Monthly Archives: March 2012

Day 24: POP Pilates thigh workout

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It’s hump day and Day 24 of the Pinterest Project. For today’s project I decided to get physical and work on my legs. As a warmup to this workout I ran in Central Park after work today. I only did a 30 minute run, but it felt so good out there with 60 degree weather. This winter I went on a running hiatus since it was so cold and I just couldn’t force myself to run outside, so since it’s finally warmer out, I’m trying to get back into my old running routine so I can compete in some more races this summer/fall!

For today’s project, I did the POP Pilates thigh workout which is specifically targeted at your inner thighs and creating that ‘gap’ between your legs that every trim or fit woman has. This workout was originally posted from the blog ‘blogilates’ which focuses on pilates and healthy eating. For this workout you are completing a cycle of four different leg workouts and repeating this series 3 or 4 times.

POP Pilates thigh workout: (repeat cycle 3 or 4 times)

  • Heel Pulse – 20 pulses on each side
  • Single Leg Raise – 20 on each side
  • Froggers – 20 total
  • Sideways Scissors – 20 total

After completing this cycle a few times, I personally thought that  Heel pulse and the Single leg raise had the most benefit on my legs. I really could feel the muscles in my inner thigh’s working on those two exercises. I felt like the frogger and sideways scissors worked my abs more than my legs. All of these are really good workouts, and I already do the single leg raises a few times a week. I’ll definitely have to add the heel pulse to that routine!

 

Ok, so it’s getting kind of late and I am absolutely exhausted, but I had to tell you about today before I sign off. Today was the first day of my new job and it was AMAZING!!! Seriously, it is so much better than the last place I was working. Everyone is really friendly, I get summer Friday’s, lots a vacation time and the place has a pretty stress-free vibe to it. Also, that salary I’m getting makes it even better!

I’m really happy that I found this place to work and everything really just fell into place for me getting this job. I was kind of stressing out about resigning from my old job, but I was trying to be patient and pray for direction in what to do. I literally resigned from my job and immediately found a new one. This was definitely proof that God’s timing is perfect and he played a huge role in finding me this job right away. It’s literally everything that I wanted in company, which makes the move even that much more meaningful! I feel so completely blessed right now and excited for what my future might hold here.

“The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, To the person who seeks Him.” Lamentations 3:25

Ok time for bed because I have to be at the office now at 8am…eek!

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Day 23: Crayon Watercolor Art

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Since today was my last lazy day before starting my new job tomorrow, I took full advantage of it. Like yesterday, I slept in again and it was glorious. It’s always comforting being in my warm bed when it’s 30 degrees outside! After I finally got out of bed, I made myself a breakfast of champions: fried eggs with turkey bacon. It was as delicious as it looks!

I finally got my day started when I left to run errands at 12:30. Although I do enjoy the occasional day when I do nothing, it was too nice and sunny outside to sit indoors all day. This first thing I did was head down to Brooklyn to pick up some canvases and watercolors. A friend told me about an art store off the L train line that has really inexpensive canvases, which they do. I definitely got my money’s worth out of my new canvases and I can’t wait to use them! The watercolors were used for today’s Pinterest Project.

Then, I used up a Groupon that I had for a mani-pedi and reflexology massage! It was so relaxing and exactly what I needed before starting a new job. Plus, I loved the colors I picked for my toes and fingers. My toes are like a red poppy color and my fingers are more like a coral color. I’m ready for summer if you can’t tell 🙂

I finally made it home around 5pm and relaxed until I decided to make Day 23’s Pinterest Project. Today’s project was crayon watercolor art and it was super easy! This was originally pinned on Pinterest from Alisa Burke’s blog, who is an artist/photographer and she is always coming up with these really creative ideas. What I made today was on her ‘creativity with crayons’ post.

Supplies:

  • watercolor paper
  • crayons
  • watercolors

Directions:

Using a white crayon, draw a picture or write a quote on your watercolor paper. The crayon creates a resist for the watercolor.

Paint over the entire paper with watercolors and your art comes to life!

