Sunday, October 3, 2010

We go ba-na-na-na-na-nas.

So although Miami kinda sucks for me right now, I have a beautiful fantastic best friend as my roommate who deserves to be mentioned, since she really hasn't gotten much credit here. So here we go, drum roll pleeeeease, presenting the 10 things I love about Siobhan!

1) The fact that we can be absolute goons around each other. We make up original songs, (Life is Lookin' Up!) dance around our tiny little room, have fun doing pretty much anything, and confuse everyone around us with our humor.

2) She basically shares everything with me, especially since I am currently carless and computer-less (I'm writing this post on her laptop right now!).

3) Her style: It's kinda like mine but with a little sexy boho twist, so I love wearing her stuff to be a little different every once in a while.

4) Her taste in music (EXCLUDING country): We have some classic jams including Teenage Dream, Let's Get It On, Love Story, etc.

5) The fact that we work together: Yeah we spend a LOT of time together, and I thought working together would put a strain on our relationship, but she makes work oh so much more enjoyable, and we confuse all our coworkers with our strange relationship, so it's wicked fun.

6) We've both been through a lot together: We've both had a hard start to the year, and really understand how each other are feeling, so I can really relate to her.

7) She has some sweet DVDs, and we both love The Office and Glee!

8) She's ALWAYS up for a good time, whether she's sick, her wrist is fractured, or she's exhausted. She'll always come out with me and we'll always have fun.

9) She makes me laugh. A LOT. Brightens up my day.

10) I know she'll be in my life for a very very long time and that sense of security is pretty damn awesome.

Love ya babeskidoo. We've got a love like woah.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

In the future, find a home.

Things I miss:

  • My beautiful mom: Her smile, her hugs, her head scratches, her advice, and her hope and faith.
  • My amazing dad: His style, his humor, his sarcasm, his talent, his strength.
  • Jimbob: His individuality, his music, his sensitivity, his company.
  • Maggie: Her intellect, her conversation, her wisdom, her maturity.
  • Schmoops: His amazing cuddling ability in the morning or when I'm sick, his little furry face and his love.
  • My best friends, you know who you are: Your insanity, support, and the enormous amounts of fun I have with you all.
  • My family: Gram & Pa, Grandma Brannigan, Peggy & Bonnie, all my aunts and uncles and cousins, I love and appreciate you all.
  • Boston.
  • Cape Cod.
  • The seasons, especially fall.
  • My house, my room, my kitchen, DVR.
  • Red Sox fans.
  • Hearing "wicked."
  • Feeling like I fit in.
  • Normalcy, routine, comfort.

Hanging in there, all.

Friday, October 1, 2010

You know what I forgot was really tasty? Kraft macaroni and cheese. I may be like to think of myself as a fine food connoisseur, but come on. It's good (and cheap!). Just thought I'd let you know.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Only fools are satisfied.

If you haven't noticed by reading the titles of each of my blog posts, I can find a song for any situation. Each title is a different song lyric that relates to my current mood and situation. Yet, recently, with the absence of my laptop and iPod, I've kind of been music-less, which depresses me, since I always have my music playing. It sort of helps me figure out how I'm feeling.

Since times have been so stressful lately, my music would really help. It's a safety blanket for me, a comfort zone. Yet, what scared me for a while is that I couldn't think of a song that described what I've been going through.

I had an illuminating talk with my Mom the other day. I've been pretty down lately, and hearing her voice on the phone made me break down. My mother has the most comforting, loving, and supportive voice. Her voice can embrace me like a perfect warm hug, and make me feel home again. She also knows the perfect things to say at the perfect times. She gave me lots of advice that night, but one thing really stood out to me. All summer, as most of you know, I worked constantly. I hardly had any down time, and was always moving. My parents were supportive of this. They pushed me to get a job almost the second I got home, and liked the fact that I was constantly busy. I realized that although I was exhausted most of the time and sometimes resented going to work, I LIKED always being busy. Coming to school, I've finally gotten lots of down time. I think that this has confused me, and made me feel lonely and a little worthless, since I'm not always moving. I told my mom this, and she told me not to busy myself and fill my time up with activities, but to actually RELAX for a while, and try to enjoy the down time, the relaxation. It's funny, because I wasn't expecting that advice. She actually told me it was okay to sleep in until 12 every once in a while! I've been putting myself down so much, thinking I have no friends, no plans, no life, when I could just be EMBRACING the solitude for a little while. Now that I've started working at Abercrombie & Fitch again, that alone time is going to lessen and lessen, so I need to soak it up! It's a time for reflection and thought, and helps me look at myself in a different way, instead of distracting myself with day to day activities.

After having my sob session with my mom, I spent a few more hours alone, watching my favorite TV shows, catching up with some friends online, and just relaxing, and I actually enjoyed it. Then, after my roommate got home, we caught up, and watched a movie. The song at end of that movie gave me the lyrics I was looking for, it was the perfect song for the way I was feeling. I'm not going to lie, I actually kind of thanked God a little bit for sending me that song, it was a nice reminder that SOMEONE out there, at least, Billy Joel, understood how I was feeling. So thanks Billy (Mom too!).

Vienna- Billy Joel.

Slow down you crazy child
You're so ambitious for a juvenile
But then if you're so smart tell me why
Are you still so afraid?
Where's the fire, what's the hurry about?
You better cool it off before you burn it out
You got so much to do and only
So many hours in a day

But you know that when the truth is told
That you can get what you want
Or you can just get old
You're gonna kick off before you even get halfway through
When will you realize...Vienna waits for you

Slow down you're doing fine
You can't be everything you want to be
Before your time
Although it's so romantic on the borderline tonight (tonight)
Too bad but it's the life you lead
You're so ahead of yourself
That you forgot what you need
Though you can see when you're wrong
You know you can't always see when you're right(you're right)

You got your passion you got your pride
But don't you know that only fools are satisfied?
Dream on but don't imagine they'll all come true
When will you realize
Vienna waits for you

Slow down you crazy child
Take the phone off the hook and disappear for a while
It's alright you can afford to lose a day or two
When will you realize...
Vienna waits for you.

