Monday, December 22, 2008

Crazy Day!!

Apparently, just before holidays or long weekends, work gets totally out of control as clients are worried about having a couple of days off and who's covering for who. We're cramming last minute code changes into production and getting everything ready to go for the end of the fiscal year for many companies. Also, HR decided that we didn't quite have enough to do so piled on annual reviews on top of everything else. It's kind of weird for me because this is the first time that I have to do reviews for people who report to me. Now, they don't formally report to me as in I really have a serious input into their career, but they do report to me on projects that we're working on which makes me much more involved in their career than I have been in past positions. It's just a weird spot to be to realize that I actually manage people and have that kind of input into their career progression.

On that note, I must get back to commenting on their performance....oh and writing my own self-review as well.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Another App Down!

Well, really just a piece of an app. I finally submitted Part I of my Kellogg application. I had been almost done with it for a week now, but needed to confirm my recommenders and work just completely got away from me! I'm getting ready to start in on the rest of this application as well as the two others that I'm working on so we don't hit too much crunch time come 2009!

Good luck to all of the other MBA applicants out there! I hope you get some time to enjoy the holidays in between figuring out what you want to do with your future careers and writing about leadership experiences and failures and why X school.

Chocolate Bourbon Cake and Gingerbread House Making!

Dessert Night got into the holiday spirit last week with lots of Gingerbread house making. People decided that they wanted to make their own gingerbread house so we had 8 of them being made at once! Luckily I have a small island in my kitchen otherwise my small apartment couldn't have handled all of this madness. Here are a few of the photos from the gingerbread house making.

ChuThis also was able to join us this week since she got a nice break from all of her traveling for work! She found a recipe for Chocolate Bourbon cake earlier in the week and decided to make it for dessert night. Check out the beautiful cake. I'll let her share the recipe and her baking experience with you on her blog. Stay tuned for that one!

This week we also enjoyed the second cake in Rick's Web 2.0 cake series, the Blogger Cake. It was a very tasty funfetti cake that actually had a pint of ice cream mixed into the batter so it had a different consistency than the funfetti cakes I usually make. It was very delicious. Check out the nice frosting work on the Blogger logo.

Happy Holidays from everyone at Dessert Night to you and your family! We're taking a couple of weeks off and will come back with a bang in 2009! Wishing you a save and enjoyable holiday season with lots of yummy sweet treats because you deserve the best!

Sunday, December 14, 2008


Panettone is one of my favorite things about holidays. I'd say Christmas, but it always seems like we eat Panettone for Easter too. But honestly, it's so yummy that I'd be ok eating it all of the time. Panettone is a light brioche bread that has raisins, citron, and other sweetened dried fruits in it. I know that it sounds a lot like fruitcake, but I can promise you that it's nothing like fruit cake. While fruitcake is extremely dense, dry, and often could be used as bricks, panettone is a large version of a fruit studded brioche. Toasted panettone is one of my favorite things ever. Now you definitely have to be careful and make sure that it doesn't catch on fire, but after a nice even toasting, the crispy outsides are just to die for.

Unfortunately, this isn't a quick and easy tasty treat to make. Here's one example of a great homemade panettone recipe. I didn't have time for this crazy recipe this week, so I went to Il Fornaio who makes fabulous Italian pastries. All in all, a very tasty dessert night.

Friday, December 12, 2008

2 Down! Now Onto the Next One

This week I managed to get my Haas Round 2 application in a whole 5 hours prior to the deadline!! Wooo! It was fabulous! This extra time allowed me to take a brief nap and actually get to enjoy dessert night. I'm very excited to have 2 applications already turned in. Now, if only I could start hearing back from these schools...but that's another story.

Compared to my Stanford application, the one for Haas seemed a bit more generic. There were only a few questions that I got really excited about answering because the rest of them seemed pretty bland. Given that there were a ton more essays for Haas than Stanford, I didn't get to really reuse many of my Stanford essays. 2 of them fit the questions that Haas asked, but definitely required major tweaking to get them to match Haas's word limit.

All in all, I'm definitely happy with myself for getting these applications in and now I think I'm pretty good to go on getting through the rest of them a bit more easily. Thank you so much to C & J who helped me read all of the drafts for these essays and let me know when they were lost, what was good, and when I forgot that darn Oxford comma! I really appreciate it.

Now, if only I had a better GMAT score... that will be another thing to work on.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Blackberry Poundcake

Given my crazy week this week, I was again looking for a fast and easy dessert that would be very tasty. I should probably clarify my definition of fast. I'm not necessarily looking for something that takes only 20 minutes from start to finish. I'm ok with recipes that require all various lengths of baking time, as that's time I can use to work and do stuff around my apartment. However, recipes like sandwich cookies or layer cakes generally require so much active time that I have been avoiding them lately. This week I decided to try a recipe from Baking Bites for Blackberry Pound Cake. I love pound cake, particularly as the basis for strawberry shortcake in the summer months. Adding the blackberries to the batter made it like shortcake but with no assembly required. Originally, I wanted to substitute the blackberries with cherries because J loves cherries so, but unfortunately Safeway was out of frozen cherries. The blackberries were really amazing though. The seeds were not too prevalent in the fruit once baked and the sweetness of the fruit added a great natural sweetness to the cake without needing too much sugar. Definitely toss the frozen fruit in a bit of flour before adding it to the batter to avoid contaminating the color of the dough. I'd really like to try this cake again with a different fruit and see if it's as sweet and flavorful. It would also be a really great holiday gift for people as I think that the recipe will probably make at least 4 mini loaves. If I had more time this holiday season, I'd be making these as gifts.

Honestly, this is one of the most satisfying breads that I've made in a long while that has just enough sweetness to satisfy my need for a dessert, but not enough sweetness to give me a massive sugar high. I highly recommend it. To make your own Blackberry Pound Cake, here's the recipe.

Also, thanks to Rick for the first in his series of Web 2.0 cakes. The flickr cake was not only tasty but it was a fabulous example of a good frosting job! I can't wait to get to enjoy the rest of them.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

GMAT Attempt 1 and Another Week Another Grad School App

This week has already been a busy one. Luckily, last week was a short week because of Thanksgiving. I actually strategically planned my GMAT test date for the Monday after Thanksgiving because I wanted to be able to relax at home and I knew that I'd be getting more sleep and not have work on the brain because I would have a few days off.

I definitely think that this strategy helped me be more relaxed when I took the test, but it was not enough to really let me relax and not psych myself out, particularly on the math. The Quantitative section is not the type of math that's interesting to me, so it's hard to make yourself really care if Sally contributed twice as much as Joe and 2/3 as much as Sam how much they all contributed. Give me a mathematical model and I'll happily spend the next 3 days constructing it and improving my assumptions. Also, I tend to just finish all of the questions in this section in the nick of time, so I don't really have time to take a breather and re-center myself in the middle of the math section because those precious minutes are needed to answer each question. I think that's why I did so much better on the verbal. I took the time to breathe and relax in the middle of the exam because I knew that I would still finish early and that the additional relaxation would help me do better. I am still waiting to hear how I did on the writing portion, but I'm not too concerned because I generally write pretty well and schools don't put as much emphasis on the writing for me since English is my first language. All in all, it was an alright first shot at the GMAT. I'm not satisfied with my score, so I will be taking it again, but that's something that I'm doing for me.

Now that the GMAT's over with, well at least for this week, it's on to another grad school app! It seems like almost each week in December I need to switch my focus to a new app. Another week, another app is the motto for December!