The Vampire Test

I’m reading this creative book called Show Your Work (Austin Kleon) and the writer talks about this “Vampire Test” that can be used on people, jobs, places or hobbies, etc.

“It’s a simple way to know who you should let in and out of your life. If, after hanging out with someone you feel worn out and depleted, that person is a vampire. If, after hanging out with someone you still feel full of energy, that person is NOT a vampire. Vampires cannot be cured. Should you find yourself in the presence of a vampire…banish it from your life forever.”

This obviously made me think of 1 to 2 people and a few activities [watching too much tv! and Facebook]. How about you? What vampires do you need to “banish”?



What Does It Take To Be You?

Original poster image from, "Rosie the Riveter"

Original poster image from, “Rosie the Riveter”

Just read another great article about “talent is persistence” theme [which also reminds me of Seth Godin’s “Linchpin” chapter on  shipping it (putting your stuff out there!)]. Pardon the f- bomb at the bottom of the article, but this really is a great read from the

It brings me back to my decade’s old  question: “what does it take to be you?” My intentions for today’s blog wasn’t going to be about goals [or resolutions], but after reading the aforementioned article talk briefly about measurements and metrics [as much as I hate taking metrics for work], it’s a necessary task. We need to see where we came from and where are we going.

In my next post, I will be posting my 2014 SMART goals!

Persistence Always Trumps Talent: Agree or Disagree?

Although this article is more for writers, some of what he says can be influenced for other forms of art [setting aside time, focus; just producing/creating, etc.]

my favorite takeaway:

Can you offer any advice to writers and content producers that you might offer yourself, if you could go back in time and “do it all over?”

Don’t worry about what other people think. And work harder. You might not believe it right now, but persistence almost always trumps talent.

Do you agree? Disagree?

The Creative Group 2014 Salary Guide

The Creative Group’s 2014 Salary Guide is here! Check it out, especially if you’re in a creative field [such as: designer, web designer, web developer, interactive marketing manager, digital project manager, user experience (ux) designer, web content writer, etc.]. I love the coffee theme of the guide too.

An Interview with a … Baker! Allison Galentine

Some of you know, I bake, as part of my weekly or sometimes monthly routine. I lean towards the sweet stuff, but on occasion can make a quiche. I also like to try gluten free or even strange combinations [like Chocolate Chip Bacon Cookies!] In today’s post, I wanted to feature someone who can do it all, Allison Galentine. She previously worked at Caviar and Bananas, but is now at Charleston Bakery.

I first met Allison, at a CupcakeCamp Charleston event through my sister Heather [who organizes CupcakeCamp Charleston and Summerville].  The following “Camps”, Allison kept winning. We’ve had four CupcakeCamp Charleston events and two Summerville ones. She’s placed in almost all of them, because in one of them, she was a judge! Mind you, every year, is a different panel of judges. All these random judges have loved what she’s done. It was after one of the first Camps, Heather [wisely] remained in contact with Allison in order to place orders from her. She specializes in all sorts of pastries: birthday cakes, birthday cupcakes, 10-year work reunion cupcakes (Heather surprised me with Red Velvet ones!), pies, themed desserts, etc.].

Because of my love for baked goods and recognizing and uplifting talent when I experience it, I decided to feature her in today’s blog. I want to recognize Allison’s creativity, work ethic and talent behind her delicious concoctions. Below are some questions I asked her, as well as some photos of what she has created.


When did you discover your knack for baking?

In high school I took vocational classes (leave campus to learn a trade), and I decided to take culinary arts. During the semester my teacher had us enter us either a savory or sweet category for a cooking contest at the fair. I made a simple 3 layer, chocolate cherry cake and when I brought it into class my classmates and teacher were impressed. So anyhow, entered into the fair and actually won first place! I couldn’t believe it, it was my first cake I attempted to assemble and bake on my own and I won.


How did you decide to go into the culinary arts field?

I always teeter tottered between being a vet or a chef, as strange as that is save animals or cook animals. However, I always helped my mom out cook dinner for the family and did not mind doing it at all. After my vocational classes in high school, I just knew that culinary arts was my calling.

How do you stay creative in your field?

I like to go to other bakeries and read cook books, see what other chefs are doing. I have several friends that are pastry chefs as well and we are always texting each other our creations of the day.  


What inspires you, at work/at home?

Fresh seasonal ingredients! Especially during spring time, all those lovely fresh berries are amazing. I have a blueberry bush at home, and I am working on growing peach trees.


Who do you follow, in your field? Any role models? 

I love Alton Brown, even though he is not a pastry chef. The show Good Eats and how he explained food science was just incredible.

Who was your favorite client to work for? What was the project? 

Right now I am working with a couple for their wedding in May. He loves the Game Cocks and being the loving understanding wife she is; she is letting him incorporate it into the wedding. I think we have decided on a 3 tiered Red Velvet Cake (more burgundy colored), white buttercream, black ribbon, burgundy calla lilies, and some feathers. I cannot wait to make this cake; I have a feeling it is going to look awesome.

What are you currently working on?

