add jewelry.  This along with the fact that jewelry is so easy and fun to buy means that most of us end up with a random assortment of jewelry.  Sure, it's fun to have a jewelry box overflowing, but also makes it difficult to find/decide what jewelry to wear.

Having a few pieces of classic jewelry that you know you can wear with most of your clothing makes getting ready easiest.  If you have just a few pieces, you'll be able to invest a little more money and get better quality pieces that will last longer.  As much as I like the trendy pieces places like H&M, this kind of jewelry doesn't have the same weight or feel as nicer jewelry.

I've put together a list of the 7 essential pieces of jewelry that I think would fit well into almost any female's wardrobe.  I tend to buy jewelry slowly waiting until I find pieces that are exactly what I want, so while I have most of these, a few of them are still on my list.

The 7 Jewelry Essentials

1. While pearls are included on almost every list of basic jewelry, they really are perfect for almost any nice occasion.  Besides just having a pearl necklace, I'd also suggest getting pearl earrings and a pearl bracelet as well.  Although you wouldn't wear all three at the same time, you'll have the option of wearing differing combinations.  I find that I can wear pearl earrings on an almost daily basis.

2. The next piece is hoop earrings.  Whether you want gold or silver depends on which metal you wear the most.  One good thing about hoops is that they are easy to wear with both causal and dressy outfits.

3. Another pair of earring that are essential are diamond or rhinestone studs.  These really can be worn with almost any outfit.  Instead of having to spend time in the morning picking out earrings to go with your outfit, you can almost always be certain that these will work with whatever you're wearing which is great when you remember you need earrings as you're running out the door.

4. While the other pieces I've included in this list are fairly basic, costume jewelry can really add personality to an outfit.  One or two pieces of really special costume jewelry can make a neutral outfit into something much more.  Take a look through vintage shops to find your perfect pieces.

5. The next piece is more personal as well.  A charm bracelet isn't exactly a dressy piece, but it is a piece that you can personalize to suit yourself.  You can pick out charms for yourself and add them to create a piece that no one else has.  This kind of jewelry is perfect for causal outfits.

6. If you don't have any of the other jewelry pieces on this list, you still really do need a nice watch.  I know that most people, including me, probably use their cell phones to keep up with the time, but in some places you shouldn't pull out your phone just to check the time.  You should have a watch because being on time is usually important!

7. Finally, I would image that most of you already have the final piece, dangling earrings.  These kinds of earrings are especially good to wear when you have your hair pulled back or in an updo for an elegant look.

Are there any essentials that you think I've left off this list?  I know that it leans heavily on earrings, so for those who don't have pierced ears, there might be some other pieces that are more important.  What do you think?

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Chocolate Caramel Hearts

Since it's the first day of February, that means there are about two weeks left until Valentine's Day.  Regardless of whether you enjoy celebrating this day or not, you should certainly try making some of these Chocolate Caramel hearts.

Chocolate Caramel Hearts

I found this recipe in the August 2011 issue of Glamour.  While the instructions suggest using round pans and calls them chocolate caramel minis, I decided to make mine in heart shaped holders instead.

There are three parts to this relatively easy recipe.  It starts with a graham cracker crust, then a layer of caramel, and a layer of chocolate ganache.  I didn't think to take pictures of the process as I was making them except to take a picture as I was making the caramel.  The steps might seem difficult if you've never made caramel or ganache before, but all that you have to do is follow the directions.  I had never made either one before I tried this recipe, and I didn't have any difficulties.

Allow at least 3 and 1/2 hours to make these chocolate caramel pies.  Most of this time will be only require waiting for the different layers to set in the fridge so you can do other things in between each of the steps.

Also, if you don't want to make several small pies, you can make a 9" pie.  For this, Glamour recommends pouring the layer of ganache before the layer of caramel to make it easier to cut.

For the graham cracker crust you will need:
1 1/4 cups crushed graham crackers
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Then, mix together the crackers, sugar, and melted butter.  Divide the mixture into your mini pie pans (mine made 4 mini pies) and press out into a crust.  Place in the fridge to chill for 15 minutes.  Finally, bake for 10 minutes and let cool.

For the caramel you will need:
3 tbsp corn syrup
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 tsp fleur de sel
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup unsalted butter
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 tbsp sour cream

Over medium heat whisk corn syrup, sugar, fleur de sel, and water in a sauce pan.  Bring mixture to a boil until the color is a deep amber.  Be patient because this might take some time, but make sure to watch so that you don't overcook here.  Remove the pan from the heat and carefully whisk in the butter, heavy cream, and sour cream until the mixture is smooth.  Pour a layer of caramel into the already baked mini crusts (filling about half way.)  Let this cool for 30 minutes.  Place in the fridge for about 2 hours to let the caramel cool completely.

