Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Crepe Cake with Candied Lemons

Hey there! My name is Ale and I'm Helen's sister and occasionally her super awesome photographer! Last month I celebrated my birthday with this awesome crepe cake and I wanted to share the recipe with you guys on Sweet Helen Grace

I absolutely love crepes, and once you get the hang of them they're really easy to make. The best crepes are incredibly thin, so making a tall crepe cake will require lots of patience. I obviously have little patience because my cake was a little stump. I recommend making this cake with some sort of cream icing in between each layer. The icing made for the Chocolate Cake with Honey Roasted Apricots would be perfect for this because it's light and won't compete with the lemon flavor. Sharing the recipe for this cake was a little challenging. I have been making crepes for so long that I can make the batter without thinking about it very much. For reference, I modified this recipe from Two of a Kind's savory crepe recipe. I hope you guys give this recipe a try! Before I begin, let me just say that this post was supposed to be called "What a Crepe-y Cake!", but this is like a serious blog, or whatever. 



Candied Lemons                                                                                                                             

Ingredients:

2 large Meyer lemons
1 cup of sugar (I used unrefined sugar)

Crepes                                                                                                                                             

Ingredients:

2 cups of flour
2 cups of milk
4 large eggs
3 tablespoons of unsalted butter
1 wee pinch of salt
1 tablespoon of vanilla extract

Instructions                                                                                                                                     

1. Cut one lemon into thin slices, remove the seeds and toss away the ends of the lemon rind. In a medium saucepan, bring water to a rolling boil. 

2. Remove the saucepan from heat and then place in the lemon slices. Gently stir them for no more than 2 minutes, remove the slices from the saucepan and immediately transfer them into an ice bath. Afterwards, drain the ice water.

3. In a skillet, combine 1 cup of water and 1 cup of sugar and dissolve the sugar on medium heat. Cut the second lemon in half and squeeze fresh lemon juice into this mixture. Once the sugar is completely dissolved and bubbling (not boiling!) add the lemon slices to the water and lower the temperature to medium low. Keep the lemon slices in simmering water until the rinds of the lemon look glassy (45 minutes-1 hour). 

4. Once done, place the candied lemon slices on a waxed sheet and set aside to cool.

5. Melt the butter in a small-to-medium bowl. Combine the flour, milk, eggs, butter, pinch of salt, and vanilla extract and whisk until smooth. If you find that your mixture is thick, which was my experience using the original crepe recipe, slowly add a couple of tablespoons of milk until the consistency is runny. 

6. Heat an 8-10 inch non-stick frying pan over medium to medium-low heat.

7. Lift your pan from the heat, add 1/4 cup of batter to the pan and swirl it until the bottom of the pan is completely covered.

8. Once the edges of the crepe look crisp, and the center of the crepe no longer looks uncooked, use a non-stick spatula and your fingers to flip the thin pancake over. Leave to cook for about a minute and then flip the crepe onto a plate. You want the crepe to be golden so if it's still too pale cook it for a little longer.

9. Repeat until finished with batter. Make more batter if you want a taller cake.

10. When you have finished making all of the crepes you want for your cake, stack them on whichever serving platter or tray you wish to serve it on. I recommend using an icing of your choice in between each layer.

11. Garnish cake with fresh lemon juice, candied lemons and powdered sugar. I added a couple of orange ranunculus for presentation.


Tips:
* If you don't plan to use your crepes immediately after, wrap them up in foil so they don't become hard and stale. 
* You can add sugar to-taste to the crepe batter for a sweeter cake.

Enjoy!
--
You can also check out Ale's blog at downtomyskivvies.blogspot.com

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Happy Accident

Photos by Ale Veyna and Sarah Veyna

Outfit Details:
Black Tank Top
Turquoise Pencil Skirt (Similar)


What I love most about documenting my personal style on this blog is finding different ways to wear pieces that are in my wardrobe. When I left the house to photograph this outfit, I was wearing a white crocheted top. After taking a few photos, I realized that it looked way too bulky underneath the tight pencil skirt, and decided to take it off and leave on the black tank underneath. I initially wasn't too thrilled about the outfit change and wanted to go home and put on something else, but my sisters insisted that I photograph the outfit as is. I'm glad I did because I really love how cool and effortless this outfit looks. Also, given that temperatures were high this weekend, it was probably a good thing that I got rid of the  extra layer. 

