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Archive for the ‘beauty and the biz’ Category

ok i'm back again…trying to be, at least!

In beauty and the biz, How to be a Princess, me! me! me!, Shape Up...or Ship Out! on September 8, 2008 at 9:17 pm

MAN has it been a long time since I’ve posted. Not to mention my last few posts that I’ve left lingering here are kinda not great. It’s interesting I still receive steady traffic, that’s pretty cool.

I’ve had the intention of writing something for 3 months. I haven’t written anything in the past 3 months. What happened 3 months ago you might ask yourself and myself?

Four major things happened within a single week, that’s what.

  1. I decided to fully commit to living a healthy lifestyle to finally get back in shape.
  2. To do that, I decided to stop partying like a madwoman all the time or ever actually.
  3. I turned 28 years old and really felt like a “28 year old” after having felt “23” for the past 5yrs.
  4. With this newfound clear-head that occurs when you stop drinking, get older, and live healthier, I realized it was time to quit my job.

All of those things played an integral part in the lifestyle and mindset that resulted and continued over the 3 months that followed. I pretty much had a major transition. It was intense. One day I woke up from it all, and was officially back to my old self, but as a new and improved version of that self.

For the next few entries, I will be discussing points 1-4. I have some things to say about them.


Your responsibility to your partner…

In beauty and the biz, How to be a Princess on March 25, 2008 at 6:49 pm

I came across these points in my “Seeds of Success” newsletter from SuccessMagazine.com which was once my favorite magazine and apparently is no longer, but seems to have come back in some “old white man” form. Still–the content is inspiring and helpful. My original cheering on of Success Magazine can be found HERE.

Here is the part that grabbed me most:

3 Keys to Lasting Love

  1. Honor — respecting your spouse for all of his or her individual qualities as well as differences from you.
  2. Communication — speaking to one another in a way that moves conversations and conflict into deeper realms of understanding.
  3. Constant Renewal — recharging your spouse emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually.

The part that stood out to me and I’ve never really thought about was #3 “constant renewal”. It’s saying that we have a responsibility to our significant other to recharge them in various ways. I think this is important because it does require thought, reflection, effort, and innovative thinking. Naturally, some people are better at this that others.

But still, it really jumped out to me that this is central. Think of what happens when part of a relationship stops caring about stimulating and inspiring the other. Things become dull, boring, repetitive, uninspired…and I think most importantly, the person not being satisfied in that way can really FEEL that their significant other just doesn’t care and isn’t putting effort into rejuvenating them. And it sucks.

It’s an interesting perspective to think in…I recommend trying it.

family dinner with my friend and her kiddies!

In Apartment Cooking, beauty and the biz on January 14, 2008 at 5:45 pm

this past weekend, i had one of the most unique and wonderful Saturday nights i’ve had in awhile. i was invited to my friend’s home (note: not an apartment like every other single one of my friends, a home) to throw down in the kitchen with another one of her friends…tho the meal was nearly done by the time she arrived (she was great on clean-up duty tho).

we drank wine, laughed, and prepared the meal while we both took a stab at roasting our first whole chicken. neither of us had done it before! but beyond all of this, the best part was her kids! they are about 3/4 and 5, a girl and a boy respectively and they are just adorable. they are smart, well-behaved, and fun! my friend had to run out a few times, so it was just me and them and we got some good bonding time in, in between chicken basting.

after this delightful night with her family (well her hubby is in Africa on business right now), but this completely changed my views about children, and specifically how i interact with them. i’ve now realized that i CAN interact with children (previously i’d been a little intimidated in a weird way). but kids that are outgoing, fun, and talkative are just fabulous! it’s the shy ones that present more of a challenge. my reaction to that is to just leave them alone to do their own thing, not try to pry them out of their shell like i see so many people attempt to do. i can’t wait to go back…my friend is an inspiration while she balances this beautiful family with her successful design career!

here’s what we made for dinner 🙂 the kids seemed to like it. well. they like broccoli, but not salad. the girly likes potatoes, the boy doesn’t. they both liked the chicken. haha.

Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Garden Salad, and Broccoli 

 

Citrus Glazed Roasted Chicken 

out with Nanny's…what rich folks need are Manny's!

