Thursday, December 31, 2015

Year in Review - 2015

So, I've been trying to write this post for about 3 months now. I started it mid-November, but didn't feel ready to post it. Then the beginning of December I edited and added a bit, but I wanted to add some pictures or something before posting, and then I forgot about it. Today, however, I said to myself, "Enough is enough! The people want an update, for crying out loud!" Which is totally not even true, nobody cares, but that's entirely beside the point. ;)

Originally, I was just writing a sort of update-on-the-last-few-months kind of post, but since it's very literally the end of the year, I've decided to go ahead and do the whole year-in-review for you.

So let's see... This time last year, I was enjoying the time off after finishing up the Pastry course, and was starting to put feelers out for a job (with not much luck because a lot of places were closed for the holidays). The year then proceeded as follows:

January: I started having a bit more luck with my job search, and by the end of January/beginning of February I had started working 2 days a week at the Bistro Kapzak as Pastry Chef. My best friend Paige and I started a writing challenge, which only last a few weeks, but was quite fun! I also made my nephew Alexander's 12th birthday cake - a Minecraft grass block with Steve and other blocks on top. I wasn't too impressed with the results, but he seemed to like it.

February: Near the end of the month, I also started working 3 days a week replacing the cook for Meals on Wheels in Lennoxville. It was only supposed to be for a few weeks, maybe a couple months, but there were some complications. My cousin's little girl, Sofia, turned two, and I had the pleasure of making her Mickey & Minnie Mouse decorated cookies! My friend Mandy and I decided to have an international culinary experience, so we made our own Indian food, which was mostly a success.

March: Not a whole lot of excitement happened. My friend Kelly and I tried making maple candy treats for her aunt to sell at her sugar shack. We had some successes and some failures, but it was a fun excuse to get together. :)

April: This was a very busy month for me. Still working the 2 jobs, I also had five cake orders! A smash cake and several dozen cupcakes for a first birthday; another Minecraft grass block cake; a regular buttercream cake for a 90th birthday; a Minnie Mouse birthday cake with buttercream transfer; and then a John Deere tractor cake for my nephew David's 10th birthday!

May: My poor Loretta the Jetta had some pretty serious issues between the end of April to mid-May. I had to replace brakes and a few other things, and then had to replace the motor. It was a really sad time for me. Also in May I had the lovely privilege of making a small "topper" cake and 60 cupcakes for a carnival themed wedding, as well as the bride & groom topper (polymer clay). It was a lot of fun, being my first wedding and all!

June: The month of adventures and dreams! Paige and I started planning an adventure for next December. I started PostCrossing! My brother and I went to La Ronde in Montreal for the first time ever, on Saint-Jean-Baptist. June was also my mom's 65th birthday, and my sister and I secretly collected birthday cards and wishes from her friends near and far to present to her on her birthday! I also wrote a post about the thirty things I'd like to do/see/accomplish before my 30th birthday!

July: Still working both jobs. Again, not a terribly exciting month, but we had a Christmas-in-July potluck supper at the Brookbury Hall, which was a lot of fun.

August: I celebrated my 28th birthday by going to see the Foresta Lumina in Coaticook with my family - so much fun!! I also made a first anniversary cake for some friends, a My Little Pony birthday cake (with handmade Rainbow Dash topper), and a birthday cake for my sister and I. We submitted entries to the local fair and my "best decorated cupcakes" (Minnie Mouse theme) won first place! I also placed first for my collection of six agricultural photographs taken around the area, which I was super happy about. We visited the Saint-Benoit-du-Lac Abbey, as well, something I've been wanting to do for a while! We bought yummy cheese and chocolate. :)

September: After the Meals on Wheels cook came back near the end of August, I filled in a bit here and there, and then mid-September took on the position of "Service Agent" in the Community Aid office (organization offering services to seniors, such as Meals on Wheels), still working 2 afternoons a week at the bistro. I also did a cake for a wedding at the bistro - three tiers of lemon cake with blueberry filling and Swiss buttercream frosting. My first real tiered wedding cake (which had to be transported, as well), and I was very pleased with the results. We also went on the dinner cruise in Magog (Rebecca & gang as well) to celebrate the end of Mom's chemo & radiation treatments! That was a lot of fun.

October: Let's see... there was Thanksgiving, of course. With the cruise in Magog, we got free passes for the gondola at Mount Orford, so we went Thanksgiving weekend to see the foliage - very nice, but quite cold! Middle of the month I abruptly lost my job at the bistro (long story). We had a Halloween party at the Brookbury Hall and had a pretty good turnout! But, we barely had any trick-or-treaters at home, which was kind of disappointing.

November: Things got kind of crazy busy at the office, the month was a blur! Somewhere in there, I attended the graduation ceremony for the Pastry program. The evening was nice, but kind of drawn out. It was fun to see my classmates, and a few of us went out to Caffuccino later, which was really nice.

December: So busy! Helping prepare for the Sawyerville Christmas Ladies' Meeting, with about 130 ladies attending. Then the Community Aid Christmas Party for clients and volunteers, which brought in around 150 people. Plus the general craziness and busy-ness leading up to Christmas. Speaking of which...

Christmas: I had all my gifts bought by November, but I kept picking up more little things to add to them, because I just love giving gifts, and I kept finding great stuff or coming up with new great ideas! I'm usually pretty good at gift-giving, and everyone seemed to be pleased with their gifts this year, so I think I've still got it. I didn't end up having time to make Christmas ornaments for my nephews this year (so, two next year?), but aside from that, I was most excited about the handmade gifts I gave, which weren't many this year, but they turned out really well. I put together a gift basket of homemade treats (caramel corn, candied nuts, peppermint marshmallows, salted-caramel hot chocolate mix, sour lemon drops, and peppermint bark) for my sister and brother-in-law, and I have to say, it looked pretty awesome! (And the treats are pretty tasty, too ;) ) And then I did a Sharpie plate & mug set for my friend Mandy and her kids, that say "cookies/milk for Santa," and are personalized with the kids' names. I had them done up in cello-wrap with cookies and treats on the plate. Definitely one of the funnest gifts I've ever made, and one of the best reactions. :)

I was really pleased with the gifts I received this year as well! From my parents, I got some nice warm winter socks, a book I wanted (Winter by Marissa Meyer), Inside Out on DVD, and some other little goodies. My best friend sent me some really awesome coordinating jewelry from Ardene's that is totally my style. My sister (and her family) scored big with the super awesome VW bus crocheted bag she had made for me by a friend of hers - so cool! And my brother gave me some gift cards for Dollarama and Tim Hortons, my favourite hand cream, and a whole bunch of postcards! Other years I've sometimes felt a bit disappointed - like others didn't put the same thought and effort into it as I did - but this year I feel like the gifts I received showed a good sense of the things I like. It makes me feel good knowing that the people I love know me well enough to give me things I truly like.

