Monday, August 11, 2014

Thirty

So, I realize this post is incredibly delayed, seeing how my 30th birthday was a year ago! But it's better late than never, right? (I also maybe wrote it months and months ago and never published it... whoopsie)


I recently turned 30. I am not very happy about it, mostly because I can't believe my 20's went by so fast, I am still in shock that I am actually 30 years old.  I mean, I don't even feel 30 (if there is, in fact, a feeling associated with turning a certain age) It must be a good thing though I suppose, to not actually feel 30.  At any rate I was, and am still, not really mentally prepared to be 30... but it happend, time to suck it up and accept it I guess. So here we are. Hello 30...!?

Long before the "big" day arrived I figured that if I have to turn 30 I might as well make it a fun celebratory event instead of wallowing in self pitty.  So I made the decision to make my own cake(s) I also made the decision to keep things super simple because making cakes isn't always unicorns and glitter... wait who am I kidding, it totally is! Seriously though it can sometimes be hard, so I just decided to make it easy on myself, keep it simple yo!

For starters I decided to do a dessert bar, and went with a yellow, grey and white color scheme.  I love yellow, and grey together. Of course I needed certain decorative items to go along with the color scheme, so I went, where else, but Etsy in search of custom handmade and vintage finds.

During the planning process I had a lot of ideas. Cookies, giant jars filled with multiple flavors of French macarons, a table full of mini cakes in different flavors, cupcakes, brownies... the list goes on.

But in the end, like I said before, I decided to keep it simple.

I made two cakes: the first being a two layer vanilla bean cake with vanilla bean frosting (does it get more simple than that? I think not) the second was a toss up, I couldn't decide on a flavor so I held a contest on my facebook page and had all of my fans decide. The winning cake ended up being carrot cake, and I was totally fine with that. I don't mean to toot my own horn (actually yes, yes I do) but my carrot cake is pretty rad! Really, it is. It is the most requested cake flavor I get, hands down. Plus I really like carrot cake. Done and done. For this one I decided on a two tiered cake with my signature maple cinnamon cream cheese frosting (with just a hint of whiskey) and then I put some real yellow flowers on it. Done and done.

I also decided to make popsicles; a kid-friendly version and one with booze. Last I wanted one more, super simple dessert that would be easy to snack on, or "grab-and-go", so what better than cookies? I made one of my newer creations; zucchini orange shortbread cookies. They are the perfect summer cookie I think.

I had planned on getting a whole slew of giant outdoor games to play to keep people entertained (as if I am not entertaining enough!) Such as: giant inflatable bowling, life-size Jenga, Giant card games of various sorts, etc. I ordered the inflatable bowling online. It arrived and was about an inch larger than normal bowling pins... hardly "giant-sized", in retrospect I should have read the reviews. It's safe to say I returned that immediately. Bummer.
The life-size Jenga was over $300, and since I figured I wouldn't use it enough after the party to make it worth it, I decided to forgo that purchase.
I also ordered a jumbo-sized deck of playing cards, which arrived two days after my party took place, but they are actually giant sized, so I'm keeping them for future games of "asshole", slap-jack and the like. Because of the dissapointment re: the giant outdoor games I decided on a good old fashioned game of kickball.

My amazing boyfriend and his parents participated... wait, who am I kidding... they KICKED ASS in handling the majority of the food prep. The man-friend and his Dad cooked all the burgers, dogs and chicken for everyone and his Mom made the most amazing potato salad in the history of potato salads. I am fortunate to have had their help and am SO grateful!

I ended up having the party at the park down the street from my house due to the excessive number of people that RSVP'd (yeah, I know... I'm kind of a big deal) also, there was no way in hell we could play kickball in my backyard...

Looking back I regret not making actual paper invitations, or even an electronic one, I was lazy and  just sent everyone a facebook invite. Mental note for next time.

Thanks to everyone that helped out, (you know who you are) and supported me in this life acheivement goal of being a functioning human being for 30 solid years. Or whatever.
Okay, 30 ain't so bad...

The carrot cake.
I ordered this adorable "eat cake" sign from this shop on etsy, I also ordered a super cute white cake stand from the same shop, but I ended up making the cakes bigger than planned, so I didn't get to use it. It'll be perfect for some mini cakes down the road though!

I got this AMAZING yellow vintage coleman cooler from this lovely shop also on etsy. I kept all the popsicles in it. It was absolutely perfect and that thing was a huge hit!



