Which Side is Best?

Image by: Chris Bruner

There is so much going on in the world today…natural disasters have affected so many regions, the recent political issues that have faced America, the constant struggle of racial injustice, the strife that life tends to naturally bring, and trying to find a perfect balance between college as well as a social life. This is a whirlwind of craziness that has wreaked havoc on America. So for today, I decided to go for a lighter subject to counteract these difficult happenings currently occurring in the world right now. As someone who aspires to be a pastry chef, people often assume that I am always well-inclined to all things in the pastry world but the truth is that I don’t really know everything in the pastry world. There are many things that are still unknown to me…things that I am still inexperienced in, yet I push myself to have a greater sense of those things in order to become more well-versed as a pastry chef. But as I share and post my experiences with the confectionary arts world and write about up-and-coming food trends, I realize that there are still many questions that I face on the daily basis in terms of baking.

There is one question that I still have…that often follows me around when I am baking and in all four years of college, I am still faced with this question. What is the right or wrong side to use for aluminum foil? Should the shiny side be facing up? Or should the dull side be facing up?

Image by: David

My misconception was that you interchange the foil sides for specific cooking purposes…so the shiny side conducts heat better so if you looking to get something crispy then shiny side up but if you are looking to lock in moisture then use the dull side. But regardless, both sides can be used interchangeably…there is no difference between each side of aluminum foil. While the shiny side has more reflection which creates more radiation…the only thing that matters when baking is convection and both sides of the foil conduct the same amount of heat. The truth is that both sides of foil are exactly the same and the reason that the foil visually appears differently between a shiny and dull side results from the manufacturing process in which the way that the sheets of aluminum is rolled out, the side that is in contact with the rollers comes out shiny while the other side does not.

To me, this is still a mind-boggling notion and honestly, it is one of those things that haven’t changed much for me since understanding this information. I understand that both sides are the same logistically yet I still, when faced with the decision of how to place aluminum foil for baking purposes, I believe my standards as I still somehow believe that the shinier side is more important in holding and conducting heat. But I still wanted to share this and hope that it helps fellow day-to-day bakers.

Group Chat

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I had quite some writer’s block since last week’s post so I decided to hit up my fellow The Buzz bloggers for some advice. Sam, author of Virtues from Motherhood suggested (if I were pressed for time) to look at older material in a new light and see if I could repurpose it. Or, I could try something new and maybe try out a different environment. I realized belatedly that I had done the latter.

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Usually, when I’m creatively blocked, I dig myself into a hole of frustration and I will easily quit on the task at hand. (Ask my siblings about all the stories and comics I started and failed to finish!)

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However, this time around, I had sought help from the other ladies on The Buzz group chat we share and it got me thinking:

Out of pure coincidence, this year’s team of bloggers all happened to be women. Females get a bad reputation for being “catty” amongst themselves and society has innately pitted woman against woman. Because of this rhetoric, instead of automatically uplifting our sisters, our default becomes wariness and a side eye at any other female in the room.

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But the beautiful thing about the kick ass ladies on The Buzz, I’ve found, is that we’ve all come together to offer support and love for one another.

In the short time I’ve had the privilege of knowing these women and  having them as a group message on  my phone, I’ve seen nothing but positivity. Our conversations are filled with academic advice, birthday greetings, Beyonce GIFs, prayers for any families affected by current natural disasters, moral support, tattoo parlor suggestions and a hope for some snacks at the next meeting. It’s all wholesome goodness!

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Honestly, this should be how we treat all women, regardless of whether or not it is in the flesh or online. The amazing environment I experience interacting with my team at The Buzz shouldn’t be the only place where I feel the love. We as women should be united together in a collective spirit of up lifting.

As a united front of positivity women can achieve equality, especially a win towards creating a world of equality.

As individuals, the ladies of The Buzz  are amazing:

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But together? We create something worth Buzzing about!

Hahaha… Puns… Get it?

Throw some fun puns my way, muchachos, and I hope you enjoyed this week’s installment of Lady Business! Oh! One more thing! Send these other ladies some love, send the women in your life some compliments and I’ll see you all next week!