And you know that when the truth is told
That you can get what you want
Or you can just get old
You're gonna kick off before you even get halfway through

Why don't you realize...Vienna waits for you
When will you realize...Vienna waits for you

Saturday, September 25, 2010

There are things that drift away, like our endless numbered days.

I miss the fall. One of my friends was telling me how the leaves have started to change back home and I'm going crazy not being there. When I first came down to Miami I didn't think I would miss the four seasons. I'm not a huge fan of winter, and I like the heat, so I thought it'd be awesome! I really realized though how much I love them and miss them. I think the change is so refreshing. Yes, there is the horrible stretch of winter after New Years till March where all you want is the cold to end, but I think I'd rather suffer through that than put up with the heat and humidity all year long.

The fall is the best though. The leaves crunching and blowing in the wind, the crisp cool air, apple picking, layering, etc. I remember last year my friend and I used to buy pumpkin pie to remind us of home, but it just didn't taste the same eating it amongst palm trees and geckos.

Even though I'm not home for my favorite season, there are still things to look forward to! I turn 20 on October 22nd, and Halloween, one of my favorite holidays, is at the end of the month! As October begins, I hope life starts looking up, because right now, I'm still dealing with a lot. My computer's still broken, and my car is still out of commission. I have to keep the faith though! Better times WILL arrive.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Every little thing is gonna be alright.

"Cooking is like love; it should be entered into with abandon or not at all." - Julia Child

After watching Julie and Julia last night, and catching up with Mama Kelly on the phone today, I was inspired to finally write again. I realized how much I miss it, and how happy it makes me.

I have to say, I've kind of been through the mill. I'm back in Miami, yes, but for some reason, I'm not sure God wants me to be here since He seemed to do all he could to stop me from getting here. My car broke down multiple times, my purse was stolen, my computer broke, yet I, along with my dear father who accompanied me on the ride down, prevailed.

So now I'm here, in Miami, finally settled in after two or so weeks of classes. My car is still getting fixed, and my computer is still broken, but life is okay. I can't lie though, and I'm not going to try to pretend that everything is peachy keen, because it isn't. I'll be honest with you, I'm not really happy. Content, yes. Having fun, yes. Enjoying certain aspects of being down here, yes. But truly happy with where I am and what I'm doing? No. I'm not asking you to feel sorry for me, not at all, I just have to slowly realize that yes, although I may not be having a spectacular college life experience right now, there is a reason for me to be in Miami again. I haven't quite figured out that reason yet, but I'm trying! As one of my close friends told me a few days ago, there is a purpose for me being here, and I have to believe her. I have to trust that I'm not wasting my time, although sometimes I feel that way.

So, don't pity me! I'm in a beautiful city where I can go to the beach in December, I'm living safely in a huge dorm with one of my absolute best friends, I have a relaxed class schedule that allows me to work at Abercrombie & Fitch again for some extra money, and I'm making a lot of new friends. Now, here are a couple updates and important recent Liz Kelly facts for y'all:

1) I'm currently taking my last term of academics. I only have three classes left in order to get my Associate's degree, so I'm taking Menu Planning and Cost Control (which I like a lot), Nutrition (which I also enjoy, although I plan on cooking fatty French food for the rest of my life), and Environmental Science (which I detest, but hey, I need a science requirement!).

2) For those of you who were wondering, yes I'm planning on transferring next year. I have already started my common application, and it's not even due until March! I have a few schools on my list so far, even though I'm still searching for some more options: Cornell (my top choice), NYU (following in Maggie's footsteps!), McGill, and GW (following in Papa Kelly's! footsteps!). I plan on getting my Bachelor's in business and minoring in journalism, a new development. I'm tinkering with the idea of going into food writing (following my godmother Aunt Nancy's footsteps!). I'm slowly realizing that although I'm going into a field that really none of my family has ever even thought of going into, my family still has such great influence on my career choice. My dad's given me the theatrical, creative and passionate side of cooking that I love so much. My mom has made the writer in me blossom, and more.

3) I am trying as hard as possible to go abroad for my co-op trimester program in the spring! At JWU, you spend one trimester of your sophomore year working in the industry. The school helps set you up with an internship. It can really be anywhere in the United States, but a few people get spots to go abroad. France would be my ultimate destination, but apparently JWU has no co-op positions available there, so I'm trying to get to Italy or maybe Germany! Don't get your hopes up for me readers! It's very competitive and a difficult feat, but after talking to my academic advisor, he told me that I was the perfect candidate, so if I talk to the right people and put the effort in, there's a good chance I could make it! So say some prayers and keep your hopes up!

4) As I said before, I'm living in the same dorm I lived in last year, but in a different room, with different roommates. I share a room with my best friend down here Siobhan, and we have two other roommates, who we're not close with, but are easy to live with. Our room is huge. Siobhan and I share a bedroom, the other two roommates share a bedroom, we have a common area, a balcony, and a kitchen. I'm very lucky to have that much space, since it is rare on college campuses! I start working again at Abercrombie & Fitch next week. You may be wondering, after working in a kitchen all summer and getting experience, why would I ever go back to retail? Well, working in a kitchen is EXTREMELY demanding and tiring and would require my full attention. Because I'm going to school, and also trying to have fun with my friends my last year in Miami, I don't think that I could give a kitchen job the kind of attention it deserves. I figure it is more important for me to focus on school right now, and make some easy money on the side at A&F, rather then be exhausted from being in the kitchen and let my grades slip. It seems like the best idea for now.

