You’re more than meets the eye

IMG_8058“This quote is important to me because all my life I have been judge on my ability in school, sports, being a son/brother and even having a relationship with someone I like. This quote makes me realize that there is more that people haven’t seen from me and throughout my life, I’m slowly proving them wrong. My brother showed me this quote when we were watching a transformer movie and they said this quote and I asked my brother, “what does that mean?” And he told me. ” there is much more for you to offer in this world little brother and that’s all I’m gonna say” and from there on, I feel attach to that quote, because by living through this quote, I am slowly finding my purpose in my life.”

–AR

A Stroll Down Memory Lane at City Tech

Note: This is a non-food and restaurant related post. This is merely a reflection of my years at City Tech and majoring in Hospitality Management.

I started my degree in Hospitality Management late in 2009, because I didn’t feel comfortable or interested in Communication Design. While it wasn’t easy at first in Hospitality Management and getting through college, it’s everything to me now.

I must admit I didn’t like 1/4 of the classes in hospitality management merely because it didn’t interest me or it was math related and I’m not very good in math (i.e. – cost control and accounting & finance).

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I took Baking 1 & 2 which were two of the hardest classes I’ve taken because I’m not very good at baking and both were late afternoon classes that ended at 7-7:30PM. My boyfriend would stay late at work (he works on Montague Street) and swing over to pick me up  and in return, he ended up with all the desserts, cookies, and bread that was made in class. Fair trade right?

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I took Culinary 1 & 2 on Saturday mornings (almost a mistake), but I got lucky because both classes were taught by one of the most down-to-earth and easy going professors: Professor Tomlinson. I learned a lot about cooking, food, and how to plate food which was very helpful. My boyfriend would also get up at 6:30-7AM to drive me to class and pick me up on most days after.

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I also took Dining Room & Operations which was very fun and taught me a lot about what to look for that may be a red flag when dining outside.

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During the Dining Room class, we were required to go to a fine dining restaurant in New York City and I chose Asiate. I typically don’t do fine dining, but this was a nice, once in a lifetime experience and especially since it had a beautiful view of Central Park & Columbus Circle.

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Last year, I also took Hospitality Marketing with Professor Duchamp which I admire because he’s very much into social media and Twitter. I’m not sure how other marketing professors teach, but if you’ve taken Professor Duchamp in Hospitality Marketing, then you know for the final project you have to create a tour and a website using Square Space. Unfortunately the website I created is inactive, but here’s a screenshot I took during the production.

A lot of friends I know don’t like writing and I was told Research Seminar would be the hardest classes, but it turned out to be my favorite because I was able to combine a hobby that I like to do with my project and it worked out perfectly.

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This is my last semester as a full-time student and I am taking Hospitality Services Marketing and one assignment was to do a comparison of two Hospitality enterprises so I did Chelsea Market vs. Eataly, two of New York City’s most popular food hall. I’ve never been to Eataly before, so I went for the very first time in April and it was a great and fun experience. I’m also taking Hospitality Enterprise Development and our project for the semester is building a business plan of our own. It was due today and hopefully I did well on it.

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Outside of my classes and before Openlab was created, I was writing for the New Tech Times for 1-2 years. It was definitely not as engaging or fun as writing for The Buzz. I am very happy that City Tech created Openlab as it provides a space for students and faculty to share their creativity, but also a chance for student bloggers to express their passion and creativity through images and words.

This is my final post for The Buzz and although I haven’t been heavily involved in our meetings due to work obligations, I did enjoy collaborating with my team mates and reading their posts. I also enjoyed being a Hospitality Student because it really opened me up and I was able to visit sites I wouldn’t have done if it wasn’t for my classes. If you’re still interested in reading my works, you can check out my personal food blog or my Yelp page. If you would like to contact me anything related to food, blogging or social media, you can shoot me an e-mail: jessdeng08@gmail.com.

Thank You! Have a great summer!

Things I want my Daughter to know: Self Reflection

Ava,

As the spring semester nears end, I can’t help but reflect and look back on the progress I’ve made this semester. Professional progress, academic progress and even personal progress have made this semester one of my most memorable since I began my college career. I have reached heights I never thought I would see and have been fortunate enough to meet amazing people, both friends and mentors. I also want to thank all of my readers, the people who have reached out to me and told me that my words helped them, reached them or made their day a little bit better, having people read my words is truly an honor. So in light of the semester coming to a close, I want to share some of the things I’ve learned this semester or that have made a lasting impact in my life.