For the past few years, we (parents, brother, and I) have been doing stockings by picking names, so everyone has to fill a stocking, instead of giving a gift to that person. This year, Mom wanted to try doing "twelve days of Christmas," so instead of filling one stocking to open on Christmas morning, we each have twelve small wrapped gifts to open for the twelve days following Christmas (still picking names to know who we were giving to). It's kind of fun and different! I like trying new things sometimes, but I also like traditions, so I kind of missed my stocking. :)

Oh, I also got myself a new phone for Christmas - a little "from me, to me" gift! ;) It's a Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime, and it's pretty cool. I also now have Instagram (amjb1999). I have yet to decide if I'll follow the masses to join Twitter or not. But anyway, one more thing to cross off the Thirty Before Thirty list! :)

Well, I think that about sums up 2015. It has been mostly a good year for me. I had a lot of good experiences professionally; I'm ending the year with a steady almost-full-time job, even if it's not in the field I want at the moment; my car is falling apart, but still runs and gets me where I need to go (most of the time); I'm "meeting" lots of new people and having fun with my snail-mailing adventures; and I've got a few good friends to keep in touch with and hang out with on occasion. There's always room for improvement, but life is pretty ok right now. :) The only "resolutions" I have for the new year are to do some purging (literally and figuratively), and continue to aim for organization and simplicity. One of these days I'll get there!

Here's hoping that in 2016 life only gets better. Wishing you all a new year full of love and good health. :)

Saturday, September 19, 2015

New Job!

Since my last life update post was two and a half months ago, I decided it was time for another...

So, since that last update, a few things have changed. The lady I was replacing at Meals on Wheels finally came back the end of August. I helped out for a week or so in the interim, and then replaced the helper (preparing desserts and salads) for a about a week.

My schedule at the restaurant changed a couple months ago, as well. Instead of working Tuesdays and Thursdays, I began working Friday afternoons (after working the morning at Meals on Wheels), giving me Thursdays off for a while, which was nice.

This past week I started my new position at Community Aid (the organization that runs the Meals on Wheels program) in the office. My title is Office Agent (mostly scheduling and data entry), and they were very kind to organize my hours in order to accommodate my job at the restaurant. So I work in the office every day, but Tuesday and Friday afternoons I go to work at the restaurant. Community Aid offers several different services to seniors, including Meals on Wheels, a weekly foot clinic, monthly blood pressure clinic, Escort Transport (transportation to doctor's appointments, etc), social outings, and friendly visits. My tasks involve preparing route slips for Meals on Wheels, scheduling and confirmation of foot clinic & blood pressure clinic appointments, and finding drivers for escort transport.

So it was a long week! Absorbing so much new information, taking on much longer hours than I've become used to for the past eight months (and then realized that I had put in three hours too many - whoops!), and being pushed out of my comfort zone a little bit. I had hoped to have a productive weekend - maybe do some crafts, work on Christmas gifts, get caught up on some laundry, organize my correspondence... But pretty much none of that has happened so far. Oh well, sometimes Saturdays are just meant for vegging on the Internet.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015


If you're Facebook friends with me, or have been in touch with me within the last couple months, you probably will have heard me mention my adventures with Postcrossing.

Postcrossing is a free website that connects people from around the world via postcards. It's unique in that you do not exchange cards, and every card has an ID number associated with it. So to get started, you have to make an account, of course. :) And then you request an address. You will be given the address and profile of a random person from anywhere in the world, and an ID number - you must write this number somewhere on the card or the system just won't work properly. So, now you send your card off and wait for it to reach its destination. Once the recipient receives your card, they register the ID number on the website, and this now makes yours the next address to be pulled when someone (from anywhere in the world) requests an address! You are guaranteed to receive as many as you send, which makes it a lot of fun. I love sending mail. I always hope I'll get something in return, but it doesn't always happen. Of course I do it because sending mail makes me happy and I don't know of anyone who doesn't like to receive friendly mail,  and I also like making my friends happy. But it makes me really happy to get some in return, so this is a great project for me! It can be a little pricey (International postage is around $2.50, plus have you bought postcards recently? I've found a few that were less than $1 each, but very few. The norm is around $2 each, so....), but hey. It's worthwhile spending for me. :)

So, I thought I would share with you the cards that I have received so far!

From Richard in BC, Canada

From Elke in Germany

From Laura in France, near Paris

From Norma in Sydney, Australia (she sent hers in an envelope and included 4 blank postcards for me to keep/use because she saw I was a newbie, some shaped post-its, and a bag of Twinings Australian Afternoon Tea!)

From Marije in the Netherlands
From Emily in Taipei, Taiwan

From Marta in Poland

From Ciska in the Netherlands

From Irina in Russia (I love, love, love this one!)

From Maggie in Florida, USA
From Tiffany in China

From Olga & Pavel in Illinois, USA

From Chie in the Philippines (I really like this one, too!)

From Varpu in Finland

From Leila in the Philippines (she included her return address and asked me to write back :) )

From Brian in Dublin, Ireland (Probably my favourite so far! It's lenticular and was sent with my birthday in mind)

From Victor in Russia, who shares the same birthday as me!

From Jan in Belgium

From Enja in Germany
I have also received some other correspondence because of this project. Laura from France invited me on her postcard to check out a Facebook group for french-speaking Postcrossing users. Most of the group members are from France, but there are a few from other areas of the world as well. I've exchanged addresses with several of them and have received a few goodies!

From Melanie in France

A birthday card from Stephanie in France

From Christine in Montreal (we actually share the same birthday as well, and she was very sweet and sent me 16 blank postcards for my birthday!!)

A Visit to the Abbey

Abbaye St-Benoit / Saint Benedict Abbey

Another item from my 30 Before 30 bucket list (30 things I'd like to do/see/accomplish by my 30th birthday to help me feel like I'm a little closer to where I should be in life, and give me something to work towards) was visiting the Saint Benedict Abbey...

