Friday, April 20, 2012

Feeling Funky?

Hello Friends!
Culinary school isn't always chocolate and smiles. To other students here at the CIA this is abundantly clear and laughably obvious of a statement, but to other people it can be a curious thing to say. 
But it can really get stressful, and even I feel down from it sometimes. Some classes are worse than others, and I made it out of the worst so far; Individual Production Pastries. 
Sounds fun, right? Well, not so much. More like boot-camp, only with more crying and blood. 
But regardless of feeling like a blubbering mess, I improved tenfold in the class, and in hind-sight wouldn't want it any other way. 

So if little old happy-go-lucky-me can feel like a completely different person from stress, I can't help but wonder how not so optimistic people deal.
I'd like to share how I pulled out limping but not entirely wounded from the toughest three weeks so far in school.

Firstly, don't feel ashamed that you are struggling. The old cliche holds true, different people find challenges in different things. It's perfectly OK if you feel like the only one having trouble. It may look that way to you, but I promise that you're not alone. Ask someone who looks like their doing well if they would help you, they will be flattered and you will be supported!
If you deny that you are having trouble, you'll never fix it. Meditate on exactly why you are feeling down- do you feel like no matter how hard you try you're only alright? Do you not enjoy what you are doing? And more importantly- what can you do about it?

Secondly, make time to do something you truly enjoy. You might not even want to do anything fun because you are so stressed out, but make yourself wake up early, have a gorgeously indulgent breakfast, and have a few laughs with your favorite television show or spend some time with a new book. It will help.

Next, do something brave. This can be anything from asking someone out on a date or extricating yourself from a negative situation. Take on something like a position writing for your school paper or snatch up a leadership role in a club. It can be big or small, but if it gets those nerves rattling, and holds promise of some really good end results, go for it! The adrenaline will boost your mood like you would not believe!  What do you have to lose?
And always remember, this too shall pass.

Lastly, call your family. Plain and simple!

How do you get out of a funk?

An abundance of love,

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Things I love Thursday!

Getting a little up in here! 
She's one of my very favorite bloggers, and I feel that she would be flattered and delighted by my sharing in her weekly gratitude.
So this week I am wildly joyful over...

 Hearth breads!
I am having a complete blast in this class. The Chef who teaches it is wonderful; he's extremely mellow and gentile and makes you feel like you can do anything. Also, he spoils us with tasty goodies.

The Slow Food weekend I have planned!
Saturday my dear friend and I are going on a farmers market run, then Sunday we have an Earth day festival to help out at, and Monday is hiking day. Too much fun.

All of the wonderful new CDs I bought this weekend!
I went a little crazy at the record store and came out with albums by The Shins, Foster the People, and Band of Horses. Let the jamming commence.


Everything has been going my way lately, I am blown away from joy!
Also, I passed my practical exam (six hour test, oi vey) and bought some great new books about farming which make me itch to go WWOOFING. But more on that later!

What has made you joyful today?
An abundance of love,

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Going slow on the farm!

Hello friends,
Today I took a trip down to Sprout Creek Farms to pick up some goodies for the Slow Food Flower and Garden trip tomorrow. Because it is an educational farm, they welcome visitors to wander all over and pet the animals, it's delightful!

The flowers on the property were stunning! The whole place smelled wonderful.

Look at this sweetie.


The animals were so friendly, you could tell that they are all very well loved, they came right over to say Hello.


From the market that the farm has, we bought two cheeses for the trip; one soft goat cheese and one harder cow's milk cheese. Then, because I can not resist local goodies, I bought some oatmeal cakes for myself (SO good!) as well as some Hudson Valley chocolate milk and perfect Apple pie granola. I can hardly think of a better way to spend a Saturday morning than roaming a gorgeous farm with a wonderful friend and some great snacks. We got to chatting with some of the people who worked there, and they let us in on a little secret- there is a bar around town which has line dancing lessons on Wednesday nights. I know what we're doing next weekend!

Here's hoping that we have a good turnout for our Slow Food trip to the flower and garden show tomorrow! Anyone keeping a garden? I'd love to hear about it!
An abundance of love,

Friday, March 23, 2012

A collection of tasty treats to share.

Hello Friends,
Please forgive the absence, but I have been keeping myself terribly busy between class and clubs lately. I have, however, snapped a few photos of some of the things I've been induing in. For example-


Coffee, Butternut squash, and Gingerbread macaroons from Apple Pie Bakery Cafe!

Brioche Pecan-Sticky Buns! (Also from APBC)


Tiramisu and Chocolate mouse, courtesy of a class called Individual Production Pastries (IPP).

Another, because they are too wonderful for just one shot.


A glorious brownie bite that was hiding in the mousse cup!


And finally, from the first day of my classical cakes class, puff pastry apple tart!

What have you indulged in lately?
An abundance of love,

Monday, March 5, 2012

Excitement, Excitement!

Hello friends,
I have a lot of really exciting news. 
Firstly, we got nearly 70 signatures for the graduation pledge! 

I spent the weekend at home. Which was entirely splendid. While I pretty much sat on my butt for two days straight it was glorious just being with my parents and watching silly things on the television. We also went to a pretty cool almost-antique shop and ate donuts.

I got to interview two people for the school paper this block, instead of just one. Every three weeks my school has a graduation, and there is always a speaker there who I am lucky enough to have a nice chat with. But last week there was an Associates and a Bachelors graduation, so that meant two different speakers! Homaro Canutu of Moto, Future Foods, and Cantu Designs- and Jeffrey Kmiec of The Greenbrier. How cool! (Keep your eye peeled for the new issue of La Papillote for my piece!)

Also, I had emailed Harney and Sons about taking the campus tea club to their headquarters for a tour and tasting, and I heard back from them! Meeting with the appropriate party this week to get everything squared away.

And finally! 
I handed in my training agreement for Restaurant Daniel! Oh happy day.

I have so much to be joyous about. Tomorrow I start a new class; Basic and classical cakes. Sounds like a blast! I've heard really great thing about the Chef who teaches it, too. A little intimidated, because I do not really know anything about making beautiful cakes, but I suppose that's why I'm in the class! 

I really just want to dance in circles and give people flowers, I am so filled up with happiness!
I hope that you are feeling just as magical.
What brought you glee this weekend?
An abundance of love,

Monday, February 27, 2012

Have fun, always.

Hello friends!

I count myself lucky in that I love going on job interviews. I know that this makes little sense coming from someone as introverted as myself, but I think it is so much fun. You get the chance to learn about some really great organizations and businesses, all the while learning poise under pressure and effective speaking. Because I know that job interviews are something that a lot of people struggle with, I thought that I would give y'all a little something to nibble on!

- Practice your handshake. Nothing puts me off more than a lame handshake. I know that you hear this all of the time, but a good handshake is warm, engaged, and firm. Grasp the person's whole hand, shaking only their fingers or not applying some pressure come across as disinterested and yucky. Also, make eye contact with the person while shaking their hand, ideally while thanking them for meeting with you. Which leads me directly into...

- Make eye contact! I know that it is easy to get nervous, but talking into your lap is unprofessional. And believe it or not, it is actually easier to answer questions thoroughly when looking at the person who asked you. Looking away or at your feet will make you want to ramble.

- Speak with the intention of answering the question. When you have accomplished that- stop talking. Even if there is a pause where they are not asking the next question, if you have answered, resist the ramble! That is when you say something that causes you to kick yourself later. Answer thoroughly, then stop. If their is a pause that causes you discomfort, ask them if your answer made sense, or say something like, "Did that answer your question?".

- Remember their name, and use it when you say goodbye. Instead of saying "Thanks for your time" and leaving, try "It was great to meet you, Mr. Potter. I'm looking forward to speaking with you further!".

- Read up on the company, and ask specific questions tailored to what you have learned. Your interviewer should open it up for you to ask your questions near the end of your interview, run with the chance! This will help to open up a dialogue rather than a Q&A, and will also let them know that you care enough about the company to do your homework. Ask the interviewer about their experiences as an employee of --. What projects are they particularly proud of? 

- Avoid bright colors or loud prints (unless relevant to the job, of course. As in a fashion magazine), opt for neutrals, you want the interviewer to focus on what you are saying, not what you are wearing.  Same thing applies to makeup.

- Ask a friend to proof read your resume, and re-write your cover letter for each place you are applying. Email it to them a few days before your interview with a quick message thanking them for their time.

- Do not be afraid to let your personality through! All day the interviewer is hearing people tell them what they think they want to hear, so being genuine in your responses will be refreshing. It will also make you feel more comfortable. 

- If you are not feeling calm and put together, just remember that the person interviewing you is only a person too. It is easy to feel nervous and like you need to impress them, but you are also deciding if the company is right for you, it's not a one way decision.

- Send the prospective employer a letter in the mail thanking them after the interview. It will make you stand out, just be sure to keep it professional. Remind them who you are, what time your interview was, and include your contact info with a brief sentence or two inviting them to get in touch should they have any questions about your resume or cover letter. You could also send it to human resources, if they helped you out. In my experience, HR folks are complete angels who work incredibly hard but get little recognition. They are there to support you, and to match up the right candidate with the right position, which is a lot easier said than done. So do not neglect them.

- If you are offered the job, but have decided that it is not for you, do not leave them hanging. If you need more time to think- ask for it! But do not just ignore them, it is unprofessional and insincere. Just as you want a prompt response, so do they.

A brief list for now, but I hope that helps! If you have any questions I am happy to help. Good luck job hunters- you are brilliant!

An abundance of love,

Friday, February 24, 2012

Graduation Pledge!

Hello dearies,
My wonderful friend Katlynn and I have taken on a project through Slow Food that we are simply thrilled about, and I'd like to share it with you! 
I mentioned Slow Food in a previous post, but as a refresher it's a club which aims to address sustainability, fair trade, organic, and community concerns. They do some excellent work, and one of my favorite professors is the adviser, so I'm having a blast! This project that we took on is called the Graduation Pledge and what we are trying to do is get a booth at graduations where we can sign people up for the pledge. What the pledge is, is a symbolic gesture which says that you will keep sustainability and locality in mind when you're out in the culinary industry, and you'll think about recycling and reducing waste as much as possible.  We are making little green ribbon pins to give to the graduates who sign it, and Katlynn has made beautiful wallet cards with the pledge printed on them. I love this project, and am so excited about it.

This is a national organization, and tons of colleges around the country are participating- and although it is only a symbolic gesture, it gets people thinking about being environmental, and everyone starts somewhere!
I am so excited about this project, and our first day will be next Thursday for the AOS graduation, then Friday for the BPS. We are working really hard to get the word out around campus, and I really hope that people respond well to it!
If it sounds like something you'd be interested in, have a look at their webpage. This organization is non-profit and trying to do the right thing, it means a lot to me and I can't wait to get started.

What small steps have you taken to care for the earth? And if nothing yet, what would you like to do?
I hope that you are feeling brilliant and beautiful.
An abundance of love,