1. Friendship winds its way into our lives when we need it the most

When I began my journey at City Tech I was mainly focused on academics, and being dedicated to the course work. I was reminded however that community is a huge and necessary ingredient in the recipe for success. I met three wonderful ladies that opened so many doors for me. Together we have conquered our major and encouraged each other when one of us was down, overwhelmed or confused. On our many lunch dates, study sessions and collaborations we have become lifelong friends.

2. Failure is a component to success

This may sound odd but it is true. I heard this at least 4 times my first week at City Tech by a Professor who has offered numerous resources and strategies to me. At first, I was confused as to why a Professor would tell us we’re going to fail, I’m sure some people will, but why put that idea in our heads? Well as time has progressed I can attest to the trueness of this statement. As emerging professionals and academics, we need to know that everything we do won’t be right on the first try and that it’s okay to try again.

3. Unplug before you burn out

Sometimes no matter how devoted, focused and determined we are we can reach our wits end. With all that goes on in our lives and all the things we have to sift through and deal with sometimes we need to step away to turn off the phone, close the laptop and recharge. It is okay to give yourself a time out and refresh yourself before you continue on with life. If you can’t do yourself justice and give yourself a break you’re not doing the people and obligations you have in your life justice either. Take a breather and ask for help if you need it.

4. Be open

To new people, to new ideas, new food or even a new color lipstick! There’s nothing more exciting then finding some awesome new dish to share with your friends or eating at a new brunch spot you found on groupon. Similarly be open to learning something new, read a book from a new genre, take a class on something you’ve never heard of or be spontaneous in your travels. The best thing in the world is growth so don’t stunt yours because you’re apprehensive of the unknown.

Time has taught me that nothing stays the same, not my daughter, not my weight, not my taste in books and most certainly not my knowledge. All of that, is okay though, maybe change can be good. I can offer you this advice Ava, roll with the tide, don’t fight it because you’ll tire yourself out trying to overpower a force that is beyond you. The universe has plans carved out for us, plans with pit stops and scenic outlooks where we can see how far we’ve come on the path of life. My advice to anyone who feels they’re stuck or that change hasn’t come fast enough, or even too fast, that it is okay and nothing lasts forever, you can get through this. If I can go from college drop out to pursing my second degree anything is possible, you are possible remember moms, we have the greatest audience in the world cheering for us, our kids.

I want to thank all my readers, the people who have supported me all semester long as I learned the ropes of blogging. I hope to be right back here in the fall blogging away! Stay tuned for more!

 

Some of my favorite moments from the last four months.

Some of my favorite moments from the last four months.

The Hooli Wedding

A lot of people fantasize on having a fairytalelike, fantastic and unique wedding. However, actually having it is one of the best moments someone can experience in life. Perfection is subjective of course, and many may argue that it is not attainable, however Tirzah walking down the aisle being accompanied by Spiderman (NYCFC_Spiderman) and Patrick being in a crowd full of cheering NYCFC fans, was perfect in their eyes. Everyone in the crowd made the couple feel special and they absolutely loved it. The fans’ hands held high up in the sky, were chanting their names and jumping in joy with the newlyweds. They were also celebrating in the most beautiful, colorful and expressive ways with smoke bombs, balloons, banners and scarves held up high to show their love and passion for NYCFC

If you were not there to see this beautiful ceremony unfolding and be part of that lovely and great atmosphere, you definitely missed a unique experience, but don’t worry you can always releive the moment here https://vsco.co/zeusnycfc/grid/1 but being there in person was a whole other experience.

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Apparently, if you and your spouse are die-hard and passionate New York City Football Club fans, having a NYCFC theme wedding is the perfect way to celebrate your special day. And rightly so, that was the dream wedding that Tirzah and Patrick Rivera made a reality on  a beautiful day of March 13th, 2016 at The Bronx under the 4 train tracks next to the Yankee Stadium. They specifically chose that particular day and location to celebrate their union, due to the fact it was NYCFC’s 2016 season home opener.

