Chim chimney, chim chimney, chim chim cheroo! I does what I likes and I likes what I do!

12 Jul

Some people have a silly design aesthetic.  Like, ummm let’s paint the trim in our three story house a Werther’s Original butterscotch caramel-y color (not the good kind) and the all of the walls white.  Let’s also install really nice wood floors throughout the whole house.  Except of course, the stairway.  Those stairs need blood red carpet and those walls need to be… Hmmm what wall color will go well with blooood red carpet? Oh! I know!  Keep the baseboard and chair rail Werther’s Original butterscotch and paint everything under the chair rail a bright red!  Ughhh some people.

Don’t get me wrong, I love this house.  But I also love that the things I don’t like about it can be easily covered with some paint.  The first thing I decided to tackle was my room.  I’ve been sorta obsessed with the chevron pattern for awhile now.  Remember this cake?  It had a small chevron on the base.  Anyways, thanks to Pinterest I’ve been obsessing over chevron walls… to do, or not to do?  Do I have the gutssss?  Well, I do!

I kept going back to this picture for an accent wall.  I also used this website for a step by step instruction.

First step: Head to Home Depot.

Tip: Make sure you buy the right paint color.  Also, before painting the trim (baseboard, parts around the doors and window, and the top board that’s like 6″ from the ceiling) in your room, make sure you’re painting it with the right color.

I may have accidentally bought 2 gallons of a silvery grey, instead of 2 gallons of white… and one gallon of a purply grey instead of the one gallon of the silvery grey.  I also may have accidentally painted the trim in my ENTIRE ROOM the purply grey and didn’t realize till I stepped back to admire my work.  Rats.  That thing was supposed to be white… which I didn’t have.  Before you judge, the paint looked white when it was wet.

So, once all that is sorted out, be very OCD with your yard stick, balance thingy and tape.  I used Frog’s tape because the Home Depot guy said it would ensure the straightest lines.  I’m not sure if it’s better than other tape, but it worked beautifully.

The hardest part of this is to Keep Going.  At first, you think this will be like, oh so fun!  But, umm after the second line or so you start to see your bed and just want to be lazy.  Don’t be!  Especially when, after painting the first color, you realize you have to retape everything to paint the second color.  Raawwwrrrrrrr.

Once you’ve painted the second color, take off all that tape.  If you’re OCD (like me) carefully inspect each and every line/point to ensure they are perrrrfect.  Retouch as necessary.  

Voila!  Pump your favorite song (and maybe your fists) and do a victory dance!  You’re done!  

I’m going to be sticking with solid wall colors for a bit.  But, when I get in the mood again I want to do this and this.  Too perrrty. 

Being in love is like Armageddon

28 Jun

“Okay, so here is my philosophy on how to really tell if you’re in love.  Have you ever seen the movie Armageddon?  You know when Ben Affleck picks the short stick and has to get on the missile to save the Earth, but then Bruce Willis trades places with him?  Well, I imagine myself as Liv Tyler.  I would never want my dad to trade spots with any of my exes.  None of them compare to my dad.  But with Joe, I wouldn’t be able to chose.  I love them both too much.” -My roommate, who is very much in love with her boyfriend of 4 years:)

Kinda morbid, but cute nonetheless.  She and her bf are moving back to LA and I’m going to miss them SO MUCH.  They’re keeping their keys and we’re not changing the garage code in hopes that one day we walk in the house and SURPRISE! They’re sitting on the couch, just hanging out and watching TV.  It’s going to happen.  They’ll come to their senses the first week of being in Los Angeles… right?

ps. I’m LOVING SF (again) and my new trabajo!

Flower Cakes!

30 Jan

Wow!  Has it really been since November since I’ve last posted?  Obviously I missed all the “big” blogging topics- Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, and my bday.  Arrrggg.

The last few months have been challenging technology wise.  My car decided to run into a pole covered in concrete… in a parking lot, while going five miles an hour.  Then, my phone decided to be naughty by not letting the other person hear my voice.  My MacBook thought having a fuzzy grey bar down the middle was a great design choice.  Notsomuch. 

Technology and I are building trust again, but I still have one eye open just in case.

Well, besides all these hiccups, I can say the last few months have been truly sublime.  I feel like such a happy girl that I often want to pinch myself!  More on that later, but for now here’s a bunch of photos of things I’ve made recently.

We had to make a two tiered wedding cake out of fondant and include any type of flowers.  The cake is enrobed in white fondant (for some reason it looks pink in some of the pictures) and has white and blush-pink flowers. There is also a silver chevron pattern on the bottom and tiny white, blush and silver balls around it.