Kid friendly coconut popsicles with chunks of mango, strawberries and blueberries. These were surprizingly delicious. I could have eaten 10 of them. Oh wait, I probably did. 


Boozy pops. Watermelon juice, mint and tequila. These were super yummy also, perhaps a tad too boozy though (yes, I realize what I just said here) only for the simple fact that they melted quickly.. because of all the booze. 

Some of the party supplies. My cute, "eat cake" sign! yellow plates & napkins there are also some gray polka-dot napkins there too, but they're kind of hiding. Grey and white striped paper straws and very tall white birthday candles all purchased (except the sign) from good-ole Targeeet.



Friday, October 18, 2013

Times, they are a changin'

So some things have changed around here recently and it's kind of a long story, and it's kind of an exciting story (to me anyway).

A new friend of mine recently got a job at a bakery here in SLC. She is just as passionate as I am when it comes to baking when we met, we clicked immediately.  She knew that I had been wanting to work in a bakery for awhile, then one day she calls me up to inform me her work was hiring; they needed some help on the pastry side doing cakes, croissants, tarts, etc. She was so excited for me, (even though the timing of it all was kind of crummy - my man-friend's job had just gone through a huge lay-off and he was no loger working) But she gave me the pastry chef's number anyway, and told me to just give her a call, "see what happens" she says.

I am not going to lie, I was pretty scared to call. I had her number for two weeks before I actually picked up the phone. Working in a bakery, has been a dream of mine for a long time. But when you have a decent paying 9-5 job with paid time off, benefits and a 401k... you get comfortable. And you get scared to do anything that will drastically alter your comfortable lifestyle, whether it's a dream or not. And that probably sounds stupid to be scared for those reasons, but I was. It also didn't help that my man-friend had just lost his job... it's not like I could up and quit my job to work at the bakery. Not to mention I've never worked in a bakery so who knows if they would even want to hire me, because I didn't have much experience outside of doing cakes. Anyway, I hesitated, for weeks. Then one day, shortly after my 30th birthday I was sitting at my desk at my "comfortable" job, and had kind of an epiphany.  I thought, I can't do this anymore, I am not even remotely happy, regardless of the pay, benefits or retirement. Who gives a shit... when I am on my death bed I am not going to care about how much money I made or that I had a retirement plan... I am going to care about what I did with my life, and I am tired of constantly wondering "what if" and I certainly didn't want to be wondering the same thing when I'm dying.  I thought to myself: this can't be it, can it?

Let me give you a bit of a back-story. I have worked in a hospital for 12 years, that's a long time. I would say I am pretty good at what I do (at the hospital job), and at one point I actually did like it, and it paid pretty well especially for someone like me who doesn't have a college degree. So it seemed only natural to stay in this position for a long time. What's to lose? Right?

But then... almost out of nowhere things started to change, I really can't pin-point exactly when it happened or what it actually was that changed. But I have not been happy for awhile, a good long while. And I have just been "dealing" with it for a good long while because I thought that's just what people do, right? Not everyone can love what they do, or can they?

The only thing I had going for me were my co-workers, they were great, they kept me sane and happy even when the job got too hard. I knew I could always rely on them to pick me up when I was down, and that's probably the reason I've stuck around for so long. I have truly made some great life-long friends over the years (y'all know who you are *hugs*).  However, in this most recent position I've taken (I have been here about 6 months), I have been the most unhappy of all. And not in a busy, stressful, people dying kind of way; but a sad, lonely and bored out of my mind way.  I have felt like I am literally wasting my life away.

In this day-dream/epiphany moment I imagined that it was 30 years from now and I was old, and depressed and wondering "what if". At that moment I decided that I have been comfortable and scared for far too long. This was the opportunity I've been hoping for, and I was being a total douche about it! What was wrong with me!? It really is amazing what fear can do to you.

But I decided to stop being scared, so I picked up the phone and called the bakery, right that second. Four days later I was waking up at 3am to go the bakery do a "stag" (baker interview). And later that morning I was being offered a part-time job. OMG, really!?! HOLLA! The entire way home I had a perma-grin, I was more excited than I have been in years... about anything. I was giddy, bouncing up and down in my seat, blaring music and singing along. I truly felt alive! I will never forget that feeling.

As I sit here and type all of this out, I am getting a little teary-eyed (uh, apparently I'm officially a softie in my "old" age too). I am aware of how cheesy and corny this all may sound, but I kind of don't care what anyone thinks because I feel like I am finally moving forward, and I couldn't be happier about it! I have taken that step towards what I really think I want to do for the rest of my life (or until I can't anymore). Yes, it's a small step, (it has been almost 3 months since I took the job and I am still part-time), and yes, I am still working at the super depressing hospital job, but I am finally moving in the right direction.