 

All artwork by Pebbles.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Cyclone

My family never had the kind of money for splurges like annual summer vacations, weekly family staycations, or money fueled kid-friendly activities on the daily; so whenever my and my sister’s birthday came around, we knew it was our chance to go to Coney Island. I grew up with good ol’ fashioned Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park and Astroland that had awesome kiddie rides which look laughable now but held my interest in my younger years. We would spend the entire day there regardless of the weather. It was a real amusement park sandwich, rides in the morning, lunch break, more rides, sunset on the beach, and more rides before going home, well into dusk. Once it was later in the night and my sister and I began to get tired, my mother and grandmother would take the chance to have some quality time with my older sister, who had to be subjected to our child-friendly amusement for the whole day. I remember it so vividly, the way my older sister and whomever rode with her, would walk valiantly towards a monster of ride that I was way too small to handle. The bravery exuded from their demeanor and I always admired it. Me and my other sister would wait on the street adjacent to the buzzy lights that illuminated The Cyclone sign; we’d listen carefully, sifting through the screams of terror and pleasure, in the hopes of hearing those of our sister. To my young mind riding The Cyclone was a rite of passage; You knew how mature, courageous, and utterly awesome you were if you were able to be graced with a turn on this rickety wooden roller coaster.

The Cyclone opened to the public on a bright summer day of June 26, 1927. Its precedent, The Giant Racer, was torn down in 1926 in order to make way for the production of the new Cyclone designed by Vernon Keenan and constructed with the help of the Harry C. Baker Company which supplied all the iron, steel, and lumber needed to develop this beautiful creature. Production cost was around one hundred thousand dollars and only cost twenty-five cents to ride, once it was completed. It was unheard of for the time, a coaster that had fifty-eight point one degree drops, according to nyc.gov, and zipped through the air at sixty miles per hour speed from eighty-five foot elevations. It holds up to twenty-four passengers and the duration of the entire ride is about two minutes. For the time, it was the second-steepest roller coaster in the world.

As of 2005 four reproductions were made in the Cyclones’ honor around the world.

Something so technologically pure being made over ninety years ago seems as astounding and mind-boggling as the Egyptians stacking billions of mud bricks and heavy stones in order to make the Pyramids of Giza. I consciously make that magnified comparison since The Cyclone is one of Brooklyn’s most treasured gems.

Taking these photos made me reminiscent of my childhood and how much the island changed over the years. I remember Coney Island before all this “remastered Luna Park business” came onto the shore; although the new Luna Park is a very nice amusement park, I want to give a recognition to the kids who rode the Tilt-A-whirl before you had to walk through some man’s exaggerated maniacal open mouth in order to get there.

To all my Astroland veterans, y’all remember those days?

Sizzle Sizzle

Photographer: Gennessy Palma

70’s last week, 80’s this week, the heat just keeps coming back; it seems like summer just doesn’t want to leave! Well with the heat still on, the activities continue. What kinds you ask??? Grills of course! Now we aren’t talking about the typical outdoors but instead, an indoor grill, my recommendation? Kyu-Gaku! A wonderfully exquisite restaurant, Japanese style BBQ cuisines are served here. This restaurant has many locations so if you can’t make it to the city, no worries! They have other locations!

The restaurant is a classic, and can also be rented for special occasions, birthdays, anniversaries, even business meetings. They serve many combos, duck, fish, cow, pork, chicken, you name it! To me the fun part is that we don’t watch them grill it; the chefs season and prepare the food but, guess what?? You cook it!!!!!!!! Now you can tell your parents how great of a cook you are; that’s what I did, gotta prove them wrong somehow, am I right??? Going back to the chefs, well the staff to be exact, are very welcoming and understanding, they greet every guest as they enter and graciously thank the guests when they leave using the  Japanese language, when I went to the restaurant with my significant other, we also thanked them in Japanese, “ arigatou gozaimasu minna! “ meaning thank you very much everyone! In this restaurant the staff takes health seriously, if you’re allergic to something let them know! They’ll prepare separately! The restaurant is very respectable, no professional attire required though, like I said before, this restaurant fits all occasions.