You know how local attractions are always the ones you never visit, I suppose because they're just too close to home and don't seem all that special? Well the Abbey is one of those attractions for me. I've seen the signs on the highway for years, I've heard about the abbey and sampled their famous cheeses, and then my favourite author (Louise Penny who writes the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series) wrote a book based in an monastery inspired by the Saint Benedict Abbey. Well, that really got me interested in visiting the real place, and so I put it on my bucket list and told my family it was one of the things I thought we should do this summer. It's not far (about 20 minutes from my sister's place, which is an hour from home), and this past Sunday we were supposed to be going to my sister's for supper, so we packed a picnic lunch and made plans to visit the abbey "on our way" (it's actually beyond where they live, but that's beside the point). So that's what we did!

We didn't end up staying very long and didn't take the time to read all the placards, but I got some pretty nice pictures, and we got to visit the store in the basement of the main building and buy some cheese! There is also an orchard at the abbey, so they sell the apples, cider, jams and jellies that they make there, as well as chocolate, wine, and honey from other abbeys in Quebec. They also sell books, postcards, music, and typical Catholic souvenirs (medallions, rosaries, crucifixes, etc). I picked up some curd cheese, maple filled chocolates, vanilla fondant chocolates, and a few additions to my postcard collection! The abbey also welcomes overnight guests. Men stay in the monastery, and there is a separate house (Saint Scholastica's Villa) for the women.

Tour de St-Benoit side view
Front of the Tower

The window over the doorway

Stained glass windows on one side

The Virgin Mary and baby Jesus
 The first building we visited is called the Tower of Saint Benedict (Tour de St-Benoit) - it is a "house of prayer." It's just a small brick building on a hill with a gorgeous stone staircase, beautiful stained glass windows depicting various saints, with a prayer bench and altar in the centre. We spent a little time there appreciating the stained glass and reading the little note near the door about the building.
A different angle of the Abbey

The corridor to the church
Then we moved on to the main building. There is a sort of lobby when you come in, and from there you can go downstairs to the store (which we did first), or go off down this long corridor with many placards describing the origins of the abbey, various constructions and the life of the monks there, etc. (The Abbey celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2012!) This corridor leads to another lobby and the church sanctuary. There was a musical concert a couple hours before we got there, and we left just a little before Vespers began, so there wasn't much action while we were there, but that's alright.

It was a quick visit, but an interesting one. I'd definitely go back, maybe sometime in the fall to pick apples or something. :)

Celebrating 28 Years...

Yep... Much as I hate to admit it, truth is, I recently celebrated my 28th birthday.

I know, I know, "Only 28? Still so young!" Well, that may be true, but the fact that I'm so much more undeniably close to 30 than I am to 20 makes me sad. Not that I don't think 30+ is a great age, I just don't feel like it should be my age. And thankfully it isn't, but I'm a worrier, and so looking to the future, that's what I see right now. A great big looming 30 and nothing to show for it...

But ok, enough complaining and being all dark and dreary. My birthday, despite being my 28th, was fun. :)

I really wanted to go to the Foresta Lumina spectacle at the Coaticook Gorge last year for my birthday, but things just didn't work out. So this year I REALLY wanted to go (so much so, I added it to my 30 Before 30 list), and so my brother booked tickets for all of us (Mom, Dad, Reuben and myself - my ticket was my gift from him) to go on Saturday night, August 15th.

*SPOILER ALERT: If you are planning to visit the Foresta Lumina and want to be surprised, DO NOT read the rest of this post!*

Our reservation was for 10pm, but the website suggested going half an hour early, which we did. There were lots of people, we had to park a few streets over because the designated parking area was overflowing, but that's alright. I tried to take pictures, but my camera just really doesn't like lights and night-time picture-taking, so none of them turned out. :( But I did pick up some postcards that have very clear pictures of a few of the hot spots, so I'll try to include them.

So when you get to the entrance, there is a big gateway that says Foresta Lumina, all lights and twigs and cool looking. :) Stepping through that, you enter a magical waiting area. There are several picnic tables with little electric lanterns that flicker. There's an adorable little food truck where you can buy snacks and refreshments, before or after your trek through the forest. :) There are string lights hanging through the trees, and you hear wind chimes and trees creaking and the wind blowing, and there's a big lit stand in the middle that has the rules, but is also a big clock that has a little animation showing how much closer the previous group is to finishing. This clock and its animations reminded me a lot of the movie Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events. So we sat there and waited for our reservation time. Reservations are every half hour, so since we were there at 9:30, we got to see how it all progressed. Every half hour, the clock strikes and the soundtrack plays wind blowing, and the lanterns go out for a few seconds. :) Then you go and line up with the hundreds of other people with the same reservation time, to get your bracelet and enter the actual forest...

The entrance to Foresta Lumina (I told you - bad pictures!)

The clock/rules

The awesome lanterns on the picnic tables

So, in case you were wondering, the Foresta Lumina is a 2 km lighted night walk through the Gorge park - yes, even across the famous suspension footbridge (which is the longest in North America, if you didn't already know)! There is a bit of a story to the whole  experience, several different characters who are based on local legends and indigenous folklore. So as you walk through the forest, you enter a pathway with twig lanterns overhead, and lit cutout signs describing the various characters you might meet in the forest, and their role. And there is a sort of gramophone where you can tell your wish to the fairies, pick up a stone, and then later on leave it at the riverbank as a gift to the fairies in the hopes that they might grant your wish. :)

Map from the website

As you continue along the path from there, you see and hear fairies giggling and dancing in the trees. Then a twig snaps, and they all disappear! When you get to the top of the steeeeep staircase, there are a couple of benches to catch your breath. ;) Then you continue along a narrow lit path to the bridge! If you've been on a suspension footbridge before, you know how much they sway and move, and it's no different at night. People afraid of heights have a really hard time with that, but I loved it! Partway across the bridge, there is a  lit up, misty gateway that's really cool. At the end of the bridge there is an animation depicting Mary (a young human girl) discovering the fairies, and how the other characters come into play. This is definitely one of the best parts. I believe it was after this that you come to a resting area with a big campfire and benches, more images telling more of the story, and access to toilets. From there, you go down a really steep path and come upon The Tree - a sort of Tree of Life figure. There's an animation projected right onto a real tree, making it seem like the tree has a face and its roots are moving. Going on a little further, there is a sort of electrical storm in the forest - lights on the trees to look light lightning, thunder and rain sounds. Then you keep going down, down, down wide wooden stairs until you get to the riverbank. There are little red, blue, and green lights everywhere - I'm not sure if they were supposed to be more fairies, or the spirit of the forest, or just a magical atmosphere, but it was beautiful. There are rock formations here as well, and this is where you leave your wish stone for the fairies. Then the rest of the walk is lighted paths, standing twig lanterns, and lit bridges, and you end up in the gift shop, of course! :)