 

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At the beginning when Tirzah and Patrick announced that they wanted to have a NYCFC hooligan theme wedding, they knew they were going to have the time of their lives , but they definitely were not expecting it to be so thrilling. It will take something 10 times as marvelous to even attempt to top this glorious weeding.

Your wedding day is for you to shine and to celebrate love with your significant other. It is the perfect opportunity to say “I do”, and to passionately kiss your lover while having tears sliding down your eyes. Thus, what is better than celebrating your special day with people that you love and in a way that make you and your lover the most happy? It did not matter if the people attending were family,  or even strangers, they all celebrated together for Tirzah and Patrick as one big family and made them feel special and have a hell of a wedding.

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One thing for sure, if you live in New York City or you are an NYCFC fan into carnavalesque, festive and public celebrations, NYCFC supporters are an interesting group of people to invite to your events such as weddings, parties, birthdays etc. NYCFC supporters are passionate, lively, and an expressive group of people.

The reason for that is simply because NYCFC fans and football/soccer fans in general are one of, if not the most  prideful people about their team and city.When they get together as one to showcase this pride, it is a very powerful phenomena to see or experience. Thus, when Tirzah and Patrick experienced the grandeur of NYCFC fans, they wish they could do it over and over again.

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NYCFC fans from all walk of life gathered to celebrate with the couple in order to make their wedding everything that they wanted it to be. But how amazed were Tirzah and Patrick when they realized that the wedding ceremony amazingly exceeded their expectations! It was the kind of scenes you usually see in movies, however this was reality and that day, reality was more than extraordinary! It was the first NYCFC’s fans wedding and one the most stunning and beautiful that I have ever attended.

Everything was wonderful as people were celebrating with the couple, but being officially married was all Tirzah and Patrick were waiting for. Thus when the moment finally arrived for the ceremony to take a more romantic tone, that’s when the couple started to be really excited and emotional. Tirzah was not feeling anything other then extreme happiness and likewise for Patrick who eagerly wanted to take her in his arms and to kiss her. So when their great friend who was their wedding officiant  said “By the power vested in me by the state of New York, I know pronounce you husband and wife. You may now kiss the bride.” Patrick jumped and did not hesitate to make the moment he was waiting for the most count.

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The couple could not wait to tie the knot and for those two lovebirds, sharing their special day with NYCFC was the ideal way to truly feel happy. And indeed what a beautiful wedding it was. Everyone was in good spirit and celebrating with the lovers and  NYCFC friends to make their wedding a success and once a life time experience for them.

Congratulations to Patrick Rivera and Tirzah Rivera for this astounding showcase of love and passion for themselves and New York City Football Club.

The Cake Phenomenon

Image by: Мiuda

Image by: Мiuda

There is a new revolution in the confectionary world that is taking dessert lovers by storm as it evokes a true sense of talent to not only have the patience to create but to correctly assemble it.  The sudden fame of the mirror cake has come to amaze all that have gotten the pleasure of viewing the beautiful and shiny masterpieces. The easy to make glaze has become a great way to show off the simplicity of a cake in the most chic way. The cake is prepared first and is usually a mousse cake, which benefits the refrigeration process to allow the glaze to set properly, which can range from two hours to overnight.

The glaze that is delicately poured on the cake is so flawless that it captivates all that see the magnificent creations. The secret to the mirror cakes’ perfect appearance is the utilization of gelatin and glucose that is carefully added to the glaze to help it harden correctly while keeping its smooth, glistening, and precision which appeals to everyone.

Although, the mirror glaze has been used for a countless amount of years, it has been gaining some notoriety recently due to Olga Noskova; a Russian baker who has somewhat changed the way the mirror glaze is used. Usually, the glaze is used just to top the cake for a shiny yet appealing look but her cakes are completely encased in the glaze and lightly topped with a small garnish. It transforms even the simplest of cakes into truly beautiful creations by way of how the baker utilizes every aspect of the cake. As an amazing pastry artist, Olga Noskova, has added another element to the production of mirror cakes by making marble mirror cakes, which have an array of colors that precisely merge into each other in order to create an even more beautiful cake.

Jacques Torres’s Shiny Chocolate Glaze

Ingredients:

1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon water

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 cup heavy cream

4 tablespoons cocoa powder

1 envelope gelatin powder (1/4 ounce)

Directions:

In a saucepan, combine 1/2 cup water, sugar, heavy cream and cocoa powder. Simmer for about 20 minutes until mixture slightly thickens.

