Monday, December 29, 2008

36 hours in brooklyn

hello everyone!

i wish i could say that i am nice and rested from my 5 days in california, but in truth i am absolutely exhausted. i was supposed to come back thursday night in time for class friday, but i caught an awful cold on the plane ride to los angeles and ended up staying for an extra few days to try to sleep it off. it was really nice to be able to do so, even if it meant missing class and a many-times-rescheduled doctors appointment. saturday was spent at my second-cousin kathleen's house in venice beach; i think i even got some sun. her husband is an architect/contractor and their house, although less than 1000 square feet, was absolutely incredible. every square inch designed and thought out to the max. despite my ailment i managed to drink enough wine to feel warm and fuzzy and have long talks with my parents every night, which was actually quite nice. i hope everyone here had a good holiday.

i work today, have class tonight, and this time tomorrow it'll be d-e-e and me, the audrey to the d, speeding down the LSD towards m-hen-ry. (eh? eh?) i land in chicago at about 10 am, brunch with dee, shopping for dinner tomorrow night, then tattooing and thrifting and wine drinking and bed snuggling and fun-having will follow for the next 3.5 days. my only set plans so far are a (small) dinner party tomorrow night, and a quick drive-by at the post family new years party and then dancing all night at the hideout on new years. if you read this, and live in chicago, odds are i would love to see you, so please get in touch!

quickly, today: (chicagoans, don't judge me if you see this outfit replayed in the near future.)

sweater: anthropologie, ebayed
onesie: dalage, boutique in greenpoint
tights: two pairs, one vintage and one from urban outfitters
boots: irregular choice, via zappos

see you all soon!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

making the best of a bad hair day

1. don't fall asleep directly after showering. i cannot stress this enough.
2. if you fail to follow rule 1, carry a headband with you at all times.
3. find a flower arrangement and stealthily steal a bloom. stick it in the headband.
4. layer on as many loud colors and pieces as possible so your bedhead looks like part of your "disheveled" look.

i'm off to california in a couple of hours, so merry christmas, happy hannukah, and joyous festivus! no one celebrates kwanzaa, let's be real.

much love!


Thursday, December 18, 2008

one week until christmas

and i still have shopping to do for 3/5 family members. actually, 4/6 if you count grandma. fuck. i guess i'll do it this weekend. . .

at our office we had secret santa exchange yesterday. i lucked out and my secret santa turned out to be the adorable gay boy with a love for labels, kenji; he bought me a marc by marc jacobs clutch. i think i can honestly say it is the first designer thing i have ever owned in my life. i am not huge on labels generally, but it's a cool thing to have, i guess, although i worry that i am too careless for such nice things. my first instinct was to shove it inside of my purse to get it home, but i then realized that this would scratch the patent leather, so i carried two purses awkwardly, all the way home.

anyway, it is thursday, which is almost friday. tonight i am going to the rag & bone holiday party with my roommates - rachel recently procured a job there, and jared is dating one of the buyers. should be a good time. i really just wanted an excuse to wear this new necklace i bought yesterday, so the outfit is nothing too special:

necklace: h&m
shirt: not american apparel. some little store owned by j crew that had t shirts on sale for $6.
skirt: american apparel

i am thinking of letting my hair grow long. like, really long. every time i see a girl with long flowy hair on the subway i literally have to resist an urge to reach out and run my fingers through it. i used to have hair like that. it is such a great accessory. i want it back.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

culinary school etc

greetings! i wanted to write a bit about culinary school, because i suck at updating my other blog, so i am just going to consolidate here for a bit.

a typical day in school. let's take monday for an example. i get to work at 9 am, work until about 4:30 and then gather together my bag of tools (a big black bag that carries such items as a chef's knife, a paring knife, a bread knife, a peeler, 4 different kinds of spatulas, 2 whisks, a double sided melon-baller, a juicer, a pastry brush, a ladle, measuring spoons, and much more) and get on the N express train down to canal street. i emerge, walk a couple blocks to the french culinary institute, then walk up 3 flights of stairs to the locker room. here i change into the standard chef's uniform (i always want to call it a costume) that consists of black and white checkered pants, black skid-proof shoes, a chef's jacket embroidered with my name, one of those awful caps, a white neck scarf, long white apron, and towel.

from here i go downstairs to the second floor pastry I kitchen. it looks pretty much exactly like the top chef kitchen. i take my place and unload what i'll need for the day - we are assigned the recipes we'll be working on next class the class before, so we can read over them and know what instruments we'll be needing. i sharpen my knives and put them in a drawer. i then begin to "mise on place" (literally, to set up) my station with the correctly measured amounts of what i'll need for our first recipe: 100 grams of semi sweet chocolate, 250 grams of butter (which i cube), 125 grams of sugar, etc. our teacher/chef (chef toni) writes our agenda for the day on the board, something like:

prepare pate sucree (1 x person) divide, wrap, label, refrigerate

roll out pate brisee (4 x tartelettes per person), label, refrigerate

chocolate lecture

tarte au chocolate ganache, demo, 1x person

tartue au chococolate bavaurian, demo, 1x team

chantilly creme: 500 g cream, 100 g 6x sugar, vanilla - whip, 1x team**

**note: this was a really light day. generally we don't have a lecture and we are baking 3-4 things, so this was an unusually easy day for us.