The fairies in the forest

The gateway on the bridge
Mary and the fairies

The Tree

The rock formations on the enchanted riverbank
Standing twig lanterns lighting the pathway

It was a truly magical experience. I enjoy all things enchanted, fairies, and Disney-style magic so this was just perfect for me. I'm so, so glad that I got to go this year (another 30 Before 30 list item crossed off!), and I hope to go again next year - maybe make a tradition of it! :D

My actual birthday, on the 16th, was nice. My parents took me out for lunch at East Side Mario's, then we had a somewhat quiet afternoon at home, and then my aunt and my sister and her family came over for supper (we ordered pizza - my favourite). My mom baked a box cake and I decorated it with leftover buttercream and sprinkles from the cake orders I had the week before (a My Little Pony birthday cake and a butterfly decorated anniversary cake). :)

First anniversary cake for some friends

My Little Pony cake for a little girls 5th birthday

Cake to celebrate my 28th and my sister's 35th birthdays!
So it was a good birthday! I got some good gifts too... My entry to the Foresta Lumina, a new key remote for my care, a can of maple syrup, a personalized necklace, a hazelwood bracelet (I read somewhere that hazelwood can help with eczema and psoriasis), 4 books (including the newest release by my favourite author), a CD and a DVD that I've been wanting, and a bunch of other little goodies. :) Oh and one of the volunteers from work gave me a lovely card and a Tim's donut, and the girls in the office sang to me and gave me a card. I also got a few other cards in the mail and lots of Facebook birthday wishes. :) Big thanks to everyone who took the time to send me birthday wishes of any form!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Life Update

It seems like it's beyond time for a little life update! I guess I'll start with work...

What was supposed to be a two month replacement position at Meals on Wheels, is still going strong! I will most likely be done by the end of July, but at the rate it's been going, I don't feel confident about making any plans. Things have been going well there, however. I'm definitely getting more comfortable in the kitchen and cooking. I appreciate how much easier cooking can be compared to baking, but I still prefer to bake. :) I've tried recipes I've never made before, multiplying for large quantities and making substitutions where necessary... It's been a great learning experience, with comfortable hours and pleasant coworkers, and I will most definitely miss it when my contract ends.

One challenge I've had to face was preparing 3 different meats for the main course in one day. I had just enough meat for the regular meals, but there was also a community meal planned that day, so I took out some sausages and there were just enough for that, but then there were a few extras/people who don't eat whatever was the main meat, so I also did some chicken tournedos - it was quite a busy day!

I'm still working at the restaurant as well. I won't go into detail here, but like most jobs there are good days and bad days. It has also been a learning experience so far, but more in a social aspect than practical, I would say. At the moment we have on the menu rhubarb coffee cake, deconstructed lemon meringue pie, and an Elvis Presley cake (banana cake with peanut butter frosting and fried bananas between the layers).

One particular challenge I've had to face at the restaurant was making six rhubarb cakes and four Elvis cakes (as well as several other dessert elements) the same day... with only three cake pans. And one of those cake pans is my own! I did it (well actually I only made 3 Elvis cakes because of only having 3 pans and because they take an hour and a half to bake. So I went back the next day to do the last cake), but it wasn't without stress and a small anxiety attack...

Adventures with Loretta the Jetta continue. April was a busy month, all around, but for Loretta specifically. She was in and out of garages for various repairs. And then, the day after I picked her up from a longer stint at the garage... the timing belt broke as I was pulling into the yard at work. It was a lucky spot/time to break down (not too much activity in that yard at 7am), but caused me so much stress. In the end, I had to replace the motor which was a much bigger repair than I would have liked, but was a really decent price and much cheaper than buying a new car! So, Loretta has new life! She made it to Montreal and back last week (we went to La Ronde - you can read about it here) with no problem. There are a few more repairs needing some attention, most recently the driver's side mirror falling off... But we're making do. :)

One of my Compassion correspondent children had to leave the program - I was really hoping to visit her on my next trip! :( - so I have a new child to get to know! His name is Michael and he's 16. Having a new correspondent renewed my interest in letter-writing, so I've been sending notes and letters to people I haven't been in touch with for some time. I do it every so often, but this time I literally flipped through my address book and picked out people I haven't heard from or written to for at least 6 months. I love sending (and receiving!) cards and letters, so if ever you want some fun mail, let me know and send me your address! :) Also, I've been thinking lately about all my friends with little kids, and how amazing it was for me as a kid when older friends/people I knew would take the time to write me a note. So if you've got kids that like getting mail (who doesn't?!) I may be in the market to be a sort of Big Sister Penpal...

Speaking of penpals and correspondence... I've always been more of a card/letter person, as opposed to postcards. I suppose because postcards aren't very private, and really don't have much room!, so I don't use them very often. (As in, I had to look up how to write/address one because I couldn't remember. Duh!) However, last weekend I came across a website called Postcrossing, which I joined and am really super excited about! You can get up to 5 addresses at a time, completely random people from around the world, to whom you send a postcard. You can send other things as well, I think, but there has to be a postcard included. Each correspondence has an ID number, so when the recipient gets your postcard, they register it online, and then someone else, from anywhere in the world, will send you a postcard! It's kind of weird writing to someone you don't know, and will most likely never hear from again - what to say? But I managed to fill up 3 postcards yesterday. I found them at the used bookstore (photographs from the region, and one for the store itself). Today I went to the big bookstore at the mall and found some really gorgeous ones. They're not local photographs, but they're so pretty, and I'd be tickled pink to receive one myself! :D

Hm... what else? A few weeks ago our family went on a little Sunday afternoon drive and ended up at a local covered bridge. It's a really pretty spot, good for pictures! There is also a local artisan's coop boutique set up there, which my mom and I found very interesting! I always love checking out artisanal  crafts, and I especially love discovering local talent - and there really is so much of it around here! Anyway, I ended up joining the coop and left some of my clay figurines there the next weekend. It won't be a very big audience, but it's something and requires very little effort on my part.