This was the first one I did and I realized after I started that I didn’t add enough water to my paint, so the top part of my picture was a little too dark, but overall you get the idea. After this one I decided to make another picture. Instead of using white crayons this time though, I decided to use colored crayons and you can see the difference in my pictures.

This one turned out much, much better! I finally got the hang out it and I decided to do a more organic paint job and not paint the entire page.

Here’s another angle. I’m definitely going to frame this and hang it up!

Day 22: Honey Garlic Chicken

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It’s Monday and almost the end of March! I can’t believe almost a 1/4 of the year has already flown by and I can’t wait for it to officially be summer. I’m ready for some consistent warm weather! Last week we were blessed in NY with weather in the 70’s and for some reason a cold front has decided to come through this week. I don’t like waking up to 30 degree weather! Never have, never will. I need to be in warm environments because I get cold way too easily, plus I packed up all my winter clothes.

I start my new job on Wednesday, so I took advantage of sleeping in today as with my new job I’ll have to be at the office at 8am. I haven’t had early mornings like that since I quit teaching last year, It hasn’t even been a year since I was waking up every morning at 5 am, but I’ve already become accustomed to sleeping in and waking up at 7:30 am! Needless to say, Wednesday morning will be tough. Besides sleeping in today, I literally did not leave my apartment all day. It was really windy and although the sun was out, it was still too cold to enjoy the weather. Instead, I watched movies and did an in-home workout focusing on my legs and abs. Tomorrow I’ll hit the gym or Central Park to get in some running. Today I also cooked!

For Day 22 of the Pinterest Project I made Honey Garlic Chicken for dinner. This recipe was originally for pork chops, but since I’m not a big pork chop eater I substituted it with chicken. Plus, I had two chicken breasts that I needed to use up that expire in a few days, so this recipe was perfect for those! This recipe was originally pinned from the website ‘Spark Recipe’ which is a healthy recipe website. I cut this recipe in half to account for the fact that I was using less meat as the original recipe was for 6 pork chops.

Honey Garlic Chicken

Ingredients:

  • 1/8 cup honey
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • non-stick cooking spray

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a shallow dish, whisk together honey, soy sauce and garlic. Coat chicken in mixture or if you have more time, marinate chicken in mixture for 6+ hours before cooking. Set aside leftover honey mixture for basting.

Put chicken breasts in baking dish that has been greased with non-stick cooking spray. Bake for 30 minutes or until cooked through, basting two times with remaining honey mixture.

As you can see from the picture, I paired my chicken with a side of garlic spinach which was super easy to make. (Sautee one clove of garlic in olive oil until browned, add 2 cups spinach and cook until it wilts –  only takes 5 minutes.)

This chicken was amazing! I know I’ve said that a about a few of the recipes I have made lately, but seriously this was really good. This chicken was one of the most moist pieces of chicken I have ever had in my life, literally. The chicken had a subtle honey garlic taste and was just oozing with juice when I cut into it.

It went perfectly with the spinach for a light, healthy meal. This recipe will definitely be one that I make for a long time! I might even end up trying it with pork chops, like the recipe was originally intended for. We’ll see if I feel up to it, but if it tastes anything like this chicken, then I’m sure I’ll end up enjoying it.

And Mom, when I come in town for Easter weekend I’ll cook this for y’all and give you a break from cooking dinner one night. Trust me, y’all will love it! 🙂

Day 20: Cheese Enchiladas and Day 21: Awesome Legs Workout

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It’s been a few days since I have posted anything, so let me catch you up on what’s been going on! On Friday I found out that I got a job offer from a  company that I had interviewed at on Tuesday, so that was really exciting! Plus, I’m getting a huge pay increase, which makes the new job even that much more exciting. I start on Wednesday!

My old office gave me some flowers as a going away gift. Look at those yellow roses…they made me think of the Yellow Rose of Texas!

Ok, onto the Pinterest Project and I actually wrote this post out last night after eating, but for some reason the darn thing didn’t save and I was too tired to rewrite it, so I figured I’d just post days 20 and 21 together!