Now, for all you fans out there, PLEASE comment! Your comments keep this blog alive! Even if you don't even know me that well, or think I would be confused as to why you're reading this, I thrive on your comments. I know I've said it in the past and failed, I really am going to try to keep writing. Like I said, I want to go into journalism, so this is perfect practice, right? I'm also thinking about starting a side blog, giving reviews of restaurants that I go to and commenting on different foods and ingredients I try or work with. This could be a helpful asset to my resume while applying to schools, and it'd be a fun hobby!

Thanks for reading, all. Happy to be back, it feels good. So, like Julia Child said about cooking, I'm entering into this year in Miami with abandon. I'm abandoning the doubts I had of being down here, the fear I had of failing and not being content, and the contempt and dislike I've had for the area and my school. These have held me back from succeeding and growing, and I'm abandoning them now, for good, and moving on, pushing to change my future for the better.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Soooo the whole thing about posting everyday? Not going to happen, sorry guys. I'm just too busy.

Can't really write now, about to leave for work. In the past two days I worked 24 hours, so I'm absolutely exhausted. Just pushing on until Thursday when I get my mini 4 day vacation down the Cape! I'll write a longer post then.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Our bodies get bigger but our hearts get torn up.

On my days off, I have to make a big decision. Do I sleep the day away to catch up on much needed sleep I've been lacking in on days I work? Or do I get up early and make the absolute most of the day, seeing friends I haven't seen, running errands I need to run, or spending time with family. It's quite the difficult decision.

Although I have relaxed a lot this summer during my days off, I think I've done some fun and productive stuff as well! I've gone into the city with one of my best friends, I've gone down the Cape to see another best friend and my grandparents and cousins, I've gone to Newport Beach with my Mom, Rockport and Essex with the family, and more.

I've kind of felt like this summer has been wasted on working, yet I think, although I kind of resent it, that that is what this summer should be about. I'm kind of getting a taste of the real world, what it will be like once I leave school and am working full time. I really feel like I'm growing up, and that both excites me and scares me to death. I've become more and more nostalgic for childhood. I miss finding enough dimes and quarters to walk downtown and buy some candy from the convenience store. I miss summers spent down the Cape where the most work I had to do was hoist up lobster traps and keep my room somewhat clean. I miss weekends spent with my dad, going to movies and on different adventures. I miss lots of things, and that makes me kind of sad.

Yet, I know I need to move on and grow up. Although I cannot do those things now as frequently as I'd like to, they'll still always be a part of my life. I know that I can go down the Cape whenever I want and feel like a kid again. I know that my dad is still up for adventures and trips to the movies, although I'm usually not available to do them, I know that if I REALLY want to, I can walk downtown and buy some candy. These times aren't gone, they're just less frequent. I guess I just need to come to terms with that.

Anyways, in a week I'll be down the Cape celebrating my dad's birthday with my ENTIRE family, and I CANNOT wait. Times with my family are what I treasure most right now. It is sure to be a fantastic day.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Is it so wrong to want rewarding? To want more than is given to you?

Sundays. Once a day of rest. Now, to me, a day of long, endless work.

Sunday is the day I dread each week. My 12 hour work day. I start work at 10, end at 10. This means I have to leave my house around 8:30 and don't get home until around 11:30. LONG DAY.

The other thing I hate about Sundays at work is that it's incredibly slow, and there are hardly any of us on the line in the kitchen. Therefore, when it's slow, it's SLOW. One can only chop so many shallots, blanch so many green beans, make so much mornay sauce. Running out of prep to do in the kitchen is the last thing you want. You look pretty embarrassing standing around doing nothing, and you'll probably wind up on your hands and knees scrubbing various hidden stainless steel that hasn't been cleaned in months. Then, if we suddenly get some business, it gets crazy busy, since like I said, there aren't that many of us. Lots of ups and downs in action, and it's really pretty exhausting.

So, to sum up it all up, Sundays suck. A lot.

Thankfully though, today wasn't too bad. And the one GOOD thing about Sundays is that I have the next two days off! Oh how I love Mondays and Tuesdays :D! Now, sleep, sleep, and more sleep.

Bon nuit, my body hurts.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Just the smell on the summer can make me fall in love

So here I am, back again, in the wonderful world of blogging. Didn't think you'd here from me again on here, huh? Well think again. I'm BACK and better than ever, here to give you an update on what has been going on during my CRAZY summer back home in Massachusetts. Also, at the end of this post, I have a big announcement, so keep reading!

First of all, the famous 25 hour drive home. It was exhausting, really really really really really long, and pretty boring, but with some great tunes, good friends, amazing hospitality, and lots of stops for greasy goodness along the way, I made it. It was actually pretty awesome and rewarding, driving up the east coast. I saw a lot of giant water towers in the shape of fruits and vegetables in the south, along with plenty anti-abortion and other conservative billboards (only in the south...). As I started getting closer to home, in the midst of nothingness, I came upon the Washington Monument! That was pretty much as exciting as it got. I kind of expected to see the ocean, and signs for authentic Carolina BBQ, the Statue of Liberty, a Georgia peach tree....but no. The biggest thing I realized is that there's really not that much of a variation between the United States of Massachusetts and the United States of any other's all America.

