Thursday, December 10, 2009

My Tunisian cliffhanger

Before we left for Tunisia, BF and I went to the used book store and picked up several books for our trip. I ended up only reading one of them, which is totally odd for me, and I still have yet to finish it. My problem is, I can't start reading a new one until the current one is finished. It's just one of those weird quirks I have. The funny thing is, the book is so terrible but I still want to finish it! Now I have actually lost the book somewhere in this house, so I am forced to start a new one. Oh darn! But I am still left wondering what happens in the end.....

I will not leave you hanging on my Tunisian adventure, so here come the adventures of Day #2. :)
We woke up early to catch breakfast at the hotel which was included in our stay, and not a cheesy American continental breakfast. Bonus, and bonus. I wanted to eat light, so I had coconut yogurt (YUM!), fruit salad with apples, pears, and pomegranates and a crepe with honey and chocolate. I also tried a chocolate croissant, but it was a little dry. I did say "light", didn't I?

Anyway, we tried to catch one of the tours they had leaving from the hotel after we had breakfast. Unfortunately our need for breakfast, or the misunderstanding of how the tours worked, caused us to miss the tour bus for that day. We ended up scheduling a tour for Friday and then went back to the room for a nap. This really was the only day I felt out of sorts with the time difference, thank goodness. After our nap, we checked in with the World Congress registration and recieved some cool swag including a laptop bag with the 2009 JCI World Congress logo. Score! In our package, we recieved coupons for the lunch at the Restaurant Shéhérazade where all the JC's could have lunch daily. Apparently this was included in our registration cost. Yes, that's right folks, breakfast and lunch FREE daily.

The restaurant must not have recieved the memo, because we walked over and it was not open. Bummer! We didn't really care, so we sat down at a cafe' next door and ordered our lunch. I ordered a Tunisian Salad, BF ordered a sandwich ou polette and again we were served mezze. Did I mention I love this place? More olives, bread, and harissa...mmmm. While we were waiting for our lunch, a couple of JC's approached us and asked if they could join us. Of course, we said yes, and that's when the international fun started.

M is from Turkey and she works in film/production and also works on film festivals. J is an American born French citizen, which I thought was totally cool. He has been in France for 7 years and owns a translating business. We talked with them for AT LEAST two hours about JCI, cultural differences, and what our local chapters were like. It was an eye-opening conversation that has changed the perspective of BF and I about the JC's in a way we had not imagined. Who would have thought I would be in that conversation 6 years ago when I joined? I truly had not appreciated the fact that JCI was an international organization until that very conversation.

After our "international luncheon", we got dressed for the Opening Ceremonies, which was "formal" attire. As it turned out, not everyone read that memo, but we certainly did.

We hopped on a tour bus they had setup for us and headed over to Salle de Sport in Hammamet in a motorcade, police escorts, the whole bit. It was mind blowing to say the least. I had never been in a motorcade before, and I can't say it's likely to happen again. The big hoopla was not just for us, we had some special guest speakers at the opening ceremonies, including the Director of Commerce from Tunisia. Yea, that would explain it!

It was fun to see all the representation from all the countries, people proudly waving their flags, singing national songs, and just an overall positive vibe everywhere. JCI Tunisia arranged for some onstage entertainment between speeches (which were relatively short) and it was a really cool night. At one point, they introduced all the JCI presidents from each country by region. Most of them were in "national dress" or carrying some type of flag. Imagine being at a conference where 90 countries are's mind blowing.

The Tunisians gave out a really cool souviner to everyone at the ceremonies, a Tunisian fez! BF was MORE than excited to recieve this gift and wore it proudly!

We then headed back to the Medina for "Tunisia Welcome Night" where they held a party in the Douar Lemdina. At the party, we feasted on more Tunisian food and drank Tunisian beer while watching the entertainment. They had ladies in traditional Tunisian dress onstage, a group of shepards doing a traditional dance, and a group of younger Tunisians were taking turns playing a drum and singing songs. There was a crowd around, so we joined in to watch. Soon enough, they grabbed us and we were dancing along with them to some Tunisian beats. Too cool for words.

The party was so much fun and we ended up getting fez keychains too. What a hoot. After all the FREE beer was gone, we ended up going to the hotel lobby bar and had a bottle of Tunisian red wine, Selian, which became one of our trip favorites.

We sat and chatted with one of BF's friends from the United States and a gentleman from Ireland. Good times, good times. After the bottle of wine, we settled into our room and talked about our day like we were two excited teenagers. It was a great way to start our Tunisian adventure!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A Short Night

Last night we only had 3 reservations, so it was a short but fun night. I had not worked since before we went to Tunisia, so it was almost a blessing in disguise. Even though I only worked 4.5 hours, I was exhausted today! I didn't get out of bed until 11 am - which NEVER happens!

Upon arrival, I immediately noticed that the kitchen had been re-arranged. I think it's going to take us a few weeks to get used to it, but I do like the new setup. There is much more room to plate and prep for the main courses.

I started by prepping the cold station and making sure everything was available in the cold station fridge. We didn't take things out to put them in the service trays, because the temp is slightly lower and why risk wasting food that we may not use. I washed some baby romaine and endive for the salads, roasted beets for the beet "salad", and made flower-shaped chevre that we use as a garnish. I heart chevre and would use it on almost anything....

Image'>Tom Curtis /

Anyway, I only ended up plating one salad and two desserts. Lady Chef made a change to one of the desserts, by adding some raspberry preserves along with the tart raspberries, so she showed me how to pipe them on. Good times.

I also was able to try one of her main dishes that she made with flageolet beans and lamb sausage. YUM!! It was really tasty and just what the Dr ordered! To top it off, I had a tiny bowl of my favorite Red Fire ice cream. I am so spoiled there and I love it!

More adventures to come, hopefully, since this winter is pretty slow at the restaurant. Since we just got slammed with about 8 inches of snow, we didn't have any reservations tonight. Boo! In the mean time, I am going to day dream about what it would be like to buy that little cafe' here in town and have my own little kitchen kingdom.......

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


No, I am not calling you names, but greating you with a "good morning" in Tunisian Arabic!! :)

I had an amazing time in Tunisia and Paris! In fact, I have been so overwhelmed by the whole experience, I had to take some time to figure out how I was going to blog about all of it! We were in Tunisia for 8 days and in Paris for about 20 hours. I can't wait to go back to both places!

The main reason for our trip was to attend the JCI 2009 World Congress in Hammamet, Tunisia. My BF is on the BOD for JCI USA, so he wanted to "represent" his country - and what a great way to do it! Both of us have been involved in the JC's for about 6 years and neither of us anticipated what we were about to experience on this trip.

We arrived in Tunis, Tunisia on Sunday, November 15th after an overnight flight to Paris and a connecting flight to Tunis. This was my first overseas flight ever, so I was super excited and hoping I would not be too bored on the plane. I brought several books, magazines, cards, and of course I had my BF to talk to. Funny thing is, I didn't really read much and ended up chatting and sleeping basically the whole time.