Yesterday was Day 20 of the Pinterest Project and I made Cheese Enchiladas! I’m not a big enchilada eater, but when I do eat them I want them to be spicy! My favorite homemade enchiladas growing up with some that my mom made and she accidentally messed up the recipe causing them to be spicier than normal. To this day my brother and I still talk about those enchiladas and how they were the best ones my mom ever made.

This enchilada recipe is actually one that I have been making for the last year, and I have pinned it on Pinterest. It is a cheese enchilada recipe that I adapted from the March 2011 issue of Martha Stewart’s ‘Everyday Food’ magazine. [Sorry mom – I took this one to NY with me!] I changed this recipe up by making it a little spicier!

Cheese Enchiladas with Tomato-Jalapeno Enchilada Sauce

Ingredients:

Tomato-Jalapeno Enchilada Sauce

  • 1 can (28 ounces) whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1 jalapeno
  • 1-2 tablespoons hot sauce, depending on how hot you want it (I use Frank’s)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • pinch of sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste

Enchiladas

  • enchilada sauce
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • 2 1/2 cups shredded cheese (I use Mexican blend)
  • diced onion, avocado, cilantro or sour cream (optional), for serving

Directions:

Sauce

In a blender, combine 1 can whole peeled tomatoes, onions and jalapeno. Puree until smooth and season with salt and pepper. In a medium pot, heat oil over high until shimmering. Add tomato mixture and simmer, stirring, until thickened, 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in thyme, vinegar, sugar and hot sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (Refrigerate in an airtight container, up to 4 days.) Makes 2 1/2 cups.

Enchiladas

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pour 1 1/2 cups of enchilada sauce into 9 x 13 baking dish. Working with one tortillas at a time, sprinkle cheese down the middle of tortilla. Roll tortillas around cheese and arrange, seam side down. [From the picture below you’ll see I had to use two smaller baking dishes as I don’t have one that is 9 x 13.]

Top with remaining sauce and cheese. Cover tightly with foil and bake until heated through, 10 minutes. Serve with desired toppings.

 It doesn’t take long at all for these enchiladas to bake! Corn tortillas are still nice and soft and with the extra cheese on top, they’re nice and cheesy!

I made some fresh guacamole to go along with these spicy bad boys. If you don’t like spicy enchiladas, then leave out the hot sauce and the jalapeno. If you end up doing that, then you’ll have a tomato tasting sauce, which will be much more bland.

Don’t those look so good! They were amazing and spicy, which is just what I wanted!

Apart from making these enchiladas yesterday, I went and saw the Hunger Games in the morning!! I was so excited to see the movie and overall I thought it was pretty good. I was actually surprised at how much they left out from the books, but they did get a lot in in 2 1/2 hours. I’ll be interested to see how the next two movies are since I think those books (especially Mockingjay) were pretty graphic and intense!

Today I was super lazy! I actually ended up watching movies most of the day and eating leftovers. The only active thing I did today was for my pinterest project, which for day 21, I did the Awesome legs workout that I had repinned to my fitness board. This leg workout is supposed to tone up your legs and make them summer ready in just 5 minutes a day, and apparently you see results in as little as 10 days! This workout was originally pinned from the website, ‘T-tapp’. There are 3 phases to this workout and you do 2 reps of each phase, eventually working up to 3 reps per phase.

Unfortunately I am not able to upload all of the pictures that show exactly what you are doing, so it is imperative that you go to the t-tapp website to see the movements. You are basically lying on your back with your legs in the air and are bending your knees (one at a time) while tightening your muscles.

This wasn’t a hard workout, but I already have pretty strong legs from running and years of swimming and water polo. If anything I think I’ll feel it more in my lower abs from holding my legs up in the air. On the website, they stated that this helps the muscles in your legs be longer and leaner, which is the result I’m looking for. I’m planning on incorporating this into my workout routine since it only took 5 minutes, so we’ll see if I get longer, leaner muscles as opposed to them being bulkier. Wish me luck!