How to Make Caramel on the Stove
Waiting for the corn syrup, sugar, fleur de sel, and water to turn amber.

For the chocolate ganache you will need:

1/2 cup heavy cream
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate
a little fleur de sel for garnish

Over medium heat, bring the heavy cream to a boil.  Place chocolate in a bowl and pour in hot cream.  Let this sit for one minute.  Then, stir in one direction until smooth.  You will pour a layer of chocolate ganache over the chilled layer of caramel.  Place it in the fridge for an hour to set.  Finally sprinkle with fleur de sel and enjoy.

Your finished chocolate mini hearts should look something like the first picture.  As you can see, I didn't quite manage to get the graham cracker crusts completely perfect, but the taste is so good that it doesn't matter.

I will definitely be making these again!

Update: We've linked this post on The Find Some Love Fest. There are tons of links to cute Valentine's posts and more will be added until February 14th, so check it out!

Monday, January 30, 2012

How to Save Stinky Shoes

You know those cute shoes you have that you have that you can't wear socks with? Shoes like your ballet flats, your Sperry's, or your moccasins. Eventually, those shoes get stinky, and usually there's no good way to wash them without risking ruining your favorite shoes! Well, I have found a solution for you. All you need is a little baking soda.

Take your shoes and sprinkle baking soda onto the soles until the soles are covered. You might want to go outside or put some newspaper under the shoes while you're sprinkling to prevent a mess. Then, let the baking soda sit in the shoes for a few days (I only let mine sit for a day). Once you're satisfied that the shoes have sat long enough for the baking soda to soak up any odor, you can either shake your shoes out outside, or you can vacuum up the baking soda. I would suggest doing both. After you shake and vacuum your shoes out, they should smell good as new!

I tried this baking soda trick with my Sperry's and was delighted with the results. It was much more effective and easier on my shoes than using the washing machine. My shoes were a little fuzzy on the inside, so the baking soda really settled into the material. I'm not sure if this may have been why the baking soda worked so well, so try it out for yourself and let us know what you think!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Thanks to Pinterest

We've had over 90,000 page views in the last few days of this post where we shared a link to how Amy at Karmincovers uses a curling iron method to make natural looking curls.  Apparently, someone pinned the picture to pinterest because all of these views came from there.  Basically, we're totally excited because we've never had this many views before.  We hope you all continue pinning things you like from Life of Lovely!

Thanks to our readers!

Also, you can follow Elizabeth on pinterest here or you can follow Jennifer here.

Friday, January 27, 2012

January Link Love

We're trying a new feature here called Link Love where we'll feature our favorite links from the past month on the last Friday of each month.  This month is featuring mostly DIYs because it seems like everyone has had very good tutorials during January.


Pretty much everyone likes to eat soup in the winter.  Jayme and Mendi shared a recipe for Skinnytaste Baked Potato Soup on their blog Her Late Night Cravings that sounds absolutely delicious as well as healthy.

There are lots of lists of wardrobe essentials that all feature basically the same clothes that every girl needs to have.  However, post The Five (Often Forgotten) Things Every Girl Needs in Her Closet from Favor the Brave has a few suggestions that aren't usually on these types of lists, but that are very important and fun to have.

While we're on the subject of fashion, New Dress a Day has a cute DIY for a rhinestone sweatshirt inspired by one at Forever 21.

K from Make it & Fake it also has lots of cute DIYs.  My favorite from January is the DIY Bow Ring.  Browse around her blog some for her other jewelry DIYs.  You'll see multiple projects that you'll want to try.

Here's one last DIY, it's how to make a set of Broadway Tile Coasters.  Such a cute way for keeping water rings off the furniture.

Finally, from A Beautiful Mess is a Cupcake Mixology about how to make 6 different flavor cupcakes using two basics mixes.  This is perfect if you want an easy way to have multiple cupcakes flavors without having to make lots of different mixes.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

New blog feature - Monthly Link Love

Hi everyone,

We've decided to start a new feature on Life of Lovely.  The last Friday of every month we'll be featuring our favorite links of the month.  This will include posts from other blogs as well as interesting links from other websites.  We've been marking our favorite posts and pages for January.  If you've got a link you'd like featured, email it to us (email address is on our about page), and we'll take a look at it.  If you're a blogger, the link can be one of your own posts.  We'll be putting the list together Thursday night so get the email to us before then.

