Wednesday, March 14, 2012

A Day Brightening Idea for Windy Weather

I do not know about your area, but here spring typically means wind...with or without storms. The trees are covered in many tiny blooms and unfortunately the wind often sends them sailing to the ground long before they have even begun to brown. 

As I walked my dog this morning I thought how sad to leave these lovely little blossoms to blow into the streets. I easily gathered handfuls of these Bradford Pear blossoms and displayed them in mini vases. I doubt they will last long, but with such little effort involved it was worth the joy they bring to my interior space.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Hot Cocoa Lambie-Cakes

I had this idea a couple months ago, then saw something similar on morning television. I decided I still preferred my original idea and proceeded. 

Whether your March has entered like a lamb or a lion, hopefully this cupcake idea will bring some fun to your kitchen and if you like hot cocoa with marshmallows you will love these lambies! 

You will need: 
  • Chocolate cake mix (or use your favorite recipe) 
  • White icing 
  • Mini marshmallows 
  • Milk or white chocolate eggs 
  • Heart and tube shaped edible confetti 
  • Chocolate chips 

Place the batter in a lined muffin tin. Insert a marshmallow into the center of each batter filled cup. Below I have used a mini muffin tin, but I also made a batch in regular size too. The smaller size is more kid and calorie friendly, so, I recommend the minis. If you use the regular sized muffin tin you may want to use a second marshmallow. 

Bake according to the instructions. Yum! 

Ice each cupcake with a small mound in the center. 

Unleash your creativity! Start your first row of seven marshmallows at the bottom (remember these are the mini-cupcakes, I believe nine works for the regular size). Add the chocolate egg directly above one of the mini marshmallows. I chose to use a Dove egg because of the size and Dove has always been one of my favorite chocolates. 

Add four mini marshmallows in the next row up and two more on top. If you are having problems with the marshmallows not sticking dab the side you want to sick with a bit of water.  

Place a dab of icing on the top point of each chocolate chip. 

Add a chip (bottom side facing out) on either side of the front marshmallow and on either side of the back two marshmallows. 

Ice the bottoms of two chocolate chips and place them atop the chocolate egg to create the ears. Then swipe a smidgeon of icing on one side of the heart-shaped confetti and stick it to the bottom center front of the chocolate egg, fashioning the nose. 

Using a toothpick place a tiny dollop of icing where you would like to place the eyes. Fix the tube or circular shaped edible confetti in the center of the icing. 

I chose to use the toothpick and a small dab of icing to draw the mouth. It would be easier done using an icing bag with a tip or cutting a very small hole in a sandwich bag to pipe the icing onto the chocolate egg. 

This little flock just might win you “Cupcake Mom-of-the-Year” in your child’s classroom or make you many new friends as you just can’t help but smile at these cute little guys. 

If you want to make some variations try using a regular size cupcake with mini-chocolate marshmallows and a bit larger chocolate egg. I used the Dove coconut filled chocolate egg with a flat backside below. I used a white chocolate Reese’s egg on the lion at the top of the post, however, I felt the Reese’s egg was too large for the lamb. 

Voila! Have a blast and enjoy.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Practical Examples for Spring Essentials

I wanted to quickly reiterate a couple examples with my own resent finds for my spring wardrobe. 

I found these red jeans at a local Ross store for $8.99. They were inexpensive, clearly, and will work perfect for the spring trend: colored jeans. 

While grocery shopping at Target I noticed this cute little dress on the sale rack for $7.48. This is a perfect example of working the spring trend: patterns, geometric patterns at that! Another nice feature to this little sundress is it’s versatility...the colors are not extremely summery. Toss this under a sweater with tights and boots and you have an outfit to wear during the remaining cold weather. Add a cardigan and pumps for work and shed them for a sassy sundress for evening cocktails. Or just add a pair of cute flats for weekend errands. 

Easy, inexpensive and not even out of your way.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Spring Essentials 2012

I am still here! I have been busy with reading and research and wanted to have a worthy topic before posting. Yesterday I broke my cycle long enough to make a brief shopping trip with a friend. Although, I have submerged myself in trade magazines the past month nothing quite brings fashion to life like a little mall air. Some were small and seemingly insignificant ideas, but just touching the fabrics and observing the garments first hand, I realized I have a lot to potentially talk about for spring. Let’s look a simple grouping of pieces to announce your arrival to Spring 2012! 

Colored Jeans! 
Women’s Health Magazine featuring BCBG jeans

Those of us in our late twenties and up just thought we wriggled out of our last pair of colored jeans in the eighties...“they’re back”...Since your phobia just might show your age lets look at some ways to jump on this trend as if we had not already done it once before. 

First of all, this is a “trend” that means this look cycles in and out of fashion, and yes, this is your wake-up call if you have been wearing brightly colored or unconventional prints on your pants since the eighties and you are now coming back in-style. Please take trends for what they are...cyclical. This all being said use your better financial discretion when purchasing trendy items for your wardrobe. I will never discourage a worthwhile investment piece or a splurge (even a trend splurge) for a special occasion if it is something you have budgeted for. 

If you can wear juniors sizes and feel comfortable doing so save some money and find an inexpensive pair of colored jeans at a store such as Forever XXI 

If you have a bit more expendable income and are more concerned about trying the trend, but doing so age appropriately Chico’s has some more entry level colored jeans cut for more of a baby boomer and up body style. For everyone else any of your mall stores ranging in price points will have this trend readily available. 

We discussed the Spring Color Trend Forecast last post. Choose a few colors from that trend report before you set out to buy your jeans. By choosing a forecasted color you will be able to find pieces in multiple store throughout the remainder of the season that will go with the jean color you chose. 

Choose a color you are comfortable wearing. If your personality is not to draw attention to yourself there are several pretty blush tones and aquas. If you have small children, as my friend I spoke of does, choose a darker color to prevent sticky handprints and colored drool. Just because you have a lot of a certain color in your closet does not mean you should choose that color. You would quite possibly be better off choosing a color that compliments your most dominant color so you have many potential pieces to wear your jeans with. A perfect pairing for the colored jeans is often a neutral top as shown below in David Kahn’s 2012 look book 

Color Blocking! 
Alice-Olivia Resort 2012
Yes, there are probably more ways to make a mess of this trend than to do it well, but thankfully you can walk into most stores this spring to find the designers have done all the work for you. Opt for a dress... 

Here are some varieties at Express.


As always, I would encourage you to push your comfort levels, but not to the point of appearing uncomfortable. A huge variety of printed fabrics and garments in many different styles from floral to graphic will be available this spring. Choose one that suits you best. 

Unusual Pairings! 
Buffalo - David Bitton

This is a slippery slope to tread. Therefore, I will do my best with helpful advice. Let me offer the suggestion to shop with a friend that has a good color eye or seek advice from knowledgable sales staff. 

Let us first begin with color pairings, which could really be included in the color blocking segment. You want to define one piece as the dominant color (red pants, shown above) and the other as the passive (light orange, shown above). Notice the red shoe reinforces the dominance of the pant and is also in closest proximity to the pant keeping the bottom half continuous. If a red shoe were not available a nude shoe would be the next best choice. It would not interfere with the presented colors and would lengthen the leg. Stay within the same color family. The orange is next to red on the color wheel, as is pink. The difficulties you may find is that not all oranges or pinks look all that great with red. Be careful, be choosy. 

If you are mixing prints again, look for a dominant and passive print. You may start with a more traditional print paired with a more trendy print. Finding colors that pair nicely or a common color thread in both pieces will help. 

I hope I have given you some insight and courage to try some of the 2012 Spring trends!