I LOVED making flowers.

 I think mine turned out so beautiful and realistic.  It was very time consuming- I wanted them to look REAL and the only way to do that was to have super thin petals.

The flowers dry out over time, but the petals are flimsy and slightly sticky and ooohhhh so fragile when you’re working with them.

 I kinda feel like fondant and I are best friends.

Here are more fondant flowers, just a different technique.  Each person seriously made like 40 flowers by hand this day.  They kinda look like molds, or cutouts, but trust me, they are not.  I was inspired by this and this … both images I saw on Pinterest.

Okay, well I know these are only two things but I’ve got to run! I plan on getting everything up within the next week or so. 

See ya later alligators!

♥ Heather

Cake Class!

10 Nov angry birds

We’ve been making cakes in class this whole week.

It’s been SO FUN.

Monday we practiced making flowers.  My little bro is turning twelve this weekend, so I made this for him.  Looking back, it’s kiiiinda girly for my super muscly football player, but whatever.  He should be thankful.  Ehhh I miss him and want to give him kissessss!

On Tuesday we used our carrot cakes to practice covering a cake and making figurines with marzipan.  I’m not a huge fan of marzipan or fondant, but it does make pretty cakes.  And the carrot cake was soooooo delicious.  I had to throw out the scraps because I couldn’t stop eating it.  Absolutely no self control.  Ever.

Don’t look at those “r’s”.  The chocolate was seizing. Eh. Look at the cute bunny!

Yesterday we practiced flooding chocolate.  First, you pipe the black outline, then add the detail, then pipe the colored chocolate.

It was hard getting just the right color, but I was really happy with how it turned out!  Fairy Odd Parents is one of my favorite cartoons to watch with my little bro and sis.  I seriously wish I could sit on my couch and watch this with them when they come home from school.

Blah, I couldn’t get the glare out.  Acetate paper makes the chocolate so shiny… which is a great thing in person.

Today we did 2D cakes with fondant… getting ready for those 3D wedding cakes!  I’ve been kinda obsessed with making an Angry Birds anything since I realized it would have made the cutest sugar sculpture a couple of weeks ago.

The lettering isn’t perfect.  I wanted to just paint the borders, but someone convinced me airbrushing it would have been easier… which it was, but didn’t look the way I wanted it too.  BLAH.  I still think it’s cute and if we didn’t have a noon deadline I would have added a bad guy and it would have been PERFECT.

♥ Heather

Spread Love Like Fire

9 Nov

The other day I had a brief, but long overdue conversation.  It was one that I had wanted to have for so long, but just couldn’t bring myself to begin.  Basically, almost a year ago I did something I am incredibly not proud of, but needed to make right.  Not only for my sake and piece of mind, but because no matter what, people deserve respect and truth.  And karma is a biatch.

I’m not going to get into deets, but I will lend a few pieces of advice… Some of which I unfortunately have to constantly remind myself.

1.  A sincere apology is never too late.

2.  You deserve a guy who doesn’t want you to be his “main” girl, or his “other” girl, but his ONLY girl.  You deserve someone who absolutely adores every single thing about you… Who loves your type of crazy.

3.  Love yourself more.

4.  If something smells fishy, it probably is.

5.  Love is easy when you’re kind to others.

I will never put myself in a position like that again.  For someone who genuinely loves LOVE, I can’t believe I was ever there in the first place.

♥ Heather

ps.  girls don’t like pictures of you holding your junk.  particularly when you haven’t talked to the girl in months. and especially when you have a girlfriend.  respect her.  love her.  and if you’re going to try to cheat, be smart and don’t leave a paper trail.  unrelated to this specific case, but I thought males of the universe should know.  just saying. 

Words of wisdom from Chef Musa Dagdeviren… Turkish badass.

8 Nov

Words of wisdom from Chef Musa, who was really the star of the conference (or at least the Eastern Mediterranean side).

Read what The New Yorker said about him HERE.

While I loved helping to create “modern” Turkish food, my stomach LOVED the traditional Turkish food being made beside me.  The flavors and textures were both unexpected and like nothing I had ever eaten before.

Gosh, I wish I knew what this was.  I had seconds and thirds.

So, I was excited when Chef Musa’s translator gave me a cup of this beautifulness… until she told me it was pickled veggies.

I’m not really into anything pickled.  But, of course I had to be polite and try it.

And thank goodness God I did.  America seriously needs to learn how to pickle like Musa.  It didn’t taste vinegary like most pickled things I’ve had, but incredibly well balanced.  I wish this recipe was in our master recipe document from the conference, but I can’t find it.  GRRRR.

