31 January 2012

Melted Crayon Art

I have seen this melted crayon art all over Pinterest. So, of course I wanted to try it. Here is how I did it and some tips to make it awesome.

What you need:
- Canvas (I used a 16x24 inch canvas from Michael's)
- Crayons (I used to 24 packs of Crayola crayons. You might want to get 3 packs just in case you don't want to use certain colors, like brown or grey)
- Hot glue gun
- Hair dryer

First, lay out the crayons on the canvas in an arrangement that you like the most. You can go horizontally or vertically on the canvas, it all just depends on how many crayons you have and how long you want the wax to drip.

Next, hot glue the crayons onto the canvas. It is a little tricky to make the line stay straight, so take your time.

Once all of your crayons are on the canvas tight, stand over the canvas with the crayons facing away from you, and tilt the canvas towards you. This will allow you to get the right angle when melting the crayons.

Blow dry the crayons at the tip of the crayon, not the top. Make sure to blow at a downward and straight angle. Otherwise, you'll get some wax flying out onto random parts of the canvas. This part only took me about 15 minutes. Be creative with your design by making some colors drip further down the canvas than others.

Let it dry and you're done. It was pretty easy and looks awesome!

Good luck!

30 January 2012

Galette des Rois (Kings' Cake)

Galette des Rois is a popular French cake eaten to celebrate epiphany. Although the actual holiday is January 6th, one of my French friends told me that this cake is often eaten throughout the month of January. Traditionally, a bean or "feve" (a tiny figurine) is placed inside the cake. Whoever gets the piece of cake with the feve is crowned king for the day.

I made this cake last week for a French club dinner, and I had multiple French people tell me that it was excellent. Trust me, French people do not give out compliments flippantly, especially when it comes to food. So, you can believe me when I say this recipe is both delicious and authentic (and vegan--huzzah!).

Almond paste (for filling):

3/4 cup whole almonds

1/4 cup powdered sugar

1/4 cup white sugar

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

1/4 cup water

Galette des Rois:

1/2 cup almond paste

1/4 cup white sugar

3 tablespoons vegan butter, softened

1/4 cup applesauce

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 pinch salt

1 (17.25 ounce) package frozen puff pastry, thawed (I use the pepperidge farm brand because it is vegan)

Powdered sugar for dusting


First, make the almond paste (if you want to skip this, you can buy pre-made almond paste at the grocery store).

Blend almonds in a food processor until they are close to a powder.

Add the sugar, almond extract, and water.

Blend until smooth. Put in the fridge until you are ready to use it for the galette.

Now for the galette. First, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Place the almond paste into a food processor with about half of the sugar, and process until well blended. Add the butter and remaining sugar and blend until smooth. Then blend in the applesauce, vanilla extract, almond extract, flour and salt. Set aside.

Roll out one sheet of the puff pastry into an 11 inch square.

Place an 11 inch pie plate, cake pan or frying pan on top of the rolled out pastry. Trace along the edges with a knife.

Lift away the corners of the square, leaving only the circle you've traced. Take the puff pastry and lift onto the baking sheet. Put in the fridge and repeat the process with the other sheet of puff pastry.

Now, remove the first sheet of puff pastry from the fridge and pour the almond mixture into the center. I usually turn up the sides of the puff pastry slightly so that the mixture does not escape.

If you're putting a feve inside, do it now. Then, take the second sheet of puff pastry and place it on top of the first. Tuck the sides of the top layer underneath the first so that the almond filling does not spill out while baking.

Use a knife to make a criss cross pattern on the top of the galette. Put in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and dust with powdered sugar. Return to the oven and cook for an additional 12 to 15 minutes (or until bottom is a golden brown).

Serve it warm or cold. Bon appétit!

29 January 2012

Adorable Up-Do/No Heat Curls

I saw this hairstyle originally in a video on pinterest. I love doing my hair this way because not only is it super simple and easy to do but every time I style my hair like this with out fail I get a compliment on it. The other day I was walking around campus with this hair style and a girl passed me on her bike and yelled "I like your hair!" What's even better, you can wear your hair like this all day and when you take it out the next day, it turns into curls. Win-win, for sure.

Start out with wet hair (I blow-dry my bangs though, otherwise they dry all wonky). Comb your hair and put a headband over your head like in the above picture.
Grab a portion of your hair--the more hair you take, the thicker the curls will be when you take it out the next day.
Wrap the strand of hair around your headband. I usually loop it around twice and then add more hair. Keep wrapping/adding hair until you reach the back of you head. Leave about 2-3 inches of hair hanging down.

