Ice Cream Push-Pops

Having recently stumbled upon mind-numbingly delicious Straus Vanilla Bean Ice Cream, I was in desperate need to find a way to use it in a summer dessert endeavor. Inspired by One Charming Party's Push-Pop Project I set out to make some old school ice cream fun delights. The biggest challenge was finding the pop containers themselves. To my surprise none of the craft or baking stores carried any and I was finally able to track some down at Bed, Bath and Beyond. I was also a bit disappointed when I discovered each pop container, in the pack of four, had a screen-printed label, yet I quickly got rid of it with a bit of Goo Gone. For the filler, in between the ice cream, I bought some classic Chips Ahoy! chewy chocolate chip cookies. Easy peasy, using the container as a cookie cutter itself, I filled the push pops 2 spoonfuls of ice cream per cookie, starting with a cookie foundation. For a fresh twist, consider also using sorbet and fruit filling.

Tropical Temptations

Enjoying the tropical heat this past week, I headed out to the BlacMera Trunk Show at Donald J. Pliner in Santana Row. I was not only delighted by the collection's array of colorful hues, but by its attention to avant-garde draping. My favorite piece was a sheer, nude couture gown, detailed with carefully placed sequined flower appliqu├ęs along with a darling row of buttons down the back. Also carrying a jewelry line, I fell in love with a leopard print bangle, adorned with a sweet Swarovski crystal bow.

{Hollister Polk-a-Dot Top, H&M Animal Print Maxi Dress as Skirt, Aldo Salmon Pumps, Aldo Purse, Forever 21 Gold Lace Necklace, Anthropologie Bracelet, Therapy Gargoyle Ring}

Lovely in Leopard

1. Steve Madden "Bevv-L" Pumps" ($129.95)
 2. J.Crew Belt ($79.50)
3. H&M Bow Headband ($3.95)

Animal prints are always a trend that re-emerges in various ways throughout the seasons. Yet one animal print that has evolved into a classic wardrobe staple this fall is leopard. Long gone are the days where the leopard patterned shirt was the must-do-look. That’s just plain playing it safe. Listen-up ladies, I say leopard is the new neutral! Just as metallic shades and nude hues have left there neutral mark, this fall season leopard prints come in all types of accessories, completing any outfit with some classy spunk. Eyes peeled for this exotic print, I have come up with a handful of fun leopard items that are affordable without sacrificing quality. One more, not depicted here, but on my must-have list is an animal print purse by Aldo as seen on Chictopia.

Petaluma Pickings

Strolling through Petaluma last weekend to visit some of my favorite people, I of course had to explore my favorite stores as well to scavenger for some pretty pickings. A town with much history, my love for antique hunting was born here amongst its old Victorian houses and its vast blooming farm land. There are a handful of places I always can count on having one-of-a-kind vintage finds, especially since most carry both home decor and fashion pieces. Three stores I make sure to pop in are Summer Cottage Antiques, Red Umbrella Consignment, and Ooh La Loft. This time around I came home with a simple medallion necklace, a blue and white ceramic tile piece on a gold chain, from Ooh La Loft. I also discovered a sweet new idea where you plant mini cactus plants in old tea cups. I heart Petaluma.

{Forever 21 Black v-neck, H&M Polk-A-Dot Pattern Skirt, Green Aldo Purse, Steve Madden Animal Print Flats, Xhiliration for Target Emerald Green Ribbon Flower Headband, Vintage Green Enamel Bangle}

Romping Around

I had so much fun last month, working on my first photo shoot for my San Jose Women's Style Column. My heart set on the romper trend that re-emerged with a vengeance this summer, I myself, as I think many of you also, was curious how do-able this look really was. Coming to the conclusion that every body type suits a different cut romper, the styling team came up with three versatile looks, classic nautical, sultry on-the-go and bold fashion-forward print that can work for a variety of gals in all different sizes. My favorite was definitely the fashion-forward  tribal pattern romper. A fan of go big or go home, I particularly loved how we layered the model with large bangles, provide to us by local boutique Ibiss, and elaborate bib necklaces, by Harriet and Grey, adding more visual impact to the outfit. Itching to style some more, I am looking forward to the next shoot as we fall into fall!