At this point I am just taking things day-by-day and figuring everything out. I do know that I want to work at this place for awhile to gain more experience for as long as I can. I would love to be able to work here full time eventually and quit the hospital job for good... but that is aways away. For now though I am just happy to be learning something new each day I work there. I am pretty excited, and although I am severely sleep deprived, I do realize this (working both jobs) isn't forever so I am looking forward to what the future holds, whatever that may be.

Here are some of the cool thing's I've been working on at the bakery.



Carrot Cake macarons. Carrot shell, carrot jam and cinnamon cream cheese filling. 



PB and J macarons. Peanut butter shell, peanut butter buttercream and grape jelly filling. 

To see more of the cool stuff I'm learning how to do at the bakery, follow me on instagram: @salt_city_bakery

P.S. This is why my Etsy shop has been closed for awhile, and why it will most likely be closed until early January (I am also working on getting a commercial space which is part of the delay in re-opening).   During this hiatus though I will still be doing custom cakes, and local orders but on a smaller scale. 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Adorable First Birthday


A few weeks ago I did another primary color themed cake with blocks, but this time it was all buttercream. It was for a friend's son, who turned one. She wanted just buttercream so that he could dig right into the cake.

The cake was a 6" vanilla bean with light blue vanilla bean buttercream and primary colored accents. We also did some marble cupcakes with vanilla bean frosting and primary color sprinkles on top.

  

                           


The cake is great and all, but I can NOT get over these adorable pictures she took of little Cooper digging into his cake. I love it!


    





I mean, seriously how stinkin' cute is he? 

Monday, June 3, 2013

Where has the year gone?

So, I suck. I have been slacking horribly on my posts. And when I say horrible, I mean it. I haven't posted anything since March 2012! That was 14 months ago, in case you didn't know.
What have I been doing you ask? Well, a lot of stuff. But mostly sucking at updating this blog. Whoopsie.

So I was reading over my blog, (reminiscing if-you-will) when I came across The Next Great Baker post I wrote back in September 2011. I realized that I've not given an update on this post at all or talked about my "learning" experiences.
So early in 2012, I think it was around March or April, TLC contacted me again for season 3, they wanted another video. THEY contacted me out of the blue, which was so cool. So back to the drawing board I went and made another video and sent it off into the Internet abyss again (i.e. YouTube). Aaannndddd... sadly that's where the story ends unfortunately, I did not get picked as a semi-finalist and did not go to Jersey for another in-person audition. Which is all as well I guess, the first time I tried out and went for an in-person audition I was a nervous wreck. It was so bad you guys, I am surprised they called me for season 3, but hey, I tried again and that's what counts.

As for the "learning" experiences I talked about in that NGB post, I have to be honest, I have not been as pro-active as I would have liked. Life has gotten in the way. I have realized I just have too many hobbies and too many things going on. No, I am not trying to make excuses, I could have easily put all my hobbies, vacations and what-not aside and really focused. But I choose not too, I choose to have fun instead. Not that learning about baking is not fun, per-Se, but that when summer rolls around and it's warm and wonderful outside, you just want to be outside living and doing stuff, camping, hiking, biking and all those other wonderful things that come with Summer. I think you can relate?

Those choices are making me kick myself a little bit because although I have learned quite a bit over the year and a half or so since that post, I am nowhere near where I'd like to be. But I also don't regret living life either. I am trying though, and making more of an effort these days. I have been to some business classes trying to learn the other side of owning your own business (the not-so-fun side - paperwork, taxes, numbers and all that stuff that makes your business work and your brain hurt). I've also been very busy with my online shop, which has been wonderful, but also doesn't make for much time to experiment or learn new things, (especially since I still work a boring 9-5 job on top of everything else). So I am slowly getting there just going at my own (glacial-like) pace. I have made a commitment to myself to be more pro-active about updating the blog, I promise I won't neglect you as much this year.

In the meantime, for a quick re-cap here are some of the things I've been up to in the last 14 months... in no particular order.













Monday, March 26, 2012

Q/A with SchulmanArt

Miriam over at SchulmanArt did a very lovely Q & A on her blog about me, and Salt City Bakery today.

Head over to her blog here and check it out, feel free to leave a comment as well!