Day 19: 10-1 Mini Workout

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It’s already Thursday and not only am I already excited because the weekend is practically here, but Hunger Games comes out tonight at midnight!! I have been anxiously waiting for this day, but I’m not going to see it tonight, so I have to wait a little bit longer. I’m going to see it on the IMAX screen on Saturday morning. I’ve already got my ticket! So, expect to read about it then 🙂

Back to Day 19 of the Pinterest Project… Since I decided I wanted breakfast food again tonight for dinner, I thought I wouldn’t bore you with another egg recipe and would do something fit and healthy instead! Today I did the 10-1 mini workout after doing cardio at the gym. This workout was originally posted to Pinterest from a tumblr page, ‘health-heaven’ where they have a plethora of workouts. You can pretty much find any workout you’re looking for on this tumblr page, including workout videos!

The workout is relatively simple. There are 4 activities that you are doing: jumping jacks, push-ups, squats and sit-ups. You work in descending order by starting with 10 reps of each and working your way down to 1 rep each. In total, you complete 55  jumping jacks, 55 push-ups, 55 squats and 55 sit-ups, so it’s not too shabby of a workout.

This workout was a little exhausting and I definitely felt it once I got through numbers 6 and 5, but once you make it through that, then its smooth sailing from there. Between this mini workout and the 300 challenge, you could definitely have some killer abs!

 

Day 18: Fried Egg, Avocado, Bacon and Tomato Sandwich

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I’m sure you have realized by now that at least once a week I eat breakfast (i.e. eggs) for dinner. I honestly would probably do it much more often than that, but I’m sure y’all would get tired of reading about it and that wouldn’t really fit into the premise of the Pinterest Project.

For Day 18 of the Pinterest Project, I am making a Fried Egg, Avocado, Bacon and Tomato Sandwich, or as I like to call it a Fried Egg BAT. When I originally repinned this to my ‘recipe’ board, I didn’t realize that I was just repinning a picture and not a link to an actual recipe. Luckily the name of this sandwich speaks for itself, so it wasn’t too hard to wing it.

Fried Egg BAT

Ingredients:

  • 1 egg
  • 2 slices of bread (I used Ezekiel 4:9 whole wheat bread)
  • 1 slicing or beefsteak tomato
  • 2 pieces of bacon or turkey bacon (I opted for the lighter turkey bacon)
  • 1/4 of an avocado
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • non-stick cooking spray or 1 tsp olive oil

Directions:

Cook bacon according to packaging. [I had 2 pieces of leftover turkey bacon for the other night, so I just reheated that in a frying pan for a few minutes.] Toast 2 pieces of bread in toaster and set aside on plate.

Starting at one end of the tomato, cut 2 or 3 slices off about 1/4 inch thick. Discarding end piece and set aside slices. Cut avocado in half and put away the half with the seed for use another day. Peel remaining half of avocado and slice. You’ll only need about 4 thin slices.

[Look at that avocado below! I have the hardest time finding ripe avocados in NY, so I was super excited when I picked this baby up today! There’s nothing better than a perfectly ripe avocado :)]

Heat frying pan on medium and spray with cooking spray or put olive oil in pan. Crack egg into pan and cook until desired doneness. [I personally like my fried eggs over easy.]  On one piece of toast, layer turkey bacon and fried egg and layer tomato slices and avocado on the other slice of toast. Salt and Pepper as desired.

Close the sandwich up and enjoy!

I know I say this a lot about, but this recipe was really good! I mean, I guess it should be since I’m picking out recipes that I would want to eat! I’m a pretty picky eater, but I at least know what I like. This sandwich was a little messy because of the juice from the tomato and the yolk, but it was totally worth it. The toast was a little more done than I typically like, but overall it was really good.

If you cook the bacon in advance, then you could make this for a quick breakfast before work! Plus, it’s relatively healthy. You’ve got your protein from the turkey bacon and egg, good kind of fat from the avocado slices, carbs from the whole wheat bread and some tomato slices for your veggies. I’d say this sandwich is way better than any breakfast sandwich you’re going to get from a fast food place!

One bite in and it was so good!!!! Try it, you’ll love it!

