My Sundays are supposed to be my days off to relax and unwind, but usually end up being the busiest days of my week and this week was no exception. I woke up at six in the morning to finish a three tiered, seventy five serving cake for a 1st birthday party, deliver the cake in Brooklyn at four in the afternoon, totally missed a good friend's bridal shower and then headed to midtown Manhattan for a three and a half hours of auditions for my husband's production company. We met some great talent, some not so great talent and maybe I was just sensitive because I've had a long day but a lot of the stress of the auditions could have been avoided with a little audition etiquette. If you're not an actor, with a little tweaking these principles work the same in job interviews, business conferences & book club meetings...
Featuring Guest Blogger: Marquia Garcia
Hello, and welcome to my sob story (this is one of many).
Not only do I have ADHD, I am unemployed and I have been for about a year. I am a single parent and the only degree I possess is a PhD in Procrastinating, Anger and Day Dreaming. The first few months of unemployment went as so: take child back and forth to school, bike riding, job search, collect unemployment benefits, merrily stride through the park, window shopping, utter bliss. As the winter months slowly dragged on, I found myself falling out of love with my newfound freedom. I comforted myself with my literature habit, which is more like a drug (I’m a self proclaimed bibliophile), junk food, museum outings and the constant changing of my hairstyle. To no avail, I was without halt, slipping into an awful depression.
No, don't ask me anything about being married. I know just as much about marriage now as I did when I walked down that aisle and that ain't much, but if you wanna ask me how I made my really awesome wedding invites, I'd be happy to share that info.
I got so many compliments and comments on my invites:
It's supposed to be every girl's dream. The love of your life drops to one knee, whips out a velvet box and opens it to reveal a giant glittering diamond ring with the promise that he will spend the rest of his life making you as happy are you were the moment you laid eyes on that jumbo jewel.
Ancient Egyptians began the custom of giving betrothal gift of a ring symbolizing the never ending cycle of life and the space in it a gateway to be worn on the fourth finger which was believed to have a vein connected directly to the heart. Romantic, right? Traditional engagement or betrothal rings were just plain circular bands made from gold, silver, iron or other metals.
So why is now that not just any ring will do? Why does it have to be a diamond?
I call myself a pretty luck girl but I think I concentrate a lot on "pretty" and give little attention to "lucky". Lucky, of course, being even more elusive than pretty. We feel if we spend enough time and money and pondering on being pretty then eventually we will get it. But luck seems like something you cannot be proactive to attain. Luck is doled out by the gods. It arrives out of nowhere unannounced. It's powers are limitless yet is completely random and unexplainable.
I was first introduced to the work of Debbie Goard when a former client sent me a photo of a diaper bag and insisted I recreate it as a cake. When she told me the photo she sent was actually a cake in the shape of a diaper bag, I knew I had to learn more! Flash forward 3 years later, and I've finally gotten the chance to pick the brain of world renowned cake phenom Debbie Goard of Debbie Does Cakes! And FYI, these are all photos of actual cakes!!
How long have you been making cakes? 21 years! Hard to believe...
What did you do before you started making cakes? Crawled around in my crib, lol! Ok, it just feels like that =) I actually had been painting and drawing portraits commissions, and had flirted with fashion illustration and design.
How did you learn your techniques? I'm 100% self-taught. Basically, I worked at a bakery doing counter work, just for extra cash and the manager asked if I would be interested in taking over the job of the retiring decorator. I merely watched her for a week, then made my first cake which was then sold. I guess that means I have always done cakes professionally. Everything I have learned about cakes has been trial and error. Since then I have made it my personal goal to always strive to be better with each cake, try to learn from every mistake.
What are you dying to create that no one has ordered yet? I have a secret superpower, actually, that I can just say I'd like to make ___________ and a short time later I'll get an inquiry for that. Of all the superpowers one could have, I get that?? I would like to make an exchange, please. Two things that haven't materialized yet are a giant insect and a Sleestak cake from Land Of the Lost, but now that I have put those out there...?
What are you so sick of making? I am sick to death of baby shower cakes, purse cakes and most kid's cakes. Some designs should just be retired. Did anyone say "Thomas"???
…created a budget.
When you move overseas, there are certain elements that you anticipate leaving behind - friends, family, personal belongings, the comfort and safety and familiarity of everything that is ‘home.’ I still go to my wardrobe and spend several minutes looking for those black pumps that I later realise are tucked safely away in my closet halfway around the world. You arrive in a new place with a suitcase, some savings and high hopes.
I anticipated leaving behind my physical belongings, my family, and my friends. What I didn’t anticipate leaving behind was my financial sense. I’ve somehow gone from being an extreme saver to an extreme spender, and the shift was so subtle… until I took a long hard look at my bank statement, which really should have had an extra zero on it. Right. Not so subtle.
If you are an American, especially an urban one, there are few moments in your day where you are not being encouraged to shop. An endless variety of stores bombard each street, and within each store is a seemingly boundless variety of products, so many, in fact, that at times it is difficult to locate or even remember the product you were looking for. Advertising not only pervades traditional media, but also the subways (the newest practice of the entire interior or even EXTERIOR of a full train being wallpapered with ads from the same company is particularly distressing), buses, and even now taxis, thanks to the insertion of TVs in the backseats. Thanks to the internet, those of us who are lazy or dislike the process of shopping can now buy all the junk we want from the privacy of our own homes, 24 hours a day, and ads pepper almost all popular websites.
Even if you are not an anti-materialist like me, or are of the mind that shopping is positive in that it "stimulates the economy," there are still some real, undeniable problems. For starters, much of what is being sold is made in other countries, often in sweatshops, and the cheaper the commodity the more likely this is true. Additionally, while the stores selling various products are indeed providing jobs, many of the jobs they are creating are low-wage jobs, while some corporate mogul reaps most of the profit. What is particularly distressing is when these huge corporations oust small local businesses, as has happened in spades in New York in the past decade. Much of the country is in debt, and while some of this is due to dire situations in which one's income is less than one's necessary expenses (see "minimum wage jobs" mentioned above, ahem, not to mention predatory lending), some of this debt is due to people overspending on junk they don't need-- not because they are bad, irresponsible people, but because they have been caught in the web cast by the corporate advertisers in which they are endlessly fed the lie that their purpose in life is to buy, buy, buy, and the thing that is bound to make their lives better is more stuff. This psychological assault on the public is, in my opinion, a problem almost as significant as its economic results.
Museums and Broadway shows and cultural landmarks are all right, but everyone knows the best reason to visit New York City is to binge on delicious food and drinks. Despite being poor like Charlie Bucket, I visit NYC several times a year for the sole purpose of stuffing myself full of delicious treats. I work it out on my $12/ hr hourly wage, and you can too, by adhering to these money-saving tips and tricks I invented: