Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Happy Holidays from Live Sunnyside Up!

I really can't believe that tomorrow's Christmas Eve! I'm not done with my shopping yet and I feel like I barely had a breather after finals ended a little over a week ago!! I'm trying to do my best to enjoy my time off and not stress about grabbing last minute gifts because I know January's going to bring a load of internship applications.

I hope all of you out there are able to take some time off and relax this holiday season. I have a feeling that 2010 is going to be a very busy year for all of us and we need to rest up so we can take on whatever it may bring.

Happy Holidays!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Fall Semester is Done!

I truly can't believe that fall semester is done and we now have 5 weeks off to recoop, work on our internship applications, and travel the world. I'm not sure I'm actually going to get to that last one, but there will definitely be some domestic traveling. At any rate, the semester ended with a bang!

Despite the stress caused by our finance final, we definitely got in a good bit of hanging out and insanity as well. Immediately following our finance final, over half of my cohort and I headed off on a wine bus to Napa for a relaxing afternoon of wine tasting and hanging out before we all move on to new cohorts for Spring Semester. It was a great afternoon of relaxing and getting to catch up with all of my classmates. The wine bus dropped us off at the last cohort competition of the semester, called Walk Off that involved each cohort pulling together skits that were scored on hilarity and ridiculousness, among other things. Let's just say that after a day of drinking already, my cohort didn't win, but we did at least make it through our skit. Blue came through and surprised everyone and blasted everyone away with their great performance. Go Blue!

After all of the work hard, play hard of the end of the semester, I'm very glad to have spent the last several days just relaxing and hanging out. I do need to step up my productivity though as internship resume drops are coming up, but at this point, I'm just enjoying being done for a while and getting ready for the holidays at home with my family.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Glazed Chocolate Pumpkin Bundt Cake

My study group has been teasing me all semester that I haven't made any of my infamous desserts for them yet, so I decided to have everyone over for a post Fall A celebration. One of my classmates heard that I was baking and after reading my blog implored me to blog about this and make sure to share a photo. So, you can thank her for making sure that I took the time to blog about this one and remembered to take a picture of my creation.

Upon moving to business school, I sent some of my most prized cooking and baking tools to my parent's house because I figured that I would spend too much time studying and doing other things to have time for cooking. Boy, I couldn't have been more wrong. Dinner parties are totally in! But, alas, many of these essential baking gadgets are still at my parent's house which is why this bundt cake was made in an angel food cake pan.

If you're looking for a very easy recipe this holiday season, this one's for you. Total active time on this cake was about 30 mins. 30 MINS! Yes, you too can make beautiful baked goods to bring for your loved ones. You do have to make sure that you're home for the next hour or so, but you can be working away on other things.

The cake part of this recipe is phenomenal. It was very moist and the chocolate and pumpkin flavors blended together beautifully. I have to say that I was rather disappointed with the buttermilk glaze on the cake. It's really sweet in contrast to the well balanced cake and really didn't add anything for me. If you're a cake person, but not a frosting person, I'd recommend leaving the buttermilk glaze off.

All in all, for 30 mins of work, this was a highly delicious cake! Happy Thanksgiving to all of you out there! I can't wait to hear about the tasty treats that you enjoy this week!

If you'd like to make your own Glazed Chocolate Pumpkin Bundt Cake, please check out the recipe from Eating Well here.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Internship Search Has Begun

It seems amazing to me that we've just been in school for about 3 months now and it feels that we're already into the full-fledged internship search. We've started trying to fit company visits, job fairs, and on campus presentations into our already busy schedules.

My first visit was at Symantec a couple of weeks ago. Despite having worked at Symantec for a brief month during my previous life in management consulting, it was really great to get back on their campus and learn more about how their product management organization works. We also got a quick tour of their engineering labs which was very interesting for someone who's worked in tech for 4 years and never set foot in a data center.

The following week, I headed into the downtown SF office of Adobe to learn about their product management team. The office is gorgeous and I could totally see myself fitting into the culture there. The company is great about fostering creativity but also making products that really satisfy the user's needs. This is something that I am passionate about as well. I wished that we had more time to talk to each of the alumni presenters to learn more about their experiences with Adobe, but it was a great afternoon learning more about Adobe.

I'm sure in the next couple of weeks, I'll be at a bunch more presentations and trying to figure out what I really might like to do with my summer. At the moment, I'm thinking a product management internship with a tech company but we'll shall see where this crazy business school experience takes me.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


So I know that everyone tells you grad school isn't about grades. I mean just look at the grading distribution. At Haas, the lowest grade a professor ever has to give is a B-, with the majority of students getting B+s. While I intellectually knew that this was true, I can honestly say that after spending my entire prior educational career trying to get straight As, I have to say that it was difficult to let go of grades. I tested the waters by not doing assigned readings and waiting until the absolute last minute to complete assignments which are all things that I would have previously considered to be slacking.

Our last quarter ended almost a month ago and we have yet to hear how we did, so I have pretty much forgotten about grades as I've become heads down trying to make sure that this semester is successful. We started hearing about our grades from first quarter today and I have to say that seeing that my grades start to come in and not have my more laid back strategy blow up in my face. I will definitely have to remember this in the future as all of the end of first semester, thanksgiving, and holiday parties start! Relax and worry less about grades!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Oh No! Not My Computer

On Friday, my worst fear was realized. I hopped on the bus and was surfing my phone when I felt a tap on my shoulder. A woman across the aisle was getting my attention to let me know that water was pouring out of my laptop bag. Oh no! I reached in to see what had happened. The lid to my waterbottle had opened and 12 oz of water was now floating around my bag with my laptop, notes, and portfolio for my company trek in a few hours.

Let's just say that Friday was not one of my best days. I got off the bus as quickly as possible and stopped at a local cafe to get paper towels and dry off my laptop. Luckily after much anguish and stressing, two days later when I took my beloved Mac to the Genius Bar at the Apple Store, it just decided to magically work. I'm not sure why, but at this point, I'm very excited to have my laptop back and in working order given that we have more midterms next week and a whole host of papers to write.

Please heed my advice and back up your laptop at least once a day!!! No one needs to deal with data loss!!! Let's just say from here on out, I'll be backing up my laptop every night as I fall asleep.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Career Management Conference

One of the reasons I was drawn to Haas is the fact that they provide incredible support for those of us who aren't sure what we want to do when we get out of b-school. Of course, we had to come up with some sort of a plausible plan in our application, but that doesn't mean that we will be sticking to that plan at all. Haas Career Services really encourages us to explore and learn about other possible opportunities that we may not know about yet. All of this culminates in the 2 day Career Management Conference between our Fall A and Fall B quarters.

Despite the fact that it was really difficult to wake up early to get to school on what is supposed to be our break, I've learned a ton of great things that will be very helpful in my summer internship search which kicksoff in full swing on Wednesday night with Multi-Firm Night. The first day of the conference was filled with a lot of great tips for getting your resume and Linked In profile up to snuff. We also talked a lot about how to go about informational interviewing and make the most of career fairs and conferences that we will attend. The best thing of the entire day was a small group interview where you and two other people interview for a pretend job with a second year Career Coach and then all give each other feedback. It was really great to learn what other people thought that I needed to work on and get to see my peers interview.

The second day of the conference was much more tactical than the first with more alumni panels and industry recruiting discussions. The best session of the day was the tech industry interview discussion. An alum from HP discussed precisely what he looks for when he goes through resumes and gave us valuable insight into the perspective of a recruiter. While it was frightening to learn that if your last name is after N that you get significantly less time than those earlier in the alphabet. We were all shocked at how little time we have to make a lasting impression on a recruiter, but better to know it now than figure it out when you don't get an interview invite.