Place 1 tablespoon cold water in a small bowl. Sprinkle gelatin over top and let soften 5 minutes. Remove chocolate mixture from the heat and whisk in gelatin mixture until thoroughly combined.

Set over an ice bath and whisk until the glaze thickens and reaches about 80 degrees, about 1 minute.

Notes: This recipe makes enough glaze for one 8″ two-layer cake. Pour over chilled crumb-coated cake placed on a wire rack set over a large bowl. Use an offset spatula to smooth out the glaze. Work quickly as the glaze will set up in a minute or less.

Adapted from Martha Stewart

Comment below about what you think of the mirror cake and its revolution? What your favorite cake is? And what you would want to celebrate with that cake?

 

 

Favorite Spot

 

I’ve discovered this place long before I started taking my photography serious. I remember when my sister moved up here and I was excited to show her around the place. The Promenade immediately became our favorite spot and also one of my favorite places to take pictures. The view of lower Manhattan is breath taking.

 

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I’m possible

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“I heard this quote at my graduation ceremony when I received my Associate’s Degree. The road that led me to that moment and to finally achieving a college degree was not an easy one. I had big plans for myself when I graduated high school but they got derailed when I became a mother at 18. I was suddenly in charge of another life and so much responsibilities that I didn’t know which to take care of first. I had a college advisor tell me that coming to college was a waste of time, that I’d never graduate as a single mother. Those words stuck to me, even today sometimes. I felt overwhelmed, hopeless, like I’d never get my degree or meet the goals I set for myself but when I went back to school in 2013 I found a community of mentors and people who believed in my success and two years later I had my degree. Now I look forward to getting my Bachelor’s here at City Tech and further silencing those people who said I couldn’t do it. Anything is possible and nobody has the right to tell you that you can’t. You are possible.”

-SP

Bibble & Sip

It’s not everyday that I would trek to Hell’s Kitchen/Theater District in the city for food, but If I don’t do it when I can, then I probably won’t do it ever again. During spring break, I met with my dear friend Diane to have lunch in the area and I wanted to try Bibble & Sip as well.

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Image Credit to Sideways.NYC

The cafe is located in Midtown West and is known for it’s friendly atmosphere, unique pastries, and adorable alpaca themed decor. There’s a limited amount of seating here, but there’s a small counter where you can munch on your food and sip on your beverage. The staff at Bibble & Sip are quick, on point, and friendly. Their personality and level of professionalism matches this interesting cafe.

I read a lot of reviews on Yelp to see what were the menu items that stood out and were the most popular so I would know what to try at Bibble & Sip, so I made a list.

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Many reviews suggested that the lavender latte was absolutely delicious, so I decided to give it a try and I got the Iced Lavender Latte instead. The iced lavender latte was coffee meets lavender in a cup! The lavender wasn’t overpowering so I was still able to taste the coffee flavor. Everything was in equal parts in this lavender heaven latte! It stole my heart.

I also ordered the Earl Grey Cream Puff which was huge and  true earl grey heaven! I’ve never had an earl grey dessert as good as this. The cream puff was flaky, soft, and absolutely delectable.

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The earl grey cream filling was pure heaven! It was sweet and full of earl grey deliciousness! I took my time to eat it to make sure I was able to enjoy every bite. I wished I had a whole tub of the earl grey because it was just that amazing! I was in love.

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My friend had the Black Sesame Hazelnut Crunch Mousse cake which she thought was amazing especially with the different combination of flavors and textures. She actually didn’t finish it because our lunch was quite filling, so she saved it to indulge on later that day.

I am very glad  to have tried Bibble & Sip and even though I was a little disappointed in the size of this place with limited seating or standing room, I would definitely come back. I would like to try their matcha cream puff and other beverages. For those of you who haven’t been here, you definitely need to visit Bibble & Sip especially if you like unique and adorable baked offerings.

What dessert or cafe spots do you like to visit? What food and beverages would you recommend?

