A Letter to You

a sunset overlooking a boardwalk

Image by: Cal

Dear You,

I am writing this letter to you as April is National Letter Writing Month so it’s fitting.I know that you are struggling with piles and piles of homework as you slowly prepare yourself for the upcoming end of the semester with finals. Let me start off by saying thank you for reading. I want you to know that you as my readers, mean the absolute world to me. Having someone reading the words that I carefully pieced together to make a written masterpiece, an art piece…a way to somehow make sense of this crazy puzzle of life.

I can only hope that as you read my posts, no matter which one that it inspires you…that it gives you hope to be better…to always strive for success. I so often in life have wanted to quit on my dreams…to fold my cards in this game of life poker. Life is so unpredictable, the events that occur each day are often unknown or unexpected because nothing in life is ever fully guaranteed. And we must all deal with the cards that we have been dealt. I want to be able to offer hope to all those who have decided to take time out of their days to read my posts. I am optimistic that I can be a symbol of strength to help you through the daily struggles that you may be facing. I have challenged myself to be as honest as possible by sharing my personal journey. I know what it is like to question your self-worth…to frequently ponder what my meaning is in this world. I know how it feels to not fit in and to evoke the sense of being a pariah in all areas of your life

Though I graduated from college, there are a lot of necessary things that college didn’t educate me with and these are just day-to-day instances that readily occur. College doesn’t tell you how to get placed with the right job for you, ways to choose a job, finding a passion that you truly care about and wish to spend your life pursuing, or how to conquer the unforeseen circumstances that life brings you. Life is a difficult thing to persevere through at times, believe me, I can understand that. But upon finding my passion for baking, I have come to understand the meaning of purpose. We all have a purpose in this world and most of the time, we wonder what that purpose is and why our lives are meaningful in this world. We frequently question our value but I knew that I loved to make others happy by way of having a delicious pastry as well as educating others to become bakers themselves. And perhaps, that is my purpose in life…to bring happiness to others by way of my desserts. I enjoy baking so much for a variety of reasons, it is a very fulfilling experience but it has a special value to me. I have baked many desserts for celebrational purposes as well as for recreational fun but either way, it helps me to relax and remain calm from the chaos that is life. It relieves my stress and reminds me of the talents that I have hidden within me regardless of the difficult days that I have endured.

Remember this when you are battling through a rough day, that you are strong…that you have the power within you to be happy and to be successful. No matter what comes your way in this crazy rollercoaster of life, you have the opportunity to write your own story and you are always the hero. No one is as heroic as you in your life story as you are the one seeing the chances that you take and being brave enough to pursue your dreams. If you always dream big and strive to achieve your goals then you are your own hero because you continued to be successful for yourself.

Cookies for a Cause

a row of white chocolate cranberry cookies in a box

Image by: JustCookNYC

This Sunday marks National Cookie Day and is a day of celebration for cookies. Whether chocolate chip or oatmeal raisin, as well as the holiday favorites like gingerbread and sugar cookies, all cookies are celebrated on this particular day. My love for baking has brought me to prepare many cookies. But one of my biggest appreciations of being a baker is when the baked good that you have made, serve a greater purpose. I have written about childhood cancer a few times in terms of how they utilize food in order to fundraise for better treatments for children facing cancer. I’ve always had a place in my heart for children who are battling cancer but this year, it has affected me on a more personal level.

Gretchen and Larry Witt founded Cookies for Kids’ Cancer in 2008, just one year after their son, Liam was diagnosed with stage IV cancer. As childhood cancer did not have enough effective treatments to irrevocably cure cancer and readily allow children to be in remission. The Witts were determined to fundraise with bake sales of cookies to help further the research required to create newer and better treatments of chemotherapy, radiation, and other therapies. Although Liam passed away in early 2011, the Witts continue to fundraise with their non-profit organization aimed towards childhood cancers. Their main focus is to build communities to fight against a disease that children simply battle alone. Childhood cancer is the #1 disease killer of children in the United States as thirty-six children are diagnosed with cancer every day. And with the help of Cookies for Kids’ Cancer, nine treatments have been created to help cure pediatric cancers. They encourage others to sell cookies under their organization’s name in order to raise more money to the contribution of benefiting pediatric cancer patients. It allows everyone to get involved with this amazing cause that continues to aid many children. Each child that is remission due to these new progressive medicines makes the Witts’ campaign even more important and valuable. As it allows the ‘C’ to only stand for cookies as it continues to minimize the tragic effects of childhood cancer.

cookie dough being placed on a sheet pan

Image by: Luis

My main goal with baking as I aspire to be a pastry chef is to bring the world together by way of desserts, and this cause truly benefits children who desperately need our help. Something as simple and minute as a cookie has been an advocate for a greater cause and that is what I am trying to portray. So “Be a Good Cookie” as the Witts proclaim, and find ways to help out your community whether it be for childhood cancer or for any other cause. Our greatest gift on earth is to be able to serve and help others to may this world a better place.