Now, start on the other side of your head

You might need to push your hair forward to have enough room to wrap all your hair. Simply grab what you've wrapped so far and push it towards the front of your head.
Almost done! You should have just a bit of hair hanging down. Simply take this and tuck it into the hair you've already wrapped.
Now, just add bobby pins and lightly hairspray it so it'll stay in all day. I usually put in about 5 or 6.
If you're going for hipster, leave the headband over your bangs.
Since you're probably not going for hipster (although the fact that this blog had zero followers could make it un-mainstream enough that you might be hispter...if so, my apologies for assuming that you're not and don't follow this next step), lift the headband over your head and place right behind your bangs. I usually clip my bangs at the side (with a flower I stole from Cassie..sorry! I shall return it soon...until then I'm getting some good use out of it).

So there you have it! Leave it in all day and overnight. The next morning, take out the bobby-pins and headband and your hair will be curly.

25 January 2012

Homemade Iced Passion Tea Lemonade

I recently made it my personal goal to drink all of the tea that I have in my apartment. This may seem to be a simple task, until you see how much tea that I, along with my various roommates, have accumulated. There are about 20 boxes of tea sitting in my kitchen, waiting to be consumed. I am graduating and moving out in early May, which gives me about three months to reach my goal. After about the ninth time that I had a regular cup of hot tea, I decided to switch it up a little bit. I worked at Starbucks for about five years and made probably over 1,000 iced tea beverages for customers. So, not to be overly pretentious, I think I know what I'm doing. I decided to tackle the iced passion tea lemonade because it is my favorite out of all of the iced tea choices. Passion is an herbal tea with hibiscus flowers, orange peels, licorice, cinnamon and lemongrass.

Tazo Passion Tea

To start, I used Tazo's Passion Tea, which you can find at most grocery stores or even at your nearest Starbucks. First just steam the same number of cups of water as the number of bags you will use. I wanted to make enough for about five people, so I used five tea bags. When the water is boiled and scorching hot, pour it into any large container that won't melt (I used a metal mixing bowl). Use a small piece of tape to secure all of the tea bags in the bowl. Allow the bags to steep in the steaming water for four minutes, and then remove them. Add equal amounts of cold water to the bowl (so for mine I added five cups). Place the container in your fridge for about one hour, or until the tea is cold.

My steeping tea bags. The smell is tantalizing.

Once your tea is cold, pour one cup into a glass and then add a 1/2 cup of lemonade. I used Tropicana's Trop50 lemonade, but it really doesn't matter what kind of lemonade you use, as long as it's sweet. You can even make your own by simply squeezing fresh lemons into your glass! Add ice, stir or shake well and enjoy!

Almost done!

If you want to spice it up a little bit more, add any kind of sweetener. I used about a Tablespoon of Light Agave Nectar. But you can use sugar, Splenda or whatever. I even added a shot of rum to one of my glasses, and it was extremely tasty!


23 January 2012

La Naissance

I start this blog because I want to live deliberately, I want to live deep and suck out the marrow of life. This blog, with the help of the website pinterest, is going to be the place for me (and my co-bloggers Valerie and Cassie) to do just that.

I’m constantly finding and pinning images on pinterest (FYI, mom, pinterst is a website where you can create and manage “pinboards” of images or ideas you find interesting.) that inspire me: whether it be a magnificent view of some foreign place, a mouth-watering vegan recipe, a quote full of wisdom, or an altogether adorable outfit that I never would have thought to put together on my own. At some point, however, inspiration needs to bring about action, or it’s pretty worthless. And sometimes turning inspiration into action can be scary or overwhelming or confusing. Sometimes it’s none of those things and only a matter of getting off your butt and doing it. Either way, I’ve found it’s always worth it.

So, that’s my goal with this blog--to chronicle the fruits of my inspiration in order to live more deliberately. That means that I will sometimes blog about cooking, sometimes about fashion, sometimes about travel, sometimes about random thoughts that are weighing on my heart; essentially wherever I'm finding inspiration at the moment. This blog will serve two functions: first, it will actually make me get off my butt and do the awesome ideas I come across. Second, it will be a testing ground for said ideas. So, I’ll actually be able to say if the “10 minute DIY scarf made out of an old t-shirt that you can wear 27 different ways” works or if it’s altogether too complicated and just makes you look like an idiot.

Clearly, as the title would lead you to believe, most of my blog posts will concern ideas I’ve seen on pinterest. However, a good portion of them may just come from my own mind. As I mentioned earlier, two of my amazing friends, Valerie and Cassie, have agreed to join me in this endeavor and will be writing their own blog posts here too.