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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

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

On what I should have said…

17 Aug

“Some of falling in love is allowing yourselves to be weak and knowing the other will be that mighty oak to lean on. Sounds like you’re both mighty oaks at all times. Oak trees don’t lean on each other though. Tom and I are one mighty oak, he is the trunk and I am the branches. Together we are a mighty source.” -Aunt Michele

My aunt told me this a few months ago after spilling my boy troubles. I liked a boy. He wasn’t perfect. At all. Seriously, he did some things that truly sucked. He definitely needed some work, but despite it all I still fell for him. I believed in his potential. In the man I knew he’d some day be.

It started off super cute. Texting all day, every day. Visits to the city, visits to Napa. A flower and my favorite type of wine on Valentine’s. But then, something happened. I got scared and I changed and because of that he did too.

The daily texts became non existent the day I moved to the city. It took him almost a month to visit me, despite living up the hill and working in the same building. It took longer than that just to see me, and when he did it wasn’t the same. There was no dating, no courtship, no cute calls or hand holding. It was sporadic. Late night calls telling me how much he liked me and plans for the future, late nights texts asking to hang out. But then, nothing while sober. Asking me what I was doing that weekend. Not to hang out, but just to know. I would receive more attention when he was gone in a different state or city than when he was within a few miles. He told me he didn’t want me to see anyone else, yet it was okay for him to text other girls while with me. Broken plans. There were were always either no plans, or broken ones. Empty words, empty promises. Disbelief when I told him I deserved more.

I didn’t trust him anymore and I think, he probably didn’t trust me.

I liked a boy and instead of being sweet to him, instead of caring for him, I was detached. I acted like I was too good for him. I played games and was cold. I let my insecurities and past take control. So, while complaining that he wouldn’t let me love him, I refused to let him love me. I never let him in or see my real emotions. I held him at a distance. I wouldn’t give in or be vulnerable because I’m used to being the strong one. I was scared of getting hurt. I don’t think he ever truly knew that I cared for him. Truly cared. My girlfriends knew, my guy friends knew, but he didn’t.

Instead of letting him hold me in public, instead of complimenting him, instead of letting him care for me, I told him about all the things he did that I hated. Never once the things that I loved.

This is what I should have told him.

I loved how much you love your friends. How happy and little boyish you’d get when you would tell me stories or show me pictures. How cute it was when you bought one of them their favorite cereal while we were grocery shopping. I even secretly loved when you’d call every single one of them in the morning, just to check up.

You were so cute on the dance floor. I know you thought I was annoyed with you, or that you were embarrassing, but I’m just very reserved when I’m around people I don’t really know.

Watching you feel the greatness that is Hall & Oates.

You walked into places like you owned them.

The nicknames. The late night calls. Even when I hated it, a part of me liked it.

How considerate you could be.

Hearing you talk about your dad reminded me of the same respect I have for my mom.

Seeing you eat my desserts. Even when you didn’t want to because of your diet.

How you would pull me in, hold me close and let me cuddle for as long as I wanted.

Your belief in the power of the universe.

Telling me to suck it up when I was in pain, not because you were being rude but because you were just raised by guys.

Telling me that you wanted to take care of me. As scary as that is, I think I could have let you.

Your ability to let go of the past. It’s my daily struggle and I envy you for it.

When you remembered my favorite wine and bought it for Valentine’s Day.

The single rose I kept for so long.

How you could remember my friend’s names and the stories that I would tell you. You would actually ask about them and my family.

When you took me around the city just so I can get a specific tea. At the time, I didn’t realize how annoying it must have been to drive.

Your visits at my work. Seeing your face through the glass window, or seeing how scared you were when someone walked by my counter. You have no idea how something that simple made me so happy.

I miss the few times you came to my door step.

You’d get so incredibly jealous. That’s actually kinda a love/hate thing.

Your drive.

Your texts from far away to check up on me. Making me promise I wouldn’t talk to other people. That’s also a kinda love/hate thing.

The pictures you would send me. Even the ones with your shirt tucked in and your pants hiked so high. Especially the ones with pink eye.

The movie I’ve watched so many times.

Integrity, character and self respect.

How you could make me feel safe, even when I wouldn’t let myself trust you.

Seeing you in sweats and slippers.

You are so strong.

You don’t really get tan, but you still try.

I can’t believe I tripped and fell the first time I met you. To this day I wonder if you even saw or remembered that. God I hope you didn’t.