Anyhow, we arrived in Tunis and were greeted by JCI Tunisia that had a refreshment stand setup for us with juice, water, and traditional Tunisian cookies. YUM! We then took a bus to the hotel we were staying in, the Diar Lemdina at the Medina (city center) of Yasmine-Hammamet. The medina was comprised of our hotel, a conference center, several cafes, shops, and souks. A souk is basically where the people sell their wares throughout the medina and other places around town. By the time we arrived at the hotel, after 24 hours of travel, we were wiped out so we took showers and met up with some other folks from the US for dinner at a restaurant in the Medina. In fact, we were so wiped out, we just didn't care about having separate beds. ;)

We went to a restaurant called The Viking, that featured Italian and Tunisian cuisine. Of course, I started right in on the Tunisian! They served bread before our meal with a variety of scrumptious goodies incluiding Harissa, which a standard North African ingredient which is made from chili peppers, garlic, and tomatoes. It is HOT! HOT! HOT! but, I LOVED it! You can tame it down with olive oil, which of course is super tasty anyway. They have olive oil at almost every restaurant table and it is better than anything I have EVER tasted. It was almost clear, super light, and too bad the Frenchies took the 5 bottles I bought!!

Anyhow, back to dinner. They also served brushetta, olives, yogurt sauce, and mini fried bread that looked like mini pitas. We had our first taste of Tunisian wine, Magnon, and it was SO good! it was SUPER cheap at the restaurant too. It cost us about 20 Tunisian Dinars which is about $15 in the US.

I had a chicken dish with red and green peppers with a tasty sauce that was excellent and BF and I split a brik (pronounced "breek") for an additional appetizer. A brik is a turnover that is made with phyllo type dough, filled with some type of meat (chicken, tuna, lamb) and also an egg. They are really good and we had plenty throughout the week, and even made some when we got home.

After we finished dinner, they served us a shot of some licorice tasting liquor that was clear. I forgot to write that one down or take it's picture, but once we get rolling on the trip, I get better at remembering to do that kind of thing!

The interesting thing about Tunisia, is that it is a Muslim country, so they don't sell alcohol in the stores. On RARE occasion you will find it. They do, however, produce plenty of wine and liquor to serve in restaurants to the tourists. Gambling is illegal in Tunisa, but they also have casinos set up for the tourists as well. It was such an intriguing country! You will notice that the women do not cover their faces, on occasion you will see a Tunisian women with her hair covered up - mainly in the smaller non-tourist cities and in the market places. Since I did my research beforehand, so I learned that women normally wear long pants, long or 3/4 sleeve shirts. I was very glad that I brought appropriate clothing to respect the culture of Tunisia, I just felt so comfortable there. Maybe that wasn't it, but the warm hospitality of the Tunisians.

I will post more pictures next week, and continue to tell you the Tale of Tunisia....but for now here is a peek behind the curtain. Bisslama!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Bon Jour!

I am back from Tunisia and Paris!! I had an AMAZING time and can't wait to share my experience with you!

I am hoping to get a post ready for the weekend, but if not, at least you know I am thinking about it. ;)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

What do you want me to do with this and what IS it?

Yet another week of working in an awesome kitchen. Last night was a great learning night for me. After making ginger brownies, filling the caramel squeeze bottle, getting garnishes ready, and chopping potatoes, my next job was to deal with this:

I know you are saying to yourself, "What the heck is that?" because that is what MY question was! Actually, what I said was...

Me: "What would you like me to do with this? And what IS it?"

Lady Chef smiled and said, "Celeriac."

Me: "Cele-what?"

Lady Chef: "Celeriac. It's a root vegetable similar to celery."

She was so excited to show me about it and tell me that "you are going to be so ahead of your class" knowing about this. I actually felt like I was on an episode of Chopped for a minute, working with a mystery ingredient! Anyway, she told me how to cut the celeriac and had me taste one of the leaves. Blech! It tasted aweful and I spit it out. The weird part is, my mouth felt like I tasted a piece of celery! So, you don't actually use the greens, but the root itself. It almost has a potato consistancy to it, but takes slighty longer to cook. But, let me tell you the best part about it...the wonderful aroma that came from chopping up the root! Wow! It is so refreshing and addicting, I kept picking it up and smelling it while I was chopping it up.

I found a recipe for celeriac mash on that I would love to try with this "new found" veggie. You can also serve it raw and grate it, and add it to a salad or make into a slaw.

Another one of my new favorite ingredients are beets. Most people see them only as "pickled" on a Greek salad, but you need to open your mind when it comes to the way things are prepped and served. My first experience with a roasted beet was at my friend Liz's house. She made us a snack of sliced beets and cheese. YUM! They were fantastic! I asked her how she cooked them and what she added. Nothing! "You mean beets actually taste great alone?" YES, they do! No seasoning, additives, just roast your beets, slice, and eat!

We use beets at the restaurant, including pink beets, which are pink with thin white stripes when sliced. Not only do roasted beets taste yummy, they are great for plate presentation!

Onto desserts for the night.... we had a dessert called Figs on Fire. That was pretty fun because it is served with my favorite ice cream, Red Fire by Vosges. Mexican ancho & chipotle chillies + Ceylon cinnamon + dark chocolate ice cream=YUMMY GOODNESS!! I even had a few bites of it after lunch today....

Ok, back to figs. I found an interesting fig recipe in an Italian cookbook that my Aunt Coco has. Once I get back from vacation, I am going to borrow her book and try some of these quick, easy recipes, including the figs. In the mean time, I found a wonderful recipe for Figs and Toasted Almond Brie that I would love to try. I think this would make a great appetizer for a dinner party that would stand out in a crowd.

It's all about opening your mind and your palette to discover new tastes and combinations. My lesson learned this week is this: Do not let one ingredient stand out in your dish. All the ingredients should complement each other, and not overpower each other.

Here's to yet another successful week at the restaurant..... See you when I get back from Tunisia!!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Only 6 days away!!

I am getting SO pumped up for my vacation on Saturday! Today I did a little shopping to prep for my trip to Tunisia. I am going to wrap it up tomorrow and then the rest is packing, research, excursion booking and learning some key phrases in Tunisian Arabic such as: "More wine, please."

This is going to be an amazing experience, and I cannot wait to share photos when I get back! My mom was gracious enough to let me borrow her camera for the trip. My camera broke on my birthday last month, and I just can't afford to be spending money on a new one just yet. My BF has a camera, but every time I take a picture with it - they just don't look right. The lighting is off, or it's blurry, etc. I think it is because I am not used to using his brand of camera, it's just not a Canon.

I am slightly nervous that we don't have our itinerary all setup for the week yet. When I travel with my HLP, Jen, she always is so organized and the only thing I need to do is show up! So, this is totally awkward for me not having any plan yet and I am feeling slightly uneasy and borderline panicked. I tried explaining this to BF, but I am pretty sure he thinks I am crazy and uptight. *sigh* Well, I guess I will have to throw something together in the next couple of days, because it doesn't matter if we actually STICK to the schedule...but I feel much more comfortable having one to carry with me. It's like a paper security blanket.