To learn more on HOW-TO-DO the romper trend, taking it from summer to fall read: Doing trends locally: Romp around town from dawn to dusk on

Romp Around Town From Dawn To Dusk Photo Shoot

Location: PLSTK Studio
Photographer: Jaymer Delapena
Photographer: Mark Gamab
Stylist: Karla Randolph
Stylist: Kristina Alvarez
Stylist: Monica Cruz-Hernandez
MUA/Hairstylist: Kat Paule
Model: Ana Bess
Wardrobe/Accessories: Ibiss Boutique
Shoes: She She Shoes
Jewelry: Harriet Grey

Pie Pops Are The New Cupcake

Don't get me wrong. I love me some cupcakes. Small or large, Chocolate or Vanilla, sprinkles or coconut shavings, I really do love me some cupcakes. Yet pies have a special warm place in my heart for, as long as I can remember, my mother always opted for subtle tastes than sweet indulgences, pies being her best dessert treat come the holidays. An expert cook but an aspiring baker, she always attempted new concoctions and as I grew older I took more to her baking than her cooking, also trying to find new ways to make old-fashioned desserts. Earlier this month I discovered these adorable pie pops. After doing much research I came to the conclusion that they really are just little pies on lollipop sticks, but the execution is not so ABC as it might seem. I did a couple of test runs and I want to note a few things that I found helpful. The filling to crust ratio is key. To ensure this make sure your pie crust is just the right thickness. A bit of a cheater, I always use pre-made refrigerated pie crusts found at any supermarket. I suggest rolling out the pre-made pie crust just once over to thin it out slightly. Also the size of the cookie cutter is important. If it is too small the amount of pie filling will be restricted and the pop will be all pie crust. I used a 2.5 round crink cookie cutter. Lastly, if you want to get a little fancy, make them a la mode. If wanting to gift them or serve them at a party I suggest digging up any old ribbon scraps and tying little bows on the sticks. For step-by-step how-to instructions I used Bakerella. I also referenced Luxaire. ENJOY!

Mimi's Muneca Apple Pie-Pop Filling Recipe:
(will make two pie crusts worth of pie pops)
1 1/2 Apples peeled and diced
1/2 table spoon of lemon juice
1/2 cup of sugar
1 tablespoon of flour
1/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
A pinch of ground nutmeg

Denim Dreams

I had the pleasure of meeting the most inspiring group of ladies recently when I was invited to an exclusive sneak peak for an up and coming, locally created, designer denim line. All young entrepreneurs in their own right, the ladies of Lotus Premium Denim have created a quality jean for the petite fashionista of today. Focusing on overall fit, with much attention to seam placement details, Lotus Premium Denim will certainly solve those tailoring needs that us short gals know all to well. The official launch party will take place in November, debuting one versatile cut in two fabulous colors.

Mixed Prints Kinda Day

I headed back to SF this weekend to check out a couple of more fashion events and I happened to find the most darling boutique. Although having only opened a year ago, La Boutique: L'Art Et La Mode, consistently hosts events and exhibitions that bring art to fashion and fashion to art, becoming a SF Jackson Square must-see. The boutique building has a museum gallery vibe and thus displays beautifully a well selected compilation of fashion forward, European designers that are exclusive to La Boutique. One particular collection I fell head over heels for was Shourouk. Bold collages of color, texture and sparkle, each piece in the Shourok jewelry anthology creates a unique story of its own. La Boutique's next event, City, Speak To Me: photography by Julie Michelle, poems by Silvi Alcivar, will be September 9th from 6:00pm to 9:00pm.