After I got home, after less than 24 hours of being there, I was pushed into getting a job. Yes, I grumbled and raged, begging my parents to let me relax just a LITTLE bit longer ("It was 25 HOURS Mom and Dad! 25 HOURS!") Yet, they were relentless, and as much as I hate to admit it, rightly so. Without their push, I probably would not have the amazing job I do today. A few months ago, after hearing about a connection to a restaurant owner that my dad had at work, I called the man and asked about the chances of a 19 year old skinny little culinary school girl with basically NO professional experience of getting a job. He told me to call him when I got back from Miami, so that's exactly what I did. Thankfully enough, I got an interview! I went in to talk to him and after a 3 minute discussion of asking me why I was there, what I hoped to gain from working there, and when I was available, he offered me an opportunity to stage the next day.

For those of you who are less familiar with the crazy culinary world, a "stage" is almost like an audition. It's a chance to work for a day (unpaid of course) in a kitchen to see how you like it, and how they like you. During my stage I basically did prep work all day: peeling shrimp, making homemade pasta, cutting vegetables, etc. At the end of my long day, I anxiously awaited my meeting with the head chef to see if I got the job or not! He once again, asked me when I was free, to which I obviously HAD to reply, "the whole summer, Chef! Whenever you need me, Chef! I can be here every day, Chef!" He also asked me about payment: "ANYTHING Chef, really. Minimum wage? I'm doing this for the experience!" After hearing that he really had no idea what minimum wage was, we settled on a small, yet realistic payment, of which I'm still quite pleased with. Like I told him, and have to keep telling myself, when I feel like I've been working my butt off and not making that much for it, it's about the EXPERIENCE, about getting the chance to work in a real professional kitchen after having absolutely no experience. Chef took a chance on me, and I'm extremely grateful to him for doing so.

ANYWAYS, let me tell you about what I'm doing in my job. First of all, I work 5 days a week, about 40 hours each week. My schedule is always changing as we lose and gain people, so it's pretty hectic. The restaurant is swanky New England style food with a heavy Italian and French influence. It's simple, but very fresh and good quality. My job title, I suppose, would be Garde Manger, which is a classical French term kind of meaning "cold prep," yet I do a lot more than that. I'm kind of on the helper station. I work the fryer to make fries, make salads, plate desserts and cheese plates, shuck a LOT of oysters (I'm becoming a pro!), make fish and chips and classic croque-monsieur and croque-madame (ham and cheese) sandwiches, and whip up milkshakes with our home made ice cream. I also help a lot with making the homemade pasta. As you can see, that is a LOT for someone who has no line experience. It was extremely difficult at first, for a while. Working in a professional kitchen is so different than being at school. You have to learn a whole knew language for doing this, working with as much speed and efficiency as possible, and trying to reserve as much energy as possible to last you through the long days and nights. It's finally sort of starting to click for me, I'm finding the rhythm of the kitchen, which really makes me proud.

The people I work with are amazing. As I expected, I'm the only girl in the kitchen, and the youngest. I also have the least amount of experience. So, pretty much, I have to REALLY hold my own. The guys in the kitchen are all really great, and have treated me with lots of respect. Of course there are lots of crude jokes and teasing, but it's all in good fun, and something I sort of have to be able to get past and shove right back at them. Working in a kitchen has really made me thick-skinned. I feel bad a lot because I'm not quite as fast or perfect as I'd like to be, and sometimes it slows the rest of the team down and they get frustrated with me. I really just hope they understand that I'm doing the absolute best that I can. I get so much help and support from the guys and will really miss them when I go back to school in the fall. My boss is great. Chef is very fair, with a good sense of humor. He's a bit intimidating at first, but has proved himself to me to be a great leader and extremely smart and capable, and I'm learning a lot from him. He treats every member of his staff with respect and treats the restaurant like his baby, keeping it in tip top shape.

So, since I'm working most of the time, I have limited availability to see friends and family. I thought that working so much would keep me from going out with friends and participating in different things, but it turns out that most of my friends are working just as hard as I am. It's really starting to hit me, what growing up feels like. I'm quite nostalgic now for past summers spent at the Cape catching lobsters and clams and helping Grandma with dinner. I even miss sitting at home in Walpole and being bored and sweaty, having nothing to do. I feel like I'm constantly moving, and when I'm not working, I have to make the decision whether to rest or to muster up some strength to spend time with friends and family. This summer has actually helped me grow closer to my family a lot, and I'm spending a lot of time (well, as much time as I CAN) with them, which I love. I kind of thought for a while that this was the worst summer I had ever had, since I was constantly working and hardly making any money. Funny enough though, I'm realizing it's one of the best, because I think I'm growing the most I've ever grown before. I think most people think of summer as a break, as a time to put dreams and ambitions on hold in order to relax and push aside thoughts of work and school. I'm kind of doing the opposite, focusing mainly on work and moving forward to a brighter future. It can be VERY tiring and difficult at times, yes, but I know it will make me a stronger person.

Now, to my announcement. I've decided how much I love to write, and how much I want to keep it as a greatly important part of my life. Also, I know how much the few o you who actually read my blog regularly enjoy it. Therefore, I've decided to try as hard as I can to write a post every single day, at least for the rest of the summer. I cannot promise it will be long and in depth. It might just be a picture or some song lyrics or a few sentences, but you'll get SOMETHING. It also may not always be food or work related, but it will definitely be ME related! I can't promise that I'll have something every day, but I'll try my absolute hardest. I wanna document this summer as best as I can, and this blog helps me do that. If you have any suggestions on stuff I should be posting, let me know in a comment!

Hope you enjoyed this "summer so far sum up!" Keep reading each day for more!

Je t'aime!

Elizabeth (Or, as I'm called at work, ElizabethRose, Blanquita [white girl], or Americana [American girl])

Monday, May 10, 2010

Here are a few more pictures I thought you'd enjoy!
Out for my friend Siobhan's birthday!
See my face next to the chef's head?! This was a picture in a local newspaper from an event I went to at the school. Pretty cool, right?

