a crap day

Peter: Let me ask you something.  When you come in on Monday and you're not feeling real well, does anyone ever say to you, "Sounds like someone has a case of the Mondays?"
Lawrence: No. No, man. Shit, no, man.  I believe you'd get your ass kicked sayin' something like that, man.

I'm going to forewarn you: I'm acting like a whiney crying b today. I most definitely have a case of the Mondays. There's a long list of reasons but basically I'm just having a terrible day. One of those days where it's hard to be happy. I would normally write a list of reasons to be happy- but I can't really think of any. EXCEPT MARIA.

That's right. Frauline Maria and her band of midget singers. When I am sucked into a funk the soundtrack from the The Sound of Music is one of the few things that can pull me out a little.

So, danke schon Maria! Danke schon!

25th Birthday!

Happy Birthday to me! 
Today is my 25th birthday! 

Last year I spent my 24th birthday with friends at the beautiful Andechs Monastery outside of Munich.

(My "birthday cake")

(How cute is this? Thanks Audrey!)

It's amazing how much has happened in the last year!

Since September 24th, 2009

I've been to 10 different countries and 4 continents 
Sold my house
Moved to Chicago
Moved to Charlotte
Started Culinary School

I can't wait to see what the next year brings!

Culinary School- The Decision

I know to blog readers it seems like I very randomly packed up and decided to culinary school. And it might have seemed that way to some of my friends as well. But thoughts of culinary school have been floating around my brain for years. I've always loved to cook.  I've been a great "cook" for a while.  But I wanted to step it up and become a chef.  The difference between a chef and a cook is tremendous. 

As you all know Chris and I had been planing to leave on our trip months ago.  But because of some personal stuff we've had to postpone our trip for at least a year (BOO!!). So, the questions because:

 "How can I best spend the next year of my life? 
How can I better myself? 
How can I keep my resume current? 
What will I enjoy doing for a year?"

I definitely considered getting a job; but I was worried that by the time I found (if I could even find one) a job and then finished training it would be time to leave.  I know that I could DEFINITELY learn a lot in a job in a year.  But  I kept on coming back to a statement that my grandfather always says:

"Find a job that you would be willing to do for free."

My first job out of college was as an event planner.  I loved planning, when I was actually planning, but 90% of the time I was doing crazy bitch work. I know that everyone has to start at the bottom but it was frustrating to say the least. So, I didn't want to go back to event planning if I knew I was only going to stay for only a year.  In the event industry you really have to work your way into a city event industry forging one relationship at a time.

While I was in Chicago I did lots of thinking. I volunteered for a great organization called Operation Frontline which is a part of  the Share Our Strengths philanthropy network. OF's mission is to help adults, families, and children learn about nutrition, easy cooking, and a healthy lifestyle through hands-on demonstrations and lectures.  Through the organization I assisted professional chefs in the classroom. While assisting I asked hundreds of questions about culinary school, being a chef, being a private chef, and everything else you could think of relating to attending culinary school. I also did several informational interviews with chefs.

I know that I could have gotten a culinary education in the field but I really want to have refined and technically correct culinary skills.  I want to have the distinction of going to a prestigious culinary school (man, that sounded snooty!).  My long term plan is not to become a chef in a restaurant.  The hours are crazy,the culture can be fairly intense (lots of late nights, drugs, and booze), and the pressure is always sky high.  

Eventually I want to open my own company-- catering, event planning, private cheffery (why yes, I did invent that)  or something along those lines.  What I really want to do is to open a small boutique cooking shop.  Imagine an amazing open kitchen with a living and dining room attached.  You could come take private lessons, pick up a gift for a friend, or have a fun girl's night out with great company, cooking, and wine!  

I applied to two culinary schools, Kendall in Chicago and Johnson & Wales in Charlotte.  Why those two? Well.... everyone else had already started the semester. Kendall was amazing.  They have a beautiful campus and the staff was incredibly friendly.  In the end I obviously decided on Johnson & Wales.  I wanted the name recognition and business training that J&W provides, I did NOT want to suffer through another Chicago winter, and I was ready to move into my own (with Chris of course!) place again. 

So far I'm loving culinary school. I'm definitely exhausted but it's all going to be worth it in the end! 

I'll be posting more about culinary school. My day to day life, what I'm learning, and maybe even a baking and pastry give away or two (who wants cookies in the mail? YOU DO!).

Thanks for sticking with me through these changes!

A long week. A longer month

It's 9:45 at night. I've just spent my second 12 hour day at school. I'm exhausted. I ate a dinner of cottage cheese and deli turkey because I (the chef in training!) was too tired to make anything for dinner.

I'm loving (LOVING!) school but I wish there was just a little more sleep to be had each day!

I cross my heart hope to die that culinary school updates will be arriving asap! Does tomorrow work for you? Because right now all I can think about is a shower and bed!

Anything you want to know?