All in all, it was a very worthwhile conference and it has reminded me exactly how much work I need to put in on my resume and cover letters in the next few weeks before recruiting open season starts full force.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Surviving Finals and >Play Conference

I literally just hit submit on my last final paper of Fall A!!! I'm so excited to be done with 1/8 of my entire b-school experience! Just insane. It has been a great quarter. I think I've done a good job of settling into school again and getting to know all of the great people in my class and cohort. Go Axe!

Unfortunately, we didn't get too much of a break between finals and classes starting again, especially because the Digital Media and Entertainment Club's student-led conference >Play was this past Saturday. I was very impressed with our abilities to get some really great speakers. We opened the morning with a quick intro from Dean Rich Lyons and then heard from John Lilly, the CEO of Mozilla. He had some really great insights into how he sees the web-browser evolving and how that will transition into the mobile space. Then I headed off to a panel on creativity, which wasn't as captivating as I thought it was going to be. Next, I enjoyed a really interesting panel on the future of the mobile ecosystem. The panelists were a great mix of people who focused on applications and browsers. After a great lunch, I saw the founder of Guitar Hero and the President of EA Sports to discuss the future of video game distribution. They believe that distribution for video games will eventually become digital, but believe that this will take a while for people to become open to the lack of a physical game DVD. Finally, we closed out the day with playing in the expo and a talk from the VP of Product Management at Google. I have to say that I was kind of disappointed by his talk because he just reviewed Google's current products instead of discussing where he saw the future of Google's products. All in all, it was a great day!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

>play Conference

I'm so excited for the >play conference at Haas next weekend! It's going to be an exciting day of digital media and entertainment. We're having speakers from Mozilla and Google. Also, there will be great workshops on the latest trends in digital media and internet technology like cloud computing, brands that matter, games on the move, and mobile ecosystems in motion.

If you're in the Bay Area next weekend, I highly recommend attending! Check out the agenda for the conference

Finals Time!

It's less hard to believe that it's finals time already than it was when we hit midterms. I guess that means I'm settling into the crazy quarters schedule. I'm starting to realize more and more that it's really more important to hang out with classmates and be social than it is to really spend that extra couple of hours studying. Unfortunately, that plan kind of backfired on me last week when I ended up with a nasty cold. Oh well. It comes with the territory.

It has definitely taken the first couple of months for me to realize that I really am at school as my career. I guess I thought that I was just at a conference and would be back to the real world soon. Nope! Lucky for me, but I'm a student so I should truly take advantage of the lifestyle.

We definitely have a great 7/8ths of our B-school experience left, so I'll remember that and not spend too much time studying for finals next week, but be sure to socialize with classmates!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Fall A & Learning to Say No

Our first semester at Haas is actually more like two mini quarters that put together makes up the usual 15 week semester. After all of the fun and excitement of orientation, we've been settling into school work, the internship search (yes, I know we just got to school, but it's already time for the internship), and of course playing much much much to hard. It's very different from undergrad in the sense that you don't want to be at the top of the class, but you just want to be in the middle of that curve so you end up with a decent grade at the end. This is a bit counter-intuitive for me to not constantly aim to get the best grade. Now, I just need to do enough to pass. Luckily, that means that I have enough time to work on my internship search and play hard with the rest of my class.

Our class has enjoyed lots of good times together so far. We've had toga parties, 60s parties, checked out bars in SF, bars in Berkeley, barbecued, made bets on who's going to win American's Next Top Model, and enjoyed countless lunches and coffees together. With all of these fun things going on, it's sometimes difficult to make it to all of them, let alone make sure that enough time is spent on revising your resume and doing micro homework.

Thus, I've been learning how to say no. For some reason, it's always been very difficult for me to not do things. Here there really is no choice though when there are 2 career related events, 3 fun events, and a GSI's (Graduate Student Instructor) office hours. Since I haven't perfected the art of being in 6 places at once, I have to decide which is the most important and cannot be done at another time. There's something freeing about deciding to say no that somehow leads to more saying no. It's definitely good because there are so many opportunities to do so on a daily basis.

With three more weeks left until the end of our mini quarter, we're definitely heads down on our group projects! More opportunities to say no coming up!

Monday, September 21, 2009

S'mores Cheesecake

I happened to find a bit of time during my post-midterms weekend to bake this S'mores Cheesecake for a potluck. Sadly, my baking has become a by request only thing that happens once in a time. But, this recipe was great! It tasted just like a s'more!!

The recipe specifies that the cheesecake needs to be chilled for 8 hours before you put the marshmallow on top. You do really need to do that. I didn't and the marshmallow topping became a bit oozy and made a nice sticky mess. Also, you definitely HAVE to brown the marshmallow topping under the broiler or use a creme brule torch, if you have one. It was the best finishing touch and really added the essential s'mores flavor to the cheesecake. However, watch your cheesecake closely while it's under the broiler. I was amazing by just how quickly it started to smolder.

If you'd like to make your own S'mores Cheesecake, check out the recipe here.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Midterms Already?

I can't believe it! We've been in school for 3 weeks and we are already to midterms! It's so crazy. This whole experience is going to go by so fast. I will have to try to find some time next weekend and share more with you guys, but in the meantime, it's back to the stats and econ problems for me! I'll resurface again next week!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Behind Already??

Wow, we have definitely hit the ground running. It is the beginning of the second week of classes and I feel like every time I turn around I find something else that I needed to do. The last thing that has been on my mind lately has been my internship search. After resolving a pesky email forwarding error, I found that much of the 150 emails that I had neglected were related to the career search and the industry and job search workshops that are coming up starting this week! Luckily, I've been using the "just-in-time" method of getting through this stuff so I haven't missed anything yet.

Now, back to the reading that's due tomorrow that I completely forgot about!

Sunday, August 30, 2009


I know I kind of disappeared for a bit lately, but I've resurfaced to tell you all about my first couple of weeks at Haas.

My business school experience started with two weeks of a math review known as Math Camp. It was a nice review of everything that we'll need to know to start school. Also, it was great to get to know half of my fellow classmates as well as get used to getting to classes and doing homework while it was still optional. We started off with a review of basic math and statistics. Then we reviewed all of the essentials of Finance and closed the week out with a quick review of Financial Accounting. It was super helpful to remember a lot of the things that I learned as an undergraduate business major but haven't used in the last 4 years.

Orientation or O-week as we fondly call it followed Math Camp. Here we met all 239 of our classmates, found out which cohort we are in (go Axe!), and had a lot of fun while learning a lot about ourselves, our classmates, and Haas. The CEO of Intel shared with us his experiences and where he sees the business community going for him. There were scavenger hunts, Cohort Olympics (which we lost by just 5 points! Ugh!), cupcake eating contests, numerous bar nights, cases, and networking events. It was a very intense week with often 10-11 hour days mixed with fun, socializing, and drinking from a fire hose. I have to say that I'm very glad that we had a 4 day weekend before we started in on classes to recuperate and prepare for what was to come.

I'll have to tell you more about the beginning of classes in my next post, but I can't wait to see where this crazy adventure takes me. Go Bears!

Monday, August 3, 2009

A Comic For All Grad Students Out There

Tonight's xkcd comic is just for all of you grad students out there... see it here. (As is common with most xkcd posts, mouse over for the best part of the comic strip!)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Last Dessert Night (at least for a while)

Dessert Night is officially over. Well, at least for the next 2 years while I'm in school. I decided to celebrate the end of an era with one of my favorite desserts, Carrot Cake. I think I really just eat Carrot Cake because I LOVE cream cheese frosting, but nevertheless it was tasty.

