style

gather

Gather; defined as “bringing together and taking in from scattered sources.” This year more than ever, I am recognizing what this truly means. Growing up in a relatively small town surrounded by family, I have never felt as if I was ever detached from home. I was constantly around those I loved, and therefore it never required any work to see my friends or family because chances are, I would run into them at school or at some point during the week. Being away from home, I have recognized how amazing it is to intentionally align ones schedule to allow for time together. Schedules become conflicting as life begins to move faster, and suddenly the people you saw everyday become faces you only see on occasion. My friends are spread all over the country now, and to be brought together for this magical time of year is going to be very exciting. I talk about this in Adjustinghaving that feeling that you are so unfamiliar with what the new normal is. Now that I am happy and comfortable with being at school, its almost surreal that I get to visit what seems like a different life. I will be with my friends, family, familiar surroundings, and more than ever- I am grateful (& ridiculously excited).

Plain and simple, I am a family-oriented girl. There is nothing I love more than being with my relatives and I consider myself extremely lucky to have such a supportive and loving family. I call my grandparents and mom everyday (yes, even here at college), simply because I enjoy hearing from them and appreciate their advice. At home, I live five minutes away from my immediate family, so the now two-hour trek has made those moments we share together much more special. That being said, I am really looking forward to the upcoming holidays and being able to spend time with my loved ones.

Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays not only for the food, but also the excitement around it. Growing up in my town, this time of year is known for homecoming, the Thanksgiving Day game, and most importantly- a game we call Powderpuff. Being the town in which actually originated the game, it is something taken quite seriously and brings a sense of nostalgia regardless of how old you are.

Between the high school football games creating excitement, family members traveling home, and just being in the presence of friends- it feels that all is right in the world. The icing on the cake is that this holiday is centered around food! The preparation that goes into it by every member of the family provides a feeling of love and comfort. When it comes time to share that meal around the table, focusing on consciously being grateful is truly something wonderful.

Immediately after eating on Thanksgiving, the sweatpants get put on as my cousins and I play board games (barely able to move after eating copious amounts of turkey and potatoes) before the shopping craze begins. These simple little moments of gathering are what I look forward to year after year. I hope you take a few minutes on your holiday to look around and appreciate all that you have.

 

 

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travel

nyc: hospitality trip

This past week, I along with my peers in the Hospitality Program at the CIA were given the opportunity to head to New York City to visit several properties in the field. We began our day bright and early at the Morgan Stanley Headquarters where we explored how Restaurant Associates operates multiple culinary outlets within the facility. We then proceeded to their catering branch, CxRA where we were able to see the preparation firsthand of two large-scale events at The Lincoln Center and David Koch Theater. This was especially exciting to me, as I am interested in the event planning aspect of the industry. Lastly we visited the Marriott Marquis Hotel located in Times Square. This location is particularly known for being the location of the famous New Years Eve celebration, as well as hosting the Grammys After-Party. The hotel is composed of fifty floors and boasts the only revolving restaurant in the city, complete with skyline views.

This exploratory trip was helpful in conceptualizing what career paths are possible upon graduating. We were able to connect with highly experienced professionals who shared their wisdom and knowledge with us. Personally, from this outing, I was able to recognize that working a managerial position at a hotel is probably not up my alley. Rather, I was fascinated with what went into creating the events that CxRA produced. What struck me most is how much of an individual feel they had. We were able to witness two different events in separate locations, each having a completely different feel, but equally as classy and grand. In hearing how much the staff was passionate about their jobs, this path only interested me more.

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Overall, this was an incredible opportunity to see what this industry has to offer as well as bond with my classmates. Our trip brought awareness to the fact that the careers that may come from this degree can range extensively. I truly believe that our group brings such diversity to the table and am really looking forward to seeing where we all end up.

style

behind the scenes: halloween hacks

As you may or may not know, I have had the opportunity of filming televised baking segments with my local news program, Connecticut Style since I was in 7th grade. It initially began with a wild thought I had to go out on a limb and email one of the anchors simply to see if they could put the name of my blog on their website. I did it with the intention of possibly gaining a little audience more than just my family and friends. I have always had the “it doesn’t hurt to try” mentality, and knew the worst thing that could happen would be that I would not get a response. What do you know, the next day I had received an email back basically telling me they would put me on for my own segment. Shocked as a seventh grader with absolutely no public speaking, never mind television experience, I vividly remember calling my mom while I awaited my school bus telling her “Uhhh… I think these people want me on TV.”