There was a slight change in our flight schedule, so we now have 22 hours in Paris!! We are going to try and hit some of the famous spots, have a picnic dinner, and stay in town for the night. In the morning we can have cafe' au lait and a croissant, stroll around for a few hours, then head to the 'port. It's going to be a whirlwind romantic day (crossing fingers) and a great wrap up to our vacation.

With that being said....

Here's to vacations, may we enjoy many more in the future....

Monday, October 26, 2009

Time flies when you are having!

This will be my 4th week at my PT job at the restaurant! I am happy to report I am still loving it and learning SO much! I have also decided that "Boss Lady" needs a better sounds too negative. What do you think about Lady Chef? Much better, isn't it? She may be a little feisty, but she is no Gordon Ramsey, that's for sure. She gives me such great advice for culinary school, and I am hoping that I remember it all!

Each night I work, I have a different job to do depending on what they are serving and what needs to be finished before our first reservation at 6pm. One night I peeled and cut carrots, another night I peeled and washed brussel sprouts, and the last night I worked...I got to work the cold station! Woo hoo!

Now, if you are not in the kitchen biz, as I am not, you may not know all the fancy terms. But a "cold station" pretty much tells it like it is: cold foods, ie, foods that don't need to be cooked. That night it was just Lady Chef and I in the kitchen and let me tell you, I was NERVOUS! Cold station means preparing salads and appetizers. As easy as this may sound to you, the pressure of making sure EVERY DISH LOOKS THE SAME AS THE LAST is actually nerve racking. BUT, I made sure to have Lady Chef look at everything and asked plenty of questions to be sure I had them right!

For the appetizers, I helped make the pate` plate by making a "mini greens" salad w our house dressing. Easy enough. The second was a tray with 4 square bowls that contained one of the following: Tuscan bean dip, stuffed grape leaves, a variety of olives, and home made crustini's. YUM! Anyhow, it's all about the presentation, so I added the garnish and she told me I did a great job. YAY for me!

Salads were next, so I watched Chef Lady prepare the first few as she described to me how they are presented and what to do. Since we mix the dressing with the salads before they go out, you need to taste it to be sure the correct amount of vinaigrette is on the salad. (BTW, "dressing" is not kitchen terminology...we call it vinaigrette.)

I also prepared 3 of the beet salads after watching Chef Lady create the first one. This was one of my favorites, because the presentation is just beautiful and colorful as well. Two types of beets: red and pickled, along with orange slices, salt and pepper, and garnished with candied orange peel.

Along with the responsibility of the cold station is to help garnish the main dishes. We use fresh edible flowers and herbs for all of our dishes and it just makes the presentation pop. My favorite main dish to garnish was the shrimp, because she plates it fancy with the tails up.

I am still learning some great lessons in the kitchen, and thought I would share them. In no particular order:

1. ALWAYS ask and don't assume: If you are asked to cut carrots, DO NOT assume they are cut the same way as the last time you cut them. We ended up salvaging the carrots I cut incorrectly, but it is important to know EXACTLY what the chef wants you to do with them.

2. Thoroughly wash your veggies: Celery can sometimes have a tight seam that you can't get to with simply rinsing. Either use a small brush such as a toothbrush, or slice in half lengthwise before washing.

3. Have a GOOD TIME! Working in the kitchen is not for everyone. Be prepared to do whatever it takes to make it a successful night. You are part of a team and also need to carry a positive relationship with the servers. If you are not having fun, then you are not in the right job. :) Fortunately, for me it's a blast!

4. If you think you are a good cook, think again. I consider myself, and have been told by others, I am a really good cook. That ALL goes out the window after working in a professional kitchen. I told Lady Chef from Day 1 to "assume I know nothing" about cooking and it was the best thing I could have done for myself. I am not saying that I am a bad cook, by any means, but just realize there is a bit of humility involved by stepping into someone else's kitchen.

5. Recipes, recipes. Everyone wants you to share them, but do you know why chef's do not share them? Recipes are like intellectual property, and if cooks went around telling their secrets, well then, why would people dine at their establishment when they could make it at home? OR who knows, the competition may start selling the same dish and their goes your unique restaurant. You must make sure that if you work in a kitchen, the chef's recipes are kept in the kitchen. I may talk about how individual ingredients are prepped, but I will NOT share any full recipes, so don't ask. :)

There is just so much more for me to learn, and I look forward to my new adventure every time I go into work! Tomorrow I get to go in early to make desserts!!

I also have good news on the PC front...I earned another $50 bonus (I have already received $100 of bonuses!) and I am hoping to earn a few more of them in the next month or so! Woo hoo! I had a great show last week, so I am really close to meeting my personal goals. I know that I have to work harder than I have been to get myself in the financial position I need to be in, so I am trying really hard to keep up with my daily to-do lists! I have to admit the P-Monster (procrastination) rears its ugly head from time to time, so my lists and goal tracking seem to keep him at bay!

Here's to another week of fulfilling my lust for life.....salute!

All photos courtesy of

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Starches, suds, and snacks...oh my!

I am excited to report that my first day with my PT job was a success!! What an exciting and adventurous way to start out my new career path! I had so much fun and I have already learned a few tips from the chef, who I will refer to as 'Boss Lady' until I come up with something better.

I arrived at 4pm (actually about 10 min early. Yea, that shocks me too, lol.) and "punched in". After taking a small tour of the place, and a quick "lesson" on dish washing and sanitizing, I put on an apron and got to work. My first "job" was to peel and cut up potatoes. With this task, I learned that if you keep potatoes in water after peeling, and again after chopping up, they will not turn brown. The water also washes the starch off, which is great for non-sticky mashed potatoes.

After the potatoes, I made several little garlic butter dollops on baking sheets and placed them in the freezer for later use. The Boss Lady uses them while cooking, as they are the perfect size to saute one serving of veggies. The butter mixture was made previously in a Cuisinart, I loaded into a pastry bag, lined the baking sheets with parchment paper, and dolluped away. Lesson learned with this activity: use ALL of the contents of the Cuisinart bowl, even if you have to use your fingers. Boss Lady told me that there was too much left over in the container, and that I will definitely need to know this in school. I totally appreciated that tip!

Boss Lady showed me how to tell the "doneness" of a steak. There are parts of your hand that you can feel to compare to rare, med-mare, and medium. Of course, I can't show you on the blog, but on my hand the part below my thumb is rare, the part by my pinky is medium, and the parts between my fingers are med-rare. I actually learned what a rare steak feels like by actually touching one...and YES, my hands were clean. Interesting!

Garshing! Ok, I have to admit, this is one of my favorite things!! ;) To prep for the garnishing, Boss Lady had me pull off 40 geranium buds from the front of the restaurant and rinse them for garnishes. Then, I picked out the "good" cranberries to set aside for the dessert garnishes.