In beauty and the biz, Urban Princess Dictionary on January 14, 2008 at 5:32 pm

i would go in to a long extensive essay on this thesis…and in fact, i most likely will elaborate on this for an article.

but this occurred to me the other day. it’s quite simple. we all know rich husbands and wives rely on their nanny’s to care for their kids day in and day out while they shop and go to the spa and whatnot. and of course, as i learned in the book Nanny Diaries, there are different degrees of being a Nanny. and what i’m referring to here are those that have 24/7 nannies.

without discounting the unique love that only a female can offer a child (better yet a mother lol), i will argue that the female nanny really isn’t what is needed. i think the family unit undergoes more trauma by lacking the father-figure who is off galavanting around the world on business trips and mistress trips. it results in boys who never learn how to be a man, and girls who never come to know the kind of unconditional love and support they should look for in a partner.

so out with the nannies…let’s get these rich, bratty kids equipped with their very own Manny! haha.

the meal the ended my cooking-depression.

In Apartment Cooking, beauty and the biz on January 14, 2008 at 5:07 pm

following Christmas and the shenanigans surrounding the meal i put tremendous thought into planning, labored over for hours, and turned out amazing…i was not in the mood to cook. despite my diamond cutting new knife, new cookbooks, my new island, and tons of new kitchen toys…it seemed as tho i had no desire to cook. my man came back home to L.A…still nothing. approaching New Year’s Eve…still nothing.

maybe it was the irregularity of being on a 10day vacation with out my routine. or maybe it was how sucky my stepdad’s reaction was to not having his dinner on the table at the time he’d hoped…but i was in a culinary funk.

so work started back up. i was relying on eating out and delivery, yet i knew i needed to stop that bizness (not good for pockets or pants size). still, i sat surrounded by the new Gourmet, Bon Appetit, Rachel Ray, Real Simple, new cook books, and attempted to get into the Food Network…and i was slightly disinterested. after a few days of the disinterest, i WANTED to cook. yet–i couldn’t for the life of me decide what to make. not only could i not figure out what i was in the mood for…but for some reason, i had no creative inspiration to create something new (which is what i do 90% of the time when i cook),  and none of the recipes appealed to me. UGH.

finally, it came to me. i knew what i needed to cook. Baked Lemon Chicken from my Betty Crocker cookbook. this amazing dish started my adventures in cooking back in college. this was the very first recipe i made that i would call “challenging”…and the first one that actually really intrigued me and impressed me enough to keep it up. it is the chemistry and science of the ingredients that got me.

in this recipe, which is different than others…a few things happen that make me happy. it’s easy, yet impressive, and the preparation is just…thought-provoking when your a beginner, and even when you’re not. you start by breading the chicken breasts with flour, a smidge of baking soda, and cayanne pepper. then, you lay the breasts on a baking sheet…but before you put them in the 400-degree oven, you spray the tops of the breasts with Pam Spray! this amazed me! even more amazing is the way the Pam and the baking soda react in the oven…it gets cripsy, and tastes like it’s fried (MMmm). as the chicken is cooking, i prepare the lemon sauce which i think is impressive. it’s basically just sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, chicken broth, and chopped garlic…then you add cornstarch and presto! thick sauce!

the end result for me that night…was a process that was both familiar and comforting, since i’ve made that dish at least 10-15 times before. it reminded my why i fell in love. and the outcome impressed me enough to feel good about what i’ve made. THANK YOU BETTY CROCKER! i’ve been cookin’ up a storm ever since 😉

Baked Lemon Chicken by Betty Crocker 

What Successful People Do:

In beauty and the biz on October 22, 2007 at 1:47 pm

successful people work hard. is this obvious? i’m not sure that it is.

the inspiration for this post came from observations of people who are successful and those who aren’t quite there yet. and by successful, i mean doing what they want, on their way to success, achieving their dreams, etc. and please note, this isn’t a judgment of what is or isn’t successful…because that is totally personal and unique to each individual.

i notice people wishing they had a certain career or dream but not really understanding what it takes to get there. it’s not going to just fall into your lap if it hasn’t already. you need to be proactive and make that shyt happen!

here is what successful people do…

1. they work hard…probably about two or three times harder than a normal 9-5 worker works as far as the amount of work done in that time and the amount of focus and dedication.