I turned again to one of my favorite food blogs, Smitten Kitchen, for the recipe for this week's dessert. However, I opted for a traditional cream cheese frosting instead of the maple cream cheese frosting that SK used because I had leftover cream cheese frosting from the red velvet cupcakes that we had earlier this month.

The cake was super easy to make. I opted to use currants instead of raisins because I happened to have those on hand and substituted allspice for the nutmeg. I didn't include nuts because I'm always conscious of possible nut allergies. Another great idea for this carrot cake would be substituting crushed pineapple for the raisins. My mom used to do this when I was younger and it makes the cake a little sweeter and adds a bit of a tangy flavor to it. I highly recommend it. If you'd like to make your own Carrot Cake, check out the cake recipe here and the frosting recipe here.

Sadly, this will be the end of recipes that I share regularly on this blog. I will still be cooking and hopefully baking as I have time, but you cannot count on a weekly recipe. While I'm sad to end this fun Tuesday tradition, I know that Dessert Night will be resurrected at some point in the future when I'm no longer a student. From now on, you'll be hearing all about my life as a first year at Haas.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Way Too Many Cookies and Ice Creams

With the end of Dessert Nights getting closer and closer, I keep trying to out do myself with each new dessert. This week I went a bit overboard, but July is National Ice Cream Month so we had to have ice cream. And what goes better with ice cream than cookies! On a different note, I accidentally selected 3 of the 4 recipes for the week from either David Lebowitz's blog or his ice cream cookbook, The Perfect Scoop, but since they are so delectable it didn't matter.

Peanut butter and chocolate has long been a favorite flavor combination of dessert night goers, so it was only fitting to make sure that at least one of this week's cookies had this flavor combo. Baking Bites just happened to suggest a recipe that combines everyone's favorite, the brownie, with a peanut butter cookie. This recipe calls for chopped brownies in the batter. Instead of making my own brownies, I went to Whole Foods and picked up some of their brownies in their bakery. Very tasty! This recipe is super easy and requires no special mixers or anything to make and was delicious. If you'd like to make your own Peanut Butter Brownie cookies, check out the recipe here.

Madelines quickly became the other cookie of choice because my cousin just bought me a madeline pan. Unfortunately, you do have to have a madeline pan for these tasty cakey cookies. They are generally rather inexpensive for a decent one, but this may be a barrier for some of you out there. Contrary to popular thought, these cookies are super easy to make, but I will warn you that they take forever! Each step is rather time consuming particularly if you're modifying your kitchen gadgets to act as other things like a strainer as a sifter and such. Definitely liberally butter and flour the madeline pan otherwise you're going to have a tough time getting these little guys out of the pan. I opted to use the baking powder to make sure my cookies were a bit fluffy, but honestly they ended up not flattening out well so were a bit rounded. I'd probably try without the baking powder next to see what happens. All in all, they were super tasty. If you'd like to make your own Madelines, check out the recipe here. (Note: the recipe calls for a lemon glaze which sounded super tasty, but I opted to leave that out.)

Finally for the ice creams, I opted for a simple Chocolate Raspberry Ice Cream because it was very easy to make and I love the flavor of all summer berries. Unfortunately, I can't share the recipe for this with you at this time because I've already packed my copy of The Perfect Scoop. The recipe is in there and I highly recommend that cookbook if you like ice creams or even if you have an ice cream maker and don't know what to do with it. When I finish moving, I'll try to remember to post the recipe.

The Absinthe Ice Cream was the most anticipated ice cream of the evening. Absinthe has such a unique flavor that I imagined it would make a very delicious ice cream after seeing David Lebowitz's blog about it. I also happened to have a small bottle of Absinthe lying around which was perfect for this recipe. As far as ice cream recipes go, the ones that are more involved are the custard based ice creams, like this one. Those aren't that bad either, but between the Madelines and the Absinthe Ice Cream, I think I used about 70% of my kitchen utensels. For the chocolate chips in this recipe, I finally found that you can buy dark chocolate chunks (like you see in professional ice creams) at Whole Foods! It was a great discovery and these added a great counter-flavor to the licorice in the absinthe. This was definitely my favorite ice cream of the evening. To make your own Absinthe Ice Cream, check out the recipe here.

Sadly, next Tuesday marks the end of an era with the last Dessert Night. I still don't know what I'm going to be making yet, so if you have any suggestions, feel free to send them my way.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Packing Has Begun!!

Yup! It's official! I'm moving to Berkeley in a week and a half! Apartment...check. Roommates...check. Loans....mostly check. Official employment status: student...check. It's insane! Now that I've officially stopped working and my apartment is starting to live in boxes, it's becoming very real that I'm starting school shortly.

I'm definitely excited about the fun, learning, networking, and general insanity that will ensue in the next two years, but I'm also a little nervous about the balancing act that it will require. Back as far as high school, I haven't been able to do all of the activities that I've wanted to do. It has only gotten more challenging since then as more and more awesome opportunities have come my way. Business school is known for this time crunch. You're not going to have time for classes, job searching, treks, all of the clubs you want, and any other cool projects that you might have the opportunity to participate in. Choosing is the name of the game. Additionally, I have a network of friends outside of Haas that will want me to come and play in the city and do other fun things. So I think the biggest lesson that Haas will help me learn, other than the great business sense that I'm going to develop while there, will be the ability to choose what's most important and balance all of the things that I need and want to do in life.

At the moment, just going with the flow and getting excited to move to campus and meet my 238 classmates! Happy last weeks of summer guys!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Apple Cake

The count down to the end of dessert night has begun, sadly. This week was our 3rd to last dessert night ever. As such, I'm trying to pull out some of the most unique and more challenging recipes to go out with a bang. Over the past year and a half, we've had several varieties of apple pie, apple crumble bars, and German Apple Cake, but this recipe was more of the traditional East Coast Apple Cakes.

The recipe was super easy to make. Don't be concerned if your cake doesn't start puffing up until an hour into your baking. Mine didn't and still puffed up nicely in the end. Also, the recipe says that the cake bakes for 1.5 hours. Mine took closer to 2 hours. It is a dense and filling cake that really brings out the flavors of the apples. Definitely make sure to use good apples for this recipe because they make the flavor of the cake. If you'd like to make your own Apple Cake, check out the recipe here.

Stay tuned for a variety of cookies and ice creams next week!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Black Forest Ice Cream Cake

Summer always means ice cream. I had my first ice cream cake of my adult life for ChuThis's birthday month ago and I really liked the combination of cake/cookies and ice cream. My mom found this recipe in a magazine and contributed it to dessert night.

I didn't have time to make the ice cream for this cake, so I used Dryer's Chocolate chip ice cream. It was tasty, but the ice cream was a lot softer than I had anticipated it being so it melted really quickly. I also decided to use Chips Ahoy cookies for the crust instead of just a chocolate wafer cookie. This turned out to be really tasty but the frozen chocolate parts of the cookie made the crust a lot tougher to cut than I had anticipated. Perhaps a Nilla Wafer or cookie with fewer chocolate chips would have made the crust less tough.

This was a very tasty and super easy summer dessert. Just make sure you keep it close to the freezer and use ice cream that's not as soft as Dryers. Here's the recipe for your enjoyment.

Black Forest Ice Cream Cake: (recipe from California Country)
2 cups ground chocolate cookie crumbs, such as Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers (I used Chips Ahoy instead)
3 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 quarts chocolate chip ice cream (I don't recommend Dreyers because it's too soft)
1 1/2 lbs. cherries, stemmed and pitted
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 tbsp. cornstarch

In a bowl, stir together cookie crumbs and melted butter. Press firmly into the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan. Freeze for 30 mins.