One of my dishes in Traditional Euro. It was pretty difficult to make the food look pretty, but we tried! This is a braised lamb chop stuffed with bacon, served with sauteed cabbage with pancetta and potatoes cooked with onions and bacon. SO MUCH BACON = so delicious.

This is a picture that was taken of be while cooking for my culinary community competition! I was chopping up pork for the baked stuffed clams.

Out for my friend Jess's birthday!

Plating in Traditional Euro.

You'll always make me feel best even when I'm blue, you'll always smile upon me and I'll smile upon you too.

So today, after a long leave of absense, I'm finally back again.

Being down south, I've had to miss out on two very special occasions in the past two days:
First of all, Sunday was Mother's Day. I believe it was the first Mother's Day I've been away from home, and although Mother's Day is not necessarily a HUGE holiday like Christmas or Easter, I definitely wished I was home. I love and respect my mother so much. She is the perfect role model, an angel, and one of my best friends. She has helped me through so many difficult times this year, and I feel closer to her than ever. I wish I could've been home to celebrate her yesterday. Also, I am extremely lucky to have more than one mother figure in my life. I have two amazing grandmothers, and Peggy and Bonnie, who have been there for me throughout my entire life as mother figures as well. They have been there through everything, my ups and downs, my successes and failures, and more. I could not be more lucky for having all of these women in my life, giving me gallons of motherly love.

Today was my sister's college graduation (or at least one of them). My whole family is in New York City to be there to congratulate her, and I feel terrible that I'm not there. My sister is also a huge role model of mine, and has helped me so much this year as well, giving me amazing advice. We get along better than ever, and I am so thankful to have her in my life. I am so proud of her, she has worked so hard and knows who she is and what she is passionate about. I envy her intelligence and poise. We are so different in our goals and aspirations, but I will take her hardworking and passionate attitude with me through life. She is sure to do amazing things.

Going back to mothers and family for a bit, yes, I was not able to go home for Mother's Day, but I WAS able to visit my amazing grandparents last weekend in Naples with two of my friends. We had been under an extreme amount of stress. I had class every day and had just worked a 38 hour week. We were sick of being in Miami, and VERY homesick. Naples was the absolute PERFECT medicine. Gram & Pa were SO hospitable, taking us for lunch at the pool, letting us relax and do our own thing, then Gram cooked us an amazing steak dinner. We were in desperate need of homecooked food! That Sunday was one of the absolute best days I've had in Florida literally all year. I was happier that day than I had been in a long time, and I think Gram & Pa so much for giving me exactly what I needed.

Now I KNOW many of you (cough, Aunt Diane, cough) want to know about my culinary life, and there is much to tell since I haven't been blogging in quite some time! I finished my dining room class with an A! I brought back my Friendly's skills and am now a pretty amazing fancy shmancy server. I know what fork goes where, different napkin folds, and when to remove the bread and butter plates! I also got to partake in a fantastic wine tasting!:

My chef in dining room class told me that I was one of the nicest people he had ever met. Pretty good compliment, huh? I thank Mom for giving me that nice gene!

My next class, which I just finished, was Traditional European Cuisine. It was nothing but stewing and braising all day, everyday. I made dishes like shepard's pie, braised lamb, braised chicken, etc. One of the dishes in the class was chicken paprikash (or chicken in the pot)! The techniques were not necessarily that exciting, but I learned a LOT. Also, my chef, who I didn't think liked me that much, took me aside at the end of class and told me how much he respected me and was recommending a supposedly very intense culinary business bachelor's program that he apparently "doesn't recommend to most because of how intense and rigorous it is." That was really exiciting to hear. I was glad to finish that class, I got a little tired of hacking up meat and throwing it in a pot to braise, but we got to do some cool things like set a pig's head on fire!

Cool, right?! One of the most exciting things that has happened to me recently, is that I won the Culinary Community Competition! The living and learning community I live in has a competition at the end of the year every year. We get into groups and have two hours to make a 3 course meal based on a mystery basket. We must use every item in the mystery basket and 3 proteins. I was not looking forward to this competition at ALL because I had been so busy and just wanted to relax. Yet, I sucked it up and went. The three proteins were pork, chicken, and clams. The mystery basket had walnuts, canned peaches, yuca, dried figs, sorrano peppers, sweet potatoes, green apples, and more. After much deliberation, my group decided on making a grilled chicken with a veggie rice and mango peach and apple salsa and crispy sweet potato garnish for our main dish. Our dessert was a tropical ice cream sundae, with homemade coconut fig ice cream, pineapple sauce, and a starfish cookie. My work went primarily into the appetizer. I made a baked stuffed clam with pork and a tangy slaw. We wound up winning, and the judges loved my clam! I brought my New England roots down here with me and proudly put them into my food. We received a certificate signed by the dean and two fantastic new knives. I am absolutely obsessed with my new chef's knife, and am pretty proud of myself. The competition really showed me that I have a shot at making it in this crazy industry. Here's a picture of our chicken! (I forgot to snap a picture of the clam, sadly.)

Anyways, now I'm in Stocks, Soups, and Sauces, which is pretty much self explanatory. I started it today, and just cut vegetables all day. My knife cuts should be pretty awesome when I get home for summer, so if you want to see a batonnet or a julienne, let me know! I cannot wait to et home and see everyone, I'm tired of Florida and need some Massachusetts in my life! I'm gonna try to keep this blog going through my deadly drive home and even through summer, since I'll hopefully be working in a restaurant (fingers crossed, eek!). I can't believe this year is almost over, and thanks again for everyone's support through it all. You know who you are.