{H&M Blazer, H&M Polk-A-Dot Top, Forever 21 Skirt, Aldo Pumps, Forever 21 Cocktail Ring, Vintage Necklace}

Fashion Photos by Karla Bravo 

Visions of a Villa

I took a scenic drive up the Portola Valley hills this past week in search of a photo shoot for the up-coming "Made In Palo Alto Magazine" edition that will be in print next week. Through the towering trees and the windy roads, I came upon the majestic Villa Lauriston. Floored at its beauty, I fell in love with its groomed greenery, stone details and of course its keeper, Figaro the Cat. Amidst the grandeur, I got to take a sneak peak at some of the looks that will be featured in the  "Made In Palo Alto" fashion spread. Funky prints and fun details, I couldn't help myself and I styled a look. The shoot's wardrobe remind me that even as Fall approaches, there is no need to put away those sundresses just yet. Pair them with a rugged pair of boots, a scarf and a fur vest and your ready to transition into the coming season.


Location : Villa Lauriston, Portola Valley
Photographer : Paul Ferradas
Model : Danielle A. - Ford Models
Makeup : Regard Tang
Wardrobe: Gitane of Palo Alto
Shoes: Crossroads Trading Company

Not So Shabby Inspirations

Never one to pass up an "Estate Sale TODAY!" sign, I made a u-turn on my way home from a yummy lunch in downtown Mountain View today. Curious to see what I might find, I resolved to not spend any big bucks for any one item. Little did I under estimate myself, my full proof non-spending plan back-fired. Although all under 10 bucks, I still took three pieces home. I dug up an antique china platter with faded gold details, inspiring me to possibly dabble in some pastry baking this weekend. I also purchased a framed chalkboard. Always adorning French-style cafes, I love the shabby chic look. Finally, I brought home with me an odd ceramic planter. Not planning to kill any innocent plants anytime soon, I figured it might work as a letter holder. I often find myself turning old containers into new containers, using an English marmalade jar for a pen holder and such. Embrace the odds and ends in your home. Aged glass jars and canisters are a great way to organize the knick-knacks that run rampant and loose on your dining table or in your kitchen cupboards. You might be surprised at how the display of your assorted collections can add a fun corky touch to your home, while getting rid of the clutter.

Fashion In The City

Took a trip out into the city this weekend for the Melange Fashion Show 2011. A night time event, I dressed up in my favorite black pieces, adding a jewel tone necklace for a pop of color. Many designers showcased throughout the night, but I could not stop gasping as each piece in Carmen Chen Wu's "Saving Fish From Drowning" collection walked the runway. I fell in lust. An eclectic mix of patterned material and flowing fabrics, Wu weaved each of her designs into a fresh interpretation of western men's wear for women. I want. I need. Sigh. 

{H&M Babydoll Dress, Steve Madden Pumps, Donney & Bourke Purse, Necklace from Ibiss, Forever 21 Cocktail Ring}

Fashion Photos by Karla Bravo visit Karla Bravo Photography

Color-Blocking and Block Sales

With a pocket full of change, I ventured out to Willow Glen this weekend in search of vintage finds. Delighted, I stumbled upon a neighborhood filled with blocks of sales. I wasn't looking for anything in particular but, by habit, I hunted for old jars and depression glass pieces, both which are always welcome additions in my home. Yet, I did have my eyes pealed for some old-school clothes and or accessories, hoping to find something unique. I was about to give up on my vintage hunt, and go home with a 25 cent French glass jar and 10 cent Indian ash tray, when I found the most adorable skirt. A sea of purple vertical stripes, it fit like a glove. I got to talking to the two lovely young ladies selling me the item and was delighted to find out that Miss Kari Laux had taken style into her own hands, modifying the skirt's length. I can't wait to rock my fab recycled find!

{Banana Republic Top, Target Dress worn as Skirt, Express Belt, Express Sandels, Vintage Necklace, Forever 21 Ring}

Fashion Photos by Karla Bravo visit Karla Bravo Photography