Let ice cream sit at room temperature for about 2o mins to soften slightly (less time if it's hot out). Put ice cream in springform pan. Firmly press ice cream on top of crust. Wrap in plastic wrap and freeze cake for several hours until firm. (Can be made several days ahead.)

While cake is freezing, combine cherries, water, sugar, and cornstarch in a medium pot. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until cherries have given off juice and have thickened. Refrigerate until cold. Just before serving, unmold cake. Place cherries on top of cake. Slice and serve. Serves 8 to 10.

Monday, July 6, 2009


For those of you, non-international students, who've embarked on this adventure you totally know what I'm talking about. For those of you who look forward to a FAFSA in your future, here are a few tips to get you through this process that has the potential to be plainless with just a bit of pre-work:

-do your taxes before trying to fill out the FAFSA and have them on hand when you sit down to complete it
-know your school's code for the FAFSA
-set aside a good hour of uninterrupted time to complete the FAFSA

Really, the FAFSA wasn't a painful experience for me once I lined up the my taxes and an uninterrupted hour. Hopefully, these tips will help you fill out your FAFSA when the time comes.

Good luck!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

4th of July Celebration: Red Velvet Cupcakes

Everyone has been all gaga over red velvet cupcakes ever since Sprinkles came out with red velvet as their signature cupcake. I had my first Sprinkles red velvet cupcake about a month ago and it was good, but not necessarily $4 a cupcake good. Since I didn't even know what made up a red velvet cupcake, I decided that I'd make some for 4th of July.

I have to say that the ingredients of a red velvet cake are rather disgusting: 2 huge bottles of red food coloring, chocolate, flour, sugar, and some buttermilk. The red food coloring is particularly gross to me, so I'm considering making them again without the red food coloring and seeing what happens. All in all, this recipe turned out a very moist red velvet cupcake.

The frosting recipe that is also on Pinch My Salt's website was very flavorful, but turned out a bit softer than I would have preferred. Next time, I will add more powdered sugar to stiffen it up.

If you'd like to make your own red velvet cupcakes, check out the recipe here. These cupcakes also work great for a Valentine's Day surprise, but with the blue sprinkles, they were great for 4th of July.

I hope everyone had a safe and happy 4th!!

Apartment in Berkeley!!

After visiting over a dozen apartments, calling even more landlords to try to see apartments, and constantly surfing Craigslist, I managed to find a wonderful home in walking distance of campus and in a cute neighborhood called Elmwood.

Haas students generally live in one of three neighborhoods: North Berkeley, Gourmet Ghetto, and Elmwood. After visiting all of these neighborhoods, Elmwood became my clear favorite because it's not on a huge hill and while not close to some of the most favorite restaurants in Berkeley, it's still close to a very nice area of shops and restaurants. Also, it's conveniently located on the south end of campus so it's closer to the Bay Area and Peninsula, but not so close to south campus that it's in the middle of the undergrads and sorority houses.

I will be living in a nicely remodeled 3 bedroom, 1 bathroom apartment with two other girls starting at Haas in the fall. We are on the top floor of a small 3 unit building and have a garage, dishwasher and laundry with our apartment. Our landlord is an awesome very responsible guy who did a fabulous job redoing all of the apartments in the building. We are also very excited that another Haas '11 and his wife will be moving in downstairs.

I think it's going to be a great spot and I'm very excited to be moving away from my very heavy-footed upstairs neighbor. I'm also just glad that the housing search is officially over and now I can focus on the other key things that I need to start school like financial aid, health care and all of the other self assessments that I need to do prior to the first day of class.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Blueberry Crumb Cake

Blueberries are my all time favorite fruit. I can eat them by the handfulls and not get bored of them. They are very good for you since they're full of antioxidants. The only downside is that this blueberry consumption rate can be rather expensive.

I decided that since I love blueberries so much, what better way to eat them is in a tasty dessert. I came across a recipe for Blueberry Upside Down Cakes which got me thinking about blueberries in cake. I eventually came across this recipe from Fresh From the Oven that is a take on a Barefoot Contessa recipe. I've been hearing about Barefoot Contessa and her wonderful recipes for years from various foodie friends but I hadn't tried one yet. This was a great and very easy recipe and yielded a very tasty result. Given that I love blueberries so much, I added almost 2 cups of blueberries to this recipe instead of just the 1.5 cups required. It was very tasty. The sour cream made the cake so moist that it was a nice contrast to the crunchy crumbles of the crumble topping.

If you'd like to make your own Blueberry Crumb Cake, check out the recipe here.

Stay tuned next week for Red Velvet Cupcakes in celebration of the 4th of July!!!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Quest for a New Home

With just over 6 weeks left until I need to be in Berkeley, the housing search is in full swing. I made a trek across the Bay to check out places earlier this week.

It's been a challenging search thus far because I'm still trying to figure out my living situation. Will I be living alone? Will I have 1 roommate? 2? At this point, all of this is still up in the air. I've been talking with a couple of girls that I might live with, but the whole apartment search is made more challenging by the fact that I have allergies and that means I have to rule out most of the more affordable places.

I'm working hard to not get too discouraged over the process since I've only looked for the first time. I plan on heading over again this weekend to take a look at more places. I'll keep you posted on the search.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Haas Class of 2011

It's been such a busy couple of weeks that I almost forgot to share with my readership that I've finally decided to become a member of the Haas Class of 2011. It was a difficult decision because unlike so many business school applicants out there, I'm not unhappy with my current job, out of a current job, or feeling like I need immediate change in my life. I'm definitely happy with where I'm at and my current lifestyle, but I know that in 8-10 years I'm going to be kicking myself for not going to Haas when I had the chance. So....I'm going to Haas!!!

Honestly, it's been such a blur that it's still slowly sinking in as I start working through all of the paperwork that we need to have completed prior to starting school in August and the thoughts of moving to Berkeley and getting loans start to go through my head more and more often. It's going to be an intense month or so to get ready to start Haas in August, but I'm really looking forward to it.

Haas Class of 2011, here I come!!! I can't wait to meet my fellow classmates and start on this crazy adventure that is b-school.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Strawberry Tart with Oatmeal Shortbread Crust and Chocolate Ganache

It was another Mystery Box week and summer brings some of the most tasty fruit add ons. ChuThis and I decided to share a flat of the most tasty strawberries ever. Of course half a flat of strawberries was much too much for me to eat before they started to go bad, so I decided to share them with Dessert Night.

ChuThis sent me a host of strawberry tart recipes - one with port sauce, one with balsalmic sauce, and the one that I chose for this week's dessert. Chocolate and strawberries is always a good combination. That's just what you find in this tart. It starts with an oatmeal shortbread crust that is like the best oatmeal cookie you've ever tasted. Then comes a layer of chocolate ganache to keep the crust from getting soggy and adding that rich chocolate taste that meshes so well with the strawberries. The marscapone cream comes next mixed with chocolate shavings. The final topping on the tart is nothing more than those tasty strawberries. They were ripe to the point of being so naturally sweet that they were just the perfect top to the creamy marscapone and the chocolate.

All in all, it was a very tasty dessert. If you'd like to make your own, check out Apartment Therapy's blog post here. The recipes are all over the place for this one so you'll have to kind of piece them together, but I promise that the result is worth it.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Chocolate Whoopie Pies

This week I had a bit more time for dessert making because I took Monday off to recuperate from my Alaskan adventure. While I was catching up on my food blogs in the hotel, I spotted this recipe for Chocolate Whoopie Pies.