2. they set realistic goals and work toward them, then set news goals. so get out your pen and paper…or your word document…or your blog or livejournal…and put it in writing!

3. they work long hours…on nights after working all day and on the weekends while other friends of theirs are watching tv all night or shopping all day on the weekends.

4. they educate themselves, learn and master your craft. research online, read books, practice, take out a loan and go to school, or just do. you need to be able to converse and understand your industry using it’s language and knowing the main players both historical and current.

5. be at that point in your life where you are comfortable with sacrificing for this kind of focus, if you’re not…you’re really just wasting your time and spinning your wheels. yet another project you start but don’t finish. A+ for effort…but you have to be ready to dedicate yourself.

6. don’t expect everything to happen right away. you need to build, set small goals and keep working persistently until it happens for you. be patient and realistic. if it’s a business you want to start, remember it takes months to get the paperwork and tax requirements settled.

7. remember, learn not to only wait for the happiness you will find when you reach your destination…but to enjoy the beauty of the journey.

so if you have something you want to make happen, map out your goals and prepare to work…don’t just talk about it or dream about it…do it! and good luck.

What I learned from a Chef…

In Apartment Cooking, beauty and the biz on October 17, 2007 at 7:17 pm

 

my dear friend Sarah told me one night, while we were screaming in conversation over live hip hop performers, that i should meet her aunt…her “cool aunt”, Chef Andrea. i didn’t hesitate one day to set that up! Andrea and i planned a brunch at Cafe Laurent in Culver City (sinful French brunch food) last weekend to get to know each other more. Andrea is a Compton native with a great love and appreciation for her culinary career and expertise. a warm woman, standing tall, with pretty dark brown skin, and honest dark blue eyes…nice to talk about the industry with someone who looks a little more like me! and boy did she have stories to tell.

from high-end stints at Beverly Hills Chocolatiers, Cafe Roma, head pasty chef at the old flagship Aculpulco that used to be on LaCienega&Melrose, travels to Asian and Sweden with an award-winning pastry chef, catering for Wolfgang Puck, working her own catering business, working with Someone’s in the Kitchen Catering (Grammy’s, Oscars, Madonna, MGM, Sony, etc etc etc), and finally working as head Pastry Chef for the 800+ banquet hall at the Hilton in the LBC…her career was diverse and challenging the entire way. this wonderful woman dropped so many chef/owner names that i realized i have a lot of our local history to learn.

the entire experience was moving, to say the least, and i will share with you what i absorbed from her as she took me through the many stages of her career:

  • go to the best culinary school you can afford and have time for. you will learn more there than simply “how to cook” and in an industry based around practice and prestige, the best education you can get is essential. she took plethora of classes until she committed to the program that UCLA offered at that time. despite her many successes, she wishes she could have gone to the prestigious Johnson & Wales.
  • get the most out of your education, volunteer to do anything anywhere you can. build a variety of experiences and contacts.
  • be assertive to get your foot in the door…if someone says no or they don’t know you, make sure they know you will take trash out or do dishes for free, you just want to be there. starting at this level, as opposed to turning away at hearing “no” opened several doors for her.
  • in the culinary world, schooling included, you are always on show and your skill and ability is always being judged. in this industry, apprenticeships are still common. however, you don’t find your mentor…they find you. handle that pressure.
  • one thing that is learned and highly respected in this industry is perfection. to be a good chef or executive chef or anyone in the kitchen you have to be a perfectionist to the point that you are able to listen, understand, and execute exactly what the chef wants. if you cannot do this, then you will have a big problem…but it is a very important part of the art.
  • travel to different countries and take culinary classes from real chefs or from real schools. but watch out for any classes or education that are geared for the house-wife…they will not get you as involved with the cooking and the culture as you would be with a real chef.
  • if you start a catering company, be prepared to get worked! be real about it and what you’re getting into, most of the prep can only be done up to a few days prior to an events, which means you have to handle the crunch time. check and quadruple check your list on the day-of and know where to get things locally in case they are left behind. enlist help if you need it so you don’t burn out.
  • if your plan is to start a catering, events, personal chef, or restaurant business…remember, it is a business! if your passion lies in the actual cooking aspect of the culinary industry, but you don’t have passion or ability on the business side, you will struggle more than necessary. play to your strengths and if creating in the kitchen is yours, then work for someone or work with a partner who knows business.
  • and the final message, the one that stuck with me most was her encouragement and excitement for my beginnings and her obvious passion and love for the industry and the experiences she has had. we will be meeting again to go through her Art Culinaire collection!