From that point on, I became increasingly more comfortable in conveying my ideas on camera. I still laugh looking back at my first segment as a nervous fourteen year old. The staff at CT Style has helped me in so many ways, and they are truly a great group of people. In watching my progression over the course of seven years, I have been able to learn from my mistakes and become more self-aware. I am no professional, simply a girl who likes to talk… and eat of course.

That being said, when I came to the CIA, I had a little dream to do something very similar here. As luck would have it, I stumbled upon an opportunity to partner up with digital marketing and utilize the set kitchen to create my own segments. My intentions are to keep these videos simplistic, and provide little ways that anyone watching could take something away from. Also, in being a hospitality student, I may not do everything “by the book”, but I hope that my approachable and fun ideas will transfer and offer viewers some inspiration.

My first series “Halloween Hacks” has been a great learning experience. Alongside my boss and “producer” Josh, we have created this entire concept, developed each recipe/hack, filmed, and edited, all within the several two-hour windows of time my schedule allots per week. We are learning as we go, with this entirely new series for the CIA. A couple intentional choices we have made along the way include filming vertically, and creating items that need little to no prep. We chose vertical filming (which has proved quite the daunting task), due to the fact we are aware most of our viewers are watching via smartphone. Believe it or not, this orientation of the camera is actually trending. It has been a challenge because we need to film on a phone, making use of the tripods we have which are not exactly compatible. Using everything from rubber bands to more than one tripod, we have managed to make it work. It was also important that we choose treats that require minimal prep. As we walk across campus to reach our filming destination and must meet, gather ingredients, walk, set up, get the camera situated, film, clean up, and retreat to home base all in a two-hour time period that I have before class.

It has been such a fun experience so far, and I look forward to creating videos for the upcoming holidays! You can check out my first Halloween Hack here.

 

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style

adjusting

Ah change… how I love to hate it. Anyone who knows me can attest to the fact that I am a planner, organizer, detail-machine and nothing satisfies me more than having structure. I like knowing exactly what needs to get done and especially the immense feeling of accomplishment I receive from checking something off my list of things to do. This being said, as you could imagine college was a land of uncertainty. I couldn’t wait to get going simply so I could know what to expect. After all, I have wanted to attend since second grade. The excitement leading up to move-in day was immense.

I arrived, moved in, and said my goodbyes all in what seemed like the blink of an eye. Being a very independent girl, the last thing on my mind is that I would struggle adapting. I thought the transition would be nothing short of effortless, and was completely thrown off when it wasn’t as easy as I had expected. While the first few days were fun and new, it was quite honestly overwhelming. So many changes occurring simultaneously had me in a tizzy. I found myself desiring routine more than ever. Time and time again the first few weeks I was asking myself “am I doing this right?”

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It wasn’t until I talked to my friends who are spread all along the east coast embarking on their own journeys at college, that I realized the exact uncertainty I feared is actually part of the beauty of this phase in life. I recognized that no one knows exactly what they are doing as a college freshman two-weeks in. The “fake it ’till you make it” mentality kicks in and we are all just trying our best. Taking notice to this allowed me to see that I do not need to have everything planned, and as a matter of fact I shouldn’t. I should be taking everything in that I can and focusing on finding what works for me.

Around the second week in, I began to embrace the “new normal” and once my mindset changed, I started to really savor this experience. I started living day-to-day as opposed to being daunted by the big picture. In being pushed so far out of your comfort zone, the only ability you have is to grow. It causes you to build new relationships and develop as a person. While it allows you to make your time at school more enjoyable, it also makes you cherish what you leave back at home. Being somewhere unfamiliar forces you to strengthen the relationships you already have because it is an effort to maintain. It allows you to prioritize who in your life is important. The calls home become so much more meaningful, and it wasn’t until I got here that I realized just how lucky I am to have an incredible support group.

