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For the past 6 weeks I took a little  journey.  A redesign if you will….of myself.  I am the kind of person that puts everyone in front of herself, making sure everyone’s needs were met before my own.  I have always been that way, and I always will be.  But for once, I put me first.

For the past few years’ things have been catching up to me, age, physical ability to do things, trying to keep up with my nephew, lack of strength.  I am not getting any younger and these things were becoming excuses in my life.   I think the final straw was when I was having trouble tying my shoes because my nephew wanted to go outside and play.  That small simple task all of sudden became hard.  And I said, “ENOUGH.”

I am not one to click on Facebook ads, however this one caught my eye, “Transform yourself in 6 Weeks”.  So I signed up for their open house to find out about the program.

I showed up with 20 other women.  We all went around the room and shared with each other why we were there.  Some of the other ladies were not far off from my own reasons to join.  Half way through the talk, I knew that I was committing to do this.

The gym rules that we read after every boot camp workout.

The gym rules that we read after every boot camp workout.

On June 16, I started my 6-week challenge with New Body Boot Camp in Park Slope, Brooklyn.  My morning began with my weightlifting coach Tasha and right off it was a positive experience.   We jumped in and started training.   The first week was the hardest.  You hear “Boot Camp” and think Uh Oh.  Exactly.  I was very sore and each day and I had to talk myself into going to class.  Week 2 was a little easier (not from the exercises themselves, but the routine of it all). By week three I started to notice little changes.  By weeks 4, 5 and 6 I noticed a lot of changes.  Sometimes noticing new things when you first wake up in the morning.  There was weight loss success as well as NSV’s (No Scale Victories), my clothes fit better and I now notice definition in some of my muscles.

That's right - we worked out with tires and I can do crazy things with them now.

That’s right – we worked out with tires and I can do crazy things with them now.

Working out has never been fun for me, it’s always just been hard or lonely or both.  (Let’s face it – most people feel this way!)  I finally found a little “gym” that I can call home.   Class sizes are small, my instructors care about my form as to not prevent injury, while our workouts are HARD, they make them enjoyable.  And because I enjoyed going to class almost everyday, I learned that this could actually be a life-changing thing for me.  After 6 weeks, I am STRONG.  I can do a plank for 60 seconds, I can do pushups, I can do burpees and all sorts of other crazy things they threw my way.  Was it hard at first?  OF COURSE IT WAS.  Is it still hard now? Yep!  It’s really the first time I have ever challenged myself and wanted to feel victory.  Every time I go to class, I walk out feeling stronger, happier and more confident in me and I am really proud of that.

For every workout, it was written on the board for all participants to see.  Sometimes, I didn't look at the board just to keep it interesting.

Each workout was written on the board for all participants to see. Sometimes, I didn’t look at the board just to keep it interesting.

kettle bells

I am no longer afraid of kettle bells. I even go for the heavier ones now because the lighter ones no longer do anything for my workout.

This was only one part of our challenge, the other part was food.  When I first started, I was trying to figure out how my eating habits were going to fit into this new exercise regime.  Food used to be something to eat of when I was hungry, bored or stressed out.  Now I look at food as a way to fuel my body.  Are my choices still tasty?  Absolutely.  Because I have drastically increased my activity level, I was hungry ALL THE TIME.  And now I eat little meals throughout the day to satisfy my cravings by making smart choices of what I put in my mouth.

breakfast

My favorite breakfast(and sometimes dinner) that I made for myself throughout my 6 weeks. Poached eggs over grilled asparagus with dijon vinaigrette.

I want to personally thank the four people at boot camp who worked with me and helped me discover that these are things that I can do – Aja, Irvin, Naliaka and Tasha.  Thanks for continuing to make working out fun!

My journey is far from over.   I learned that “I got this”, I can make this a part of my life and that I have to put myself (health) before others and it’s one of the best decisions I have ever made.

The "redesigned" me!  I still have a ways to go, but I am really proud of myself!

The new “redesigned” me with one of my instructors Naliaka. I still have a ways to go, but I am really proud of myself!

In 42 days (6 weeks):
I went to 37 boot camp classes
I walked 838,690 steps which is 237.89 miles
I lost 17 pounds
I lost 4.7% body fat

I was going through my external hard drive and realized I had a few more cake treats up my sleeve!   When I was working for Ron he was commissioned to do how-to stories for Pastry & Baking Magazine. So I am going to share a few more with you.

Summer is right around the corner and we have many reasons to celebrate!  Here is an adorable cake that is great for any occasion. Also – don’t forget to visit my favorite baker, Ron Ben-Israel at his Facebook page he has lots of fun things happening right now and you should check them out!

(This story was photographed by Rebecca Woodman Taylor for Ron Ben-Israel Cakes and Pastry & Baking Magazine.)