Christmas time desserts… Babka (Jewish fruit cake), Truffles, Sugar Cookies, Peppermint Chocolate Mousse Pie, all sorts off delicious pastries!


What other creative concoctions, do you want to try next?

I make Babka for work, but my family being German has their own version of fruit cake called Stollen. My Mom and Grandma always got one filled with marzipan and candied fruits, I would love to make them a homemade one.


What do you want to learn in your field next and why?

Hmmm… maybe molecular gastronomy. It is so neat, how you can take an edible chemical and turn an ingredient into something completely different. One of the few molecular gastronomy ingredients I know how to work with is maltodextrin; it turn liquids into powder!


Do you want to open your own shop one day or do you like working for others?

I would love love love to have my own shop one day. I have often dreamed of buying the antique shop on the corner of downtown Summerville and the apartment above it. I think that would be the most absolute perfect place for a bakery and living upstairs will allow me to be there whenever I needed to be in a quickness.  


Got any tips for working as a professional baker?

Get internships, sometimes they are not paid but you can learn a lot working under other experienced chefs. Also get involved with local baking events, such as Cupcake Camp so you can meet and talk to other bakers.

Are you available for custom orders? If so, how can we reach you?

Always! I like to be challenged with new and interesting cake orders or desserts people come up with.

Here is Charleston Bakery‘s number and location: 10596 Dorchester Road, Summerville. (843) 875.0630 

Also I can always be reached at (843) 814.3816; I often do not pick up my phone, but I always call back so just leave me a voicemail.

Count Your Curses! Ok…Blessings

Some would say this has been the worst year ever for me. I was still wincing from the previous year’s lay off, took an income reduction [obviously], and gained some weight. But instead of wallowing in self-pity, denial or negativity, I’m going to take the high road and counteract each ‘curse’ with a blessing and believe instead, that it’s been the best year ever!

  1. I was laid off in November 2012, but this year, I have had a handful of freelance experiences. I’ve learned a lot about freelancing and how to work with other people.
  2. I gained 20 lbs., but I joined a gym and have managed to maintain the gain with a better attitude [because we can actually afford the gym and I actually like going]. I may not be as thinner as last year, but at least I can still jog a 5K!
  3. Our income was drastically reduced, but being focused and disciplined [mostly] has amazingly jump started our savings! It’s “funny” how a crisis kicks your perspective in gear! Alright, not really “funny”.  However, being debt free has helped [we highly encourage it; so does this guy and his team.]!
  4. We finally got a new computer for me to do freelance work; in fact being laid off helped me get it (severance).
  5. I’ve been stressed and ridden with anxiety, but I’ve learned how to breathe, stretch and pray more. Still learning how to “let go” though.
  6. Our first[born] dog, Mid-Knight is 16 years old and she’s slowly deteriorating, but we got another dog recently, Barda. M  has been a little more lively because of B’s energy. M’s still alive and we’re enjoying her while we can!
  7. Both cars are on their last legs, but we were able to pay for their major repairs and they’re still running!

How about you? What have been the low/high points of this year?

Thankful For…Part 2

Here’s the rest of what I’m thankful for below [continued from part 1]. Obviously, this is just a snapshot of a never ending list.

  1. The freedoms [to vote, choose health care, etc.] that this country has
  2. Our military, armed forces, police, firemen, and all the people that are involved in protecting and uplifting our great nation
  3. The choice that my dad made to join the U.S. Navy [go Navy!] because he brought my family to the U.S.
  4. Modern technology; I love the era we live in
  5. My health – even though it’s not perfect (because of my eating!), I’m alive and kicking
  6. Being married; I am blessed to have an amazing husband
  7. The desire, practice and ability of baking, cooking, designing, creating and crafarting!
  8. Pop Culture: Star Trek, DC comics, Sherlock BBC, Jane Austen, Chinese, Korean and Japanese romantic comedies, action films with great stories, sci fi tv and films, films with realistic plots/stories, zombie tv and films, James Bond films [Sean & Daniel], Joss Whedon, Marvel films, Thrilling Adventure Hour, Mew, Cocteau Twins, the Autumns, Starflyer 59.
  9. Jesus, who continues to show me grace, love, mercy, peace, patience

Happy Thanksgiving All!

Thankful For…Part 1

So I decided to do this as well, but mainly to realize and remember ALL my blessings [good, bad and mixed]:

  1. A temp job – it’s a job, I should not complain, it’s related to what I do, and it’s a paycheck
  2. A roof over my head – sure, it’s our last debt, and we are able to pay that monthly mortgage
  3. Our paid off cars – they smell and sound their age, and they still run
  4. Thrift store clothing because I still get compliments when I wear them; and they’re still ‘timeless’ to me
  5. My family for putting up with me / vice versa 🙂
  6. My local and global friends
  7. The ability to work freelance and full-time; I know one of these days I’m going to have to stop sitting on this fence because it’s going to get uncomfortable soon. AND, I love where I am right now

More to come tomorrow! Happy Thanksgiving Eve all! [This was supposed to post last night, but it didn’t]