I'm curious, how do you all find new ways to style pieces that you own? 

xoxo,

Helen

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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Navy Shirt Dress


Photos by Ale Veyna 

Outfit Details:
Shop Ruche Necklace (Similar here and here)
H&M Navy Shirt Dress (Similar here and here)


This shirt dress used to be one of my favorite things to wear when I first purchased it, but I've hardly pulled out of my closet in the past year. If you've been following this blog for a while, you might even remember it from this post. Last week's high temperatures were the perfect excuse to put it to use again. This shirt dress is perfect for hot summer days because of the light material and flared skirt, both which provide a good amount of ventilation. I also love accessorizing this dress by layering on a cute necklace that peeks out underneath the collar; I feel that it adds a nice touch to an otherwise very simple dress. My only complaint is that this dress fits very tightly around the chest area so I have to take the precaution of putting on an undershirt whenever I wear it. 

Do you have any go-to pieces that you wear to beat the summer heat? 

xoxo,

Helen
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Monday, June 22, 2015

California Summer Bucket List


I've recently realized that this might be my last summer in California for a while since I'm moving to the Pacific Northwest this upcoming fall. Although I'm excited for this new turn of events in my life, there are moments where I wonder about how I'm going to deal with not being able to see my family and friends all the time, not making trips to my favorite coffee shop and simply leaving all the things that have become so familiar to me in the past few years. To make my transition a bit easier for me and make sure that I make the most of the time I have left in my home state, I decided to put together this short list of things I want to accomplish this summer. 

  • Make time to visit Museums-It's crazy, but I still haven't been to the Getty Villa even though I've lived in the L.A. area my entire life! It's also been a while since I've visited The Getty Museum, LACMA and MOCA
  • Go to a couple of concerts-I want to catch a show at my favorite venue, the Hotel Cafe. I also want to make the most of the free concert series going on around L.A. such as Grand Performances, Saturdays Off the 405 and Levitt Pavilion
  • Spend a day at the Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens-This is such a gorgeous place and I can spend all day just walking around the different gardens. 
  • Explore bookstores around Los Angeles-Before I leave, I want to make sure that I make one last trip to The Last Bookstore, Skylight Books, and Vroman's Bookstore
  • Schedule a beach trip at least once a month-I am determined to put my bathing suit to use this year. Also, I made several trips to the beach last year and realized that I like making the time to sit down and just relax. My favorite beach is Strand Beach in Dana Point, which I discovered after my best friend Laura and I made it our halfway meeting point last summer. 
  • Go out dancing- My favorite place to hit up is The Echo for Funky Sole on Saturday nights. I love that there isn't a dress code and you get in for free before 10:30. 
  • Tour Hearst Castle-I've always wanted to visit this place because it looks so gorgeous in pictures. I might stop here on my way up north and go on one of the tours.
  • Make a day trip to Salvation Mountain-I really want to make a trip down to this quirky landmark before I leave the State of California. That being said, I think that I'm going to have to make that trip by the end of this month, before the heatwave hits.
  • Spend a day in San Francisco-I'll most likely stop in S.F. on my way up to Portland. I've charged my bestie Laura, who is moving up to the Bay Area this summer, with the task of finding all the best coffee and food places before I arrive.
  • Ride a bike-It's been a very long time since I've been on a bike and I figured that I should try it out again before I relocate to a much more bike-friendly city. I'll probably go on a bike ride during one of my beach trips--bike paths seem so much safer to me than riding on the busy streets of L.A.
  • Go on a coffee shop crawl around L.A.-Visiting new coffee shops used to be my favorite thing to do because it was a fun and inexpensive way to get out of my neighborhood and visit other parts of L.A.. I've become a creature of habit mostly because I found a coffee that I'm in love with near my house, but I want to try to make the effort to try something new. I also might just make a day out of visiting some of my favorites around DTLA such as Blacktop, Demitasse, G&B and Cafe Dulce, and then head back home and hit Copa Vida, Intelligentsia, Home Brewed Bar and Jones Coffee Roasters. I'm going to be so caffeinated!!! 
  • Go on a metro adventure-I used to ride the metro more often when I worked in Downtown Los Angeles and had a monthly pass. I find riding the train to be a very peaceful activity and there are so many cool spots to visit along the different metro lines. I might make a day of it and visit a few places that I would normally avoid driving to due to traffic.
  • Spend time outdoors-I want to schedule in a few hikes on weekends and maybe have a picnic around the Echo Park Lake