Speaking of desserts, I was SO excited to learn to plate desserts! This was by far the most fun thing of the whole night! I have to admit, I was nervous at first, my first night and I am plating?! I told Boss Lady to 'assume I know nothing' when it comes to cooking, but she obviously was confident in my skills. With the dessert plating, I felt like I had a real part in the customers experience. There were 3 different desserts, a mini apple cake, an apricot cake, and another pastry that was surrounded in icing and had caramel topping, 4 raspberries, and whipped cream. YUM. Each one was plated differently, but all of them had the geranium buds that I picked and a few mint leaves. Half-way through the night, I was given the name "Dessert Lady" by the servers. How cool. I learned that when you plate, you must make sure that every time to plate a specific dish, it MUST look the same as the last time. Consistancy is very important in the restaurant business, a customer expects the same service, and same product each time they come in. GREAT advice!

My main job throughout the night was to wash and sanitize dishes. This needs no description, but I learned the importance of sanitation in a kitchen. And here I thought I was it turns out, I am probably not THAT sanitary at home and that kind of creeped me out.

My job is also to do whatever Boss Lady tells me to do. She's super cool and showed me some cool tips throughout the night and also let me taste some of her creations. The wild rice with cranberries, fish crusted with walnuts, rosemary, etc., and the little apple cake that was a "reject" since the ice cream melted before the server picked it up. Oops. Note to self: pick cold plate from the bottom of the stack for ice cream instead of the hot ones from the dishwasher. Oh, and some kind of tasty pepper, it was red but not a bell, a piece of cheese, and an awesome chocolate espresso cookie. lol. I guess I had several "mini snacks" throughout the night.

It was quite an adventure and the night flew by! Boss Lady must have liked me too, because she asked if I could work an additional night. Woo hoo! This week I will be working 3 nights, including a Friday which should be SUPER busy! The coolest part about Friday is that my cousin is working that night as well. No nepotism here, lol!!

Well, there you have it, Day 1. :)

Monday, October 5, 2009


I can't believe I let so much time lapse from my last post!! Whoa!

I officially start my kitchen job on Wednesday! I am super excited, but I have to admit I am a little nervous, but who wouldn't be....I am diving into not only a new job, but a completely new field! I can't wait to learn with the pros - in school and also at work. I am so blessed to have found something that totally excites me and fits me perfectly.

It's a short one today, because I smell popcorn. Yum. More later.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

It's not picking up dog poo, but it ain't no circus either!

I was actually serious when I referenced the dog poo job last year when trying to leave "the circus". As a matter of fact, when looking into franchises, I found a few for dog poo pickup services that looked pretty lucrative. Really, who enjoys picking up after their dog? It's easier to have someone else do it. Had it not been for the large inital investment I didn't have, I was going to do it just for the irony.

I have found myself so enthusiastic about everything lately, and I am wondering if it is starting to rub off on people. Why do I say this, you ask? Yours truly, a former accounting/IT exec, recieved a phone call today with a job offer as kitchen staff at her favorite restaurant! Even with my lack of restaurant experience, I apparently made some type of impression on the owners when I went in yesterday. Ok, ok, I will admit, my cousin works there too. :)

Part time, 2 nights a week, I will be washing dishes, prepping, and expediting! I couldn't be more excited to be involved in a "kitchen of action"! It's a small, but BUSY restaurant that strives for customer satisfaction and perfection in it's dishes. What more could I possibly ask for? I have a feeling my OCD inspired personality will fit right in at the garnish line....

Any-who, (is that even a word?) I found something of humor the other day and wanted to share. In one of my prior posts, I had briefly referenced a "cooking show" and someone actually thought I meant on television, lol. No, I am not quite to the Next Food Network Star status, geez, I haven't even started school yet!! However, I will be making a living by demonstrating fabulous kitchenware in front of small crowds in homes.... ;)

What I am finding so truly amazing is that I never would have expected myself in this position, right here, right now. I decided to step outside of my comfort zone and ventured out to discover many things, meet incredible people, and travel more than any jobless person I know. I am truly grateful for every moment that passes me by, and look forward to each one that is coming my way, with genuine esperance.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

More waves of excitement!

Just when you think you've tapped all the exciting news, more of it comes rolling in! As I was coming back from my vacation, I got a message that a Captain in our area needed some help on his yacht for a few days before putting into storage for the winter. Hm, you don't say! I immediately said, "YES!", and there is my next way of water!

I spent 2 days with the Captain, assisting him with the trip from Bay Harbor to Northport, MI. I am not sure how much help I was....drinking all those rum and cokes and all. But, we made it to port and settled in with a nice steak dinner with mashed potatoes and asparagus. We also had sliced tomatoes with fresh mozzarella and black olives, and drizzled with balsamic vinaigrette. Then we proceeded to the local watering hole and filled up on a few more tasty beverages. Tough day, huh?

The next day we got up and ate breakfast at this cute place called The Treasure Chest. They sell antiques and also have a little restaurant. Donna treated us like family and it was an excellent meal! After breakfast we got to work: vaccuming, cleaning floors, defrosting refridgerators, covering up furniture and the like. Then we took a "break" and had a few Bloody Marys....yum!! Chatted about my upcoming culinary classes, and his extensive background as a Captain. Too much fun! Then we had to finish up some red wine, so we did that as we waited for my bf to show up so he could get a tour of the 70' vessel.

And the adventure does not stop there! Captain wants me to send my resume' to him, as he is interested in hiring me for other gigs in the future, including some chef work! He told me that he would be a reference ANYTIME and said he can tell I am going to be a great chef because I am so thorough. How cool is that?!!

THEN, yesterday I got a lead from my cousin that the restaurant where she works may be looking to hire kitchen help. Uh, yea, it's my FAVORITE restaurant up here!! So, she talked with one of the owners and I am going to meet with her next week!!! Everything seems to be coming together on my travels through the culinary seas! I haven't even started culinary school and already have 2 solid leads!! Amazing!

I could not have done all this without my AWESOME supportive friends who have not doubted me for a second! You rock!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

What a whirlwind!

It's official! Yes, I received my acceptance letter and will be heading to culinary school in January! I love school. I love learning new things. But this, my friends, is completely different. I am used to taking BORING business and accounting classes, and now I am going to learn about something I LOVE to do! Somehow, this is all somewhat surreal to me, but also VERY exciting!

More fun news for this little foodie....

I am going on yet another vacation! In November, my bf and I are heading for Tunisia! We are going for a conference and making a vacation of it! The weather will be cool, but who cares! It's a beautiful Mediterranean country that I am excited to learn more about it's culture. AND on the way back, we stay one night in Paris!! How perfect!!

Ok, going to get back to my vacation, but just had to share!!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Working Vacation

Yea, there is such a thing and I am doing it. But, I am LOVING it too! Thanks to my BF for letting me borrow his laptop, what a guy!

I am getting excited for culinary school and just itching to cook for people these days. Of course, cooking takes food, food takes money, so..... I have found a great way to enjoy what I do and get paid for it. I am keeping myself in check on this vaca by prepping for a few cooking shows I have coming up.

Speaking of culinary school, I am actually still waiting for my "official acceptance letter". I thought that because I am applying at a 2 year college I wouldn't have a problem getting in, BUT I did get an email saying they were "reviewing my application". Hm, well I guess I will have to sit tight until I get the final word, but in the mean time they sent me a huge packet on Financial Aid. We all know I need to take advantage of THAT!