Well, I guess that's all the news from me. Things are more or less quiet around here at the moment. I'd like to get a few cake orders over the summer, but it's not looking too good so far. But we'll see, things can change very quickly! :)

Thursday, June 25, 2015

La Ronde

I finally met a lifetime goal, and crossed off my first 30 Before 30 list item... I went to La Ronde!

La Ronde is a Six Flags amusement park in Montreal that many schools send end of the year class trips to. For whatever reason, my class never went or I was never able to attend the trip. My cousin has lived in Montreal for years, and has invited me to go on several occasions, but again, it just never worked out before.

But finally, this year, things happened! My cousin and her boyfriend had season passes to La Ronde (which is a really great deal, if anyone is interested for next year), and coupons for friends which were to expire the end of June. And because June 24 is Quebec's national holiday and everyone has the day off work, my brother and I were invited to go spend the day with our cousin and her boyfriend and little girl at La Ronde!

Because we had a two-year-old with us, we spent the first part of the day around the kid-friendly zones and rides: splash pads, a carousel, a tower that gives you a view of the park and skylines, a train around the park, and a fun little boat ride. After lunch, my cousin took her daughter home so she could have a nap, and we could go on the big kid rides. ;) We went on the Ferris wheel first, which was a bit disappointing. I expect a Ferris wheel to fill up and then make a few full turns before starting to disembark - not so with this wheel. :/

Then we got in line for The Monster, which is, according to Wikipedia, the largest wooden roller coaster in Canada, and the tallest two-track roller coaster in the world. The attendant at the entry told us that it would be an hour wait for either track. I made the executive decision that if it was the only other ride we got to go on that day, it would be worth it, so we decided to stand in line for an hour. An hour and a half later, the rain started, which made it too dangerous to keep the ride going, so they had to shut it down. A lot of people ahead of us left the line, but we said, "We've waited this long, we might as well stay." Then the rain stopped and everyone cheered! But, then we had to wait for the tracks to dry off. More people left. Finally, after 2.5 hours standing in line, the ride was up and running once again! And we were able to work it out so that Reuben and I sat in the first car!

What. A. Rush!

I don't know how long the actual ride is, but I have to say, I think it was worth the two and half hour wait. Being in the first car like that, you really experience every drop and twist. I haven't been on many roller coasters, and I've never been in the first car, so I guess I don't have much to compare it to, but it was awesome. We're hoping to maybe go back again before the end of the season - there's another roller coaster I'd like to try out (The Goliath), and I'd give The Monster another go!

After the long wait and exhilarating ride, it was pretty late. But there was one ride that my brother and cousin's boyfriend thought they wanted to try and the line wasn't long, so I waited and watched them on The Demon, and then we headed back to their apartment for some pizza before making the two hour trek back home!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Thirty Before Thirty

It's a really scary, inconceivable thought to me, but my 30th birthday is fast approaching. In my mind I think I will forever be 16...

Until I watch 16 year olds interacting, then I will forever be 18...

Until I hear 18 year olds conversing in a restaurant, then I will forever be 21. :)

Bunny trail...

The point is, in 26 months (less 3 days) I will be turning 30 and beginning an entirely new chapter of life. I think one of the reasons I'm so anxious about 30 is because I feel that my life has been so very unexciting and unaccomplished thus far, and that I haven't met certain goals that people should meet by this age, and I'm afraid that in 2 years nothing will have happened to change that...

So, something I've been thinking about for quite a few months now, I'm going to bravely put out into the open... 30 things I'd like to do before I turn 30. I'm really good at making lists and coming up with challenges and plans, but I'm really bad at following through, so this will be the ultimate challenge. Because 30 day challenge lists and New Years Resolutions you can redo and try again any old time, but once you turn 30, there's no going back. Your 20's are gone. It's also more challenging because I'm making it public. If other people know your goals, it makes it a little harder to get out of doing them. And, by 30 you are officially an adult in all senses of the word - no more excuses for not acting like one.

So, without further ado, in no particular order, here is my very own 30 before 30 list:

