Monday, May 14, 2012

Running but unable to hide

When my search for "something more" began I was in a not so happy place. I worked in a setting that I did not love, but had to spend the bulk of my time. I lost interest in education, and I was extremely motivated to find something more. I knew there was more, and I knew that I was supposed to find it. And then something strange happened, I began to see something above the horizon, as I approached it became clearer and soon enough it was within arms reach. When I realized that all I had to do was stretch out my arms a little more to get that something I decided to take a couple of steps back. And now looking forward its been a year since I put my baking on hold, my blogging on hold, MarYumms on hold. I do not feel bad because am not one dimensional. I have educational goals, and personal goals. Currently my educational goal is to become a licensed professional counselor, and my personal goal is to establish MarYumms Sweets. I can not hide from either goal because they both are apart of my identity. But now that I know my goals, and have a plan for my plans, I will be less neglectful to MarYumms and balance my time with all of my goals a little more. Until next time....

Pictured is a Black forest cake (Chocolate cake with a cherry filling, vanilla frosting and chocolate shavings)

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Perspective Shift

During my practicum, I remember my professor listening to the recording of one my sessions and commenting, "Maryam, you are saying the perfect responses, but it does not seem like you mean it. Where is your empathy? If I can sense the lack of empathy from a tape, I am certain that your client can sense it sitting across from you." After listening to someone articulate my feelings from hearing a session made me think about what I was doing, and my motivations behind doing it.

I am a passionate being. I cannot commit nor do anything without being genuinely interested. Now that I am a "grown up", I have the luxury of deciding how to handle situations of faded passion. At the time I felt that discontinuing my education was appropriate. I was determined to pay for my degree with cash, not loans. That required me to have to work 40 hour weeks, while going to a practicum site for 20 hours a week and attend classes. I presume I burned the candle at both ends.

After a year hiatus, I am at a point in which I am in a place that I can resume my graduate studies. I needed that year to show myself what I am capable of. I went from making "tough cakes" (what my husband named my first batch of cupcakes), to becoming comfortable with taking cake orders. The fulfillment that I feel in that alone could not have been achieved in a class room. Although I see great things happening for MarYumms, I cannot escape the counselor inside of me, and I am ready to embrace her while perfecting my craft simultaneously.

Until Next Time....

Strawberry Coconut cake with buttercream
frosting and white ganache roses. My first attempt
at making roses.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Driven By My Fears

One of the many things on the list of fears is ultimate failure. I would define ultimate failure as the inability to smile at ones reflection, or the inability to identify any relevant success. With the anniversary of my twenty sixth year of living approaching I have found myself reflecting on the different stages of my life. At times I feel as though I could have put in a little more effort, or at least been consistent in them. But the majority of the time I gain clarity on why I operated the way that I did during those early stages of development. Generally I focus on the educational aspects, my performances in high school and college. My high school career was a roller coaster, some semesters I did well, other semesters I did less well and then there were those semesters that were a little less than less well. But even with the inconsistency of my academic performance, I was not disappointed in myself, I was more so upset about disappointing my parents. For whatever reason I knew that I wouldn't fail a class, and I knew that I would succeed so I never stressed much. I took that lackadaisical attitude to college, and was able to walk across the stage four years after I enrolled in the summer of 2002.

Something that I have put together is that a lot of our academic achievements weigh heavily upon the hand of man (our professors). I learned that the hard way my freshman year, when I encountered a math professor who gave me no credit for a page of work saying that I didn't show how I got the right answer, when I had a page of work leading to the answer. Unfortunately for me I allowed the professor to negatively affect my educational drive. But I learned that you have to have confidence in yourself, your intelligence, and your potential, regardless of what anyone says. Even if they are the person that can tarnish your college transcript forever. Now that I am out of college I have to wonder if I maintained the initial motivation and excelled academically, would my professional options be different today. Hmmmmmm.....Being the optimistic individual that I am I know that I am where I am for a reason, and that is the end of that. Yes there are some frustrating days!!! How many GIGS can one person have?!? *deep breath Maryam* I look at my gigs as an opportunity to invest time into my baking.

I love the kitchen. Not just baking, but the entire cooking process. How simple ingredients can create something magical. When flour, milk, sugar, eggs and butter are involved the options are endless. Biscuits, cakes, cookies, brownies, blondies, or just something that you come up with.

Regardless of the should ofs and could ofs I am loving where I am, because every aspect of my baking journey has been blessed. I just have to keep positively affirming myself, pushing those fears to the back burner because if you can believe it then it will be achieved. Until next time...

This cake was for a co-workers work baby shower. Strawberry and yellow sheet cake with cream cheese frosting. The polka dots were hand made with candy melts and the word baby was made using a candy mold.

This is a number one cupcake cake. There were three flavors of cupcakes used, chocolate, strawberry and coconut, and it was frosted with a cream cheese frosting.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Similar convos

It seems as though no matter where I am, I can find someone who is on a similar life journey as I am. Not to long ago I worked the evening shift at my job. Me volunteering to sit by the front doors during the NA and AA groups gave me the opportunity to talk in depth with a co worker that I normally give a polite smile to. Although we had probably worked together a couple dozen times, we'd never spoken before. He is older than I am, and has had differnt experiences, but he went from mananging a unit of a hospital to learning how to create things from wood. He was modest in his speech, but our conversation just reasured me that I am headed in the right direction.

