Saturday, January 31, 2015

Be Mine: Allergy Friendly Valentine's Sweets!

Alllergies.  So many people have them these days and our home is no exception.  My daughter's list of allergies is quite extensive and although we're hoping she'll out grow them in time, for now she misses out on some of the fun stuff especially around the candy-based holidays.

Last year I bought a rabbit mold from and made her a solid chocolate bunny for Easter.  It was the first she'd ever had and not only was it super easy it was a huge hit.

This year I wanted to branch out and make her first Valentine's chocolates complete with a pretty box.  When I was a girl I didn't even care about the chocolates, I just wanted the pretty boxes.  My daughter is the same way, presentation is key!

I happen to have access to some very lovely and inexpensive baking supplies from my local store, but in the absence of this, I would go to Etsy for boxes.  I like the the looks of these lovelies:

Set of 5 boxes by

Red Cover box in assorted sizes by

I'm starting with simple square boxes that hold four pieces and some small chocolate molds.  The aluminum molds are pretty but are only for single use.  The silicone molds can be used again and again, but you'll need more wrappers for the box.  So, if you're not planning to do this sort of thing often or in bulk, then go with the disposables and save the extra expense of having to buy separate wrappers for the boxes.  Check your local bakery supply store for the molds or search for silicon molds by the sheet.

The allergy friendly ingredients are:
Enjoy Life Chocolate Chunks
Sweetened shredded coconut
Dried cranberries or other dried fruit
Cake sprinkles
Macadamia nuts
(obviously if the person you're giving these to is allergic to any of these, don't use them)

Before making the chocolates I set out small amounts of the fillings so they'd be ready to sprinkle in as soon as I poured the chocolate or put them on the bottom of the cup in advance.

Ok, this part is so simple, I didn't use measurements.  I tossed a handful (a generous 1/3C.) of Enjoy Life chocolate chunks into a pot and put it on a burner on the lowest setting.  Stir constantly until the chips are all melted and quickly put a dollop into each cup.  For the nuts and sprinkles I lined them in  bottoms of the cups.  For the cranberry chocolates I filled the cup half way then added cranberries and then filled it to the top with chocolate.  For the coconut chocolates I filled the cups nearly to the top and then lightly pressed in coconut.

Let the chocolates sit at room temp for about 30 mins and then transfer to the fridge.  Let them cool in the fridge for several hours or overnight to make sure they're completely solid.  Put them in a pretty box and they're ready to go.  I made about nine pieces of chocolate, enough to fill two boxes and one to taste-test of course.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Live in Color Dress

ShopRuche has had some pretty good sales running in the last couple of weeks (use the code extra50 to save 50% right now).  I haven't purchased from them before because they don't post customer reviews or ratings and if I'm going to buy a pricey dress I'd like to know what others thought of it first.  But this dress was a door-buster sale, only $20 so even though there were no reviews and they didn't have my size I figured it wasn't too much of a risk if it didn't work.  So as far as fit goes, even though I bought a bigger size than usual, it's not too big.  It actually fits pretty great.  The creases from being folded really, really didn't want to come out  even with some aggressive ironing, and it's a bit shorter than I usually wear with such thick fabric.  But again, it was only $20 and I like it well enough to keep it, and I'll probably shop ShopRuche again.

Shop the Outfit:
Live in Color Dress by ShopRuche
Nine West heels
Zenna Outfitters Crop Cardigan

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Orange & Blue: Part 2

Well, now that I've done it, I can't seem to stop.  The right shades of orange and blue really do work!  I won't go into the details of mixing colors and using a color wheel this time.  Suffice to say, my favorite way to pair orange and blue is with rust and royal shades.  I love this fox print tee with a blue cardi and an orange scarf.  I recently read that when you're my age it's time to give up on graphic tees.  And, maybe I am getting a little too old for them, but I'm going to keep a couple like this in my wardrobe for a few more years, at least until the kids are rolling their eyes and telling me to stop.

Shop the Outfit
Love is Sly tee by ModCloth
Charter School Cardigan in Royal Blue by ModCloth
Orange Scarf purchased locally
Skinny Jeans by YMI
Ballet Flats by Seychelles
Wrap Bracelet by Forever 21

Cameo Couture

I'm kind of a nut for cameos.  I've loved them since I was a little girl playing dress up with my grandmother's carnelian brooch.  When I saw this dress on ModCloth, it instantly reminded me of a Wedgewood cameo.  In keeping with the cameo colors, I grabbed a pale pink cardi with pearl beading on it, some pink floral accessories and beige shoes.  It feels very modern-Marie Antoinette and it just might be my new favorite.

