Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Cake Class Finale

I've been horrible about updating lately. My apologies! I have been busy moving from my apartment into my temporary living situation at my mom's house. Also my birthday was yesterday and the entire last week was spent in preparation for my party last weekend. YES, I made my own birthday cake (surprised?) and I cannot WAIT to get pictures up! But first I need to go a few weeks back and post pictures from my last cake class.

However, before I do that, I need to share some bad news. Over the 4th of July weekend, my cake instructor unexpectedly passed away. They believe it was a heart attack. I am still in shock over the news, especially considering I had just seen Linda the week before she passed away looking happy and well. Cake class was always something I looked forward to each week and Linda was 100% responsible for creating such a fun and friendly atmosphere.

I am so thankful that I was able to meet Linda and have her be a part of my life, even if it was only for a short time. I will always remember Linda's infectious smile and wonderful spirit. She was so very talented when it came to cake decorating and I am thankful I was able to learn under her. I send my greatest condolences to her family and close friends, as I'm sure they are all feeling the impact of this terrible loss. I especially feel for her daughter, who Linda always spoke fondly of. I know we are close in age and I can only imagine how she feels. God Bless.

My last cake was from Course 3 where we learned about fondant and tiered cakes. I included a post earlier about making fondant roses for my cake. I had to make 40, but thankfully these can be made weeks in advance. For my cake, I used 10" cake rounds for the bottom tier of the cake and 6" cake rounds for the top tier, covered both in butter cream, and then rolled fondant over top. I smoothed out the fondant so that it hugged the sides of the cake and trimmed off the excess around the edges. MUCH harder than it looks!

It's important to use buttercream icing under the fondant because it helps a) keep the fondant in place and b) helps the taste! Not everyone likes the taste of fondant, but I think the combination (fondant + buttercream) is yummy! I also used buttercream icing to make my borders around the bottom of the cakes. The next step was placing my fondant roses and leaves on the cake. After this was done, I finally was able to stack the top tier onto the bottom and presto finito--done! See pictures below.

Friday, July 10, 2009

See the World through Rose Colored Lenses

"I know it is not the goodness or badness of the world, but my mind which tints the lenses through which I see."

I love today's OA meditation and just thought I would share because it goes along with what I have been talking about in previous blogs and thinking about on my own. I have finally come to accept that I cannot control anything outside of myself. I know that I cannot change others even though God-willing, sometimes I would like to! My care and concern, and admittedly my selfishness, often gets me overly involved in people's problems. However, I think there is some merit in the idea that sometimes other people can see in us what we cannot see with our own eyes. That's why I often ask for others opinions, but I am slowly beginning to trust my own inner guidance.

Before you go about trying to change others, ask yourself first--what do I need to change? Do you want to become a better version of yourself? Ask those around you for their honest opinion of you and what they think you could work on. Ask your friends, significant other, and co-workers how they would rate you on a scale of 1 through 10. Ask them how you can be a better partner, friend, or co-worker. Don't immediately become defensive. Just hear them out.

Simply because you cannot change the people you would like to change doesn't mean that you can't be an inspiration to others. Keep smiling--it'll make people wonder what you're up to! When you have what others want, they will come forward to ask for your opinion, your advice, or how to go about achieving the same successes.

"For Today: I am letting go of my urge to change people and situations to fit my expectations. It is not the world that needs changing; it is I."

Thursday, July 9, 2009

When Life Gives You Lemons... make a Lemon Drop Martini!

I know this isn't how the old adage goes, but I'm a modern gal and if I have a choice between lemonade and a lemon drop martini--do you really have to ask? The point is not whether you prefer electric versus non-electric lemonade. The point is that you shouldn't let those lemons go to waste!

Every person, situation, or event in your life brings with it an opportunity to learn and grow.

However, it is my belief that in order to grow we must do two things. First, you need to be completely honest with yourself. You must honestly assess the situation you're in, how you got there, and what you would prefer instead. Based on that information, you can then set a new goal, write out the steps you must take in order to achieve that goal, and make it happen.

The second thing you need in order to grow is to be willing to take risks. Growth is not easy. If it were, you'd probably be there already. Nobody ever got rich sitting around in their parents' basement--so get out there and start taking chances!

Figure out what it is you have to risk in order to achieve your goal--it may require relocating to a new city where you don't know anyone, taking the time and spending the money to go back to school, quitting your current job and giving up financial security, re-writing your resume or hiring someone to re-write it for you, or talking to others who have achieved your goals already and finding out how they did it.

All of these things require risks--risk of rejection, money, time, etc. You may not always be successful, but rather than dwell on your failures (which there's bound to be) you must celebrate your successes, no matter how small. Remember, progress over perfection!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Oh Sweet Serenity

God, grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
the courage to change the things I can;
and the wisdom to know the difference.