Have you ever just known you are making the right choices? Well, a funny thing happened on the way to Raleigh....

I was reading the Southwest Airlines magazine, Spirit and ran across several articles that pretty much assured me I am on the right path:

  • Senior Corporate Executives have the #3 toughest job, and this actually outranked police officers!! Not that I don't want to work hard, but I don't want to go home feeling like I tried to save the world and got "nothin but this t-shirt".
  • Played some game to see if wealth is in your future, and I actually am not that far from being financially fit - even with my horrid credit. It's more about attitude and beliefs.
  • Read an article on Meyers-Briggs personality traits and jobs. THIS was interesting. Basically I gathered I was in the WRONG JOB for my personality type!! Not surprising!!
  • Took an entrepreneur quiz and the result said: Steve Jobs should be calling you for advice. Ok, this is a major exaggeration...but fun to think about anyway.
  • Last, but very not least, read about Leanna Archer . You can do anything you set your mind to, if you just do the research. This girl has some spirit!!

I didn't really need the reassurance, but it was right in front of me anyway.

Ok, back to vaca, folks!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

How is it........

that an unemployed person gets to go on vacation? Well, you see, there are frugal ways to travel. One being a insanely low price on airline (thank you very much!) that DOES NOT charge the $15 bag fee, the second being to go visit someone who can appreciate the frugality of your being, um, I mean unemployment. Aka, your sister, or any kind relative for that matter.

I am excited to report I will be traveling for a whole week to NC! This will be a chance to get refreshed, renewed, and excited for the next chapter in my life.

Short and sweet today, folks!! Make it a great day!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Happy Quit-a-versary to Me!!!

Today marks the one year anniversary since I left my career and began my new life venture! I am jobless, broke, and homeless, yet I am happier now than I ever had been while I was working for that lunatic, not to mention tweedle-dee and dumb from the previous job.

I had decided that I had another calling and that I needed to figure out what that was. After I left Omaha, threw my stuff in storage, visited with my sister for 6 weeks in NC, and my interim job ran out, I found myself jobless back in Michigan. Not the ideal situation, but fortunately I am one of those people who have been blessed with family and friends with hearts of gold. Yea, I'm getting a little sappy and sentimental thinking about this whole year. Bear with me, please.

I didn't really think that it would take me a whole year to figure out what it is I wanted to do with the rest of my life, but here it is. One year later. D-day. The final countdown.....

Do I have it all figured out?

Yes, as a matter of fact, I do. I have a "master plan". The best thing about the MP is that it can be altered or changed, as it was meant to be. There will be no more working for d-bags (my new favorite word), no more reports in excel spreadsheets, no more useless meetings, no more requests for false financial statements.

I am replacing those useless tools with some new ones: spatulas, graters, cutting boards, and saute pans. Yes, folks, my new industry is my first love......FOOD!!

I will be making my way to culinary school as early as January, so I can learn every aspect of the kitchen and the food business. I am SO very excited about this culinary adventure! With a dash of business degree, a smidgen of culinary arts degree, and a sliver of entrepreneur...I will have a recipe for a fun, foodie-filled future!

Off to celebrate my one year anniversary and the beginning of a new adventure with a glass of wine.......

Oh! And before I forget...THANK YOU to all of you who have been a HUGE support to me this past year, you know who you are, and I couldn't have done this without you. :)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Henry and Ricardo, Pilots of Customer Service

I finally recieved an email back from the Ranting for Miles letter I sent off to the NWA Rewards Network Dining for Miles program. To my displeasure, the response from "Ricardo" was less than stellar and clearly he did not read my email. Or maybe he did read it and like every other customer service rep, he had to show it to his "supervisor" for direction. Some supervisor they are, they poorly advised him to respond from a series of canned click-box replies:


Dear [Crazy, Hungry and Broke],

Thank you for writing Rewards Network Dining for Miles!

We appreciate you taking the time to share your comments.

We appreciate your continued patience. Should you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact me.

Sincerely, Ricardo [if that is even his real name]

Rewards Network Dining for Miles Internet Services


Dear Ricardo,

Your welcome. Now where's that $50 so I can go grab something to eat? Like the Dining for Miles email said, "I must be starving!"


The Famished Female


I really don't understand how "Ricardo" has a job and I don't. Maybe the Rewards Network Dining for Miles Program is hiring and I can work right next to him. I am pretty sure I can handle clicking the canned response boxes, heck, I might even be able to draft a real letter!

Another fine example of true airline customer service, is one I found from Delta Airlines on the blog YourUnemployedDaughter. YUD, as she calls herself, had a little email conversation going with "Henry" regarding a mixup with the beloved $15 bag fee. I seriously don't think Henry gets it either.

There is a recession here, people, if you didn't notice. Dining out and $15 per bag fee, EACH WAY, is luxury these days. Us unemployed folk track our expenses like a dog tracks bear! Even automotive companies will "take your car back" if you lose your job, what about the airlines? They choose to do nothing but poke fun at our expense by coming up with "snappy" email marketing techniques or rip us off with the ridiculous bag fee. I bet Henry won't be to thrilled once they take that $15 out of his paycheck for being such a prick about it.

I promptly sent YUD my letter to NWA Rewards for Dining Network so she could see that she is not alone in this world of ignoramous airline customer service. Well, she got a kick out of it, and I am elated I could make someone's day a little brighter. I know I felt 100% better after writing it.

Fast forward to this afternoon, in a completely unrelated web-surfing session, I came across a job opening for a Marketing Communications Specialist. Fancy that! I figured if Henry and Ricardo can handle that kind of job, why can't I? Thank you for giving me the confidence to apply for a job I am underqualified for! Yet, after witnessing what kind of writers NWA and Delta hire, I've decided I am a shoe-in.

Thanks to the NWA Rewards Dining for Miles Network and their poor marketing ideas, I now have a primo sample of my work to share.

Monday, August 17, 2009

What is my deal?

I seem to have a problem with motivation. It's not that I don't have any, but I think it's not exactly in the places it needs to be.

I keep thinking about how I am going to get up early and get out the door to do something, but I get so darn side tracked. It's different things every day. Today's example:

Last night I planned out how my day would work:

Get up early
Make coffee
Eat breakfast
Check email, log food intake, etc. while eating breakfast
Workout for 45 min
Head down to MichiganWorks office
Stop in and apply for min wage retail job that I found on internet
Come home for lunch-I have a great new recipe idea! :)

Ok, it's 11 am people and I still have my workout clothes on!!! I also want to add in a walk with my dog because I feel SUPER guilty that I don't take him on walks as often since I started this new exercise program. He needs to lose 4-5 lbs per doctors orders.

The sad part is part of me wants to wait until tomorrow to go down to the "city"..... Ok, enough lazy talk... I need to go for that walk and get moving!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Ranting for miles program

I received the following email this morning from NWA WorldPerks Dining for Miles program, where you can accumulate airline miles for dining out:


From: Rewards Network Dining for Miles
Subject: Where have you been?

You must be starving!