One of my favorite parts of the conference was when Chef Musa, with his translator, took me aside and told us that it didn’t matter how famous you were or how many customers you have.  The most important thing is to be positive and have passion because your love and your emotion extends from your heart and mind through your hands and into your food.

That’s something I hope to remember wherever the future takes me.

Me, Belen (the translator/grad), Chef Musa, Molly, and his wife/photographer.

♥ Heather

Worlds of Flavor!

7 Nov

Last week school was shut down for the annual Worlds of Flavor conference.  You can learn more about that here.  Basically, every year our school invites 60 badass chefs from around the world to show off their skills to other leading chefs, foodservice industry pros, experts, writers and foodies.  Being around hundreds of the hospitality elite for a week is definitely one of the perks of going to such a great school. :)

So, this year’s theme was World Causal.  I was on team Mediterranean, working on the hot side for the popular London TV personality/cookbook author and exec chef of Quince restaurant in London, Chef Silvena Rowe.  I’m not going to lie, it was hard work.  There were many stressful moments (like, “holy ish what do anise flowers even look like” as I’m searching the schools garden… or realizing that I hadn’t eaten in 48 hours), but in the end it was one of the greatest experiences of my life.  I worked almost 60 hours in five days, drank way too much coffee, made beautiful and delish food on the hotside (who knew!), and learned important lessons from inspiring and well established chefs.  You know that song, “I am woman, hear me raaawwwrrr”? Well, I sang that to myself many, many times.

I didn’t get any pictures with the chef I was under or all the food we made, which makes me really sad.  Her recipes are amazing.  Straightforward, modern Turkish food for posh Londoners, she truly keeps the integrity of her ingredients.  Although I’ve seen TV chefs around campus, this was the first time I’ve actually worked under one.  Her passion was infectious.  I’ve always found it difficult to talk about my own food.  Mostly because I get nervous, or embarrassed and always have that worry that they’re not going to like my food as much as I may. But this woman, sheeessshhh.  She can sell it and talk to a crowd!   In her demos she would take a bite of food (that I made, btw :) ) and say, “I really wish you could try this because my recipe makes the best lamb you will ever have”.  And it’s true, it was delish.

Oh yeah, I have an open invite to London when I graduate too.  Which is pretty awesome and made the whole experience 100 times more worth it.  Obviously.

Here’s some photos of the conference…

“Surf and Turf”, made for the first seminar, “…Flavors from Turkey and Greece to Lebanon and Syria”.

Chef had me go up on stage with her to plate/cook the dishes while she talked about them.  She only had 8 min, so I did most of the cooking/prep ahead of time.  There were over 100 people in the audience.  100 very, very important people.  Dear Jesus, my hand was shaking!

Minced veal, veal spare rib and king prawn kabobs (we didn’t skewer them), served with oregano za’atar and a fennel, pink radish, red onion, pomegranate and flower salad.

“Orange and Orange Blossom Baklava” served with Greek yogurt and passion fruit puree.

250 portions for  Friday’s lunch dessert.

Hands down the most amazing baklava I have ever tasted.  This was surreal.

“Ottoman Spice Lamb Cutlets with Grapefruit Za’atar and Tahini and Lemon Sauce”

Made for the Mediterranean Spice Seminar

I’ve prepared meat at home, but doing it professionally is a completely different thing.  My chef gave me a lot of freedom (all responsibility for the recipes) so I manned up and grilled/cooked every single dish!  It was quite empowering.

“Spiced Lamb Rillette with Courgettes and Chile Pesto”

Also for the Mediterranean Spice Seminar.

I marinated the lamb shanks in suzme (Greek yogurt), orange zest, cardamom, baharat and other spices, braised it for seven hours, shredded it, made a terrine and let it sit overnight.  We served it on toasted sourdough and a slightly spicy courgette and chile pest, topped with Chef’s grapefruit za’atar. Amazing.

I didn’t make these, but they were also for the Mediterranean Spice Seminar.

The left and middle are from Chef Ana Sortun, from Oleana.  The right is from Australian Lamb, who sponsored the seminar.

My amiga was on restauranteur/Iron Chef Jose Garces’ team.

They made a “Foie Torchon with a Tomato and Jalapeno Jam” for Saturday’s Marketplace.  The photo doesn’t do the orgasm in my mouth justice.

Oooh la la, my school got cultural… and scandalous!

My friend and I were walking around the Marketplace, tasting everything in sight, when we heard music and saw at least twenty male chefs in awe.