Comment some ways in which you serve your community or organizations you wish to work with/donate to.

Happy Thanksgiving

a sunset backdrop with a banner that reads thankful

Image by: Bianca J. Klein

Today is Thanksgiving and with all that has occurred this year, both publically and in my personal life, I am not exactly in the holiday spirit. I am struggling to find something to be thankful for. The truth is, even the smallest of things make up the large majority of what there simply is to have thanks for. Life is honestly a roller coaster ride, it can be great at times or utterly terrible momentarily, but there is always something to be thankful for. The holidays have evolved so much over the years, now it’s more oriented on gifts or shopping deals rather than giving thanks, enjoying company, and being in the holiday spirit.

I have been working with The Buzz for over two years and I am extremely thankful for the time that I have graciously had working with this academic project. It is easily accessible for all students at the school, as well as the general public, as a forum to be a haven for all as they navigate through their individual college experiences. Next semester will be my last and it is a tad bittersweet, I have had the most amazing opportunity to write about my innermost passion which pertains to food, more specifically baking. I absolutely appreciate being able to share my love for a hobby that is truly overlooked. Honestly, anything that is of interest can be a passion.

In certain aspects, my hobby of baking saved me. It gave me an escape from the struggles in my world to be in tune to something that has never disappointed me, the way the life has at times. Baking is the only thing that can really comfort or relax me so completely. But the most valuable part of baking is being able to share your edible masterpieces with other people in order to put a smile on someone’s face by the simplicity of enjoying a baked good. My time with The Buzz has surely shaped me into a better writer. I have greatly improved in my writing skills and feel that I have become a writer in all its meaningful value. I hope to have found a way to reach out and touch people through my eloquent sequence of words to be an encouragement and a help for them.

I suppose what I am saying is that I am so completely grateful to be able to write for The Buzz as I hope that those who read my posts can find a haven, such as I have found one in baking. But, more importantly, I want you to challenge yourself to find a haven for yourself, whatever that may be. So in a celebration that truly reunites families and friends, I want to encourage you if even for a single moment in all the business and chaos of holiday shopping or family dinners, to find something to be thankful for. I hope all my readers have a great holiday season.

Share a holiday tradition that you enjoy partaking in for the holidays.

The Passionate Baker

girl looking at a sunset

Image by: Sabrina Vasquez

Brianna is a twenty-one year old Brooklyn native currently in her senior year at New York City College of Technology. She is a hospitality management major whose area of focus is pastry arts and also OpenLab’s “The Buzz” resident food blogger. Currently, Brianna holds an associate’s degree and is working towards her bachelor’s, ultimately aspiring to open her own pastry shop. In her spare time, Brianna loves baking, swimming, watching hockey (Go Rangers!) and is an avid writer. In the upcoming years, Brianna hopes to learn more about herself and be more spontaneous by way of immersing herself into different hobbies or activities. So if you’re looking for the best treats, meals, and food gossip in town, Brianna is your girl.

girl in chef jacket

Image by: Sabrina Vasquez

My plans, in terms of what I intend to blog about, entail the topics of food themed subjects or events. It will vary from foods that I have personally experienced as well as foods that I wish to try; I would also like to include food related news that will discuss current happenings in the food world that may have not been widely discussed. Baking is not only a passion of mine but it is a haven in which it allows me to relax from the stress that occurs in life. It brings me utter joy to be able to share my edible masterpieces with others and to vicariously live through the sheer happiness that my homemade desserts offer them. By being able to blog about a subject that has such a meaningful value to me, it allows me to convey that passion and motivation that I have to hopefully encourage others to pursue interests of their own or to immerse themselves into food culture from my posts.

Good luck to everyone this semester and happy posting!