 

Virtues from Motherhood: Cookie cutter moms don’t exist

In the age of social media and popular opinion, it’s easy for anyone from any corner of the world to have something to say. The categories of controversy are endless, and amid them is the subject of parenting and what a “proper parent” should look like. While celebrities are often the target of these online feuds and keyboard wars the “popular opinion” tends to trickle down into the most average newsfeeds. So I thought to myself, firstly who makes these pointless cookie cutter visions of a mother and secondly why is it anyone’s business what I look like or indulge in so long as my child is healthy, fed and well cared for? I see such outdated ideals on what women in general should look like or how we should speak and quite frankly, hilarity aside, it’s appalling. In 2016, there should be no right or wrong way to be a mother especially in terms of appearance.

I was eighteen when my daughter was born so I was told that “I looked too young to be a mother” or “I can’t be a day over 16” or my personal favorite “Babies having babies”. That statement made my blood boil to no end, how dare anyone gage my ability to be a mother solely on my age or by the actions of other young women? Though I may have gotten off to a rocky start to adulthood there was never a time Ava went without, suffered or was harmed, she was always my number one priority and still is. I worked 14 hours shifts at a hostess job when I was 19 to make sure I could give Ava the best of everything, I worked a retail job I despised just to ensure I could throw her the best birthday parties. I did all these things as a teenager, as a young 20 something, as a mom with tattoos, as a mom who likes rap and hip hop and as a mom who wasn’t really concerned with what motherhood should “look like”.

I’ve seen some ridiculous articles about how children of parents with tattoos are more likely to be abused or more likely to live in poverty. Things like that make me chuckle because there’s zero validity to it, none, nada. On the other hand though there is a statistic that estimates teen mothers have less than a 30% chance of getting a college degree before she turns 30. That statistic has been proven and the fact that it has is saddening. While motherhood is no easy feat in itself, it’s not impossible to obtain a degree, teen moms just need more support in order to accomplish it. Instead of condemning these young women for not having kids at that “ideal age”, lets support their dreams and provide hand ups instead of just handouts.

Mother is not a “one size fits all” or cookie cutter persona. We do not all fit under one umbrella, and we never will. Like snowflakes like fingerprints we are all unique, diverse and wonderful. I got my first tattoo two months after Ava was born, I got my most recent last week because tattoo art is something I’m drawn to, it intrigues me, I like it. Last year I got a half sleeve piece dedicated to my grandmother and to Ava, it’s my biggest tattoo to date. At first I hesitated at the idea of getting it because I feared people’s opinion but after expressing my concerns to someone close to me he said “Sam you’re the same great mom with or without it and if you love it get it, all it changes is the outside not the inside”. I love my tattoos, Ava loves them too and she’s always so excited to tell people the tattoo on my wrist, of her name, is in her handwriting. Ava doesn’t remember me without tattoos and she doesn’t think anything of their presence, she has no bias. At the end of the day I am still her mother, her provider and her protector. The same goes for other moms, moms who are tattooed head to toe, without a single tattoo, covered in piercings or rocking some awesome hairstyle, we are all mothers! Not one stitch of our appearance can change how we love our kids and that is something people need to realize.

Ava and I summer 2015

Ava and I summer 2015

NYCFC Supporters

In football/soccer the supporters are the best thing that teams are the most grateful for. The teams and players know nothing is more powerful, motivating and a morale booster than having passionate supporters singing, chanting and cheering for them during the all 90 minutes of the game. Thus by no means do football/soccer teams take their supporters for granted.

Teams have many loyal fans that love them unconditionally. As a result, players make playing and winning not only about a paycheck and a personal satisfaction,  but instead it becomes a collective effort to play with their hearts, to give it all they got, and playing well in order to show to the fans that they truly appreciate their support. Players would not only show the same love and passion to the fans, they will also fight for them as best as they can on the field to win in a convincing manner. However one thing that is truly remarkable about football/soccer fans, no matter how bad their team is doing, they will be there every single games encouraging and cheering on the team at their lowest in order to bring back to better days. Thus you could not imagine the joy that supporters get when their team respond back and are showing that same love back to their fans by winning but most importantly giving all their best out there on the field.

Therefore, the only way to really witness or be part of this phenomenon, is to experience it for yourself. Luckily you won’t have to go too far to see or experience this, there is New York City Football Club (NYCFC) right here in New York that play at Yankee Stadium where supporters at the supporters sections, get really passionate about their team and show that passion at every game.


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Photo taken at Yankee Stadium

 

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