We noticed you haven't dined out recently, so you didn't earn any WorldPerks® miles with us last month. Wouldn't some WorldPerks miles hit the spot right about now? It's the perfect time to dig back in at some great places like these.

To: Rewards Network Dining for Miles
Subject: Scraping for groceries

Really?! No, Rewards Network Dining for Miles program, I am not starving. I am broke! I am unemployed and cannot afford luxuries right now like DINING OUT. I have no home, I stay with family and friends, horrible credit, and the last thing I think about is buying myself a lavish meal so I can get "airline miles" for a trip I CANNOT AFFORD TO GO ON.

I receive a very SMALL portion of unemployment that covers only the basics in life, and not to mention, I only have 8 weeks of it left! And really, what would I do with airline points right now? I have no right to be taking a vacation! Not to mention, with the $15 A BAG FEE, I cannot afford to use your airline at this juncture of my life.

And NO, I can't charge it on my credit card because I DON'T HAVE ONE. I have screwed up my credit because I use to go on lavish vacations, perhaps flying an airline such as NWA. No.. I don't have what I call a "faulty backup plan" everyone else refers to as CREDIT CARDS.

I'll tell you what would "hit the spot". You send me a check for $50, and I will treat myself to a nice dinner out at one of the "participating restaurants in my area" so I can get rack up a few miles.

Dig back into that, Rewards Network Dining for Miles!!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Marlboro sweats and rich old pervy men

I should be working on my book. I should be working on my business plan. I should be looking for jobs. All these little time. You would think with all this free time not working, I could have whipped out a book and a FEW business plans. It just doesn't work that way, and those of you that have been unemployed know exactly what I mean.

The only other time in my life I was unemployed was over 10 years ago, and it was for a few short, yet grueling months. I spent most of my days laying around in these red sweats with the word Marlboro printed down the side. Those days were pretty grim. I gave up my apartment and lived with some friends and their stinky dogs. Really, they were gross. They were cocker spaniels and they would always leave these "little presents", in solid AND liquid form, in the foyer for a greeting as you entered the door. Nasty. They always used Pine Sol to clean it up too, which I found quite disturbing. To this day, if I smell Pine Sol, I will either gag or worse: blow chunks.

I didn't think I would ever find a job, so I took this bartending gig 2 nights a week at this cheesy bar that had line dancing lessons on Mondays and Tuesdays. By day, a Marlboro sweat wearing slob, by night - a tight shirt, mini skirt wearing bartender for the urban cowgirls and pervy old business men of the east side. What a catch I was!

Needless to say, that job didn't last very long. I got tired of the old men that would offer to pay for things in exchange for my company. Ew. I was broke, but not desperate. This one old man, who had to have been in his 80s, always would ask me if I had a fur coat and offer to pay for my college. Seriously, I could have been "Amber Nicole"...thank God I have some pride left at this point. Conversations were never dull with this man, but this one in particular grossed me out so bad that I must over-share:

Rich old pervy man: You need your box fixed?

Me: Excuse me, what did you say?

Rich old pervy man: I said, do you need your box fixed?

Me: What are you talking about?

Rich old pervy man: Well, any girl I've gone out with either needs her box fixed or her teeth fixed, and your teeth look fine to me.

Yes, what a FINE place it was. A few years later, the place had changed names and got some notority from a certain Detroit rap star.... (that I have to admit I had a big crush on).

I digress. My life is not that bad. The Marlboro sweats are long gone and now they've been replaced by the awesome sock monkey slippers I picked up for $7. My nights are spent hanging out with my BBE (best boyfriend ever) or my cousin. I'm either cooking dinner, playing a board game, playing with my sweet little pug or watching a movie. Such a difference a decade makes.

So, now that I have reminisced......and realized things could be a LOT worse, I think I will go ahead and work on that business plan.....

Friday, July 24, 2009

Get over it!

It seems so easy to say, and rarely easy to do. But you HAVE to do it. You HAVE to stop whining and crying like a baby as if this was the worst disappointment in life. Think about all the people in your life for a minute. Everything they are going through, have gone through, and are about to go through. Now, don't you feel silly complaining about that one little thing in your life that didn't go your way?

Or maybe it did go your way, but you are too busy with your pity party to realize it.

I have to admit, I don't even want to tell the story. But I think in order for me to move on, I need to put it out there in the universe. I applied for a job that was not exactly what I had in mind on my journey of finding the "new me", but it was fairly good pay and with a great company. (Yes, I am self-justifying this...bear with me) I was excited to FINALLY get an interview somewhere because the jobs out there...well, are few and far between.

I thought the interview went really well and then had to wait until this week to find out if I made the second round. During this whole waiting process, I found myself wondering if I had even made the right choice by going on the interview in the first place. It's not a job in "accounting" per say, but in the Accounting Department. Maybe, just maybe, it is too close for comfort. As I said, I justified it with two things: the money and the company reputation. Don't get me wrong, the money wasn't like anything I have been used to in the past, but it would have been much more than I had budgeted for and apparently this company has great work-life balance reputation - a major plus!

However, none of this matters anymore, because I did not get selected for round 2 of the interview process. After I found out, I had myself a 10 minute pity party. Ok, it was more like 30 minutes, but you get my point. I am not sure why I even flinched about it, I think it's just the realization that this process is much more difficult and demanding then I anticipated.

So what, I didn't get the job. Life goes on. The way I see it I have two choices:

1. Continue to cry/whine/complain to everyone about how I did not get the job offer. Start a self destructive pattern of bitching about how crappy my situation is and think that nothing in life is going my way...blah, blah, blah.

2. Get over it!

If you know me at all, you know that I am going to choose #2. There is no reason to do otherwise. This just means that there is another plan for me and this just makes me more excited and motivated to find out exactly what that is.

Monday, July 20, 2009

The exciting life of the unemployed

Don't get me wrong, I am not complaining about being unemployed, nor I am not bragging about it. I simply want to share a few things, because I think it's good to see another person's point of view. Especially when you start to feel as if the world revolves in order to make your life miserable.

Most days I sleep in...sometimes until 9am. I get up and have breakfast, make coffee, check my email and then jump in the shower. I take my time to get ready, because I can, and then I start my daily "work routine". I put away the dishes, throw in some laundry, straighten up the living room and kitchen, and by the time that is all said and done it's lunchtime!

Then I go surfing....on the internet....for jobs. This, my friends, is not the highlight of my day as one would expect. However, it has become my LEAST favorite thing to do. Not because there aren't many jobs out there, or that they don't pay enough...but I feel like I am doing it just to pass time and because the unemployment agency expects me to do it.

It is not as if I don't WANT a job, I do. I just want one that will make me feel whole again.

There are times when I feel as if I could have done something different and circumstances might have been more bearable in my past few jobs. Maybe I did something to deserve it. Maybe I just wasn't good enough. Maybe I am just being a spoiled brat. Or maybe.....