Here is your equipment list: Satin Ice Fondant, Satin Ice Sugar Paste, Pizza cutter/pastry wheel, Smooth rolling pin, Textured rolling pins, Metal ruler, Paintbrush(s), Pencil, drinking straws, wooden spoon etc…Drying foam, Piping tips and Water.

 A Fun Celebration Cake

Begin with a two-tier cake covered with Satin Ice Fondant.  Measure the circumference of each tier.

Begin with a two-tier cake covered with Satin Ice Fondant. Measure the circumference of each tier.

Roll out bright colored Satin Ice gum paste using a plastic rolling pin.

Roll out bright colored Satin Ice gum paste using a plastic rolling pin.

Using a textured rolling pin and even pressure, carefully roll out a raised design.

Using a textured rolling pin and even pressure, carefully roll out a raised design.

Cut strips to desired width.

Cut strips to desired width.

Apply bands to cake using water to moisten.  Play with colors, textures and angles to achieve the effect of festive streamers.

Apply bands to cake using water to moisten. Play with colors, textures and angles to achieve the effect of festive streamers.

To make curly-cues, cut bright strips of colored paste in varying widths and lengths.  Wrap around any round objects, such as: pencils, drinking straws, wooden spoon handles, or paint brushes.

To make curly-cues, cut bright strips of colored paste in varying widths and lengths. Wrap around any round objects, such as: pencils, drinking straws, wooden spoon handles, or paint brushes.

Tip:  Allow to dry a few minutes before removing strips and arranging them in half-moon shapes.  Let dry completely for a few hours.

To make confetti, roll out sugar paste and cut out circles using piping tips.  Allow to dry.

To make confetti, roll out sugar paste and cut out circles using piping tips. Allow to dry.

Attach curly-cues and confetti to cake with a dab of water.

Attach curly-cues and confetti to cake with a dab of water.

Beauty shot!

Beauty shot!

 

I posted this a few years back, but since it’s wedding season, I thought it might be fun to repost again.

Today’s posting is how to decorate a sweet, romantic cake.  This “how to” was featured in Pastry & Baking North America. (If interested in a subscription, click here: http://www.pastryna.com/pastryna_subscribe.htm) Ron came up with the concept and my former co-worker Sarah worked out the steps and I photographed the story.

Have fun and enjoy!  If any of you out there do make this cake, please send us your photos, we would love to see your versions.

 

 

1. Stack three round cake tiers, iced in butter cream and a thin layer of Ivory Satin Ice fondant. (We used 10” + 7” + 5” cakes on a 13” board.)

2. Roll thin strips of Ivory Satin Ice fondant on a textured board to achieve quilted pattern. (Ron uses a Lucite florescent lighting cover.)

3. Measure the circumference of the top and bottom tiers, and trim strips along the diagonal line.

4. Lightly brush the back of each fondant strip with water and apply to the bottom and top tiers.

5. Line up the diagonal seams to meet each other.

6. Roll out white Satin Ice Gum Paste and cut out flowers using a small blossom cutter.

7. Cup flowers with a ball tool against a piece of soft foam. Set flowers aside to dry.

8. Roll small balls of Blue Satin Ice fondant and attach to the center of each flowers with a bit of water.

9. Using the quilted pattern as a guide, apply the blossoms in a Swiss dot pattern.

10. Roll Blue Satin Ice fondant and cut into strips. Moisten the edges with water, place a wire or a skewer, fold the ends and fasten while cinching into a loop. Let loops dry sideways.

11. Prepare two tails & a small strip for the knot. Those will be applied to the cake while still flexible.

12. Apply a band of Satin Ice Blue fondant around the middle tier. Then attach bows, tails and the knot by inserting wires and moistening backs of the decorations to secure.

13.Mix powdered shimmer colors with clear alcohol and paint all decorations to a satiny finish.

14. A sweet and romantic blue and ivory cake!

Well this is exciting…Ron just told me that he was teaching a 3 day sugar flowers class in New York City at the amazing kitchens of the International Culinary Center (founded as the French Culinary Institute).    There are still spots available to participate in this class by my amazing friend and baker Ron.

Students will learn and practice Ron’s systems of producing Hyacinth, Freesia, Anemone, Sweet-pea, & Candy tulip, as well as decorating a small display cake with their own flowers. (Making the flowers as well as learning how to apply them to the cake from Ron himself???? Yeah….you should signup for his class….)

As a BONUS (and this is a bonus!) each student will be able to take home all of the specialized cutters and silicone molds that were made exclusively for this class.

Click the link to sign up:

 http://www.internationalculinarycenter.com/courses/sugar-paste-flowers-ron-ben-israel/

 

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Ron is a great teacher, you will learn a lot from him. Take his class!!!!