Photographer: Gennessy Palma

My Critique

The food overall was a 4.5 star rating from a scale of 1-5. And the price range? I’d say is $$$ from a scale of $-$$$$$, so in other words not that bad! Every bite is worth the money spent, not to mention the ambiance. The environment in that restaurant is lively yet tranquil, with dim lights and the warm touch because of the indoor grill, it’s like a spa day without all the excess stuff, I recommend everyone and anyone to come to this restaurant and give it a try! You won’t regret it!

  • Gennessy Palma

 

Finding A Balance

I recently became a legal adult not too long ago, and I must say that transitioning into adulthood has been difficult. If I could go back in time to my toddler years, I would have taken more time to enjoy them. I cherish the days when life was easier, and I didn’t have to worry about various aspects of life. During preschool, I would have appreciated the different hues of the watercolor paints. During nap time, instead of making funny faces at my friends, I would have actually went to sleep and had pleasant dreams about candy canes and unicorns. When I went home at night, I would have pulled out my coloring book, and enjoyed a cool cup of apple juice while relaxing. Wouldnt that be awesome to be able to go back to?

Unfortunately, I don’t own a time machine, and therefore, I must deal with my present endeavors. I must take life one day at a time and deal with all obstacles that come my way, no matter how difficult they may seem. Older and wiser people always say to me that I should stop complaining about my college years, because when they were my age they didn’t have any problems. What people fail to realize is that times have changed, the world has changed, and so have the people in it. Life can be extremely difficult in these days and times, and the only way to truly get through every day without cracking is to find a balance. Without a proper balance, life would become quite unbearable.

I myself decided during my first semester of college that I would find balance within my life. It took me some time to break down different aspects of my life and decipher who and what I should keep in it. After going through a few difficult situations, I knew I had to analyze my life and find balance within myself. I started to think of myself as a scale!! My body from my head to my toes was the beam of the scale. My arms,stretched out, held the cluster of chains that are attached to the two metal pans. These pans held the different aspects of the world, that I was carrying with me every day throughout my life. As I began to develop cognitively, I came to the realization that I was weighing myself down with a lot of negativity, and I was UNBALANCED. As I grew and matured, I realized that in order to progress, I had to start tilting myself from side to side, and letting some of those worldly things slide off of my scale.

Whether it may have been parasitic friends, family, difficult situations, unworthy opponents, or just bad memories, I had to start letting go of all the negativity.The negativity was blocking the positivity. I was so weighed down by it that I was blinded to the positive parts of my life. I was letting myself be sucked into all the wrong in my world, instead of enjoying all of the right. As I started to allow myself to let go of all the bad situations, bad people, and the bad memories, I began to tilt more towards the positive side. I started to pull myself out of all that despair and anger, and I found positivity and happiness.

When I finally started to feel balanced and centered, my life started to change. Of course there were other obstacles that I had to overcome, but once I became balanced, I learned how to disassociate myself from the negativity. While learning how to not take on negativity, I started to see so much more positive things happening around me, and for me. My grades were improving, my relationships were getting stronger, and I was becoming stronger as a person. I learned how to forgive people quicker, so that I could remove the negative feelings from my life quicker. I realized the more that I held these grudges, the more I would dwell on certain situations, it would eventually consume me.

The first step to living a positive life is to let all of the negativity roll off of you.

DO NOT LET IT STICK!!

DO NOT hold on to it!!

DO NOT overthink it!!

DO NOT give negativity any second chances!!

Life is too short to worry yourself over worldly things that make you unhappy, or weigh you down. Let go of as much negativity as you possibly can and embrace the positivity!! Of course there will always be some hardships in life, but these difficult times will influence you to work harder so that you can experience more positivity. Letting go of negativity is easier said than done, but it’s obtainable. Once you start to let go, you will feel lighter, less stressed and more at peace. I personally was in a toxic situation where I was allowing one person’s behavior to bring out the worst in me. I was letting anger consume me and once I came to the realization of what was happening I had to take a step back. I analyzed the situation I was in, and then I had a conversation with myself. It dawned on me that this unhappy person that sought to make my life miserable was miserable herself and reflecting her negative energy onto me. However, my mistake was letting her miserable behavior, pull me out of character. I decided that day that I would no longer allow her issues to anger me. Instead I didn’t hold on to her negativity, or let her negative words stick to me. At that moment, I told myself to stop overthinking and I made the decision to be happy and stop giving negativity second chances.