Shop the Oufit:
Glorious Glamour Dress by ModCloth
Pink Cardigan by American Eagle Outfitters
Necklace by Lauren Conrad
Earrings I made myself
Shoes from Payless 

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Aztec Accessories

    It's winter and everything is has turned gray.  I.  need.  some.  color.  But, it's also really cold, so layers are a must.  I've never been much of a fan of Aztec prints, but I really like what's come out in the last few months.  I've been trying to figure out the best way to wear this Charlotte Russe scarf since I bought it in the fall and I think I've finally found it.

Shop the Outfit:
Scarf, Lace Tunic, and Ivory Camisole from Charlotte Russe
Charter School Cardigan from ModCloth
Skinny Jeans by Billabong
Satin Flats by Aldo

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Furry Up Now

I am so glad I bout this fox print dress at ModCloth  I've challenged myself to wear it a different way each week and this week I went for royal blue.

The earrings are a little something I made myself when I had a shop on Etsy, and I think they give it just the right touch.

Shop the Outfit:
Furry Up Now Dress & Charter School Cardi in Royal Blue ModCloth
Brown Wedge heels from Payless
Cameo Earrings from

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Casual Plaid

I bought this Bernie Dexter plaid dress for a steal on Ebay.  Regularly $156, I found it for $25.  It really has a holiday party feel to it, but it seems such a shame for it to sit on the shelf for another year til Christmas rolls around.  So, I challenged myself to make it more of an everyday dress.

I used a sheer peter-pan collar blouse and belt with a cardi to make a more casual look.  I always add a belt to the narrowest part of my waist to draw attention there.  Since red is the most prevalent color in the dress, I first tried a red cardi and black heels.   And while I really like it, it still has too much of a Christmas feel.

The dress also has blue in it, so I kept the blouse and belt and traded red for royal blue and navy blue heels.  Much more casual and post-holidays friendly!

Shop the outfits:
Dress by Bernie Dexter
Black heels by Charlotte Russe
White Blouse by Forever 21
Cardigans and blue heels by ModCloth

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

How to Mix Prints

    We all grew up hearing,  "Never Mix Prints; it's just too busy."  And I'll admit, it's tricky, but there is one basic rule to keep in mind when you're heading out there:  It's not about the prints; it's about the color palette.  As long as the colors are in the same palette, mixing prints is not only possible, it's quite lovely.

    There are two ways we're going to use a color palette to put an outfit together.  First we'll consider colors of the same intensity and then colors which appear in both prints. 

    Before you head out to the stores and start grabbing prints off the rack, get familiar with the color wheel.  Or, better yet, print out a copy and take it with you when you start putting items together.  Each ring of the color wheel shows you colors of the same intensity with green, blue, and purple being the cool colors and red, orange, and yellow being the warm colors.  Black, white, and beige are considered neutrals.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Do It Yourself Shoe Clips

     It's been a couple of years since I started noticing the trend on Etsy for Shoe Clips.  I think it's brilliant of course, and some of them are quite reasonable.  Here are a few of the shoe clips shops I love
Burnt Orange Clips $22.00

Peacock Shoe Clips $36.00

Gray Ribbon Shoe Clips $42.00

Buuuuuut, I'm a do-it-yourself-er to the core, and I wanted to try making my own.

So here's what I used:

shoe clips
plastic cameos
glass beads
needle & thread

Shoe clips are very inexpensive and available on Etsy.  Here's a link for some at GSboutique 
It's about $4.20 for 20 pieces.  I recommend buying them and then having your friends over for a girls' craft night.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Prints Charming

    I'm a textbook introvert and for years I had lovely clothes that sat in my closet because, well, they were lovely.  Lovely clothes make people take notice and that scared me.  I won't say I'm over it.  I still have days where I walk out in mostly neutrals trying to hide, but there are far fewer of them now that I've fallen in love with these charming prints.

Furry Up Now Dress on ModCloth
I'm wasn't sure about the white accents.  Until I actually got the dress was thinking I would replace the buttons with dark brown and use fabric paint over the piping, (don't be afraid to change some things on a dress to make it work for you) but I actually think they work pretty well and I love the little fox print, plus it was 50% off plus I had an extra 20% off code! 

Air of Adorable dress in Balloon Print.  One of my first print purchases and still a fave.  

Mad About Plaid

    Sometimes I get a little obsessed.  It will suddenly occur to me that I don't have a certain thing in my wardrobe and the search begins.  Then I end up with ten of whatever it is before I can come to my senses.  It seems that 2014 was just my year to buy plaids and checks.   

    I'll start with the newest (and hopefully last for a while) addition to my plaid collection.  It's my first Bernie Dexter dress and it's definitely a holiday dress.  It will be a challenge to wear in spring and summer, so this one may do a lot of sitting on the shelf.

 Saturday Night Pin-Up
 dress in black tartan.  This dress was also briefly available on ModCloth as the Pretty as a Rose dress.

     I found this beauty on Ebay for only $25!  It was missing the belt and had been worn once, but I added my own vintage black leather belt.

© Bleu Avenue. Made with love by The Dutch Lady Designs.