As I hit the one-month mark of being on campus, I can honestly say that I feel comfortable. I appreciate the little things in my day, whether it be my cup of coffee in the morning, laughing with a friend, or taking in the beautifully serene views the Hudson has to offer. I have my little routine, my group of friends, and hobbies that I enjoy. I wake up each day excited for what it presents, and embrace the challenges that come along with it. So while you will still see a constant stream of sticky note lists adorning my desk, I have definitely allowed myself to realize that it is okay to have some uncertainty.

food

shrimp + avocado salad

Summertime is here, the garden is in full bloom, and it is hot as ever. This weather makes me want food that is light, refreshing, and doesn’t require too much time in the kitchen. I am sharing a delightfully vibrant summertime salad that is a perfect blend of texture and flavor. The lime juice paired with the shrimp is heavenly, and as if it couldn’t get better, it only takes about ten minutes to throw together !

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ingredients:

1/4 cup chopped red onion
2 limes, juiced
1 teaspoon olive oil
pinch of kosher salt
pinch of ground black pepper
1 pound peeled and cooked jumbo shrimp, cut into bite-size pieces
1 medium avocado, chopped
1 medium tomato, chopped

optional:

1 fresh jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro

recipe adapted from fullwoo

food

energy bites

today I am sharing a delicious and healthy little snack that I love! These energy bites are perfect to make at the start of the week and just leave in the fridge for whenever you need a little pick me up. Although they are tiny, they are sure to fill you up and sustain your energy for the day. They are also SO versatile, and have seen a ton of variations. Some other ingredients that I have seen added include: craisins, chia seeds, cacao powder, white chocolate chips, or nuts.

ingredients:

1 cup (dry) oats

2/3 cup coconut flakes (optional: toasted)

1/2 cup peanut butter

1/4 cup flax seeds

1/2 cup chocolate chips (I prefer 80% dark)

1/3 cup local honey

Simply measure all of your ingredients and pour into a bowl. I prefer to mix the PB + honey first because it is easier to combine before you add the “chunks”! Let the mixture chill in the fridge right in the bowl for at least an house. Then portion out 1 tablespoon balls and roll until round. You can then individually package them or leave them unwrapped and stored in the fridge. Enjoy!

 

I also just wanted to extend a huge thank you to my family at WTNH Good Morning Connecticut and Connecticut Style. We featured these bites on Wednesdays GMCT for my final segment before college. I am so grateful to have virtually “grown up” giving my baking segments. I cannot wait to come back during breaks and share my experience and recipes!IMG_4198IMG_4204

 

 

style

a fresh start

In life I feel that is very important to always evaluate where you are and where you envision yourself to be. Taking a step back and reflecting in an honest way to see if what you are currently doing is fulfilling, has always proved highly beneficial for me. Especially in this season of my life, I am being exposed me to so many new experiences that my outlook and interests are constantly evolving. Embarking on the start of my college years, it has become clear to me that I need to do what is actually feeding my soul, not what I am expected to do. This is what lead me to the epiphany that the career path of becoming a pastry chef was not for me. This past year especially, I really honed in on this feeling and explored the path of hospitality- and it clicked. It drew out my strengths and interested me immensely. I came to the realization that if focused solely on baking, I would be neglecting other passions that I love just as much.

In planning my Winter Pop-Up Bakery this past December, I came to discover that my interest fell not only in the delightful confections, but also equally in the organizational planning and stylistic design elements to create an event that exceeded the expectations of its guests. Call it luck or consider it fate- when I made this decision I discovered my intended school, The Culinary Institute of America unveiled a brand new Bachelor’s degree in Hospitality Management. Then and there I changed my major and became officially enrolled in the schools first ever class of this degree. At the CIA, I am intending to concentrate in event planning, but will remain open to whatever opportunities come my way and guide my path. Now as I embark on this new and exciting journey I look forward to sharing my adventures with you on Simply Jules!