That's it for my bucket list. I want to keep it nice and simple so that I can make sure to do everything on my list. Do you have certain activities or goals that you want to accomplish this summer?
----
I hope you all had a great Father's Day weekends celebrating your fathers as well as the single mothers who went the extra mile to adopt that role. My sister Ale and I took our dad out to brunch, and spending time with him reminded me of how fortunate I am to have such a positive male role model in my life. He's loving, supportive, and always inspires me to be the best version of myself that I can be. That must be why I have such high standards of all the men who enter into my life. All joking aside, he really is awesome and probably deserves to be reminded of that more often than just once a  year. 

Have a great week! 

xoxo,

Helen

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Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Striped Mini Skirt

Photos by Ale Veyna

Outfit Details:
Silver Earrings (Gift from my mom)
Old Navy Crew-neck Sweater
Madewell Striped Mini Skirt 


Temperatures have been in the 90s this past week and I've been wearing several versions of this outfit to deal with the heatwave. This mini skirt, also seen here, has to be one of my favorite things to wear during spring and summer months. I purchased two versions of this skirt last year (I also own one in green), and I wear both pretty often. What I love most about this skirt is that you can easily wear it with t-shirts and tanks, and even a sweater on chilly mornings. Who doesn't love pieces that make it easier for you to get dressed in the morning? 

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Monday, June 15, 2015

DIY Lace-Up Flats


I've been seeing lace-up flats and heels everywhere this season and I'm officially obsessed. I have a couple of pairs on my wish list that I've been eyeing for a while, but I figured I'd try making my own before going out and splurging on a new pair of shoes. I'm really, really happy with how cute this diy project turned out, and I also love the feminine touch this pair of shoes adds to even the most simple outfit. Keep on reading to learn how you can transform your own pair of flats. 


MATERIALS:
A pair of flats (I bought this pair from Target in "Blush")
Scissors
16 pieces of cording 2" long (in the color of your flats)
2 pieces of cording 72-80" long (in the color of your flats)
E6000 Glue
A popsickle stick or cuticle stick to apply glue


Step 1. Take 14 of your 2" pieces of cording and, using the E6000 glue and stick, glue the ends together creating a loop for the longer pieces of cording to go through. This wasn't an issue for me, but if you have tight shoes I would recommend using very thin pieces of cording for this step so that they don't dig into your foot when you wear your shoes.


Steps 2. Before you start gluing on the cording loops, place the pair of shoes side by side so that you can make sure that the placement of these loops is the same on both shoes. On each shoe, you're going to glue a loop in the middle-front, and then you are going to glue 3 pieces on the left side of the shoe and 3 pieces on the right (as shown above). 


Step 3. Take the last two 2" pieces of cording and glue each end to the heel of your shoes, creating a loop. The first picture shows these pieces of cording glued together like the other pieces of cording, but I had to reposition them after I gave these shoes a test run and the pieces started rubbing against my heel. 

Note: Make sure to let the glue dry for 24 hours before you wear your shoes. I made the mistake of trying to lace up my shoes earlier than this, and some of the loops came off in the process. 


Step 4. After the glue has dried for 24 hours, you can go ahead and lace up these shoes and wear them around town. Just as a tip, I found that it's much easier to put on these shoes while the laces are still on so that the pieces of cording don't fold into the shoe.

I hope you find time to try out this diy project this summer! I also want to make them in black, and possibly other colors, so you might see them all over my personal style posts in the upcoming months.

xoxo,

Helen

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Saturday, June 13, 2015

Weekly Picks

Photo from my Instagram

I don't have much going on this weekend and I'm pretty excited about that. I'm trying to be more spontaneous and just play it by ear when it comes to my weekend plans, even though I'll probably just stay in. That's actually kind of exciting to me since I'll have time to work on a couple of sewing projects I started last week. I also want to start making accessories and other things to sell on my Etsy shop, which has been closed for quite a while. While I go work on those projects and figure out other ways to spend my weekend, I'll leave you with these links:

xoxo,

Helen
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