The fact that this recipe included Crisco did turn me off from eating the finished product. I will admit that dessert night is not usually about making nutritious desserts that aren't high in fat as most of my recipes do use real butter and whipping cream, but I have thus far never used Crisco. Other than that, this recipe was very tasty. The marshmallow fluff in the middle added a very light and sweet frosting flavor similar to that of the inside of an oreo. The cookies were a bit more dense than I was anticipating and didn't spread out very much as they baked. They had the consistency of the chocolate cookies that make an ice cream sandwich.

Whoopie pies come in all different flavors and fillings. I would definitely make these again, but I'd work on a different filling so I didn't have to use Crisco. If you'd like to make your own Chocolate Whoopie Pies, go here.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Chocolate Chip Angel Food Cupcakes

As you noticed in last week's post, this week's dessert was a runner up for last week's. Everyone strongly voted the Chocolate Chip Angel Food Cupcakes as their second favorite dessert.

The recipe for these was very easy to follow and the use of a muffin pan means that no special equipment is required since I'm assuming that most of you have made cupcakes before. I must say that even though I wasn't entirely paying attention when I made these so there was an additional egg white in the recipe and I forgot to add the vanilla. This is just one of the hazards of baking while on conference calls and doing 5 other things. Despite these errors, these cupcakes still tasted great. I used dark chocolate chunks for the chocolate chips and they added a great flavor to the light angel food cake. I am a huge fan of angel food cake so I really liked these cupcakes a lot. If you'd like to make your own, go here for the recipe.

Apologies for the very terrible picture of this week's dessert. At least there is a picture, but I'll try to make sure that it's actually decipherable next week.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Silly B-School Schwag!

I got home today to the most random package ever from the University of Wisconsin School of Business! I have to say that I'm not going to ever consider moving to Wisconsin, but the random contents of the package did give me a good laugh.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Crumb Cake

Thanks to all of you who voted for this week's dessert! I really appreciated your input and it was great to start to learn more about your likes and dislikes. Chocolate souffle was the unanimous winner, but it is a picky dish that requires special dishes, total silence, and an accurate oven. None of which I seem to have at the moment, so that will have to be a future dessert.

Crumb cake was the second most popular first choice dessert so I went ahead with that. Luckily, I didn't vacuum prior to dessert night because this dessert is really every bit as messy as you think it's going to be. The recipe was very easy. One thing of note was that the cake batter is much thinner than usual. Don't worry, it's supposed to be that way. While the cake is baking, you will be making the crumbly topping. This topping can be made and stuck on top of a variety of other pastries like muffins and scones and adds a nice crunchy crumbliness to them. If you'd like to make your own crumb cake, please check out the recipe here.

Stay tuned for the second favorite dessert, Chocolate Angel Food Cupcakes, next week!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Accepted to Haas!!!

WOOOOOO HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!! After having my application for almost 7 months, Haas finally called and accepted me to the Class of 2011!!! I'm so so so excited!!! What a great way to start a long Memorial Day weekend!!!

Ghiradelli Brownies and a Low Fat Vanilla Ice Cream Incident

Ghiradelli has been my favorite chocolate company pretty much since I realized that you can get as many of their free samples as you want by going back in again and again. They just keep giving you those delicious caramel squares. They also used to have a soda fountain attached to their store on Cannery Row in Monterey that had the best mint chip ice cream. I recently discovered that they are venturing into other chocolate based mixes like brownie mix. Personally, I'm not a huge fan of the traditional Betty Crocker or Pillsbury mixes because they have this bit of artificial sweetness that allows me to instantly tell that they're not a true homemade brownie. Given that Ghiradelli makes superior chocolate, I had to give their brownie mix a shot. This was a perfect week for a quick and easy dessert too with my Haas interview before dessert night.

I must say that the brownies were intense and delightfully moist. I made them in an 8x8 pan, per the directions, but I think next time I might make them in a 9x13 pan to spread out the chocolatey goodness. As Amy astutely commented though, the low fat vanilla ice cream was a good pairing with the intensity of the brownie because it sufficiently diluted it.

Let's talk about this ice cream for a second. I attempted to make ice cream with 2% milk instead of cream and whole milk. For all of you out there who are thinking right now that this is a good idea, let me asure you that it is NOT a good idea. The resulting ice cream had a great flavor, but was very very icey. I even added a teaspoon of rum in an attempt to make it less icy. I'm sure it helped but not nearly enough. If you're trying to enjoy ice cream, but also trying to keep with your diet, I highly recommend just having a little bit of the homemade full fat stuff or buying some of the lowfat ice creams from Safeway.

So while the ice cream was a bust, I can officially highly recommend the Ghiradelli brownie mix. It's really worth the extra dollar over the Betty Crocker mixes.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Haas Interview

Earlier this week, I headed over to Berkeley for my interview at the Haas Admission's Office. I always mis-estimate the amount of time that it will take me to get to Berkeley because I don't know my way around that well yet and it seems that parking is always incredibly challenging and requires a long walk to Haas. I left myself plenty of time and ended up with about an hour to kill.

I wandered around Berkeley and chuckled at the many hilarious sights that you see wandering around along with the most intelligent comments from the homeless bums. (One bum was arguing that you owed him your spare change because you had not suffered as he had for years sleeping on cement and that it would be cheaper than paying his medicare.) After spending a few minutes relaxing in the sunshine and reviewing my interview notes, I headed to Haas.

The interview was an hour. We started talking about me (resume, why b-school, why Haas - those kinds of questions) and then we moved onto her background as an alum and then role in the Admissions office. Finally, we wrapped up with questions. She asked some very interesting questions about my resume that really required that I link common themes throughout my work experience. Most of these questions stemmed from my research paper about nonverbal communication. She also asked about challenging situations that I had encountered and how I had handled them. We talked about why I felt particularly drawn to Haas and why getting my MBA now. This conversation evolved into her asking me about which activities I was looking forward to participating in at Haas. Next, I got to ask her about her experience at Haas and the types of things that she wish that she could have done while a student. Also, she covered the remainder of the admissions process for me since I was interviewing on the decision notification deadline for the 4th round and the timeline over the summer before school starts.

All in all, I felt that the interview went really well. We had a great conversation and I got to show my knowledge of Haas and passion for business school. I can't wait to hear from them in the next couple of weeks so I can start feeling more settled about what my next direction will be.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Vote for Next Week's Dessert!!

I'm stuck in that weekly dilemma again of which of the hundreds of tasty recipes that I have on file I should make for dessert night next week. So, this week, I'm asking for your help! Please check out my survey and rank the things that I'm considering for next week. Check out the survey here:

I will be making the winning dessert for dessert night next week!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Blackberry Clafoutis

I have been wanting to make more desserts with fruit lately since we're getting to summer when all of my favorite fruits are available. I really enjoyed the last clafoutis that I had made because it smelled so good and was so fluffy. I decided that I would add blackberries this time instead of cherries because they are relatively tough fruits. I also saw recipes for apricot and peach clafoutis, but decided that a thicker fruit would be better. Also, blackberries are in season.

I used the same recipe that I used for the cherry clafoutis, just substituting blackberries for the cherries. This time though I used my mixer instead of doing it by hand. While this made my arm much less tired, I don't think that it mixed the batter quite as well as I did by hand. Next time, I think I'll try the handmixer, either that or do it by hand again. Last time's clafoutis was a lot better because it was better mixed. However, it was just as tasty with blackberries as it did with cherries. I'd like to try it again with a handmixer and perhaps some apricots.