  1. Live on my own: Until quite recently, it never really bothered me that for the last 27 years I've only lived with my parents or in a school dorm. However, lately I've started feeling like I'm missing out. There are certain milestones my friends have reached that I have no hope of meeting in the next 2 years, but this I have control over. So by 30, I'd like to have my own place.
  2. Write a business plan: I have some really big dreams, but I also have to be realistic. I would love to have my own bakery/cafe/something by the time I'm 30, but it would be so much more realistic to just have a written business plan and be getting the first steps in motion, so that's my goal.
  3. Set foot in every province/territory in Canada: I have not even seen half of the country I live in. I think every Canadian should be able to say they've visited every province and territory at least once in their lifetime, but it would be really awesome to do it before my 30th birthday. I think I have at least one friend or family member in every province or territory, except Yukon, so this is potentially a possibility! Plus, road trip? In general, that's been a goal of mine for some time as well. And if you're going across the country, you might as well add a few more thousand kilometers to visit friends in California! This will definitely be the most challenging point to meet, so I'm going to say that if I can at least visit Newfoundland and BC before 30, I'll be happy.
  4. Discover my personal style: I do not feel that I have a "style," as such. Most of my life, I've just worn what's comfortable. I'm not saying I want to start being uncomfortable for the sake of fashion, but I want to have an actual style, an actual wardrobe. Along the way, I'd like to experiment a little bit, and that may involve dying my hair an unnatural colour, or getting something pierced/tattooed while it can still be blamed on youthful whims. ;) I'd also like to learn how to apply/wear makeup properly.
  5. Find my perfect "little black dress": Regardless of what one's style may be, I have read before, and firmly believe, that every woman needs her own "little black dress" that fits her perfectly, makes her feel like a million bucks, and is appropriate for all kinds of events. I have found a couple black dresses in the last year, but as it turns out, they're not my perfect dress. They're nice, but the search is still on.
  6. Be healthier: I've been reading lots of these 30 before 30 lists, and almost every one of them mentions some form of getting healthy/in shape/losing weight, etc, and I know it's cliché - whenever anyone makes a list of goals, health is on the list, but I'd like to say the reason everyone puts it on all their lists is because we know the importance of taking care of ourselves. Some have more vain reasons than others, and I'll be honest, vanity is a very strong motivator in my case, too. But as mentioned above, I'm also trying to be realistic with this list. So I'm not going to say I want to lose X pounds, or any weight at all. I just want to develop a healthier lifestyle and choices as I move into the next decade of my life. There will always be room for improvement, but I'm happy to say that I'm taking steps in the right direction. As of June 2016 I was assigned a family doctor (mine retired over 2 years ago, and I hadn't seen a doctor or had a blood test in at least that many years), so I finally had a blood test which showed that all my levels are where they should be, which was a huge relief (there was some concern a few years ago about cholesterol, and we have family history of diabetes...)! As of July 2016 I've started seeing a nutritionist. It's a slow job, but it will be worth it. To start we're working on eating proper meals at the proper times.
  7. Get active: Along with the healthier lifestyle, but I think worthy of a separate point, is the need to be active. I need to make excuses to move more - parking the car farther from the door on purpose, taking the stairs, using that bicycle I bought a couple years ago, or the treadmill that's been sitting unused in the basement for far too long, etc. I also have a (not anymore) secret desire to join a soccer team... But we'll see about that.
  8. Read Jane Austen: I'm a 27 year old woman living in the 21st century, who considers herself an avid reader, and I'm ashamed to say I've never read anything by Jane Austen. I own all her works (in a single, very pretty binding!), but I've yet to read any. If I read nothing else in the next 2 years,  I will accomplish this goal!
  9. Do 30 Random Acts of Kindness: This, too, is something I've been thinking about doing for ages. I love Random Acts of Kindness, I love helping people, and I love doing special things on my birthday, so why not combine them? This goal is one I'd like to actually perform on my 30th birthday, if at all possible, so I have the next 2 years to come up with which Random Acts of Kindness I will perform! Suggestions are definitely appreciated...
  10. Be a more faithful blogger: I journal fairly regularly. Not as often as I used to, but still regularly. I do not blog regularly. Typing and handwriting are very different. I appreciate both for various reasons, but when it comes to putting thoughts, opinions, and feelings down, I find it much easier to do so on paper. I think it's because blogging is so public, so out-there, so can't-take-it-back (even if I do only have 6 readers...). But I'd like to make more regular blog posts - about anything, random things, day-to-day-life. It doesn't even matter if nobody's reading it, I just feel like I need to get over this fear of others' opinions about my thoughts and opinions. Admittedly, I haven't been being very faithful over here on this blog, but for the past 4 months I have been adding weekly posts to my book review blog, which I consider to be a great accomplishment! I will try to make an effort to give equal attention to all my social media outlets, but in the meantime, I'm considering this done (December 2016).
  11. Make a YouTube tutorial: I love searching YouTube for crafting/baking tutorials, and I know the types of videos I find interesting/useful and the ones I don't. I also can't always find the tutorial I'm looking for, which I know other people must be looking for as well, so I'll just have to make my own! :P In order to make the kind of video I find most attractive and informative, I think I would need a decent microphone and editing software. I would also need to know how to use these things.
  12. Get up to date with technology: I'd like to get more up to speed with my peers. Twitter and Instagram are the two social media outlets that interest me most, and along the same lines would be getting a "big girl" cell phone. Until this point I've only ever had a pay-as-you-go flip phone - wicked old school, I know. Going to school with teenagers and 20-something's last year made me realize how out-of-date I really was. But honestly, I don't use the phone that much, so the prepaid deal is probably what I'll stick with. I'd also like to be able to just take a decent picture and post it to Facebook whenever the mood strikes me, wherever I may be. Whoooo!!! I got myself an Android smart phone for Christmas 2015!! And I decided to go with a plan (even though it's more money than I'd like to be spending every month) because the phone was free with the plan. I stuck with Virgin because I know them, and I figured it would be easier to keep my old number (it wasn't). I also joined Instagram (@amjb1999)! Still haven't got on the Twitter bandwagon, I still just don't get it, and I really don't feel like I'm missing out. :)
  13. Travel with my best friend: My best friend and I live in different provinces - different time zones - and we don't get to see each other very often (it has presently been two years since our last visit). We've both done a bit of traveling and want to do more, but we have never gone anywhere together. And who better to travel with than your best friend?! Also, as alike as we are, our lives have started to head in different directions and it's only a matter of time before we are no longer able to make our schedules blend (which is already really difficult!), so this is an absolute must. It could be the aforementioned road trip across Canada, it could be going to New York City for New Year's Eve, it could be traveling abroad, but we are going to take a trip together before our 30th birthdays! March 2017, we went to Orlando together! I'm writing a series of 4 posts about it, you can read the first one here!
  14. Enter a contest: By this I mean submitting something I made with my own two hands into a contest for a prize. I used to participate in drawing contests in school and at our local Post Office, and I occasionally won! It could be a writing contest (I'd like to challenge myself in that way), or art (my polymer clay pieces), or a cake decorating contest, which would be so much fun!
  15. Take an online course: I love learning and I love being in school, and if it were possible for an average middle-class woman, I'd probably just be a student forever. But, it's not possible. So, next best thing? Take a course online! I'll get to learn something new, but still afford to live and not be in debt for the rest of my life. :) Photography seems to be the popular thing that most people want to learn, and I don't want to copy other lists, but honestly, I really would like to learn how to take better pictures (and edit) without investing tons of money in a big fancy camera - if that's possible? That, or perhaps a course relating to small business operation.
  16. Learn to enjoy cooking: One of my current part-time jobs involves cooking for a large amount of people. Admittedly, I'm not making anything terribly complicated, but I had never done much cooking myself until starting this job because I don't enjoy cooking (on a regular basis, for myself, etc). I like to eat, and I like to watch cooking shows, but I find regular meal planning and preparation extremely time consuming and exhausting. In the next two years I hope to learn to appreciate it more, and maybe even learn a couple "signature dishes."
  17. Get more organized: I have my own systems of organization. Some of them make sense to other people, some of them don't. I'd like to learn how to discipline myself in organization and time management, if possible. I think as far as organization is concerned, uniformity is key for me. If everything looks the same, it makes the whole space look better, and that will help me to keep it that way.
  18. Become smarter financially: I have tried to cut back on spending, but I am still known to make silly impulse buys and other unnecessary purchases. By thirty I'd like to be able to say that I only spend my money on necessities and the occasional splurge. I want to keep better track of my finances and do my own taxes. It's not that I don't know how, I just don't know how to start. I'd also like to be able to say that I'm debt free and/or financially independent by thirty, but I think it's going to take longer than two years to get to that point... I will, however, hopefully be on the right track.
  19. Plan for my retirement: I have seen what happens when people don't properly plan for the future, and while at this point I have no dependents and no major debts that will weigh my parents down if something were to happen to me, that could always change in the next few years, so it would be prudent to start preparing now. Always room for improvement, but I did talk to my financial advisor and we set up a plan to automatically invest $50 a month into mutual funds (since March 2016).
  20. Spend more one-on-one time with my nephews: For years now I've thought of giving "the gift of time" gifts to my nephews for birthdays and Christmas, but I've yet to do it, for various reasons. They're preteens now and before I know it they won't want to spend time with their boring old Auntie! They already prefer hanging out with my brother more than me, so I need to make an effort to spend time with them (together or individually), attempting to do things they like to do.
  21. Host a dinner party: This will, hopefully, come with having my own place, but it could happen before then as well. I want to invite people over and be able to say I prepared the whole meal, start to finish, by myself. (This is also something that appeared on a lot of other lists).
  22. Learn to be ok with being solo: I have been to the movies by myself, once, and it was a huge deal for me. There are a lot of times that I don't do things I want to do, because I have no one available to go with me, and because I get anxious in large groups which is magnified when I'm also alone. But I realize that my friends are moving on and becoming less and less available, and I just need to be ok with doing things by myself, otherwise I will become a hermit and a crazy old cat lady, and people will make fun of me and point and laugh when I tiptoe out of the house in my pajamas to get the newspaper...
  23. Be a more knowledgeable car owner: I strongly feel that one should have to undergo training on general maintenance before being able to own machines including cars and computers. I can fuel up and check/add oil, but that's about where my knowledge ends. When I mentioned to someone that I didn't know how to change a tire and maybe they should show me, their response was "call CAA." So helpful. -.- 
  24. See a live show/concert: Seeing a Cirque du Soleil show is on my life bucket list, so the concert/show could be that, or a favourite band/artist, doesn't really matter what, but it's gotta happen. My brother and I went to see Walk Off the Earth (my fave band of Canadians!) in Montreal in April 2016! I didn't write about it, but I instagrammed it!
  25. Go to La Ronde: Yep, sometimes it's the simple things. La Ronde is a Six Flags amusement park in Montreal that a lot of kids get to visit on class trips, but I was never part of one of those trips, and even though I have a cousin who has lived in Montreal for years, and who has offered to take me, I still have never been. This is about to change. I finally went (June 2015) with my brother and cousin, you can read about it here.
  26. Walk the Foresta Lumina: Another local attraction, this interactive lighted forest walk started last year and I really really wanted to go for my birthday, but it didn't work out and I was super disappointed. It was such a success, tho, that they're doing it again this year. So fingers crossed I can go this August! Got to go for my 28th birthday (August 2015)!! You can read about that here.
  27. Visit the Abbey at St-Benoit du Lac: This is a local monastery known for their cheeses. They also have a store with other local goods that I'm really interested in visiting! Went for a quick visit in August 2015 - bought cheese, chocolate, and jams to try! You can read more about it here.
  28. Eat food truck food: I can't really expound on this one much. I just love the idea of food trucks so much, and the ones you see on TV are always so cool and trendy, so I just feel like I need to try food truck food, and it just so happens that there is a food truck festival in Montreal once a month all summer long, so no excuses! My brother and I went into Montreal in May 2016 for the food truck festival, along with our cousin & her family. I didn't write a post about it, but I instagrammed it! :)
  29. Personal: They can't all be public!
  30. Unknown: I'm leaving the last one open, just in case I come up with some spectacular thing that I haven't thought of yet. :)
So, there you have it! Some big goals, some small ones... Hopefully I can cross off the majority of them by August 2017. If nothing else, this project has helped me think about and look forward to the future a little more.