Looking towards the future, I'm not sure how long I'll stay at JWU. I know I'm going to finish my associate's program there, because I love my culinary classes and want the degree. Yet, I feel like I'm not being challenged at all in my academic classes, and want a stronger college academic experience. In order to be truly successful both professionally and personally, I think a change is needed. I'm not exactly sure what that change will be, but it will probably involve leaving Florida for a different, more challenging business school up north (Cornell, possibly?). I might just try to apply there again, we shall see! I know I will find more satisfaction eventually, I just don't think it is completely there yet. Who really knows what will happen in the future though, right?! In some of my favorite words of William Shakespeare, in his play Hamlet, "If it be now, 'tis not to come. If it be not to come, it will be now. If it be not now, yet it will come. The readiness is all."

Oh, I'm ready.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

A moment, a love, a dream aloud.

I believe for a lot of you this is a much awaited post!

I was able to go home for Easter weekend two weeks ago and it was absolutely AWESOME. First of all, it was an unexpected trip. I didn't think that I would be able to go home until school ended in May, but my parents told me I could come back for Easter, so I was unbelievably excited. I was able to see my dad act again, which I have not been able to do in such a long time. I missed seeing him on stage, and missed even more being on stage myself. I LOVE food and everything about the food industry, but I have a great passion for acting and I want it to be a part of my life, even if it is just a hobby. Seeing him in Oliver! (yes, there's an exclamation point in the title), which is a show I've been in twice, gave me goosebumps. It's not the most amazing show, but the experiences I've had being in it were so fun and great and seeing the kids sing on stage made me miss doing it myself. Dad was also absolutely fantastic, and stole the show as usual. We'd hear people in the audience commenting on his performance and how great he was. Also, he played Fagin, which is a character that spends most of his time on stage with the kids in the show, and all the kids absolutely adored him. They made me jealous that I was not home more to experience how great of a father he is. They looked up to him so much.

I got to see my friends a few times, which was great! I got to go to my favorite breakfast place with my best friends (minus Natalie, who I miss oh so much!) and into Cambridge for the day with one of them, my friend Ariana. It was so fun. Easter itself was great! We went back to the delicious brunch place in Beacon Hill that we went to last year and met up with my aunt, uncle, my cousins, and my grandma. I loved seeing them all! Shoutout to my Aunt Diane by the way, she pressured me to write this post! Sorry I took so long! The food was amazing. I had french toast with a yummy orange marmalade and smoked bacon, AND lobster eggs benedict. Yes, that sounds excessive, but I couldn't decide!

Now, back at school, I've been super duper busy as always! I finished New World cuisine with a B+, which I'm actually proud of. The class was pretty difficult and dealt with a lot of techniques I had not used much before. My shining moment in that class was during our practical where my chef told me I grilled the best steak in the class! I don't have much experience grilling, let alone grilling steak, so I was pretty proud of myself. Now I'm in Essentials of Dining Room, where I wear a funny looking server uniform, learn about front of the house, and serve food to the dining room. It brings me back to my waitressing days at Friendly's, yet upper class. It's not that difficult, and kind of boring, but I'm learning all about swanky dining room information like the difference between a potage spoon and a bouillon spoon, how to fold napkins, and how to carry a large tray filled with dinnerware. We had to parade around the school carrying heavy trays to make us more "confident," as practice for service. It just made my arms hurt.

Anyways, I hope you enjoyed this post. April is gonna be a pretty crazy month. My friend is coming to visit next week so I'm really excited about that! Also, two of my friends birthdays are coming up, plus I'm working a lot as always. I got a positive write-up at work last week, saying that I always have a positive attitude and work quickly and efficiently. It was kind of cool, seeing that according to the managers, they hardly ever give those out.

More soon hopefully!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Je n'trouve plus de sens a ce jeu excitant

So baking class has officially ended, and I got an A! Hurrah! I didn't think I would do that well actually, because like I said before, baking is so not my thing, but I'm happy I did well! I'm so glad to be out of that class. I got so sick of eating bread and cookies and cake all day and not even seeing one vegetable or piece of meat. The best day of that class was pizza day, where we actually got to eat SOME form of real food. It tasted absolutely amazing. I want so badly to be able to make my own dough at home yet it's so tricky. Yeast is a nasty organism to work with. Plus I don't have a proof box and I'm entirely too impatient.

I'm currently in new world cuisine now, which is a complete change from my baking class. My chef is way more energetic and hyper, so it was a little difficult to get used to. I feel back in my element though, seeing that I get to chop, saute, and COOK again! The purpose of the class is to learn about cuisines of the new world (meaning North and South America and Central America) and focus on the techniques of roasting, frying, and grilling. There are three teams and each team uses a different technique each day. I'm a pretty damn good fryer, and our roast chicken was impeccable. We also get to serve a dining room which is awesome. I love being on the line in a kitchen and plating food.

Apart from class, life is going well! I'm working a TON though, so I hardly have any free time. My schedule everyday consists of class from 7-1 then working either from 2-7, 3-8, or 5-close. It's a pretty exhausting day, but I like to keep busy, so it's okay. My job is quite boring (folding ugly, waytooexpensive clothes, placing them on the floor, and watching rude Europeans who assume that I speak their language stampede these ugly clothes and purchase them), but I don't really mind it because the people I work with are really awesome. Also, I helped a customer in French the other day, which made me SO excited. I never really thought I would use my French that much, at least in the United States, but surprisingly there are a lot of French people in Miami (at least there are at Abercrombie and Fitch in Miami).

I come home next week, hurrah! I cannot wait. It'll be nice to leave Miami, even though the weather is absolutely gorgeous right now. I'm trying as hard as I can to get as tan as possible before I go home, so all my friends and family will be jealous. :)

Keep reading and spreading! If you have any suggestions, questions, or comments, PLEASE leave a comment. Your opinion is important to me!

Monday, March 15, 2010

I love that dirty water.