The Start of Fall Semester

Image by: Matt Cooper

Image by: Matt Cooper

As the summer vacation comes to a close, we are unfortunately faced with going back to school later this week. While only brave souls have decided to also partake in summer classes over the break, many of us are completely unprepared or reluctant to return to the stress of college and what that entails. It’s time for the late night studying, early morning classes, and the textbook shopping on Amazon. However, in the end, we will be grateful in our decision to further our education as it helps to inspire others, educate yourself and to become more sociable with those around you.

I am so appreciative of each and every one of my readers as I try to reach and connect with new readers by way of my writing of food-themed topics. I can definitely promise that with this upcoming semester that I will try new methods of writing in terms of the possibility of adding comedy as I have always been thoroughly entertained by the work of FoodSpin. I want to constantly evolve my writing to the trends or to what would appeal to my readers. I want to thank everyone who takes out time in their busy days to read my blog posts and comments, I genuinely love reading what others think of my writing or my opinion overall.

Being that I am about to start my senior year, I want to offer some advice to everyone who are anxious to begin the fall semester. Despite the stress of school, homework, work, and life struggles; it can be extremely difficult to stay focused and balance it all. But I have a solution, one of the most important things that I have done every semester was find a hobby. Although, it can sound almost impossible with the stress of everything else going on, it can ultimately lead to your success. I have found baking to be a passion of mine that I want to make a career out of but it is also extremely soothing to me. One baking practice that truly calms me is piping frosting whether it be buttercream, Italian meringue etc. I love how focused you have to be in order to get the piping work to be correct, beautiful, and intricate.

So, I wish you luck not only for the upcoming semester but for all of your endeavors whatever that may be. College is the ultimate learning experience that allows you to not only gain a better knowledge on a specific topic but to meet new people, network, and create memories of a lifetime.

The Importance of Audience Engagement

a series of words that describe what blogging is

Image by: Kristina B

When I think of the array of topics that I have talked about in my blog posts, I am faced with the question of “why was it relevant?”. I have many reasons for each of the concepts of my posts as well as why I have chosen to write about such topics that I feel would appeal to each of my readers. Obviously, I hope that each of my posts are relatable as each of my posts are about food themed topics, I encourage all to read my posts whether if you enjoy baking, are learning how to bake, or simply interested in baking topics. But there is more to blogging than just wanting to be relatable because being relatable is more than just an incorporation of this concept but almost a science of putting yourself in the minds of your readers. By becoming the reader, you must be a number of readers, in my case, it would mostly be two very different types of readers ……. the bakers and the non-bakers as well as everyone in between that measurement of readers. But the truth is no matter how relatable your blog is it will not appeal to everyone because each person simply has their own basis of what they are willing to read and what is not as important for them to gain interest from.

First, you must create a target audience, this will enable you to fully understand what you are trying to share information about and who you are trying to reach with your posts so that you will be able to evoke that in your writing. These posts may even motivate your audience of readers to want to learn more about that specific topic or it may help them with personal events in their life. And, there is always room for your target audience to expand depending on the topic, it can be of interest for many while others may not be but that is purely up for the writer to decide what their readers want to hear based on past posts and the number of views/comments for the most popular ones.

Second, the topics that are discussed should entail newsworthy subjects that will either impact the reader to want to continue reading to gain more knowledge on this topic and also have the possibility of liking your way of writing, in terms of the way you evoke ideas which creates opportunities for them to be interested in your other posts.

a keyboard that spells the word blog

Image by: Daryl Lau

Third, headlines can purely influence a reader’s decision to read the entire post or to just keep scrolling through. Ultimately, the choice of words that are selected to be used in the headline of a post may be a determining factor for readers to decide whether or not they will continue to read the post. The headline should set the tone for the entire post but should add some excitement that will persuade and encourage readers to want to read the post.

Fourth, topic tagging is an important part of blogging because it helps the readers know what the topic of the post is about because they choose to read it in its entirety. This only gives the key words that are used in the post or to describe the topic of the post. It not only helps the readers to have a common knowledge of the subject being described but helps the writer to stay on topic to reach their target audience.

And finally, ask questions in your post to encourage comments. With the addition of comments, it allows for the conversation to further continue by understanding the readers’ opinions. Comments are hard to obtain, some may not read your post all the way to the end which eliminates the option of commenting while others may not feel obligated to comment on your post. But comments are helpful, it lets writers know that readers are listening and opens doors that show that the post is not one-sided because even the readers get a chance to share their thoughts.

Comment below with your thoughts on audience engagement and what else is needed to make a blog post interesting to readers.