200 apples for apple tart tatin.  7am-1130pm day! AYE!

Anything for my favorite chef instructor!

An egg dish the TA’s made for breakfast on Saturday.  I was huuunnngrryyy and didn’t know when I would have time to eat, so after making a pancake and citrus butter sandwich (and scarfing it down in 3min) I stuffed one of these in my mouth. Sooo gooooood.

 “Raw Beetroot with Goat Cheese, Orange Fillet, Garlic Chips, and Mustard Cress”.

From Chef Doxis Bekris.  My teammate was his assistant… everything he made was so beautiful, but this was the only thing I got a picture of.

Those are all my pictures from the conference! I’m so bummed I didn’t get the pictures of the other things I made. I also made “Rib eye teak with oregano za’atar salt”, 250 “jumbo prawns with Grapefruit and Aleppo chile vinaigrette and grapefruit za’atar”, 250 “roasted king prawns in pomegranate butter and anise flowers”, “watermelon and cherry tomato salad with feta, almond and za’atar crumble”, and “Shawarma Poussin”.  I’m sure you can get any of the recipes in one of her cookbooks.

Also, I’d be happy girl if I never, ever, EVER have to de-shell and de-veign another prawn again.  It wasn’t gross, just annoying.  I’d rather go home smelling like sweetness rather than fish and onions and garlic.  I don’t know how the hot side does it.

♥ Heather

Happy birthday Halloween Momma!

31 Oct

Happy birthday to my beautiful Momma!  You’re the smartest, funniest, craziest and strongest woman I know!  I hope I’m a lot like you when I get old.  I’m especially asking God for your aging gene because giiirrrrl, you looking gooood.

Seriously peeps. Look at this lady.  She’s almost 50!!!! hahaha

  Today you’re eating at MY favorite Italian deli back home.  I’m going to forgive you only because it’s your birthday and because I know how much you’re missing me at this very moment.  I wish I was there to give you a huuuge hug and a big slap on the behind while singing this chorus to you.  :)

Also, I feel like we need to take more pictures.  Just saying.  The most current one is of my college grad lady!!!  

Love you and miss you Big Girl!

♥ Heather

Halloween sugar sculpture!

27 Oct

Halloween is one of my faaavorite holidays!  I seriously trick-or-treated till my senior year of high school.  Don’t judge me. 

It’s the beginning of the holiday season- right after this we have Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, my birthday and theeen Valentine’s!  Love, love, love this time of year:) 

Blown sugar pumpkins (spray painted with a gun then by hand)
Pulled sugar for the tree, fence, vines and stems
Spun sugar for the fog
Handmade spooky crows

♥ Heather

Sugar Sculpture Numero Uno

26 Oct

Take a look at my very first sugar sculpture!  I’m pretty outwardly girly… and, umm inwardly too I suppose haha.  So it may come as a surprise that I’ve always been drawn to very dark artwork.  My girlfriends even call my sketches creepy.  Oh well!

So, we had to do a sculpture that included straw sugar and pulling sugar to make a flower.  Well, unless I’m receiving them, roses aren’t exactly my favorite flower.  In which case it’s always the thought that counts.  I’m also not exactly into muted colors or pastels of any kind.  When you work with sugar, the color gets lighter and lighter the more you pull it… hence the black.





I think black roses are kinda beautiful.  Haunting.  Romantic.  Is that crazy?  I also kinda experimented with the pink on black and was sooo happy it worked out. 

Working with sugar is difficult but exciting.  Everyday I’m so in awe of how simple ingredients- in this case sugar, water, glucose, tartaric acid and some food coloring, can completely morph themselves into different shapes, textures and flavors.

Chef told us that given proper temperatures and ingredients, anyone can make a sculpture using a stencil.  But, the stencil is the stencil maker’s heart.  It’s unoriginal.  He wants us to use our hands, our head, and most of all OUR heart.  I thought that was kinda beautiful also.

Tomorrow we’re doing a blown sugar sculpture.  Sooooo excited for that! I’m going to go for a Halloween/Sleepy Hollow theme.  Cross your fingers it works out!

♥ Heather

Well, it’s about time!

24 Oct

Being back at school has been great.  Except for sitting in eight hour long lectures every day for the past six weeks part.  Grrr not so fun.  Classes were interesting, but the days were super long. By the end we were all pretty much over it and ready to get our hands on some food again.  I think our last teacher felt sorry for us and didn’t complain when she walked into the classroom to find us all wearing construction paper mustaches.  Things got weird. 