This is why I liked him. The things he never heard. I came to the city with these feelings, wondering what would ever happen to us. With baggage, but hope that I could set aside my craziness. The past few months I blamed him, and never really looked at my behavior. I’m not saying he’s completely innocent. Obviously, he isn’t. But I’m finally recognizing that neither was I.

Maybe I was naive. Many have said this is just how it is in the city. But, I’ve dated other city boys and it just wasn’t like that.

The next time I feel this pain, I want it to be without regret. If anything, I’m going to wholeheartedly be open with the next one. I tried so hard to protect myself from getting hurt, but it inevitably happened anyways.

While packing my car full of boxes, I looked down my hill and saw this boy walking home hand in hand with a girl. Before passing my place, they walked to the opposite side of the street and he held her.

He held her.

He held her.

He held her.

Things come full circle. Now I’m leaving knowing it was too little too late.

Some sorta crazy talk

27 Apr

It’s amazing how the universe has a way of giving you exactly what you want. How all things, just kinda work out. Maybe mistakes were made. Maybe, in some ways you’ve wished you could hold on to parts of that old you. Trust instincts. Trust uncertainty. Risky decisions can transform you into exactly the type of person you never thought you could be. Doors can open that you never knew existed. Relationships you thought would last a lifetime could end, but others, strong ones, grow in their place. New hopes, new dreams. 

About a year ago I started a blog about my journey to culinary school. I wrote a ton about my stresses, my excitement and the changes I was going through. And then once I got there, I stopped writing. Ooops! The truth is, I just couldn’t find my voice. Just knowing that my classmates, all foodies, were possibly going to stumble upon the Facebook link was completely nerve racking. After the early jitters went away, well… I kinda just got lazy! Not like, oh, I’m stuffing my face with Ben and Jerry’s while watching Lifetime in my pj’s till 2pm on an Sunday lazy… But, more like, school eats half my day so pj’s, drinks, pillows and a girls night sound faaabulous! 

This year has been a crazy one. I moved from the Orange County bubble to the smallest town in the whole world, to go to a school I had never seen, but knew through reputation. I left a great job, friends, family, a boyfriend and security. It was the best risk I have ever taken. I’ve made the most amazingly weird friends, tried the most delish food, ate entirely waaay too much of this delish food, and followed my passion. And now I live in San Francisco! Ah! Pinch me now, and hard. Right now, thank you.

I’m not going to say “I’m back” or that I’m going to start writing more, because, who knows? And honestly, who even reads this thing anyways? It’s seriously amazing to me that I actually have page views! Mom? Stalker? But, I will say that I’m sincerely grateful for the awesomeness of the universe. I’m thankful for the experiences it has given me and for the people it has connected me with. It’s like, got my back, yo. 

“She was what we used to call a suicide blonde – dyed by her own hand.” Saul Bellow

19 Jul

I know this blog is supposed to be about my road to culinary school, but it’s also about my life and things I hold near and dear to my heart. One of my absolute favorite things in the whole wide world is my hair. It’s been a life long obsession. My natural hair color is blonde:) Obviously, by natural I mean the color I had for my first few months of life, not the brown with natural blonde highlights it transformed to as I got older. Oh well.

Anyways, I’ve done about a zillion and a half things to it. Which means, I’ve had my fair share of horror stories. My mother decided to trim my thick, waist long hair when I was about five, resulting in mid-length hair because she “couldn’t get the lines straight”. It was basically a diagonal mess. My first highlighting experience looked like skunk streaks, and then there was that year I went brunette and dyed my hair from a box to save money. After disapproving of one of my student’s goal to dye her hair pink when she grew up, she exclaimed, “But your hair is maroooon”. Yikes! I went back to my hair stylist after that.

But, nothing will ever, EVER come close to the year my great grandma and aunt decided to take me to get my hair cut. I was in first grade. My thick hair was down to my waist, again. When I say thick, I mean you could barely touch your thumb and middle fingers if you held it in one hand. Well, needless to say, I suffered from migraines. My grandma and aunt thought they were being helpful when they took me to their stylist and asked for the short cut my 40-year-old aunt was sporting. I cried, my mother was beyond livid and my little sis had a good time kicking me when I was down. I wore a giant winter coat to school that Monday and refused to take off the cap. It was almost summer and I was mortified!