Kitchen Clinic

I spent most of this week being shunned at work. I had a slight cold, or maybe it was my allergies..I’m not sure. All I know is everyone I sneezed around automatically asked me if I was sick, and hit me with the side eye/ “get away from me” look lol.

-retrieved from me.me

I’m much better now and still think it was just my allergies, but I still looked to my virtual bible Wellness Mama anyway for a natural remedy. Wellness Mama is a website that is full of hidden gems and I’ve been in love with it for about 2 years now. In the creator Katie Well’s words, it is a website/ blog full of simple answers for healthier families through practical tips, real food recipes, natural beauty and cleaning tutorials, natural remedies and more”.

I’m an avid practicer of holistic medicine and home remedies. Alternative medicine and other healing practices that fall outside of the realm of western, or “traditional” medicine have always been with us from generations and generations ago. I remember in my younger years my mom would put nutmeg on me and my siblings body aches, or boil ginger and mint leaves to make one of us tea for a stomach-ache.

There’s amazing power in being able to naturally heal and cure yourself. You can honestly remedy or alleviate pain from so many minor or major sicknesses, aches, acne breakouts, etc; with things you already have right in your kitchen cabinets!
I call it the “Kitchen Clinic”.  

Back in January I became lactose intolerant, yes that’s a thing. I suffered serious cystic acne breakouts from the slightest hint of milk, or cream, or anything dairy. At one point, both of my cheeks were totally dominated by giant red pimples. It’s taken me a while to get used to. I only now, have finally mastered reading labels and identifying code words and other names for lactose ingredients such as casein, ghee, and whey. In the beginning I was blind to it all. I spent the first few months testing it’s limits. “Hmm I can probably get away with just one mozzarella stick right??” NOT!!

Wellness mama was my go to for remedies to soothe the burning, irritation, and inflammations from the flare-ups. I was like a Halloween witch in my kitchen whipping together cinnamon, tumeric, peppermint leaves, lavender essential oil, honey, oatmeal, and brown sugar for an exfoliant and face mask. In about a two-week span I had controlled it and moved on to phase two, recovery from any scars/ war wounds left behind from the battle. For that, I use a toner concoction that includes apple cider vinegar, aloe vera gel, and lemon; followed by coconut and tea tree oil as a moisturizer.

When you really begin to study and learn the internal and external benefits and healing properties of the foods, spices, fruits, and vegetables we eat and have in our fridges all the time, you will be amazed. For example, people spend so much money on bleaching creams for scars and spots when lemon is a natural bleaching and skin lightening agent just as efficient. Rub it on any acne spots or any scars and you’ll start to see results after just a few times.

I’ve used wellness mama to help (partially) transition from store-bought personal hygiene products such as toothpaste, lotion and deodorant, to all natural and homemade versions made by me. Literally, I have had most of the ingredients needed already. The most I’ve had to purchase was storage containers and things of that nature. Not only do you save money, but you actually KNOW what you are putting on, and into your body. I don’t know about you, but I have no idea what cocamidopropyl betaine is, and it’s in the toothpaste in my bathroom right now. Plus, you get the satisfaction of saying you made it yourself.

A lot of people argue “it’s not that serious”, and say we all grew up on these “chemicals” and haven’t died yet which is true, but do we really know if it has been harmless? Researchers have connected many household items to various cancers and other abnormalities, so why not take small convenient steps if you can, to live a healthier lifestyle and combat illness before they start.

I say give it a try. I’m not telling you to go throw away everything store-bought because I haven’t even done that, but I hope to be fully transitioned one day. Maybe transition your skin care regimen to a natural one. Or maybe instead of using Sally Hansen Nail growth serum, eat more foods that contain vitamins and nutrients for healthy nails, or try a home remedy such as this one.

I just wanted to share this gem with you. I live by this website and others for everything from acne relief, to a headache remedy, natural teeth whitening methods; I mean everything, and I think you will love it too.
Next time you’re in Target looking at that face scrub that you love that costs $15.99, check your cabinet. Do you have Sugar? Coconut oil? Lemon?…..Yes? Then you already have face scrub at home! Take that 15.99 and get 3 new pillows.