P.s. I was trying to find a little youtube goodness to keep you all entertained since this post was such lame-sauce when I accidentally came across this topic:

What? Why? Just an entire category of "fat people falling"? Is it just me or is that weird/creepy/a little sadistic?

And why yes, that is a tiny break dancing shoe on a finger. And no, it was boring. No need for linkage.

Mer Mer How Does your Garden Grow?

Before we left for the mountains Chris and I planted a small vegetable garden on Saturday. We decided to make a raised bed so that we wouldn't have to till the soil (laziness alert!). Our garden is 8 feet by 4 feet and is made out of cheap ($3.49) wooden landscaping beams that were originally 8 feet long and cut in half to fit in the car!

We think we are going to expand it another 4 feet in length so we can squeeze in a few more plants!

We went a wee bit overboard when buying seeds and planted:

- oregano
- beets
- spinach
- mesclun
- arugula
- kohl rabi (which I've never heard of but asked my Chef about and he said it was the shape and size of a turnip but tastes like a cabbage.)
- basil
- parsley

(These are oregano seeds. Are they not the tiniest seeds you've ever seen?!)

and I am starting these in the kitchen:
- thyme
- rosemary
- bell peppers

We planted seeds and I am a little worried about how they will do. It's a definitely delayed gratification! What if I'm a bad seed momma and my little baby plants die? Or even worse, what if they never ever hatch?

BUT! When I came home today from a grueling 12-hour day at school I found these little sweeties popping their heads out!

That's arugula! The seed packet said that it would take 7 to 14 days for the seeds to emerge. These over achievers have sprouted in only 4 days!

Maybe I'll be a good plant momma after all?

happy place

The last month has been insane. I've been incredibly busy and constantly battling a 20+ item to-do list that is constantly weighing on my mind. Our house is a WRECK because we have NO furniture until the end of this month when it arrives from Dallas. I've just been a little (okay, A LOT) overwhelmed.

All of that stress disappeared when Chris and I headed into the woods this weekend for a long hike and a night in a tent.

The woods are my happy place. It's the setting that makes all of my worries, stresses, and insecurities disappear. The air seems to reach me in a different way. The smell of early fall leaves, wet grass, and fresh hay make me simply feel like a pile of happy goo.

After a calf-straining hike the view was stunning.

And on the way home we stopped at this roadside pumpkin patch and picked up a GIANT pumpkin straight from the farmer. We used the Honor System and payed for our pumpkin by putting money in an old rusty tool box. This stand made me happy for humanity!

And how could I not have a true laugh deep from within me when driving down a tiny state highway and passing by Pokemon Corner?
Or a boyfriend who purposely makes ridiculous faces in pictures?

A little Etsy Love!

Now that I'm so fancy and am going to become a chef and all there are a few things that I have been heavily lusting after for my own home kitchen:

Lexington BBQ

There are many regions across the nation known for the barbecue: Kansas City, Memphis, Texas.

All those places have NOTHING on Lexington, North Carolina!

The prices are cheap...

The BBQ is amazing. So amazing that my mouth is watering just looking at this picture!

I highly recommend a spicy combo of ketchup, Texas Pete, and a dash of smokehouse sauce. Chris doesn't like ketchup and only uses hot sauces. Who doesn't like ketchup? Freaks.

When you're done try to ignore your food baby, order a refill of sweet tea, and bask in the glorious-ness that is Lexington BBQ.

A place to call home

Little Monkeys! It's been so long! I'm sorry I've been MIA. Life has been CUUHHH-RRAAZZZY lately. In the last two and a half weeks I have:

Found and moved into a house in Charlotte, NC
Seen old friends from high school
Started culinary school at Johnson & Wales
Made new friends in our awesome new neighborhood
Taken my first culinary exam (I got a 95! Hollllllaaaaaaa!)

Chris and I had made the decision to move to Charlotte on such short notice that we had only a week and a half to secure a place to live. We could have balanced between hotel rooms, friends, and commuting from my childhood home (an hour away) but having a sense of HOME is a big part of my emotional security. I like being able to come back to my own place where I can dump my shoes on the ground, walk around in my under-roos, and just be me. Because Chris was working I was the vetting committee for houses and apartments. I saw some great and expensive places, some terrible and cheap places, and some places that were good enough but not exactly perfect.

On Wednesday afternoon I drove past this cutie

called the number on sign, set up an appointment for Thursday morning, filled out the lease that night, and got the keys on Friday. This girl doesn't play. When I find something I want it will be mine immediately.

There is something a little gross about the fact that our house has a white picket fence. It's just so... predictable. But, so far, I love the house! The majority of our furniture is still in Dallas so we're living on very bare bones. VERY bare bones. But, we're flying down to Texas at the end of the month (for the OU/UT game! Boomer shout-out for Chris!) and we'll coordinate movers while there.

Don't worry! I'm going to fill you all in on culinary school ASAP-- with pictures of my uniform (yes! Uniform!), stories of the 18-year-olds in my class, and random thoughts!