OH! I'm coming back to Massachusetts for Easter! SO excited! I'll be home from the 1st to the 4th, so get ready Walpole, I'm taking you by storm on this unexpected visit!

We live in a beautiful world.

Hello again world wide web! Once again, I've been on a hiatus, but I'm BACK and better than ever. I've heard a few requests to start this baby back up again, and I'm finally back in culinary labs, so the posts will be a lot more interesting! Before I explain what I'm up to presently, let's delve a little bit into the past few weeks, shall we?

First of all, my family came to visit a few weeks ago, minus dear Maggie of course. It was so amazing to see them, even though I bet they wish it was a little bit warmer. They unfortunately came down while Miami was going through a bit of a cold spell (If you can call 55 degrees "cold," fellow New Englanders!). I showed them around Miami, my tiny little school, introduced them to my favorite chefs, and enjoyed their company (and the dinners out, I get so tired of the cafeteria food!). They spent half the week in Miami, and the rest of the week we went to my grandparents' house in Naples to visit. That was equally awesome. I got to spend some quality time with both my grandparents, my fantastic great aunt Peggy, and the "fraunt" that's so dear to my heart, Bonnie, who have both been mentioned in my blog posts before and who are faithful followers! I beat my Grandma, Mom, and brother in Scrabble, ate some delicious home cooked food, dined at the swanky cluuuuub, and was able to go to my favorite fruit and vegetable store, where we picked up some amazing guacamole. It was almost like a week long vacation, even though from Monday to Wednesday I went to class. I absolutely loved seeing them all.

After my family left, I had about a week left of classes, then spring break started! I was asked by my family if I wanted to come home for spring break this year, yet I declined. Think about it: why would I leave MIAMI, the spring break capital of the United States, for cold rainy Boston?! So yes, I stayed. Except my spring break wasn't exactly what the average person expects a Miami spring break to be. Yes, it was incredibly enjoyable, but dancing on the beach and clubbing till 4AM isn't really my style, plus I was going broke, so I knew I had to work. (Did I mention I switched jobs from PINK to Abercrombie and Fitch? PINK never scheduled me, and all my friends work at A&F, so I'm a lot happier there.) I was able to healthily mix work and fun. Most of my friends left for spring break, but I still had a few good friends to relax and be poor with me. We had some adventures, yes, but mostly, it was all about a mixture of kicking back and relaxing, and working my butt off.

So now onto the present! Last week I finally started my third trimester. I finished academics with flying colors! Not to brag, but I officially have a 3.87 GPA! Yahoo! I do have to admit that my academic classes were ridiculously easy though, so I did not have to try all that much to receive the grades I did. Yet I'm still pretty proud of myself for not slacking off! Now I'm back where I belong, in my culinary labs, which will make for some interesting blog posts. This trimester I take basic baking and pastry (which I'm in now), new world cuisine, fundamentals of dining room service, traditional European cuisine, and stocks, soups, and sauces.

From taking five days of baking class, I've reinforced the knowledge I already had that I am NOT a baker, and I never want to BE a baker. Yes, I enjoy the class, the teacher is great, and I'm doing well in it. Yet, baking is WAY too scientific for me. I don't know if I've talked about this in earlier blog posts, but I've always told people that there are two categories of people, whether you enjoy cooking or not: pastry chefs (bakers) and culinary chefs. Pastry chefs are exact, scientific, calculative, precise. They are extremely detail oriented and mathematically inclined. Culinary chefs are more dramatic, brash, passionate (not to say bakers don't have any passion!), messy, impatient, and bigger risk takers. I hate being exact with measurements to the point that if I'm off by half an ounce, my recipe will fail. I hate waiting for something to proof or bake. I'm not that precise, I like to throw a dash of something here and a sprinkle of something there. I have the utmost respect for bakers and pastry chefs. I wish I could do what they can do and be passionate about it, but it's just not me. Plus, I'm getting a little tired of eating bread and pie all day in class. Yes, it's delicious, but where are the vegetables and meat?! The class is pretty fun though, check out a few pictures from it I posted below!

To finish, if you are a faithful reader, even if you're a stranger, please let me know. I really want to spread this blog far and wide, so forward it to as many people as you think may be interested in reading what I have to say. If you can do that for me, I can continue to provide you with posts about my crazy food-filled life here in Miami. Comment as much as you can, give me as much feedback as possible! I appreciate it more than I can say. Thanks to my sister Maggie too, for pushing me to keep working at this. I never realized how much I like writing and how I might be kind of good at it until I started this blog, and I hope to continue it in my future! Maybe I'll have a future in food writing, who knows?!

Bon appetit everyone! Like the new layout by the way? Here are the pictures!

Challah bread!

My unbaked challah.

My beautiful blueberry pie!

Unbaked pie, oh so proud.

Making baguettes!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

All my friends, they break and they bend, take shape and they tend, and get better with time.

So I've just had two weeks of ups and downs and lots of changes. Without getting really into it, two or so weeks ago, I lost who I thought were my three best friends at school. It's a long story, and not really worth explaining, but it was a really hard weekend full of confusion, miscommunication, and realization. Although they removed me from their lives, probably for forever, and it was really hard at first, I decided that I'm better off. I don't think that they were 100 percent a good influence on my life, and the whole situation really allowed me to look at myself, how I need to change, and what I value in a friendship.

I thought it was going to be pretty lonely, but surprisingly, I had a whole other group of friends behind me supporting me immediately. They listened to me vent, took me out, introduced me to people, and got me out of my comfort zone. I'm incredibly lucky that I've found a whole new group that seems to really care about me and treat me with respect and dignity. I have a ton of fun with them and they bring absolutely no drama into my life. They are people I can see myself being friends with for a while, and I'm so glad to have them around.