If it can’t hurt, then it can only help right?? 🙂

Luv ya!

Louder Than the Beat

 

You hear a song playing on the radio. You start humming along and nodding your head, and your friend who notices says, “Oh, you know this song?” You recognize it as a song that’s been on every station, every hour, for weeks now, so you reply “yes.” But when he or she asks, “What’s it called again?” you are embarrassed to realize not only that you do not know the title, but that you don’t know any of the words either. Does this sound familiar?

This is the tragedy that has especially befallen our generation. Tragedy might seem too strong a term, but as I may have made clear in previous blog posts, I take words very seriously. I live by the maxim “my word is my worth and my worth is my word.” I give music the same value, so when you put the two together, I have very high expectations for songs. This is why I am appalled by how oblivious people can be to song lyrics.

Let’s indulge ourselves for a moment and consider the following examples: I have heard Sam Smith’s “Stay with Me” played at the funeral of my family-friend’s mother, Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” on at least one Christian gospel album, “Say Something” by A Great Big World at my high school prom, “I’m in Love with the CoCo” by O.T. Genasis at an elementary school block party, and most recently, Rihanna’s “Kiss It Better” played at a sweet sixteen. These are just a few of the scenarios where the songs did not match the occasion at all. I can imagine what the DJs might have been thinking when they made these selections. However, I’ll explain why each was an inappropriate match-up.

Only one or two lines in the chorus of Sam Smith’s “Stay with Me” are suitable for a funeral: “Oh won’t you stay with me? / ‘cause you’re all I need.” This is something you might wish you could say to a loved one you just lost. Take the first verse, however (“Guess it’s true, I’m not good at a one-night stand”), and that should make the context of the song clear.

I have seen way too many people mistake Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” for a gospel song, which is so unfortunate. Hallelujah does mean “Praise the Lord” but the only thing being praised in this song is sex, not God. In short, it is filled with disturbing sexual references hidden behind Biblical allusions (such as King David and Bathsheba in the first two verses).

In terms of music alone, “Say Something” by A Great Big World might sound like the perfect slow dance, but I would hope that the words “I’m giving up on you” and “you’re the one that I love / and I’m saying goodbye” are far from what you would want to say to your lover or date on prom night.

On the surface, “I’m in Love with the CoCo” by O.T. Genasis is a catchy and funny sounding song. Nevertheless, it ultimately promotes cocaine addiction. I don’t see how drugs and kids go together, ever. Someone just wasn’t thinking straight at that block party.

As for Rihanna’s “Kiss It Better,” this was one of too many songs played at a sweet sixteen that would have better suited a strip club or someone’s bedroom.

The DJs in each case must have given precedence to the musical components, as in the rhythm or melody, rather than the lyrical components of the songs, and that is where things often take a bad turn. They did not consider who would be present or what the overall purpose of the gathering was. They just wanted something that people could “bump” to or “turn up” to and that was it.

Music is not just about the beat; if it were, why have lyrics at all? Why not just make instrumentals? The truth is, music is such a powerful force, one that can be used for good or evil. Without getting into detail on the moral component, every song has a message to get across or a mood to express. If we can mindlessly play, sing, or dance to certain songs without acknowledging the message they are conveying, that just goes to show how clueless, vulnerable, and unsophisticated we can be.

To me, there is something beautiful about choosing the right embellishments for the right occasion–the decor, dress code and especially the music all contribute to creating the perfect atmosphere. This stylistic decision-making, practiced by many wedding and party planners, is an art in itself. My hope is that people will value it more, and that lyricism will not become a lost art.

Virtues from Motherhood: Needing Help Will Never Make You Weak

(Please note this is a sensitive post and one that was hard for me to share. However, in the interest of healing and helping others, I felt like I was finally okay enough to post.)

This summer has been a somewhat rough one for me. While it was nice to relax and not worry about commuting and classes it also gave me time to think, maybe too much. I’ve mentioned my anxiety before and I’ve always kept it relatively low key and under wraps because I felt I could control it. This summer though, I felt that control slip away from me. I was constantly on edge; my thoughts ran wild and I was always in constant fear of something bad happening or coming for me. I couldn’t sleep or focus and I was always on alert. I wrestled with getting help, maybe going to speak to the therapist I’d seen as a teenager but I didn’t want to see someone who might diagnose the old me. I ignored the clear need for me to get help for weeks, until my family left for vacation and I was left alone with my own mind.