If you'd like to make your own clafoutis, go here. Feel free to substitute two cups of any fruit for the cherries.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Cinco de Mayo Celebration: Margarita Cookies

Margaritas are pretty much my favorite way to drink tequila. These are an essential part of any Cinco de Mayo celebration along with Coronas and lime. Why not have margarita cookies instead of the liquid version?

Smitten Kitchen
had a recipe posted on her blog and so I decided to give it a shot because she always has such great, tasty things. The recipe had lime and orange flavorings to create the taste of a margarita, with some tequila in the batter, and a sugar/salt rim on the outside. You definitely have to make the added effort to get the crystal clear granulated sugar to roll the cookies in. The crunchiness that it adds to the outsides is not like any other and, if you use Sugar in the Raw or a brown sugar, it will change the color of the cookie.

Because these cookies are rolled and then sliced, you save a lot of time and energy trying to use two spoons to make nice dollops of cookie dough if you don't own a cookie scoop.

All in all, these cookies were a very tasty bite-sized margarita. Eat them quickly after you make them because they taste the most like margaritas just after you make them and the flavor separates more over time. If you'd like your own margarita cookies, check out the recipe here.

I decided to get a bit artsy this week since I remembered to take pictures before everyone came over.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Haas Interview Invite!!

Let me preface this post by saying that I turned in my application to Haas WAY back in December and after deciding on Fuqua, I had kind of resigned myself to the fact that I was going to reapply next year. I had almost forgotten about Haas.

Today, I got an email from them inviting me to a campus interview. I am so excited because Haas is one of my top choice programs and I have learned a ton more about the school since applying that makes me want to go there even more.

Now, I have the next week to prep for my interview to knock their socks off.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream & Strawberry Sherbert

Thank you to all of you who participated in my ice cream survey. The results were not what I was expecting. Most people wanted ice cream with fruit in the first question, followed by something with nuts. The second question though showed that Ben & Jerry's is the preferred ice cream brand by far. This question had the most responses for an ice cream with stuff in it, like Phish food, cookie dough, or cookies and cream. The other most mentioned desired flavor was vanilla with some kind of fruit in it.

Knowing that, I set out to pick one fruit flavored ice cream and one intensely flavored chocolate based ice cream. The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz is definitely my go to book for all ice creams. That's where I found the most amazing Chocolate Peanut Butter ice cream recipe with peanut butter patties mixed in. It had the qualities of cookie dough with the peanut butter chunks, but also the intensity of the chocolate that you'd find in a Phish food. As with all ice creams, the recipe is exceedingly easy. Just throw everything in a pot, boil for a bit, chill, and throw in the ice cream maker. If you want to make your own chocolate peanut butter ice cream, check out this link for the online recipe or pick up your own copy of The Perfect Scoop.

For my fruity ice cream, Candace had been flipping through my latest Eating Well magazine and come across a great recipe for Strawberry Sherbert. What I liked about this recipe was that it used buttermilk instead of half and half so added a bit of a sour flavor to the sweetness of the strawberries. Honestly, I would have probably added more strawberries in comparison to the volume of buttermilk because I wanted a bit more of a strawberry flavor, but it was still great as is. The recipe is below for those of you who'd like to make your own.

Strawberry Sherbert (from Eating Well):
2 cups chopped fresh or frozen (not thawed) strawberries, divided
1/2 cup sugar
2 1/2 cups nonfat or low-fat buttermilk
1/2 cup half and half
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt

1. Combine 1 cup of berries and sugar in a small bowl and let sit, stirring occaisonally until the sugar has begun to dissolve, about 10 minutes. Transfer the berry mixture to a food processor or blender and process until smooth.
2. Meanwhile, combine buttermilk, half and half, lemon juice, vanilla, and salt in a medium bowl. Press the strawberry mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into the bowl. Stir, cover and chill for at least 2 hours or up to 1 day.
3. Whisk the sherbert mixture and pour into the canister of an ice cream maker. Freeze according to the manufacturer's directions. During the last 5 minutes of freezing, add the remaining 1 cup chopped berries. If necessary, place the sherbert in the freezer to firm up before serving. (If the sherbert becomes very hard in the freezer, soften it in the refridgerator for about 30 mins before scooping.) Makes 8 servings.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Salted Caramel and Pecan Cheesecake

Recently, it seems like I've been making a ton of cupcakes for Dessert Nights. I'm not sure if it was just a coincidence or if I was inspired by how tasty the Irish Carbomb Cupcakes were for St Patrick's Day. I've consciously tried to deviate from cupcakes in the last couple of weeks. I realized that it has been over a year since my first ever cheesecake attempt and decided to try another one.

Salted Caramel has been all of the rage lately. It's in everything from ice cream flavors to Starbucks drinks. It's also a great topping for cheesecake since that's usually rich and the sweetness of the caramel would be a nice complement. I happened upon this great
recipe from Bake or Break. The recipe is super easy. For those of you who want a great easy dessert, this is it. Honestly, the toughest thing was the caramel and that's the easiest thing to cheat on by just using a jar. If you don't have a mixer, it will take more elbow grease to make sure that the cream cheese is light enough, but nothing that you can't handle. You will definitely be rewarded with a tasty cheesecake that's sure to excite your taste buds.

I did learn that nuts are more popular with the dessert night crew than I previously thought. I only put the pecans on half of the cheesecake to cater to those who don't like nuts, and that side was gone before anyone had barely gotten into the nut-free side.

Stay tuned to hear about next week's ice cream experiment and survey results.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Fuqua Decision

After my experiences at Blue Devil Weekend (see both of these posts), I knew I had some tough thinking to do. I needed to revisit my answer to the question "Is this the right year for me to go to business school?" in light of the economic changes that have occurred since I initially decided to apply back in September and I needed to really think hard about "Is Fuqua the right school for me?".

BDW helped me learn a lot about the program and Durham. I feel like I would receive a fine education from Duke and the people were nice. I really didn't like the town of Durham. It's very isolated and I learned that I really value friendships with people who work in different industries and projects and that's something that would be very difficult in Durham because all of the Fuqua students live, study, and hang out together. After this weekend, I knew I could be happy going to Fuqua even though, honestly, it has never been one of my top choices.

Next, I had to determine how I felt about my need to go to grad school this year. I have a great job that is challenging for me and two great managers that will let me take on as much responsibility as I can handle. I didn't apply to business school because I didn't like my job or I was out of work. Since applying to school, my responsibilities at work have grown significantly.

In the end, not being very excited about Fuqua and having significant growth opportunities at work led me to decide to decline Fuqua's offer of admission. I wish the rest of the Duke MBA Class of 2011 the best in their two short years at Fuqua. Now it's either up to Haas or reapplying in September.

Vote for Your Favorite Ice Cream Flavor!!

I decided to make Dessert Night a bit more interactive this week and am looking for your input into which ice cream flavor (or flavors if there is enough time) for me to have for dessert next week. Given that it's been 90+ degrees for a couple of days now, I'm feeling in the mood for ice cream and have decided that's what we're having next week. I'm looking for everyone and anyone's input even if you are unable to attend dessert night next week.

Please check out the survey here:

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Blue Devil Weekend Day 2

I started sharing my Blue Devil Weekend experience with you in last week's post, but that only began to describe the first half of my experience.

The second day of the weekend was where the bulk of the material was covered. We started bright an early with a welcome from the Dean and started in on the curriculum and academic portions of Fuqua. We heard about the Research Advantage as Fuqua terms their faculty that specializes in both teaching and research excellence. They are cited among the most productive research faculty in terms of papers published in academic journals.