P.S. My abs are like seriously burning from yesterday’s 300 workout. I definitely need to incorporate that routine into my weekly workout schedule. If you didn’t see yesterday’s post, you can read about it here.

Day 17: The 300 Challenge

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For Day 17 of the Pinterest Project, I have decided to do the 300 challenge! This will be the first activity I have done from ‘Fitness’ board on Pinterest, so I am quite excited about it. Although I’m a little sore from running yesterday, the 300 challenge will be a good workout for my abs!

According to the blog, “2012…my last fat year” this workout is only supposed to take 15 minutes to do and once you are finished, you will have done 300 crunches.  Click on the blog link to get descriptions for each of the crunches. Also, do these crunches on a yoga mat because otherwise your tailbone will hurt.

The 300 Challenge

  • 25 in-n-outs
  • 25 bicycles
  • 25 reverse bicycles
  • 25 crunchy frog
  • 25 cross-leg/wide-leg sit ups
  • 25 scissors
  • 25 hip butt-ups
  • 25 heels to heaven
  • 25 roll-up v-ups
  • 25 leg climbers
  • 50 kayakers

All I can say is WOW! This was killer on my abs. I could definitely feel by abs burning the entire time and having sore legs from running didn’t help either. If you can stick to this workout a few times a week, then you’re definitely going to have some rock hard abs. Hopefully I can add this into my work out regimine a few times a week! Wish me luck!

Day 16: Jalapeno Crusted Chicken Strips with Jalapeno Ranch Dipping Sauce

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Day 16 of the Pinterest Project is already upon us and I have decided to make Jalapeno Crusted Chicken Strips with Jalapeno Ranch Dipping Sauce for dinner! When I saw this recipe on Pinterest, I knew I wanted to try it. I love jalapenos and everything spicy for that matter. The spicier the better, if you ask me! This recipe uses Jalapeno Kettle Chips, which are so good. I don’t eat potato chips often, but when I do Jalapeno chips are one of the few kinds I really like to eat.

This recipe is a little different from the one that was originally posted on Pinterest from the blog “My life as a Mrs.”  If you look at her recipe, you’ll see that I made my chicken into strips instead of keeping it as breasts. I thought it was be easier to dip the chicken in the homemade jalapeno ranch sauce, then to drizzle it on top of the breasts.

Jalapeno Crusted Chicken Strips with Jalapeno Ranch Dipping Sauce

Ingredients:

Jalapeno Ranch Dipping Sauce:

  • 1/4 cup mayo
  • 1/4 cup low fat sour cream
  • 1/4 cup (plus 2 tablespoons) low fat buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing (the powder)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • dash of cayenne
  • 5-6 hot pickles jalapeno slices, finely chopped

Chicken:

  • 4 chicken breasts or tenders (about 1 3/4 – 2 pounds total)
  • 1 bag Jalapeno Kettle Chips, crushed
  • 1 cup low fat buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • dash cayenne

Directions:

Jalapeno Ranch Dipping Sauce:

Mix all ingredients together (adding additional buttermilk until desired consistency). Set aside and refrigerate until ready to use.

Chicken:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease baking dish or baking sheet for chicken. In a bowl, whisk buttermilk, salt and cayenne. If using chicken breasts, pound out chicken breasts to 1/2″ thickness and cut into strips. Add chicken to buttermilk mixture, tossing well.

Place crushed Kettle chips in a shallow baking dish or bowl. Pull one piece of chicken at a time out of the buttermilk and gently shake to remove some of the excess buttermilk. Dip into the chips and coat thoroughly on both sides. Place on prepared baking sheet. Repeat until all chicken breast are thoroughly coated.

Place chicken in oven and bake for 25-35 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Serve hot with jalapeno ranch dipping sauce.

35 minutes later and the chicken was done. Honestly I don’t know how I feel about this recipe. I was a little frustrated while making it. The chips weren’t sticking to the chicken as well as I had assumed it would and since I cooked my chicken on a baking sheet, the bottom wasn’t as crispy as the top. Also, for some reason chicken looks pink in these pictures, but it was fully cooked!