My Love For Baking

purple fireworks

Image by: Jdmoar

Now that school’s out, I am able to offer myself to pursue the other events in my life that I was once too busy to enjoy. Yesterday was the fourth of July and it is usually celebrated with the union of family by way of food, barbecues, and fireworks to commemorate those who have served in the armed forces. As I watched the colorful fire burst into the air, I was amazed by the beauty of it, something as simple as a firework made me smile and I realized that the beginning of this week was the most I have smiled in a long time. My life has been an utter worldwind this year and I am just happy to know that things are finally looking better. With more time on my hands, I thought back on my blogging experience with “The Buzz” for the past two years. I have endured so much though I have chosen to only post about food themed topics because it is the only constant that has brought joy to my life. It is the only thing in my life that truly calms me and for anyone who is currently going through a rough time, I hope that you find the peace that you are seeking.

The truth is that life comes with obstacles and can be difficult to bear at times. But I have learned that in order to make it through the tough moments is to lean on other people that will be there to listen or offer any type of support. So many people have truly showed their support for me in ways I have never imagined and I cannot thoroughly express how much that truly means to me or how much it encouraged me to know that things will be better eventually. To those who are currently facing struggles in life, I can confidently say that the dust will settle and that life although it is a tumultuous rollercoaster will be fulfilling to an exponential amount. Yet, life has constantly proven to throw curveballs and surprise me in both respectively positive and negative ways. Many question why I blog specifically about food rather than the struggles that occur in my life on the daily basis. And the truth is that I do not wish to dwell on the things in my life that I unfortunately have no power to change, instead I share how I cope with my struggles.

three pie tins and whisk

Image by: Angela Bax

Baking is my therapy, it allows me to be able to escape to a world of paradise where the most stressful thing is to crack the eggs, measure the sugar correctly, or sift the flour. Nothing compares to my passion for baking because unlike anything else in life, the result of baked goods can be controlled by simply following the recipe. It brings me joy to make others happy by way of the desserts I have carefully taken time to create.

So I hope to encourage all my readers to enjoy life and when life gets tough, know that there will be better times. Someone very close to me shared this quote with me and now I will share it with all of you.

“Promise me you’ll always remember: You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” – A.A. Milne

Comment below on what you do as a hobby to calm yourself when life becomes difficult to handle.

Why I Chose Hospitality Management

When I first started to attend City Tech, way back when when I didn’t really know what I wanted to do, who I would end up meeting, what would happen, would I hate college life and so much more. I began City Tech, majoring in Communication Design because at that point I liked art and design, but when I got a taste of it I wasn’t happy

All of my family and friends say that I had a knack for going out to eat and cooking.. My family and friends told me maybe I should pursue a degree in Culinary Arts, I knew at that point City Tech offered a Hospitality Management program so I began exploring this option and asking around about what can I expect.

I changed my course of study and decided to begin a new journey to find my passion and to see if I was happy in Hospitality Management. At first I didn’t enjoy it because I didn’t have much people skills and was going through a tough time in my life. I picked myself up one day and told myself that I needed to really get the ball rolling and immerse myself more into Hospitality Management.

a set table

One class I have taken was Dining Room and I really enjoyed it. I liked that everyone had a chance to be a different role, person each day whether it be a front server, back server, captain, dishwasher, and etc. Our final project was to design a table for a choice between 4 to 6 guests and we also had to have a theme. The theme my group and I did was a vintage, classic look which I thought was very beautiful and elegant.

desserts and food dishes

I am all squared away with my Baking and Culinary classes and I miss it. I honestly enjoyed Culinary a lot more than Baking. I’ve never seen myself as a Baker or Pastry Arts type of person. I was fortunate enough to have Culinary 1 & Culinary 2 with the same professor (Professor Tomlinson) both classes on a Saturday. Culinary 2 is suppose to be a lot more intense, but he made it very enjoyable and not crazy.

eight food dishes

Culinary class opened my eyes and heart up because there were a lot of foods that I thought I would never enjoy like Salad Nicoise, deviled eggs, French onion soup, polenta, and a lot more. I ate things I never thought I would and because of that I am a little more accepting in trying new foods.

This semester and for my last two semesters, I am or will be taking all lecture classes. I must admit it’s different, but it’s a lot to learn and a lot to take in.

I like hospitality because I get to explore different areas of the business and I’ve found that I enjoy marketing/social media.

I like hospitality because it allows me to share my creativity and love for food and marketing.

I like Hospitality because it’s about providing an unforgettable experience for guests.

What are you majoring in? Why do you enjoy it?