and throughout the day we just go through the board. we all know the recipes for pate sucree (sweet tart dough) by now so once we've mise en placed it we make that, divide it in two, and refrigerate. there is a very specific way to do everything, which we learn by demos - our chocolate lecture was basically a quick history of chocolate, the differences between chocolates, what sort of chocolate should be used for once. of course, it includes a taste test between several types of chocolate.

for demos the chef will call us to the front. there is a tilted mirror over her station so we can all see what she is doing. she talks us through what she is doing as she does it - why you mix this first, how you know when the cream is hot enough, what to do if you overheat the cream, etc. then we go back to our stations and do it. as we go, the chef calls out "this should be finished by 7:30, then mise en place for the bavarian." our response is always "yes chef!" if you finish before the alloted time, you do the dishes from the previous dish; if you don't, you have a pile waiting for you at the end of the night and the scorn of the chef.

this continues until about 8:30, when we break for dinner. 3 or 4 of us go downstairs to the main kitchen to pick up dinner: generally 3 or 4 dishes, usually including a salad, some sort of grilled or baked vegetable, a meat or pasta dish, and something else: stuffing, mashed potatoes, etc. it is almost always incredibly delicious and is certainly the most balanced meal i eat all week.

at 9:00 dinner is over and we bring our dishes to the dishwashing room to be cleaned. we then get right back into the next dish - usually cuire a blanc (blind baking) tarts that were made and refrigerated before the break. every night a student is assigned to be the stewart (assigned the job of picking up dinner, getting the ingredients needed for the night from the dry storage room, making sure all jobs are completed, etc), 2 people are assigned to be bakers (they are responsible for taking things off the resting rack and putting them in the ovens, checking on them, taking them out when baked completely) and everyone in the class has at least one job that has to be done at the end of the night (cleaning ovens, dumping out the bleach buckets, reorganizing the dry goods shelf, etc). we finish up for the night; usually the last thing we do is decorate the tarts, either making a stencil to create a design with powdered sugar, or by piping chocolate or some kind of cream on our tarts. we then clean all our dishes, make sure everything is in perfect order for the next class, box up the goodies we made that night, then head down to the locker room to change back into street clothes and take the train home, new recipes jotted down on a small notebook in our pockets. class is generally let out at about 11 pm; i get home by 11:30 or so.

and here is one of those chocolate ganache tartelettes i mentioned!

as any of you who know me can imagine, this class is a dream to me. i absolutely LOVE it. that isn't to say it isn't challenging, exhausting, and sometimes downright fucking difficult - but in such good ways.

NOW! i did a little bargain shopping at h&m yesterday on my way to do some secret santa shopping and came up with this little number:

dress: h&m, $10!!
necklace: erica weiner, of course
tights: my mom's, from back in her jazzercise days. delightfully thick and warm.
not pictured: shoes, payless, realllly on their last legs

love you guys!

audrey xo

Friday, December 12, 2008


hello friends, it's been far too long! i've had a whirlwind, life-changing week; life is good, but different, and it's been harder and harder to wake up on time in the morning. as a result my outfitting has suffered. today, though, i gave it a shot, despite my swollen lymph nodes and general yuck-feeling.

i recently purchased some headphones at a little shop on bedford near my apartment. many years ago, i believe sam and i's first holidays together, he gave me a pair of bose triports for hannukah. i was underwhelmed by the unromantic nature of the gift until i started using them - it was freezing cold outside, and these amazing headphones not only sounded fantastic but also kept my little ears nice and warm during chicago winters. those headphones have long since been stepped on and lost, so i decided it was time to replace them.

i got a pair of panasonic retro style headphones - they don't sound as good as the triports, but at a third of the price and twice the style, i'd say they're well worth it:

they come in white, pink, green, and black, and if any of you folks are looking for dual-functioning earmuffs this winter, i can't recommend them highly enough.

on to today:

the first pose was not meant to be pinuppy so much as it was to show what shoes i was wearing.

skirt: received from dee, who was given it by vanessa; when i got it was longer and had suspender straps, which are always awkward for girls with boobs, so i deleted them and shortened the skirt a bit.

shirt: american apparel

tights: old old old, from my mama

boots: irregular choice

necklace: also old and from mom

belt: thrifted at the salvation army on bedford

i miss you all tons. i'll be in chicago for a few days around new years and hope to see you all then!

xo xo audrey