Today was our first official day back in the kitchen!  Fiiinaaalllyyy.  It’s amazing how easy it was to wake up for this class, yet every lecture day I pressed the snooze a bajillion times.  

Sorry, roomie.

This class we’re focusing on confectionary art and special occasion cakes.  Today we learned how to blow, pull and make straw sugar.  

Not going to lie, I was a tad bit intimidated by sugar.  I’ve seen contestants on those Food Network competitions fail hundreds of times… and they are PROS.  Ummm, yikes.

We also have a new chef… he is aaaweeesommme.  He made the following sculptures during his demos.  

Hey cutie! 

Pretty flower/nature sculpture

He made it look so super easy, but Dear Jesus I’m praying the sculpture I make tomorrow is 50% as awesome as his!  

I still don’t know what I want to do… mostly because most of my ideas are like, “Oh, I can make a lion sleeping in the sahara” or “I can totally do a frog wearing a top hat and coat, looking through his wine glass and up towards the sun just like the Schramsberg logo”.  

Ummm, yeaaaah. I don’t think so. 

Dear universe, please let me channel simplicity tomorrow in class.

Currently…

21 Oct

Listening to this on repeat.

Rihanna. Calvin Harris.

 I just can’t get enough. Seriously, requested it about ten times last night.  

The disc jockey said two times was his limit.  

Whatever.  

It makes me want to dance!

This video is intense.

I kinda feel like I didn’t know what the song was about until I saw it.

I also feel like it’s been years since I’ve actually watched/been impressed with a music video.  

Antiques and an adorable male…

13 Oct

Random things you may or may not find in a house in the valley:

What ARE you?

Pretty flowers

Grape vines… kinda awesome.

Hank, the cutest dog in the world.

He belongs to the neighbors, but I think he’s made the boy’s home his unofficial home.

I like him because when he wasn’t spazzing over squirrels, he likes to cuddle. Like the too close kinda cuddling. Which just happens to be my favorite when it’s with an adorable puppy.

♥ Heather

Wine and Love

12 Oct

You know what makes me truly sublimely happy? Wine and love. You know what’s even better? Witnessing love in others. Now that’s deep. A few weeks ago my Brazilian friend’s boyfriend flew all the way from the mid-west to Napa Valley just to see her pretty face.

Let me give you a little back story. This is the most energetic, full of life, FUN, smart, silly, extremely girly girl you’ll ever meet. We both have this rule (a rule that will be carried out in the far, far future, obviously) that our future daughters (fuuuuturrrrre) will be able to wear pants or shorts when they are old enough to buy them for themselves. Until then, it’s super girly/frilly princess dresses, even if they are stained with mud or torn to pieces. My friend probably has a better chance of reinforcing this just because she LIVES this on an almost daily basis. When she’s not in her comfy clothes, you can see her effortlessly walking around in little dresses and high shoes. I don’t know how she does it… it’s probably her Brazilianess.

My friend fell in love with an all-American former Marine from a small town in Pennsylvania. This boy likes to shoot guns, hunt, fish, camp and hike.

She is Posh Spice. He is GI Joe.

He just stole her heart… She stole his… And it’s cuuuute.

Anyways, we went wine tasting at one of my favorite wineries.

There are so many wineries in the valley, but I always find myself here. The tasting room is just breathtaking on a beautiful day.

Oh, and I love the coasters with words of wisdom.

Love these peeps:)

♥ Heather

Karaoke Thursdays!

22 Sep

Thursday karaoke nights are sort of a ritual up here. School is super competitive and strict, so Thursday is our day to let loose. We’re all AM students so that often means getting to the bar at 9pm and leaving right before 11… or staying way too late and regretting it the next day:)

Last week was our very first Thursday back at school, so of course we had to show off our dancing and singing skills to all the new kids! We have class a full 1.5 hours later than usual, so we closed the place down. Here’s a picture of the last Thursday we were all together… five whole months ago!

I miss Chrissy:( She graduated earlier this year… You can’t see her face bc she’s laughing, but she’s in my Facebook profile picture towards the top of the page.

This isn’t everyone… some weren’t 21 yet and I didn’t go to the very, very last Thursday before externship. But, we’re back and everyone is of age! Horray!

Reunited!

*Jordan isn’t in the picture because sometimes she’s a very early sleeper.*

We danced our booties off! I retired from karaoke last October (Shout is a lot harder to sing than you would think) but had no problem singing all my favorite songs… who needs a mic? I also jumped. A lot. Eeeks! 

Can’t wait for many more Thursdays with these ladies!

♥ Heather

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