Do you have a milestone birthday looming ahead of you? I'd encourage you to make your own birthday bucket list. It's kind of fun! :) And of course, I'd love to know what some of the items on your lists would be! Do share, and don't forget to throw me some ideas for my 30 Random Acts of Kindness! ;)

Saturday, March 7, 2015

One Week Down...

I survived! My first week of working two part-time jobs has come to an end, and I survived.

The verdict? It stinks.

I know it's going to get better as I get into the routine, get used to both kitchens and co-workers and everything... But by Wednesday I thought I was losing my mind, and I had to keep telling myself, only 8 more weeks like this to go...! Don't get me wrong, I'm glad to have the work and I know I'm really lucky, not only to have found two jobs so quickly after school, but also two English work environments! It's just been a long week...

One of the things I found most difficult is the hours. They are comparable, but just different enough to mess up my psyche. My original job, Tuesdays and Thursdays, has kind of fluid hours. I go in for 9am and work until I'm done, which could be anywhere from 1:30 to 3:30pm, so I get up at 6:45 and I can't very easily make plans for after work because I never know when I'll be done. Now with the new job, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday I work from 7am to around 1pm, so I have to get up at 5:30, and I can easily make afternoon plans, but I'm too pooped to want to. I have always been a night owl. That's not to say that I'm "not a morning person," but I just prefer going to bed late than getting up early, if that makes any sense.

Another thing, is just fitting in! I know that I tend to be quiet, sometimes shy, reserved, etc., and that throws some people off. I've been accused of being snobbish and anti-social, and that's really not intentional, but I can't help how others perceive me before trying to get to know me. I don't walk into a new workplace automatically assuming that everyone is my friend and loves me and wants to get to know me.

The atmosphere at the restaurant is very young and vibrant, all staff appear to be under 40. The staff I've met have been nice enough, but I haven't really talked to anyone, and I feel kind of set apart. The community aid kitchen is the complete opposite. My coworkers and most of the volunteers are well over 65 (with a few exceptions). They are all very kind and willing to offer advice and assistance and from the moment I walked in the door, have expressed interest in me and my life, and I feel at ease among them.

The final thing that's made this week difficult is that neither job really ends when I leave my workplace. After getting home, I continue to invest hours of work into researching, planning, and just general thinking for each workplace. That's probably the most exhausting part of all.

Anyway, hopefully this week will be a bit easier. In the meantime, I don't think I've ever been so thankful for weekends, and living in a culture that has five-day work weeks!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Job search

Job searching, and all it involves, stinks.

Updating resumes, searching for job postings, sending e-mails, spending hours going place to place in person, waiting for responses, enduring awkward interviews, waiting for responses... It's all incredibly stressful and it is probably one of my least favourite tasks in the world.