Jason Schreiber, my previous co-worker at Ron Ben-Israel Cakes is offering Sugar Classes in New York City…did I mention that Martha Stewart Weddings just rated him as one of the top 63 pastry pros in America? Yeah….I am proud of him. He’s a great teacher and you will learn a lot from him in his 2-day class.

Here is Jason when we both worked at Ron Ben-Israel Cakes tying sugar flowers.

Here is Jason when we both worked at Ron Ben-Israel Cakes tying sugar flowers.

Space is limited to only 12 students so sign up now!!!

Saturday & Sunday June 21-21, 2014

10am – 4:30pm each day

$600 for both days including materials for class and a light lunch.

Jason class photo

You will be learning how to shape, form, assemble and color: Open Peonies, Parrot Tulips, Ranunculus, Oncidium (Cherry Baby) Orchids, Hypericum Berries and Assorted Leaves.

This class is appropriate for Intermediate students, no need for expert training, but familiarity with sugar paste and some basic techniques are encouraged.

photo

So if you live in NYC or want to visit in June and learn from a really great teacher click here to register!

NYC Design Girl:

I thought I would revisit a funny Friday I had with Ron Ben-Israel a few years ago and who he changed the toner for the printer…

Originally posted on NYC Cake Girl:

He doesn’t just bake folks….he changes printer toner too.  Just another day in the “office” for Ron Ben-Israel.  Ron likes to keep it “real” and do menial everyday office tasks. (He knows I am writing this by the way, he even said it was ok for me to take pictures of this whole thing…not that he had a choice really.)

OK so this is what really happened… Ron wanted me to change the toner in the printer because he forgot “how” to do it.  Now mind you, this is a printer he had WAY before I had even started working for him over 4 years ago.  So I told him “no” and he had to change it himself….then hilarity ensues…..

Ron is getting ready to change the toner in the printer. He looks happy now....

I really don't know why he looks so afraid...

Seriously....it's just toner. You would think there was a large furry spider in that box.

It's just cardboard, he didn't break the toner cartridge. Although by the look on his face...

This does come with directions by the way, which were folded up neatly on Ron's desk. :)

I hate to see how Ron cleans his refrigerator...

A job well done sir, that wasn't so bad now was it?

I would like to thank Ron Ben-Israel for having such a great sense of humor…

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Most of us have a 9-5 job, and we get busy with said job, we keep our heads down and work hard. I am lucky enough to be in a “social” industry (so most of the time it seems like were are doing social things!), we work very long hours, and sometimes we don’t get time off for a while because of our “season”.   There are a lot of industry events that happen throughout the year and it’s a nice “break” so to speak.  We can learn about the new happenings and catch up with our friends and colleagues.

Last night was one of those “breaks”.  It’s even better when an “industry” dinner turns out to be a little something more.  I had the pleasure of sitting at a wonderful dinner table last night. Beautifully set with a gorgeous table linen (thank you BBJ), orchids the color of a sunset artfully arranged in a long, lush arrangement the length of the table (well done Floralia Decorators) and some pretty spectacular company – a few old friends and now some new.

Beautiful linen, table ware and flowers make any dinner special...

Beautiful linen, table ware and flowers make any dinner special…checkout BBJ Linen, they have a gorgeous selection and their customer service is top notch.  For amazing flowers visit  Floralia Decorators.

The chitchat waved back and forth from celebrity gossip to work related tasks then to funny work related stories. It was a real treat to sit with great company in a cozy setting, enjoying AMAZING food and remembering why I wanted to be in this business. We create remarkable events and we are a slave to creating amazing memories for our clients. Well, I had such a dinner last night. Thank you to our wonderful hosts John Wyatt of Sonnier & Castle and Leslie Palme of BBJ Linen.  And an extra thank you to John and his staff at Sonnier & Castle for the exquisite dinner, they get top marks for it all.  On a chilly, wintery night in New York City, this was definitely a memorable event.

Dinner was delicious!  All of the plates were beautiful presented and the waiters and their table service was elegant and accommodating. (And well dressed!)

Dinner was delicious! All of the plates were beautifully presented, the waiters and their table service was elegant and accommodating.  Sonnier & Castle is not your ordinary “catering” company.  There is thought and passion behind everything they put in front of you.  This is not just food but an experience, I highly recommend them for any event.

A fun surprise of the night was finally getting to chat with Lauri Ditunno the fabulous and talented baker who owns Cake Alchemy here in NYC.

We even got to take our own little cake home! A fun surprise of the night was finally getting to chat with Lauri Ditunno, the fabulous and talented baker who owns Cake Alchemy here in NYC.  (And who made the tasty treats for us!)

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