Well, since then my hair and I have had a love/hate relationship. My hair has been

These pictures were taken in a span of two years. I love you hair! Not only have I had all shades of the above colors, but I’ve also had short side bangs, long side bangs, thick side bangs, chin length, shoulder length and long hair. There was a time I washed, blow-dryed and straightened it into submission I was a hair murderer! But, it was done out of love. I was young and didn’t know any better!

So, for the past two years my goal has been to grow out my hair really long- like elbow length. This time I want to do it the healthy and right way. That means using really good products (Pureology, Aveda, Joico, Biolage… ). I really dislike those girls who have like, super long hair, but it’s really nappy or frizzy or disgusting. I also really dislike girls with long, thin hair. Ewww siiiick!  What are you thinking? The more body and volume the better! Staying away from heat is definitely a hard one… Straightening, curling or  blow drying is just unavoidable.

Anyways, there are two Youtube girls who I absolutely love!!! Dara from BelleDuJourNYC is like a beauty fanatic. She has the most beautiful hair ever… I want it! She doesn’t really give hair tutorials (awesome make-up tutorials, though), but she gives the BEST beauty reviews- I seriously buy almost everything she recommends. Check out her video about the hair products she uses:

I also love Jess at LolaMarie7. There are a ton of youtube hair tutorial videos. But Jess is the best! Please don’t think I’m shallow, but I kinda feel like if you’re going to be watching a video about beauty, you should want your hair to look like the person doing it. The teacher should look the part. It’s kinda like when you’re shopping- are you going to take fashion advice from a girl who obviously doesn’t have a clue? No. Never. Anyways, I knew Jess was my favorite because she loves big hair! And she dislikes curly, crunchy hair! I seriously did all of her up-do hair styles for my serving job- side braid, side swept pony, puffy pony, etc.- and got compliments daily. Plus she’s hilarious and super sassy. Love!

♥ Heather

I love ya baby but all I can think about is kielbasa sausage…

16 Jul

First of all, head on over to the girls at Burned. They are broke, single, and like to cook. Plus they also like to talk about boys and drinking which makes me want to fly on over to Iowa and be their best friends. Why? Because I am also broke, like to cook, talk about boys and drink! I’m not single, but trust me, I have plenty of stories!

Anyways, today I want to talk about sausage. Growing up, sausage always disgusted me. The color, the squishiness, the awful snap sound it makes when you bite into it. I never understood how people could look at this big piece of meat and think “Oh yeah, this looks exactly like something I want to stuff in my mouth”. What are they thinking? It’s not even pretty! Ewww.

But, as with all food phobias, I grew out of it with age. From Polish, to spicy Italian and smoky chorizo, I’ve sampled any and all throughout the years. And now, I kind of love it. In fact, I’ve been having a lot of it lately. Ooh la la! Especially after seeing the Cute Boy. I mean, I always knew the normal things you can do with it. But after two nights ago, I will never ever look at sausage the same. Promise. Really, who knew you could put it in so many things?

So, two nights ago I had this:

Umm, take your mouth off the floor, wipe the drool and let’s say it together… “yummm”. You’re probably thinking, what does this delicious hamburger have to do with sausage? First things first. This is not a hamburger. This, my friends, is a SuperBurger. A SuperBurger made by the Cutest Boy and bestest chef. His secret? A mix of hamburger meat and yes, spicy Italian sausage. You have no idea how absolutely wonderful it is to bite into a hamburger and get delish pieces of sausage. Oh, double yummm.

He was in charge of the meat and bbq, like all those of the male variety should be. Although I did flip it once. Yikes! I was in charge of the toppings- grilled red onion and peppers, tomatoes, arugula, mushrooms, and herbed goat cheese. I sorta forgot the buns, so we ate it protein style. Healthy (right?).

So yeah, that wasn’t my only first! I also went to a driving range for the first time ever!

We have yet to discuss my athletic abilities. Basically, I have zilch. I ran cross country and track in high school, but really, no one would call that running. It was more like, “my mom’s making me do a sport so colleges will think I was involved. Eeeww I’m getting all sweaty. Oh wow, those flowers look really pretty!”