Crazy as it sounds, the next worst thing, after doing all the footwork of updating your CV and finding offers that interest you, and sending off your information with much trepidation, and then the anticipation of waiting for a response... After all of that, the next worst thing is when the responses start coming in, and more than one place you applied to is interested, so now you have to choose...

Speaking as a true introvert, choices are the worst!

The last week of January was the most stressed I've been for a very long time, as I had, what I thought was, two interviews: one first tier, via Skype, the other second tier, a sort of practical exam. I was completely freaking out about the practical one, but the Skype one had me very nervous as well. Because, as you can imagine, doing an interview via telephone or Skype generally means the job is too far away to zip in for an in-person interview... I'm always nervous about going somewhere new. I wouldn't not take a job because it was out-of-province (otherwise, why apply in the first place?), what unnerves me is the idea that it might not work out, and then what? Job security is practically an unknown concept in my world.

So, I continued pounding the pavement (difficult with all this snow!), and I endured the short and awkward Skype interview, and made it through the practical interview. Looking back, I've only been finished school for just over 2 months, and I only started job searching the second week of January, so it's all worked out very quickly, really. But you know how things always seem much bigger when you're in the middle of it... I hadn't wanted to say anything to jinx it, just in case, but I think I can now safely share with you all that my hard work paid off.

I am now working part-time as a Pastry Chef for a small up-and-coming restaurant in Sherbrooke's centreville. It's two days a week, not huge hours, but it's something, it's a start, and I get to make yummy desserts - which is what I enjoy. There is no set dessert menu, it changes frequently, so customers have to ask what's available if they want a dessert! ;) For my first month on the job, I was making dessert perogies (stuffed with a sweetened cheese mixture, served with caramel and chocolate sauces), lemon poppy seed loaf (served with honey mousse), and a blueberry & goat cheese pie (which turned out to be a huge hit!). There was a special menu for Valentine's Day, so I also had to prepare 125+ chocolate bowls for that one-time event. If you will remember, the chocolate module was one of my least favourites as I had a terrible time tempering chocolate. The Valentine's Day menu was no different. But, in the end it all worked out and people apparently enjoyed them.

I will also be taking over, in the next week, a replacement position for a local Meals-on-Wheels program. The Head Cook is unfortunately unwell, and the current replacement has other responsibilities. So, my name got passed on through a friend of a friend, and I went yesterday to meet the staff, check out the kitchen, and help prepare the day's meal. The program offers three hot lunches a week to approximately 50 elderly/convalescent people in the area, and so it should work out perfectly with my position at the restaurant. My job will be to plan the meals (salad, soup, entree, dessert) and confect the soups and entrees. Not my field of study, not what I enjoy doing per se, but, it is more experience, it's a help to the local community, and it's a higher wage than my current job. :D The staff and volunteers are really sweet and laid-back, and I think I'm really going to enjoy working with them (once I get past the overwhelming idea of preparing 3 meals for 50 people every week...).

I've slowly been getting a few orders on my own - the stuff I really like to do. I did some Mickey & Minnie Mouse decorated cookies this month, I have a tea party themed birthday cake to do in March, wedding cupcakes in May (I think? Still need to confirm the date...), and a few other cake possibilities.

I also got my Pastry Diploma in the mail last week. The picture I posted on Facebook got the most "likes" and comments than any have for a while, which was both flattering and a little confusing. This is my fourth diploma, not including High School, so it wasn't that big a deal to me. Maybe it's just because I've never posted pictures of my other diplomas! Anyway, I'm glad people are happy for me. :)

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Baking at Home

It came to my attention yesterday that I have officially been done school (and therefore unemployed) for just over a month now. In some ways, that's a shock, but at the same time it feels like so much longer..

So, upon realizing that it's been a month, I decided it was time to bake something. I did some baking over the holidays, but I didn't have great luck (maybe because I didn't give myself enough time?). And there were ingredients in the fridge that would soon be expiring.

And I've been having cravings.

I didn't bake everything I wanted to - it was one of those gloomy, snowy, just-want-to-stay-in-bed kind of days - but that's ok, something to do another day.

So I made was the cookie recipe from the back of the Chipits bag, using holiday M&Ms (hello, after-Christmas specials!). Some might call these Monster Cookies, I prefer to just call them delicious little morsels of yumminess. The recipe said it makes four dozen, and it didn't lie. How many are left? That's another story.

I also made my favourite Perfect Cream Scone* recipe from The Pioneer Woman Cooks: A Year of Holidays, by Ree Drummond (I've made them before, which I talked about in this post, but I thought they deserved a more detailed acknowledgement). I stumbled across her website, The Pioneer Woman, a couple years ago and was really excited to note that we share a name - my nickname has been Ree most of my life - and that she is an awesome food writer. So when I happened upon one of her cookbooks at Big Lots on a trip to the U.S., I snatched it up! I've only made the one recipe out of it so far, but it is definitely a favourite, and I look forward to trying some others. The original recipe doesn't appear on her website, but there are several variations there, as well as in the book. The original scone is so delicious, I haven't needed to be adventurous enough to try any of them, though.

Now, talk of scones may bring up some controversy.  What is a scone? My mother grew up eating oatmeal scones, the thin crispy kind (which, in my research, seems to be Scottish Oatcakes, and not scones at all!). Growing up with that belief, every time I met a thick, soft scone, I assumed it was a silly tea biscuit masquerading as a scone. They often had nasty things like currents and raisins or orange zest hiding in them. Blech! I wouldn't have said I really liked either style all that much, and therefore was not a fan of scones. But then I tried Ms. Drummond's recipe.


These scones are just the right combination of crispy outside, and soft, fluffy, sweet, buttery inside. They are equally as delicious all on their own, as they are with a generous slathering of butter or jam (raspberry, of course!). Mmm!

What's your favourite way to eat a scone? Have you ever tried one?

*Perfect Cream Scones

adapted from The Pioneer Woman

3 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup cold, unsalted butter, in pieces
1 cup heavy cream
1 egg, lightly beaten

Combine dry ingredients; cut in butter. Add wet ingredients and combine to form a ball (it is completely normal for it to be crumbly, but you should be able to form it and roll it out). Roll out and cut as desired (Ms. Drummond's instructions say to roll into a rectangle 1/3 inch thick and cut into 24 triangles). Bake at 350*F for 18 minutes, or until lightly golden brown around the edges. They are best eaten the same day, but they are good for up to a week, and they do freeze well.

Happy Baking!