It does not take long to figure it out once you talk your way through it, or even better, talk about it with someone who KNOWS your strengths and can see things clearly because they are looking in at your situation and not within it. I am not talking about having a "pity party", or an "oh poor me, feel sorry for me because this world has wronged me" conversation. I am talking about real, true and raw feelings. Tell it like it is. Tell someone what your true irrational fears and phony inadequacies are and DO NOT expect them to tell you that your wrong. You speak truth, and others will give it right back to you in the raw form from which you dealt it out.

The humility that comes out of the conversation will enlighten you....if you let it.

After letting myself drift off into my imaginary philosophical world where I am the Queen of the Soap Box, I wake up to find myself back on the pages of employment search engines. Ah, back to reality. I print out a few jobs that look semi-interesting so I can re-write my resume for the job. I open up my resume and stare at it. I close it back up. I go to Blogger and open up a New Post and stare at the screen. Nothing. Nothing. I can think of nothing remotely interesting to write about. I close up Blogger. I think I should work on one of my books. No, I am not feeling it today. Maybe I should work on a painting. No, I am not in the right mood. I open up Blogger again. I stare at the big open space where words should be spilling out onto the screen. Again, nothing. I close up Blogger again. I check my email once more, laugh at a few jokes and call it a day.

What is different about today, you ask? I've let myself be enlightened.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Excuses, Excuses...

I certainly don't have any good ones for not posting...for a month! Well, besides the fact that when I arrived home from Omaha, I had a severe cold and couldn't peel myself off the couch for two weeks. I know that is totally lame, but literally, I couldn't think of anything to write except for over-the-counter-remedy reviews, and I don't know anyone who would be interested in that topic. Ok, maybe one, but I don't think he reads this blog. Ha.

I had some fun times with my Oma-homies: CWS beer tents, I actually went to an LSU game, fun on the Missouri River, and of course my favorite: Commune Cooking. If you don't know what commune cooking is, you don't know what you are missing. Every Sunday we would get together at each other's houses for dinner. The idea started out with us bringing what was available in our fridge, pantry, etc., but then escalated a bit when we all started getting a little 'competitive' with our cooking. I suppose I am partially to blame, because I started bringing "fancy" things. Hey, I love to cook, what can I say? Anyway, you never leave with an empty stomach because we all know how to cook really well and have such diverse backgrounds in cooking.

I really miss those dinners and my friends too, they are the best people you will ever meet. :) I can't wait to go back and visit, hopefully again this year.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

CWS! Woo Hoo!

Tomorrow I am leaving for Omaha so I can see my awesome friends and partake in the festivities of the NCAA Men's College World Series!! If you have never been to Omaha and you like baseball, beer and...and...babes, lol, then you need to take a trip during the CWS. It is SO much fun, the fans are so awesome - especially the LSU fans! Geaux Tigers!!

I truly never had an interest in college baseball, I really only liked the Tigers and the Red Sox, but after my first experience last year, watch out!! I hope to make this an annual trip - it's the perfect time of year and it's way too much fun to describe!

See you on the flipside!!

Friday, June 12, 2009

I love Emerson

No change of circumstances can repair a defect of character.

- Ralph Waldo Emerson, writer

I love Emerson's quotes and cannot get enough of them. This week has been quite challenging for me and this quote reminds me to stay on track with what I am doing with my life. It also tells me that I am the only one that "is the boss of me" and blaming or taking it out on others that my circumstances are so grim is just plain wrong. I am trying hard to keep a positive outlook and know that there is something out there I am meant to be doing. There are growing pains with every change and I know, trust me I totally do, that it is NOT easy. But you have to trust yourself that you will make the right choices. You have to trust that YOU alone can find what it is you are looking for. Happiness does not show up on your doorstep, you must go out and seek what truly makes happiness for YOU.

Have a wonderful weekend!!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Fighting off the Monsters

Today I fought off a few monsters that threatened my well-being today. One of them was the N Monster, aka, Negativity. For a few brief moments in time I let him seep in and take over my brain!! In order to fight off this beast, you can either use your Positive Energy tokens to counter act, or in desperate circumstances, you must get him out by way of tear ducts.

I chose the tear duct method, only because I knew once I was finished I probably would have no problem keeping him away for quite some time. Not to mention, I also had to rid myself of the W Monster (Worry) so it was kind of a two-fer.

The cause of such monsters, well you may chuckle that it's no big deal or I am being a big baby, but hey - they are my monsters and you can't tell me how to feel. So. There. I was trying to figure out how the F I am going to make it through the week financially, as I have a few VERY important things coming up: an absolutely fabulous wedding and a trip to Omaha to see my peeps. Yea, yea, everyone is trying to make ends meet and I am bitching about a vacation - BUT I do not have a job and I do not collect unemployment (well, ok, I applied, but does not mean I am going to get it!) so I have $0 income stream! LOL, I don't even have enough gas to drive to an interview if I got one! I have $20 in my checking account, 86 cents in my savings, and $4 cash in my wallet - so I don't even know how I am going to EAT!!

Ok, ok, that is one more monster that I had to battle today...the dreaded PP Monster. Pity Party. Yes, I felt sorry for myself for a brief moment in time. That party lasted all of 5 minutes. There are much bigger things going on in this world besides my little problems AND this is only temporary!!

Now, I have to tell you about my Secret Weapon that I use to keep the Monsters at bay. I am trusting you with this intelligence, so use it wisely! I have these secret agent friends that I refer to as The Pep Squad. I can't tell you who they are, but they know who they are, but they don't know who each other are. It's kind of complicated, yes, but their mission is simple. It's a like a stealth operation! But it's so stealth, THEY don't even know they completed an assignment!

The Pep Squad is not like the Verizon network, it's not HUGE. It's a smaller group that likes to be subtle and as a matter of fact, they don't need all kinds of praise, kudos, and awards. The mere fact that they completed a mission is the only thing they need to be fulfilled.

I am telling you about all of this (the Monsters, the Pep Squad, etc.) because I have to make a few points:

1. I would like to advise you not quit your job if you have: A: large amounts of debt or B: 0 savings or C: All of the above! - oops! :)

2. In order to recruit a Pep Squad, you have to be a member of a Pep Squad first. Trust me, it's totally worth it.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Never give up. Ever.

Not even for a second. I've been taking a blog sabbatical, mainly due to the boxing match between my left and right brain. Sensibility and creativity bumping their heads competing for the next move. And folks, Righty is as strong as ever and is pulling a big TKO on Lefty!!

Since my latest project "flaked" out on me, I have been on the warpath with resume guy trying to iron out some "minor discrepancies" in my resume. He just doesn't seem to get what my goal is. I read my resume and I read: BORING IT-ACCOUNTING NERD. Big words I don't use in my regular vocabulary, objectives that are far beyond what I am looking for, and overall: OVERWHELMING.

I want my resume to read something more along these lines:

Smart, talented, self-starter with heavy experience in small business looking to transition into new media/publishing . Willing to work for free for 30 days to prove my worth.

You think I am joking, but I am dead serious. I found a cool job that I am going to apply for and I don't exactly have the experience, but thought to myself, what the hell. They could just think I was some kind of nutjob, but then again, they might enjoy the refreshing enthusiasm of someone who is looking for a meaningful, creative job. I will keep you posted on that one!