Anyways, Mom, Dad, and James are coming Sunday and I am beyond excited to see them and show them my new home away from home. I'm going to give them a tour of campus, show them fun places to go, introduce them to all my favorite chefs and friends, and spend as much time with them as I can. I'll be going with them to Naples for half the week to see Gram&Pa and Peggy&Bonnie, so I'm really excited about that as well! It's going to be an awesome week. They're coming Valentine's Day. At first I was a little depressed that I had no one to go out with on Valentine's Day, but then I realized that I will be spending the day with the people that love me the most in the world, and isn't that what Valentine's Day is about?

Aside from the ups and downs, life has been pretty steady. I've been working, going to class, relaxing, etc. I'm starting to plan out what I want to do this summer, where I want to work, what my future's going to look like. I've been reading a lot, which is good. There's an awesome library here filled with amazing culinary books, so right now I'm reading The Apprentice by Jacques Pepin, one of my heroes. It's a biography of his life, filled with recipes and stories. I saw him at a celebrity chef event, so it's really cool now to be reading his book, and I'm enjoying it a lot. I would recommend it, so you all should go out and read it!

More later, thanks to all who keep up with my crazy life.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

I will try to fix you.

If you want to check out the blog I created for the sleep out for the Haiti event tonight at my school, go to I will be the main blogger, providing updates periodically every hour or so. It should be pretty interesting. I got the idea to make it after you all loved my own blog oh so much. :)

So read it, spread the word, and enjoy!

Monday, January 25, 2010

It can only start with you.

After some pushing by Mama Kelly, I've finally come back to blogland. Sorry for the hiatus, I just haven't really had anything exciting about and I've been pretty busy with school. I also was pretty sick for a little while so I was dealing with that. BUT, I've returned with some updates for everyone! We'll go with the numbering system on this one.

1) I got a job! Hurrah! My money has been seeeriously depleting since I came back from Thanksgiving break. I had to buy lots of Christmas gifts, so that lowered my account significantly. I'm currently working at Victoria's Secret PINK. Not food related I know, but it's simple and easy, something I can do a lot during the week and still be awake enough to focus on school. I basically greet people and fold clothes. Everyone I work with is really nice and I'm enjoying it, so I'm happy. :D

2) I was sick for a weekend. Reeeeally sick. Right after I got my job I came down with something. I never made it to the nurse so I'm not exactly sure what I had, but I have a feeling it may have been strepth since my friend had it. It was not fun. I had to leave my first day of work early which was embarassing. I just slept a lot. I wish I was home so Mom would've made me my nest! She always takes good care of me. :) I'm all better now though! It passed.

3) I worked at the open house for my school this weekend. My favorite chef asked me and my friend to help him out. It was SO nice being back in the kitchen for a day. I missed it so much. We cooked up crab cakes to give to the guests to sample and talked to them about school and answered questions. It was a lot of fun and pretty weird because I was in their position exactly a year ago. It was so strange to be on the other side. Things have really changed since then.

4) I spent a lot of time in South Beach this weekend with my friends Siobhan and Jess. We sat on the beach, walked around, and made some new friends who go to school in Orlando. It's always cool meeting new people. They seem like they'll be good friends for a while. We got along with them really well.

5) This disaster in Haiti is a reeeally big deal down here. My little sister in the Big Brother Big Sister program is from Haiti and there are a lot of people down here connected to the island so the school is doing a lot to raise money. My leadership class has actually designed an event that will happen on Thursday where we will sleep out for Haiti on cardboard boxes with only blankets, water, and little food. We're trying to display the homelessness and people are going to sponsor us. If any of you are interested in sponsoring me let me know! You can't donate online, but there are ways. It should be a really cool event.

Anyways, sorry for disappearing for a while. I'll really try to be more regular about posting, it just isn't as exciting right now because I'm not in labs. If you want to know anything more, feel free to ask me anything via comments. I LOVE comments, so please, if you're reading, leave a comment and let me know.

Thanks to my faithful followers.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

This must be it, welcome to the new year.

Alright, so first post in a while. I know a lot of you guys have been waiting on me, so here you go!

I headed home for Christmas break on the 18th, and go back to Miami tomorrow. I absolutely loved being home, and did just about everything I wanted to do. It was so good to see my family and friends, a lot of whom I'm not going to see again until May. Isn't that weird? I'm not going to be home again for five whole months! Thankfully I'll be able to see Peggy and Bonnie as well as Gram and Pa in Florida whenever I want for a while, and my parents and brother are coming down in February, but I'm really going to miss my friends and good old Massachusetts.

Christmas was lovely as always. We didn't have a huge crowd, but the company was fantastic. :) I liked the smaller group anyways. Thanks everyone who gave me a gift for being so generous. I felt so lucky and loved this Christmas, and I really appreciate it. You were all so thoughtful. I would also say that Christmas dinner came out perfectly thanks to Mama Kelly and myself. The mashed potatoes were quite possibly the best I ever made, and the roast beef was perfectly cooked! Delicious. (Wasn't the gravy a good idea mom??) I gorged myself on Christmas dinner and cookies and felt quite wonderful.

Another highlight of the break was going to New York City to meet up with some friends from school. We had a fantastic time. We went out to lunch, to Dylan's candy bar, Serendipity for frozen hot chocolate, Rockefeller Center to see the tree, etc. It was strange seeing them all bundled up in New York as opposed to in Miami, though! I also was able to see a lot of my friends from home. I'm going to miss them a ton, so it was great to see them. We did all the usual things, nothing extremely special, but had a great time nonetheless.

So, I head back to Miami tomorrow, and classes start up again Monday, so I'll be thrown back into the swing of things immediately. I'm doing boring academics till the end of February, then will be starting up on labs again! Should be interesting. Love you all, and I'll update soon!