My favorite part of the recipe was the homemade ranch dipping sauce. It gave the chicken a completely new flavor which was good because I thought the chicken was too bland. I could hardly taste the jalapeno chips and instead it just tasted like baked chicken with a few crunchy things on it. I’m not going to lie, I was a little disappointed with this recipe and I probably won’t make it again. Maybe it would have turned out better if I had followed the directions exactly and cooked chicken breasts, but who knows. The only thing I  for sure will make again is the dipping sauce. I think it would be really good with some buffalo wings or even over a salad – it would give it a really good kick! The pickled jalapenos in it made all the difference.

Let me know if you try this recipe out and get a better result!

Day 15: Moisturizing Face Mask

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Since yesterday was St. Patrick’s Day, I took a break from my Pinterest Project to enjoy the day. Literally I napped and watched movies all day and didn’t even wake up until noon! It was a ridiculously lazy day and I missed out on all the Irish festivities, but I’m sure I”ll make up for it next year.

Today I spent the afternoon shopping in Soho and when I came home, I knew I wanted today’s project to be relaxing and beautifying. So, for Day 16 of the Pinterest Project, I am making a moisturizing face mask. This recipe was originally pinned from a TLC article, “50 All Natural Beauty Products you can make yourself.”  If you look at the TLC website, you’ll see that yogurt and honey are two important ingredients in any homemade mask because yogurt naturally exfoliates your skin and honey retains water, so it keeps your skin soft. Hopefully this mask turns out well and adds a little extra moisture to my face since it looks like we’re finally done with winter and having consistent warmer weather!

Moisturizing Face Mask

  • 2 tablespoons plain yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1-2 tablespoons cooked oatmeal

Mix everything together until it forms a smooth paste. Spread over your face and leave on for 10-15 minutes. Wash off with a warm washcloth.

Ok, before I even put the ‘paste’ on, I thought that this was pretty disgusting…It smelled like sour milk and was not a normal mask consistency. In hindsight, I think the oatmeal should have been blended in a food processor and I should have used double the amount because it wasn’t dense enough to thicken up the honey and oatmeal. The paste was too thin even with me using 2 tablespoons of cooked oatmeal. As you can see, the mask is too runny looking.

After about 5 minutes of wearing this mask, it started to dry on my face. My biggest fear was that the oatmeal pieces would start falling off my face, but luckily they didn’t. Instead I just had a stinky sour milk smelling mask on my face.

Fifteen minutes later and the mask was off! For the first 5-10 minutes after taking the mask off, my face was a little red and warm, which I didn’t expect. Even though the mask was pretty stinky, it did make my face really soft, so the moisturizing aspect of it definitely worked! If you can handle the smell, then try this mask out because your face will definitely be soft.

Day 14: Crayon Art

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It’s Day 14 of the Pinterest Project and I am finally making a crayon art masterpiece! Ever since first seeing these on Pinterest I have wanted to try one. They look like so much fun to make and for the most party, they turn out looking amazing. Fingers crossed that mine does too!

Supplies:

  • Canvas
  • Crayons, an assortment of colors
  • hot glue gun with plenty of glue sticks
  • blow dryer

Directions:

Before you do anything, you need to figure out what you want your crayon art to look like. Next, gather all of your materials (see the list above).

Pick out the colors of your choice and lay them out on your canvas. Glue each crayon down individually. [I painted a picture on the bottom of my canvas so I didn’t just have a canvas full of melted crayons!]

Tilt the canvas for more controlled dripping. Blast the hair dryer onto the crayons until they start melting. Let them bleed as much as you like and then you’re done!

*Note – put down newspaper before you turn on the blow dryer. The crayons will splatter!

My finished Masterpiece – A couple dancing!

Creating this was a lot of fun, but a lot of work at the end. You have to put your hairdryer on a high setting so that crayons will melt. The low setting doesn’t really do anything. If you’re like me and you want to have a picture with your crayon art then be extra careful about the melted crayons and their dripping patterns because they can get a little out of control! Good luck on your own masterpiece 🙂