Today I have so much checked off my to-do list, I am letting myself go home an hour early. I totally wish I got paid for being me, because today I would give myself a big productivity bonus. But instead, I am going to go home and cook dinner for some friends and enjoy some bacon-wrapped filets. Surprised?

Until next time.....

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Three Faces of Eve

Imagine the possibilities. Imagine the adventures. Imagine the places you'd go. If you only you were Eve White...or Eve Black...or is it Jane? If having multiple personalities wasn't a severe personality disorder, I'd swear everyone would have them, myself included.

This movie tapped a part of my brain that I didn't know existed. The first time I saw it, I was in awe. You mean this girl was several people? How did this happen? What if you were to wake up as someone else every day? Who would you be if you had the choice?

"Honey, there are a lot of things you've never seen me do before. That's no sign I don't do 'em."
~Joanne Woodward as Eve Black in Three Faces of Eve

When trying to figure out your life's passion, you sometimes feel pulled in several directions. Actually, not sometimes, ALL THE TIME. The thought of "giving in" crosses your mind daily. What would happen if I just took a boring accounting job just for the income? Would my dreams be put on hold for yet another undetermined amount of time? Should I just take something to get me by financially? Can I look past the boring activity and just suck it up?

I already know the answers to these questions. Even though it would seem easy enough to just do what I know I can do, I cannot let myself down. The whole point of this exercise is to find my passion. It would be wrong for me to make this kind of choice. I would not forgive myself if I did something just for the paycheck. That kind of life is in the past and I am ready to move forward into the unknown.

Ah, if only I knew what Eve would do.....

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The magical world of quiche!

Once again, my quiche making abilities have the crowds begging for more!! Thank you, thank you, you're far too kind!!

****and she bows to the crowd****

Enough of the quiche was a hit! I made the sausage and tomato quiche which I have renamed Italian Quiche. I am not sure what it is about this quiche, but once you take a bite you will know what I mean!! It might be the combination of Johnsonville Sweet Italian Sausage and mozzarella cheese swimming in cream and eggs that floats atop the buttery flaky crust....yea, that's probably it. I do have to admit I did use Emeril's recipe for the crust, but that is only because I think frozen pie crusts are for wimps. If you are going to make a quiche, do it right!!

Day 4 of Life on a Vacation:

Meet with an old friend! Friday night I met with a friend of mine that I have not seen in several years. We had a blast reliving old memories and filling each other in on our current lives, all the while laughing our heads off! Catching up with someone can give you the feeling you are somewhere else for a while, a break from the norm and maybe lets you walk in someone else's shoes for a while.

Day 5 of Life on a Vacation:

Buy something frivolous! We all do it on vacation, admit it! So why not just do it today? I found the CUTEST pair of Franco Sartos on the clearance rack. Didn't need them, but I sure will wear them!! Oh, and I found a shirt that looks perfect with them too!

Day 5 of Life on a Vacation:

Do something nice for a grandparent or other aging relative. I am not sure what it is, but something as simple as cooking brunch or a visit with your pet can really brighten someone's day. It makes you feel grateful that you have the family you do and its warming to know something so small to you can make another feel so important.

Day 6 of Life on a Vacation:

Impromptu cocktail!! What more needs to be said? It's a Monday, you don't have much going on - why not just invite a friend for a cocktail before you head home to do your mundane tasks? Even better, try a place that you have not been to in a while!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Wine, cheese, and friends!

This weekend I am going to be heading on a short road trip (life on a vacation idea #6) to see some friends, drink some wine, and nibble on some cheese. What a great way to spend a weekend if you ask me. I even get to wrap it up by spending some time with my family on Sunday.

I found 2 new quiche recipes that I am going to be trying for Sunday's brunch. One is a Quiche Lorraine and the other is a sausage tomato quiche. Just thinking about them gets me hungry! Several years ago, I made quiches for our Mothers Day brunch (I think it was 2001) and to this day we STILL make them. Let's hope my picks this year can keep up with the competition!

Have a great weekend!

Day 3 of Life on a Vacation:

Cook yourself a gourmet meal. Last night I had a filet wrapped in bacon on the grill. 2 of my favorite meats combined in one savory, juicy package! Make sure to savor each bite, even try closing your eyes and picturing yourself at your favorite out of town vacation spot!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Easier than I thought

My first few days of vacation-way-of-living are going great!

Day #1:

I took my pug for a walk down to the beach. That seemed like the perfect vacation thing to do. It was funny watching him try to walk in the sand. His paws were spread out like duck feet, and it took him a few minutes to get used to it. He wouldn't go in the water but I am fine with that because I really don't like "ode de wet dog". Ew. I only took a picture on my phone, so I don't have one to share, but I will be sure to bring my camera next time.

Day #2:

I actually did several things like I was on vacation on this day.:)

My cousin and I decided to go to Esperance for bloody marys and a late lunch. Now that is my kind of lunch!
We actually did eat lunch: I had a Proscuitto Salad, my cousin had the Esperance Salad and we split a cheese plate. Yum, yum, and YUM!! The cheese plate was out of this world! Suzanne was kind enough to ask us what kind of cheeses we liked: my taste is sharp, of course, and my cousins is creamy. We had one sharp, one creamy, and one sharp and creamy. Wow. I am still drooling.... I really wish I would have written these things down. Note to self.

We had some great conversations about book ideas, business ideas, and no lunchtime chatter would be complete without: wine, chocolate, cheese & my beloved bacon.

Now, a day with a vacation attitude would not be complete if you didn't go and enjoy the outdoors a bit. We grabbed the "hunting pug", hopped in the car with my cousins husband and headed for the woods for the legendary moral mushrooms!
First thing you need to do when hunting, is get the "sniffer" going so he can be a guide to the next patch of shrooms:

Now it was time for the big hunt and Puggie was ready to go deep in the woods to find the prized game!

He had quite an impressive day and by the end of it, he was all tuckered out..... but he found plenty of morels...or morals. You say tomAto, I say tomato.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

It keeps coming back to me

Back in August of 2008 when I first started this blog, I had sent some of my friends an email with 3 simple questions, assuming they know everything about me except for what I do for a living. There is just something about this list that just keeps gnawing at me..... and I am going to start listening.

1. List 3 industries that you could picture me working in

Public Relations

Interior Design, or something creative

Head hunting


Business Entertainment

Something in the arts


entertainment - movies/music




Interior Designer

Graphic Artist

Stylist (hair/makeup/clothing etc)

Adult Entertainment


Employee placement

2. List 3 talents that you think I have

Communicating on the right level - I guess knowing your audience



artist and detail orientated

hard working and being able to take control of a project

being able to think out of the box

quick wit




Ability to think on your feet

Strong attention to detail

Extremely Creative

Ability to pay attention to detail

Good at visualizing (seeing possibilities that others may not see)

3. List 3 creative jobs that do not require prior experience

Writing literature

party planning

something in advertising


public speaking

personal assistant


Writing literature (aren't you doing that)

Scrapbooking expert?

Porn Star


Art Gallery Owner

However....I am pretty sure Porn Star is not going to be on my next business card.