Next, we headed off for our classroom simulations. We spent 45 mins in one of about 10 "classes." These are much shorter than the usual 2 hour class, but gave us a taste of what our classroom experiences would be in a variety of different subject areas. I attended the Entrepreneurship and Strategy courses. Both were action packed and the profs were calling on us already. There was a nice balance of discussion and case method in my strategy course and the entrepreneurship course had an interesting focus for researching how entrepreneurial behavior can be fostered.

After classes, we met up with our student hosts for the weekend and chatted with them over lunch to get any of our questions answered. An accounting prof named Shawn worked to convince me and several others who were undecided about Fuqua to the good points of the school. He was really passionate about the program and about the local area. That conversation reminded me of the personal nature of the program because he asked us to come by his office in the fall and say hi so he knew that we decided to come.

The afternoon was filled with a variety of optional activities ranging from soccer games, runs, Wii games, and others. I decided to go on the Duke campus tour from one of the Double Dukies at Fuqua because I had briefly driven past campus but I hadn't been able to see too much. It was a beautiful day! Definitely in the mid-70s and I must admit that I thought it was getting a little "sticky" even though I'm told that's nothing compared to their summers. A group of us took an hour long walk around campus seeing the famous Chapel, Cameron Gymnasium, and undergraduate living and academic areas. The campus was beautiful and it was so nice getting outside after having spent most of the day in classrooms.

The weekend closed with a wonderful dinner and some FuquaVision. FuquaVision is something very unique to Fuqua. It is a SNL style improv sketch comedy group that makes and distributes videos on a regular basis. This one was one of my favorites. After that, it was back in the busses and out to Parizade, a lovely restaurant hangout near one of the most popular living option, Station 9. They had closed the restaurant for us and made it into a happening dance club. All in all, it was a great evening. I headed back to the Washington Duke on the earlier side since I had to get up a mere 2.5 hours later to start the journey home.

I have to say that I'm really glad that I made the trip out to Durham regardless of what I decide about Duke. I needed the first hand experiences of the weekend and conversations with students to make my choices more clear to me and also get a much deeper understanding of some of the things that were mentioned in the info session that got me to apply in the first place. For those of you who have been accepted to schools or find yourself in the spot in the future, I highly recommend that you make the time and find the money to make it to whatever Admitted Students events that your potential program has. The information and experiences you get on campus are something that you will get from no other source and are definitely worth the $500-800 that it will cost to get there for the weekend.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Girl Scout Cookies!

As you've read about in my other posts by now, it has been a very busy last few weeks for me. I decided that I'd take it easy this week and serve Girl Scout cookies for Dessert Night. I placed my original order for cookies from J's little cousin, but then needed more to make this enough for a Dessert Night. I found some Girl Scouts on Chestnut in SF a couple of months ago so I picked up some additional boxes.

It was a fun night. People made ice cream sandwiches with the Thin Mints. J tried a Thin Mint sandwich with peanut butter in the middle which he claimed to be good but not as good as Tagalongs. I even removed the lemon frosting from the middle of one of the Lemon Chalets and put ice cream in the middle. That was very tasty as it had some of the lemony flavor of the frosting still on the cookies.

All in all, it was a great and tasty evening. Next week, we'll be back to the usual tasty desserts. I will be making Salted Caramel Pecan Cheesecake. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Charoset and the Next Web 2.0 Cake

This week, Tara helped us celebrate the upcoming Passover holiday by bringing in some homemade Charoset and Matzah for us to share. The Charoset is a nice apple dish that you spread on the matzah and sometimes even enjoy with horseradish. It was a nice light change compared to our other dessert for the evening.

Rick brought the third cake in his Web 2.0 cake series. This cake was sporting the Digg logo and was a fabulous counter part to the Flickr and Blogger cakes that we've previously enjoyed. It was a very light and tasty cake. Unfortunately, Rick had some difficulty keeping the cake together as it was very light and moist. Luckily, it tasted fabulous!

Thank you again to both Rick and Tara for providing Dessert Night with tasty treats!!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Fuqua's Blue Devil Weekend Day 1

I can't believe it's already been a week since I got back from Blue Devil Weekend. It seems both like it was forever ago and just yesterday at the same time. It was a really fun and extremely tiring weekend at the same time.

To save money, I decided to take the red-eye out of San Francisco on Thursday night which put me into Durham, NC at 8:30am on Friday morning. It was a very early arrival and I didn't sleep much on the plane, but that's what you do to make it to a noon meeting on Friday. Luckily, the Washington-Duke Inn, where we stayed all weekend, let me check in very early on Friday morning so I caught a bit of a nap and a shower before wandering down to the Association of Women in Business luncheon. It was great to meet all of the women and minorities who were there from my class. I also got to talk to Cynthia from the admissions office who helped me get my admissions packet which I had never received in the mail.

Right before lunch, I also met my roommate for the weekend, Lisa from Boston. She was on the opposite end of the spectrum from me in terms of how decided we were on going to Fuqua. She had already sent in her deposit for the Class of 2011 and I was merely checking out the school for the first time. That seemed to be pretty common over the course of the weekend among other students. They were either almost totally decided or were completely undecided, but then I guess that's why you make it a point to come to an admitted students weekend.

After the diversity activities care of AWIB, we wandered over to the Fuqua building for happy hour. Let me just say that the Fuqua building at Duke was the thing that most impressed me all weekend. It's a gorgeous facility!! The building was designed both for form and function. The classrooms are well laid out, but there are also a lot of larger spaces with lots of light and trees inside the building. A great asset for the students of Fuqua since they basically live in that building. Next, the first years welcomed us with a great deal of energy and enthusiasm, reminding us that we had joined Team Fuqua and were now responsible for shaping our own business school experience. From the welcome from the first years, we moved over to the Activities and Housing Fair that gave us good insights into the variety of organizations and clubs that we could be involved in for both fun and professional development as well as the housing options available to Fuqua students.

I will spend just another moment on housing. First, I was unable to go to the housing tour on Sunday which took students around to the most popular housing options and allowed them to see model apartments. In spite of missing the formal tour, I was able to get an informal tour of the area from a girl that I had started talking with on the Fuqua Class of 2011 Facebook group where I also met my roommate for the weekend. All of the apartment complexes looked wonderful! The mosquito nets on the windows were a poignant reminder of the quanity of bugs that I'd encounter during my first summer at Duke. What was even more shocking was that these really nice apartments ranged from $700-1200 a month!?! What a bargain!

After all of the formal activities were done for the day, we headed out to downtown Durham in busloads. I have to say that I really didn't fall in love with Durham as a town in spite of what others had said before I visited. It's a really small, older town that's very spread out. You definitely need a car to get around and a lot of the restaurants and stores are older and a bit weathered. On the flip side, drinks are ridiculously cheap! $7 got both a beer and a cocktail for the evening.

With a light buzz, my already exhausted self headed back to the Waah-Doo as the Washington Duke is referred for a couple of hours sleep before a very busy Saturday!

Stay tuned for the next post of Saturday's academic experiences as well as my first look at Duke's undergraduate campus.

Hamburgers for Dessert!

Unlike last year, Dessert Night wasn't precisely on April Fool's day. I decided that we should have a joke dessert anyway. Last year, I served a nice big flour pot of dirt! It was both really tasty and hilarious because people walked into the room and were confused by the flower pot on the table.

A couple of months ago, J had sent me a link to some very cute cupcakes that were decorated to look like a set of hamburgers. I decided that this would be the perfect desserts for April Fools Day as they look like little sliders.

To make these "hamburgers," you take a vanilla cupcake, cut it in half and then place half of a chocolate cupcake in the middle and cement it together with some red and yellow frosting to look like ketchup and mustard. I even happened to find some green sour airhead strips that looked like lettuce when you cut them into small pieces. The finishing touch on these master pieces is the sesame seeds on top. They really pull together the look and help these look like their real slider counterparts.