I was driving across the Manhattan bridge one day after being out with friends and rolled slowly along the span as traffic inched along, admiring the view and the city I love so much, but then I had a truly frightening thought that appeared out of nowhere. “What’s stopping me from getting out and climbing over the rail?” It was the scariest moment I’d had in a long while because the thought just popped into my mind unprovoked. I looked at the narrow beam as traffic continued to roll on, and it hit me, this is bigger than me now and I’d need to get help to defeat the demons I’ve let live inside me too long.

I never wanted to wonder ever again if anyone would miss me or feel like my own breaths were suffocating me. A day or so later, I had a panic attack that made me feel like I was being swallowed into a black hole and I got my shoes on that instant and went to my doctor. I couldn’t let my daughter see me this way, I couldn’t meet my goals or even watch TV peacefully until I got my anxiety under control.

With my doctors help I’m doing that, but I had to ask for help and I’m sorry I waited for it to explode into a flood of emotions and fears for me to do it. Nevertheless, I am on the mend, every day that passes I’m a little less anxious and feel just a little more in control of who I am. People seem to forget that their mental health is just as, if not more, important than your psychical health because your mind does matter in every sense.

Asking for help to me was always a sign that I was weak that I was little and I was letting anxiety win, but anxiety (like other mental health issues) can’t be defeated alone, you need a net of support to catch you when you’re weak. Friends, family and your medical professionals are those people, seek them out. Lastly, be kind to those you know aren’t okay, and even ones you don’t, because even though you can’t fathom what’s going on in their head, it’s dictating their whole life, and your words matter to them.


If you, or someone you know is struggling here are some resources that can help. Never ignore the signs.

Suicide prevention hotline

Half of us

NYC Mental Health

Piece of Cake

If you are like me, then you have had your fair share of cakes…whether it be a Black Forest Cake, an Angel Food Cake, an ice cream cake, or the traditional birthday cake. The first thought that enters my mind when I think of cakes is the layered cakes with overly sweet American Buttercream wedged in between the layers of cake that may have a sentimental message written on top of the cake to commemorate a special event such as a birthday as well as a specific amount of candles to represent the age in which that person is turning on that particular day.

The French word entremets literally means “between servings” and would usually consist of a small dish between courses in French cuisine. It would mark the end of a serving of numerous courses. Now, it is a term that is readily used in the pastry world, an entremet is a cake that is multi-layered mousse-based with various texture contrasts and varying complementary flavor concepts. There are entremet cakes that are traditional to the French pastry cuisine but it varies significantly from the cakes that are readily available in America.

The most important element of entremet cakes is the proper use of food pairings in which the contrasting textures and flavors being utilized still correlate to one another so it will offer a well-balanced mouthfeel. These food pairings can vary from coconut and mango, passionfruit and white chocolate, or chocolate and raspberries.

Entremet cakes are visually appealing as they can take on a myriad of shapes such as domes, pyramids, squares, rounds, et cetera. Typically, the different combinations involved in the production of an entremet cake include a balanced taste concept such as sweet but tangy in flavor but it also means a textural difference which consists of a mousse layer or gelee layer paired with a praline layer or meringue layer to have both a balance of crunch and smooth textures to better satisfy the palate.

Image by: Brianna Vasquez

I had the amazing opportunity of creating my own entremet cake, to be able to concept the flavors and textures that I wanted to pair together in order to create a well-balanced cake. I decided to make an entremet cake that had a bottom layer of a dacquoise meringue which is a typical egg white based meringue with chopped almonds and hazelnuts combined into it; that was then topped with a hibiscus coconut mousse that was then topped with a thin layer of genoise cake that was soaked with a coconut rum simple syrup. This was then topped with a layer of mango gelee and coconut mousse and then a thin layer of raspberry gelee. The entire cake was delicately wrapped with a joconde cake which is an almond based cake that was patterned with pink stripes.