The two sports I do excel at, however, are bowling and miniature golf. And by excel I mean there is a 50/50 shot of me showing up as Pro Heather. Which are pretty good odds, right? Basically, I just get really, really, reaaaally lucky half the time. Well, the pro side of me failed to show up last night. I wasn’t as good as I imagined I would be.  My miniature golf skills somehow gave me an inflated sense of my abilities. Weird. I somehow managed to NOT hit the ball more than a few times (wow, embarrassing), and only got it to the basket thingy like, twice. However, I got better toward the end! The sky was so pretty and golf was truly super relaxing!

Hope you all have an wonderful weekend! Eat sausage. Lots of it.


It’s the end of an era…

28 May

I turned in my official letter of resignation to the School Job on Wednesday. Ah, how I almost wanted to cry! The day before was the very last field trip I would ever attend with the kiddos. We went to the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles (totally fun and waaay better than the Nature Walk we did a few months ago. Me+hiking+wild animals+bugs+trees+dirt= not a very happy teacher. Basically, that field trip was my worst nightmare.) Aaaanyways, the Natural History Museum was probably the most awesome last field trip. The kiddos were so cute and full of wonder and excitement. I loved their questions and how big my groups eyes got when they saw the huuuge blue whale. We were also able to go to the butterfly garden- totally cool. I actually saw a butterfly stick its tongue into a flower to take a drink. I also saw, in horror btw, a butterfly get stuck in a spider web. Girls were screaming, boys were stunned, kids were pointing… the spider did its spider job and had a nice afternoon snack right in front of us. The best was the end, when our very sleepy kids took a nice nap on the long bus ride home. I’m going to miss them sooo much!

Who else is going to tell me how pretty I am twenty times a day? Who else is going to want to hug me and hold my hand 100 times a day? Who else will draw me pictures and write me notes, tell me I am a Princess, laugh at my jokes, sing for me, compliment my shoes, tell me I should be a professional hair braider, ask me for permission to go to the bathroom every fifteen minutes and ask me how long till recess/lunch/the end of the day every five minutes?  Who else will I play basketball and jump rope with? Will I ever hear “Cinderella dressed in yella, went upstairs…” again?

It seems like just yesterday they were learning their ABC’s in kinder and learning to count to 100 in first grade. And now, as big 2nd graders, they can do multiplication and division! They speak and express themselves so much better than they did just a few years ago. I’m going to miss reading their creative writing, listening to their funny stories, hearing about what they want to be when they grow up and fun things they are doing at home. I’m going to miss Pajama Day, field trips, birthdays, Halloween, the stories on the day back from Christmas break and their sweet voices at the Christmas concerts. I’m going to miss reading to them after lunch and having the (super strong and brave and gorgeous) firemen read to the class on Dr. Seuss’ birthay. I’m going to miss their total innocent way of putting life into perspective…

Some of my favorite quotes of all time were said by these little guys!

One of my students: “When I get older, I’m going to marry a Chinese girl.”

Me: “Really? Why do you say that?”

Student: “Because I loooove Chinese food!”

Me: “Hmmm what about going to a restaurant?”

Student: “Nope, the restaurant could close down! Im going to marry her for sure!”

“When I get older I am definitely going to marry Miss Heather”

“I don’t want to work when I get older. Why can’t I just have fun?”

“Miss Heather, you know how I have liked ____ since kindergarden? Well, he bought me a Valentines and his sister said that he finally has a crush on me!”

Me: “Reeaally? You must be excited!”

2nd grader: “Yeah, except now that he likes me, I don’t think I like him anymore.”

While reading a story for Grandparent’s Day:

Me: “Grandparent’s take you fishing, take you on walks…”

Student: “All my grandpa does is sit on the couch and watch TV!”

Me: “Mmmm you smell so good sweetie! Are you wearing your dad’s cologne?”

Student: “Nope, it’s mine. It’s Axe.”

Me: “Oh, ohhh. It smells so good!”

Student: “Yeah, I saw what happens on the commercials and told my mom I had to have it!”

Well, I’ll be working summer school with a different class, but I wont see MY kiddos ever ever again. I can’t believe I’ve been with them for three years and have been at the district for five years. Where did the time go? How did I get so lucky to have such a rewarding job at such a young age? I wonder what they will be like in September and even in the next few years. How much will they grow? How many years till they are taller than me? Probably like, 2…

I can honestly say that  without them, I’d be a little more selfish, a little less childlike, a bit more irresponsible, and a lot less compassionate. If you ever get the chance, work with kids. At times when my life is crazy and drama filled (like, all the time), they make you see what matters most.