as you can see, i learned a lot. mentors are fabulous. she would be the second mentor i’ve had the pleasure of connecting with. my first being the beautiful Ms. Jen Reitman of DAME Magazine. the best advice i can offer for having a mentor is to have one…more than one if possible. form a relationship with them and stay in touch. soak up what you can from them and help them however you can. remember to keep your own perspective, values, and goals in mind, and then one day give back to newbies by being their mentor!

Everyone Wants to be a Chef!

In beauty and the biz on October 12, 2007 at 9:18 am

by Lana Burrows

Intro

as i plan for my upcoming culinary education, i can’t help but notice that so many people around me are also heavily into the field. a few of them are actually going to culinary school, starting around the same time i am (January), and others just love cooking or are total foodies (a good friend, another good friend, a good friend of a best friend, the aunt and good friend of a good friend, and old friend); i am hardly unique in my passion.

however, back when my passion begun, five years ago…i was incredibly unique for years. in fact…it wasn’t until late 2006 when i decided i was going to make this dream happen, that everyone and their mom started coming out of the woodwork saying they are also way into the art of food. why is that? in this article i will explore a few theories i have as to why this coincidence (or not) occurred.

Reality TV

it’s no new news that reality tv has taken over the tube. there are not many corners of life that have not been highlighted–including cameras behind the scenes of the culinary world. and it does make for good tv, from Next Food Network Star, to Bravo’s Top Chef, to prime time’s Hells Kitchen, to Next Iron Chef on Food Network…there are a plethora of shows that have normal folks hyped on the competition, excitement, and creativity of the culinary industry.

in addition, the Food Network has a ton of programming, all teaching the average couch potato how to whip up the finest gruyere soufflé in 30min. i remember back in 2002 when i discovered the Food Network, and began watching it constantly, observing, learning, and practicing. but back then, the only chefs who were on the show were Emeril Lagasse, Mario Botali, and Bobby Flay! in the past 5yrs, the channel has expanded in large proportions, and still delivers the bottom line…teaching anyone with cable a thing or twenty about food preparation.

Law of Attraction

the law of attraction is a new age sort of theory that i recently discovered, but i have actually always possessed this capability…it’s not anything new i learned or had to try to practice after reading books on the subject and watching “The Secret”.

Wickipedia has, as always, a great definition for The Law of Attraction:

It states that people experience physical and mental manifestations that correspond to their predominant thoughts, feelings, words, and actions and that people therefore have direct control over reality and their lives through thought alone. A person’s thoughts (conscious and unconscious), emotions, beliefs and actions are said to attract corresponding positive and negative experiences, or “harmonious vibrations of the law of attraction”.

i’m not going to preach about this theory and how true to reality it can be…but i do feel bad for people with a constant negative voice that surely holds them back from their highest achievements and utmost happiness.

as far as this pertaining to why many of my friends and people i meet are involved or enthused about the industry, this theory would say that it’s because i’m putting out a vibe to draw types of people into my life to create “harmonious vibration”. because i’m thinking positively and forcefully about my career goals, things in the world are aligning to make that possible, including support and inspiration from people around me sharing this similar interest.

Internet Amateurs

the internet changes many industries, like my job at a print magazine for example. but the way i see this playing out in the culinary profession, is the way it plays out in every profession. the control and success is less in the hands of the professional than it has been previously, and more in the hands of the capable amateur than ever.

from food bloggers to recipe sites, we are allowed to be an expert on this topic (as i am appearing to do right now lol), and soak up all the info we can to increase our knowledge. we don’t need to spend $30 a pop on cookbooks, because many will rely mainly on the internet for their recipes. it creates a feeling of ability, capability, and a never-ending resource if you have questions along the way.