I had therapy and OA today and both helped return me to sanity. Sometimes my thoughts and feelings become so overwhelming. A negative thought has ten times more power than a positive thought for me. Does this tend to be true for most people?

Every week in OA we recite the serenity prayer. It's something I am beginning to take to heart. The idea that I can't control anything but myself gives me permission to let go, which is harder than it sounds. Tonight someone said something about how things don't always go the way she wants and that she just had to learn to accept that. I can definitely relate. How many times were there things that I wanted that never came to fruition? It's difficult because I get so attached to an image of what I want that when I don't get it, I get extremely disappointed. It was nice hearing that I wasn't the only one that happened to and knowing that we all have to accept whatever life decides to throw at us.

Today I learned that life and all of our endeavors are about progress not perfection. As long as we are progressing, we're being successful. One day at a time.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Insomnia Word Vomit

In life, in general we aren't aware when we are hurting others. I know it's not always intentional, but it's interesting that people are either not aware, or even when you bring it to their awareness they still may never get it. This is my way of letting go what I cannot control. This is directed at no one in particular--just a random collection of feelings and thoughts I am experiencing all jumbled into one. Also, I'm extremely tired and can't get to sleep, so if this doesn't make a whole lot of sense, that is why.

Ok, I will admit only that some of this is aimed at my father but that's all you get! ;)

I don't need a spokesperson.
I don't need a back massager,
Or ego stroker.

I don't need a narcissist,
I don't need a nemesis,
Or pacifist.

I don't need a lecturer,
I don't need a pick-me-down,
Or all around bully.

I need a friend,
I need a supporter,
and a believer in me.

I need upfront,
I need care and concern,
and I need it to be real.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Today's OA quote

If an ass goes traveling, he'll not come home a horse. -Thomas Fuller

"'Going somewhere else has great appeal for many who are addicted to too much of a good thing.' This is known as 'geographic cure,' although those who use this term are well aware that a 'geographic' cures nothing; it is just another escape. Escapes simply compound addiction.

For today: God grant me the wisdom to understand my longings and the willingness to act in my own best interest." -For Today, OA

Today's quote leaves me baffled. I don't think I am trying to run away from anything. I don't think my life will magically become better if I leave Bloomington. I'm happy here and I could remain happy here. I have great friends, family, my dog, and I genuinely love my life. I guess what I don't love is my job and for some reason I have always had a yearning to leave Bloomington and Indiana. I just want to know what's out there.

I think at first when I was considering school in Chicago I did want to run away. I kept thinking, "what is there for me here?" I didn't have a boyfriend, I didn't like my job, and I wasn't involved in anything I was really passionate about. Now I still don't have the bf or the job I love, but I have goals and something I am passionate about working towards. I guess I could stay here in Indiana and try to make my career goals come true, go to school here, etc. But when else am I going to have this chance to do something completely different? If I stay here, I may find a job, meet a guy, settle down and never get the chance to do this. If I go, then I always have the option of coming back, which I hope to do. I ultimately would like to get married and raise a family close to home.

So, I'm not sure if this quote applies to me. I definitely agree with the prayer at the end though. I really do hope that God can help me understand my longings and help me act in my own best interest.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Fondant Roses

Well, last night was my last cake class. Yes, I know, sadness! However, in a way I'm a little happy too. I love doing cakes, but my schedule has been so hectic lately. I need to begin packing my apartment up this week/weekend because my lease ends next Wednesday. I also want more free time to be able to spend with my friends and family, especially before I make the big move to San Diego.

Luckily, I'll be taking tomorrow off from work in order to begin packing and also wrap up on my final cake. I'm taking my cake with me to French Lick to celebrate my friend Randy's daughter's birthday. I hope Jill likes the cake! That also means you'll have to stay tuned to see pictures of the final product.

At this point, all I need to do is stack the top tier onto the bottom one and put on the fondant roses. Below I included some pictures of the work that goes into making fondant roses. Fondant is similar to working with PlayDough except that it's sweet (not salty) if you decide you want to eat it. A lot of people don't like the taste of fondant, but it doesn't bother me. Then again I'll eat anything w/ sugar in it :)

The English actually were the first ones to use fondant because they would put so much liquor in their cakes, they needed something to hold it all together with. They, however, were smart enough to know it was just for looks and peeled the fondant off to the side when it was time to eat the cake. Americans, well... we'll eat anything! We're firm believers of never leaving anything to waste.

In the most basic description, you roll out the fondant and use cookie cutters to carve out your shapes. I won't get into all the details of how to make a flower because there's so many steps. I will say, however, that I much prefer the look of the fondant rose to the buttercream rose. It's just so much easier to work with and in my opinion looks so much better too, but I'll let you be the judge.

I hope you all have a fantastic 4th of July! I know I will!