Not only were these a tasty treat, but they also were a great April Fools prank on your diners!!!

(P.S. Thanks for the comments about my terrible photography skills and often blurred photos. I'm working on improving this and possibly considering purchasing a better digital camera. In the meantime, my apologies.)

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Cherry Cobbler

Wow, I just realized today exactly how behind on dessert night blog posts I am. My apologies to my readership! I have been all over the map literally and figuratively lately, but more on that in another post. Here we focus on desserts...

A couple of weeks ago now, I finally got around to trying a cobbler mix that my mom had given to me around the holidays. J loves cherries so my mom had found a cherry cobbler mix that she thought he might like. I liked that this mix was just the cobbler topping and used a can of cherry pie filling for the cherry part.

Unfortunately, something in the mix made it smell like it had coconut in it. It was the weirdest thing. My apartment started smelling like a coconut when the cobbler was baking and the smell stayed with it once it had cooled. It didn't have the flavor of coconut when you ate it, but it still smelled like it. I guess personally I prefer more crumbly toppings on my cobblers, so this didn't quite hit the spot for me. It did have a great cherry flavor though.

Thanks to my mom for sharing something tasty and I'm glad that J liked it!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Sunnyside Up Nominated for a Clear Admit Best of Blogging Award!

I found out this morning that Sunnyside Up has been nominated by Clear Admit, an admissions consulting firm that helps prospective students navigate the challenging admissions process for top MBA programs, for their Best of Blogging 2008-2009 Applicant Blogger Award. They offer a variety of excellent free resources for students in addition to their paid counseling services and school guides. Each year, they nominate 25 applicants and 25 business school students for their blogs discussing their application and school experiences. See their original post with information on their criteria and prizes.

I'm very excited about the nomination and will be letting all of you know soon how you can vote for my blog!!! Congrats to my fellow nominees!!!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Upcoming Blue Devil Weekend

With my departure to Durham North Carolina a little over 4 days away, I'm starting to get excited to check out Fuqua. The agenda for the weekend is super packed! We start on Friday with a luncheon with the Women in Business organization and then launch into the full program. The weekend involves class simulations, discussions of how we're going to finance our education, the clubs that we can get involved in, as well as lots of getting to know our fellow classmates and seeing Durham and Duke. I'm definitely looking forward to learning more about Fuqua as I applied after experiencing just an info session.

I'm looking forward to meeting my fellow accepted students to the Fuqua Class of 2011!! Check back next week for a recap of my visit.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

St. Patrick's Day Celebration & Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes

Yup, you read that right. Irish Car Bomb CUPCAKES!! Irish car bombs are one way that we celebrate St. Patrick's Day, but for dessert night of course I had to come up with an Irish related dessert. For weeks prior to St. Patrick's Day, I had been reading about chocolate Guinness cakes and other recipes that involved either Guinness or Irish or were somehow capable of being made green (that's the color, not environmentally friendly).

This recipe just sounded too totally awesome to pass up. As a lover of Baileys, the frosting sounded so amazing. It was a little sweet in the end, but given that the rest of the cupcake was so sweet it blended in nicely. The Irish ganache was so awesome! The flavor of the Irish really came through the chocolate well. Next time, I wouldn't have made such large holes in the cupcakes so there was a smaller amount of ganache in each cupcake.

All in all, it was a very tasty dessert night and a great way to celebrate St. Patrick's Day along with some real car bombs. After dessert, the crew wandered out to the Swinging Door for some great drinks.
If you'd like to make your own car bombs, check out the tasty recipe from Smitten Kitchen here.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Accepted to Fuqua!!!!

This post is a bit belated as I did actually hear this news last week, but I got accepted to Fuqua's class of 2011! It's very exciting, but it does make the prospect of going to grad school more real so all of the questions like should I really move across the country, how am I going to afford tuition, and the like come to mind. I've decided to not decide what I'm going to do until after attending Fuqua's Blue Devil Weekend for admitted students the first weekend in April.

On the same day that I was accepted to Fuqua, I was zapped by Kellogg and I had also been zapped by MIT earlier in the week. Now, it's just waiting to hear from Haas. I'll keep you posted on that front, but don't hold your breath because I may not hear from them until the end of May.

Good luck to the rest of the R2 applications out there as I know many of you are still waiting to hear back from your schools!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Happy Birthday Sunnyside Up!!!

Wow, it's hard to believe that Sunnyside Up! has been around for an entire year!!! We've covered a variety of great recipes and the grad school application process as well as other happenings of life.

Here's to a great year that this has been and hoping for many more!

Cherry Ice Cream with White Chocolate and Dark Chocolate

I've been looking for slightly lighter desserts recently hence the recent panna cotta and this week's ice cream. I know recipes with cream aren't usually considered lighter, but at least both had a significant amount of fruit in them. Berries of all kinds are my favorite fruits and J loves cherries, so I usually look for recipes with any of those fruits. I happened to come across a tasty recipe for Cherry Ice Cream with White Chocolate Chunks care of Technicolor Kitchen. This brought on the great debate about whether to use white chocolate or dark chocolate in this recipe.

This seems to be a rather contentious food topic where people dig in their heals and remain entrenched in their opinions of which is better. Personally, I like both, but understand that people who don't like white chocolate often site the fact that it doesn't taste like real chocolate as their reasoning. Ideally, the food inventors probably should have named white chocolate something else and we would have avoided the majority of this argument today, but I digress. Back to which chocolate to use in this recipe. I decided that I would use a combination of white and dark chocolate because I really like the extreme sweetness of the white chocolate and the intense chocolate flavor of dark chocolate. In the end, I threw in a bit of milk chocolate as well because I had just less than 2oz of dark chocolate and no time for another trip to the grocery store.

I think it turned out really well! The flavors complemented each other nicely and the sweetness of the chocolate didn't overpower the cherry flavor in the ice cream. Stay tuned for Irish Carbomb Cupcakes and Dessert Night's celebration of St. Patrick's Day next week!!!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Grad School Application Update

It's been almost a month since I updated you all on the status of my grad school apps, so I thought it would only be fitting to do one to complement my recent GMAT update. After retaking the GMATs, I thought it would be relatively easy to have the schools that I applied to consider my new score with my application. Sadly, it's been MUCH more challenging than I had previously noticed.

Fuqua has been the only school that has made this process easy and guaranteed that my score will make it into my file and be considered with my application. Kellogg will do their best to make sure that my new score gets considered with my application, but they cannot guarantee it. MIT apparently didn't consider my score because they rejected me just 4 days after supposedly receiving my updated score. Oh well, MIT wasn't my top choice.

Haas, however, has been much more challenging. It took me several emails to get through to the admissions office and when I did they told me that I'd have to move my application from Round 2 to Round 4 to have my new score considered. That seemed odd. So I consulted Clear Admit and they agreed that I should attempt to get my score to them and not move it to R4. Sadly, I learned today that after all of that, my scores didn't make it into my file and may have contributed to the reason that I didn't receive an interview invitation for Super Saturday at Haas this past weekend. At this point, it's looking like I pretty much have to move my application so I can avoid being denied from Haas in R2. All of this is particularly sad since Haas is my top choice and I know that my chances of being accepted are much less in R4 than they would have been if Haas had just considered my new GMAT score in R2.

So, now I'm down to just 3 schools. I'll hear from Fuqua in the next week or so, then Kellogg by the end of March, but I will have to wait until the end of May to hear from Haas now that I'm moving to R4. Oh well, I'll just have to find some patience. Good luck to the rest of you waiting for them to decide your fate for next year!