Living in the City

it’s not that people in small towns aren’t into food. but in my most recent move from Santa Barbara to Los Angeles…and anyone who has moved to this colorful city can attest…i have realized that people here are just plain doing stuff. and by stuff i mean, perusing creative careers that include their talent or business skills. finding others in the culinary field in a city that has thousands of restaurants that are part of a $5billion industry isn’t tough. from actors with server jobs, to models with bartending jobs…chefs are just another layer, and finding people in the industry to network comes easy.

Expanded Circle of Friends

it is possible that the coincidence of meeting more people into food isn’t part of a worldwide shift, perhaps it’s more personal. in the past year, i’ve stepped out…okay cannon-balled out, of a previous circle of friends. that previous circle was focused mostly and sometimes only on the particular type of music (drum and bass) that we listened to. not only was it rare to find someone with outside interests…but it was even rarer to actually have that sort of conversation with any of them. then once i began meeting new people or perusing acquaintanceships that could be friendships, i discovered they were people that shared common interests with me in an arena beyond just musical interest.

Age

i have also noticed that people who pursue high-level food careers tend to do so later in life…usually it’s a change of career focus…which is more likely to happen towards the 30’s of after. it’s less of a surprise then, that when i was rippin’ and roarin’ around in my college and post-college years of mayhem, that no one else really considered that for a career. at this age, many of my friends are trying to do their own thing, they are bored already with the rat-race, corporate ladder climbing, and work politic b.s. and want to take matters into their own hands. also, i’m at an age where we are more likely to do adult things like “entertain” instead of throwing a houseparty kegger…so we are discovering our capabilities of serving others good food.

Conclusion

after taking all these theories out on a first date, i don’t think i will be able to commit to just one. i think it’s obvious that all these factors play together in tandem to create this sudden rise of foodie friends. and don’t get me wrong, i think it’s great! i completely encourage more foodie friends and culinary career hopefuls to enter my life so we can talk about our favorite kitchen appliance, the best way to prep garlic, and our favorite way to prepare steak. having these people in my life, from friends to mentors, makes me feel like i’m not so crazy to be nearly obsessed with creative and classic food prep to the point of wanting to develop a business in this industry!

No Exception Policy

In beauty and the biz, How to be a Princess, Shape Up...or Ship Out! on September 26, 2007 at 7:10 pm

taken from the wonderful book i’m currently reading called The Power of Focus, the No Exceptions Policy states that you should determine which things in your life and lifestyle fall under this policy.

they are things that will be done or followed through with NO MATTER WHAT! once you realize what these things are and commit to them, things in your life start to line up and you have a better understanding of where your priorities lie.

falling under my No Exception Policy is (in no particular order):

a. exercise (a new realization)

b. running a catering business in the near future

c. writing

d. love

once i realized this everything made more sense. going to school full time and working full time doesn’t allow me to keep up with most of those commitments. sacrifice is one thing, and i support sacrifice, but when i’m sacrificing what i have said are parts of my No Exceptions Policy, then i’m really not any better off.

so i’m happy to have uncovered my part-time school option…it serves my purpose while allowing my No Exceptions Policy to be in tact.

i recommend determining what falls under your No Exception Policy…it really helps to guide and focus you and the decisions you are faced with. (and i highly recommend reading this book!)

my how quickly things change.

In beauty and the biz on September 25, 2007 at 8:27 am

so after my frustration had set in with regards to my culinary career, things have taken a new direction. a wonderful direction!

i have an appt to meet with an admissions counselor next week at the Art Institute of California. they have some major culinary programs there, and i’m highly interested in the Culinary Arts and Culinary Management programs. there is a lot to compare and contrast–but basically it is the equivalent of earning another degree, this time a Bachelor of Science, but without all the G.E. classes since i already have my B.A.! pretty intense, and expensive. but i consider it extremely worth it as long as the end results will leave me with what i need to start my engine. and the best part is–i can go part-time! yay! which means my life won’t be put completely on hold to achieve this.
it is proof that believing and trying, yet letting life do a bit of the guiding, will head you in the right direction. can’t wait till my meeting next week! back on track!