I'm looking forward to seeing your suggestions!

- Elizabeth

Monday, January 23, 2012

Book Review - Fabric-by-Fabric One-Yard Wonders

Fabric by Fabric: One Yard Wonders

When I saw that Fabric-by-Fabric One-Yard Wonders: 101 Sewing Projects Using Cottons, Knits, Voiles, Corduroy, Fleece, Flannel, Home Dec, Oilcloth, Wool, and Beyond was available for review on Netgalley, I couldn't help but want to review this book.  

This book by authors Rebecca Yaker and Patricia Hoskins features patterns from multiple contributors many of whom have blogs and websites where you can find more of their creations.  The book is organized by type of fabric so all that you have to do is look where you keep your fabrics, decide which one you want to use, then flip to the appropriate section to find a fun project to make.  

Since I received an electronic version of the book for review, I can't comment on the quality of the pattern pieces themselves.  However, I found many of the ideas in the book to be ones that I hadn't seen before.  My favorites included an apron with hot pads sewn in (very useful!), an umbrella, and a manatee (Yes, a toy one. I know, but it's cute.  And I kind of want one.)

After looking through the projects, it seems that the book is best for those with children or those who have family or friends with children.  Since one-yard really is a small amount of fabric, most of the clothing patterns in the book are aimed for small children.  As I mentioned with the manatee, there are also some adorable patterns for stuffed animals.  

Overall, the skill level for the projects included does not seem to be too high.  If you're interested in the book, I'd suggest taking a look at the table of contents to see how many of the projects sound like ones you would want to make.  Probably, if you don't plan to sew for children, there are other books that would be better for you.

Hope you're all having a good week!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Craft: Felt Flower Pillows

Even though my pinterest boards might have more DIYs than I could ever possibly do, I actually do try to make the things that I have pinned.  When I found a pin for what Allison of Cluck Cluck Sew calls a Petal Pillow, I knew that I wanted to make this pillow to replace the boring throw pillows I already had.

Felt Flower Pillow

All I needed to make these pillows was about 1/2 yard of fabric and 1/4 yard of felt.  To make your own pillows, you can follow Allison's guest tutorial at V and Co here.  

Although I followed Allison's tutorial for the most part, I did make a few changes to my own pillows.  First, since I covered my own pillows instead of using an 18 inch pillow form, I made my own measurements for the fabric.  This also meant that my flower was smaller and had fewer petals.  Don't be afraid to modify the instructions to fit whatever you want to cover.

Allison says that her pillow took about half an hour to make.  The first pillow that I made took me longer than this to make so if sewing isn't your strongest point expect that it might take a little longer for you as well.

Overall, I'm very pleased with my new felt flower pillows.  This tutorial didn't require much material or too much time.  As an added bonus due to my modifications, I was able to reuse pillows that I already had, and I'll also be able to remove the covers when I want to change my pillows up again.

To see some more of the crafts I hope to make from pinterest, you can check out my board here.  

If you've got a board full of craft pins you'd like to share, leave a link to yours in the comments and let us know if you've completed any of them.  

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Book Review - A Jane Austen Education

A Jane Austen Education

Like most female English majors, I absolutely love Jane Austen.  So when I saw the title of William Deresiewicz's new work A Jane Austen Education: How Six Novels Taught Me About Love, Friendship, and the Things That Really Matter , I couldn't not read this book.

While there are many books related to Jane Austen and her characters, what makes this book stand out is that William Deresiewicz has not always been an Austen fan.  As he explains in his book, he first found himself unwilling to read Austen, thinking that her books had nothing to offer him.  However, once he realized that her books are not simply chick lit, he found that Austen speaks to a much wider audience than he had imagined.

Since I am an Austen fan and have read all of her novels, I completely enjoyed reading about the lessons that Deresiewicz finds in her novels.  I have my favorite Austen novels, but Deresiewicz offered perspectives that made me think more about some of the novels I didn't enjoy so much.  After having read this book, I now want to go back and read Austen's novels again.

I would definitely recommend this book for any Jane Austen fan, but I wouldn't limit this recommendation simply to those who have read all of her novels.  I think that most people would enjoy the style of the book and the way that Deresiewicz places his own narrative in with Austen's plots.

Of course, if you've never read any Jane Austen, I'd encourage you to read some first.  I'd suggest starting with Pride and Prejudice or Emma since those are often regarded as her best works.

I'd like to know - do you have a favorite Jane Austen novel?


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