I had another engaging conversation with an inspirational woman at a beauty salon. About a month ago I decided that I was going to cut my hair. Now, some may think that since I cover my hair (I am a Muslim woman that covers her hair), I lack the attatchment that most women have with their hair. That is completly untrue. I get my hair pressed somewhat regularly, and in between hair appointments I wash and flat iron it myself. Even though I love my hair I felt that it was time for me to see it in a new light, from its beginging stages. I made an appointment with a natural hair stylist; I didnt go to my regular beautician because I had to make this change alone.I had to get a feel for it before I recieved the opinions of my friends and family, and I have known my beautician since I was a child. When I arrived at the salon, I was greeted and after fillinng out some paper work my hair was already getting washed. The lady who was washing my hair began to tell me how she started off at one college aspiring to be a doctor, transferred to a state college and after taking several classes she decided to major in finance. After working in finance for a while, she sparked an interest in hair care, and she persued her interest by watching others already in the field and by asking lots of questions. And now she has a successful hair salon that specializes in maintaining your hairs natural curl. Initially I didnt realize that the lady washing my hair was the owner of the salon. When she was done washing she went on about her business, and after our conversation I had to smile becasue the universe keeps whispering to me "keep up the good work, your headed in the right direction".

My best friend is moving to New York, for her going away gift I made a Sex and the City themed basket. I made Chanel bags, high heel shoes, taxi cabs and martini glass sugar cookies and some vanilla cupcakes with a chocolate frosting. It turned out fab!I hope you enjoy the pictures.

Until next time...

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Giving Some Thanks

Tunnel vision can be dangerous. Sometimes I find myself so obsessed with obtaining a "fulfilling" career that I loose sight of all of the other amazing things around me. When was the last time you gazed at the stars at night? I would not have been able to answer this question if google maps hadn't decided to lead my husband and I through the mountains on our way home from Thanksgiving with the family in Philadelphia. During our turbulent drive we passed through a town that had star in its name, the sky of this town was full of stars. It was so beautiful. As I drove, or rode, through the town I found myself wondering if I could remember looking at the stars in my regular routine. Knowing that I make no time to appreciate the gifts that God has placed on this earth saddens me.

I have to thank google maps for allowing me to realize that I have to take life slow. Enjoy the moments, while planning for the future. There are so many things that I want to do. I want to be able to appreciate nature, without the bug bites and allergies. I want to grow vegetables, walk more, recycle, and volunteer. I want it all. The amazing thing about my wants is that they generally become reality. Even though tunnel vision is dangerous, it allows you to accomplish goals. The secret to it is being aware of the things around you so that you don't miss out on all of the greatness that surrounds us.

Thank you Allah for blessing me with a wonderful family, a great husband, supportive friends, steady income, health, motivation, drive, perspective, personality, humor, knowledge, opportunity and every life lesson that I have learned, the difficult ones as well as the graceful ones.

Until next time...

Monday, January 10, 2011

Happy New Years!!!

First off I have to apologize for my absence. Unfortunately life got the best of me. My husband's transition to a new job, a new residence, my new job, and so many other things lead to me being completely exhausted. I gave myself two months off of life, and slowly but surely I am returning. I have to improvise until I can go on vacation, so if a mental vacation is what I need, then a mental vacation is what I get.

One fear that I think about daily is getting comfortable in a not so comfortable situation. Allowing time to pass and ending up in the same place that I started. Its not a far fetched fear. It happens everyday. You go to work to pay your bills, then you have children, so you are working to pay bills and take care of your children, and the next thing you know you are stuck. That fear is what is motivating me to put energy only in things that interest me. I have been employed at a place for four years, and I have hated it for three years. Some people say well, get another job...And what I say to them is give me another job. I have applied, followed upped, called, personalized, visited, and for whatever reason I was stuck in that miserable situtaion. Don't get me wrong I am grateful for being employed in this economic crisis, and I don't think that I am to good for any situation. But I know my potential and personality, and what it comes down to is that I am tired of people telling me what to do. I am tired of waking up dreading the next eight to sixteen hours, and I don't believe that is how my valuable time should be spent. Fortunately for me my patience paid off, and I am now a....nanny. Although this is not a career either, it is a wonderful break from the stress that I endured at the psychiatric hospital.

I am so grateful and proud of how much I accomplished in 2010. I set out a goal and achieved it. MarYumms is real!! Out of all of the answers to the "what am I going to do with my life" question, the only answer that makes me happy is establishing MarYumms as a real business. But as soon as I get excited about that idea, I become overwhelmed with anxiety, and fear of failure. But I am not going to allow those negative emotions to prevent me from fulfilling my dream. Last years goal was met, so with a new year comes a new goal. 2011 will be the year of cakes. Last year if anyone asked if I did cakes, I told them no but soon. This year I am taking cake orders! I have already created three beautifully delicious cakes. With God's help by the end of this year I will be ready to do wedding cakes. Now that will be amazing.

I have posted pictures of my first three cakes, I hope that they make you crave MarYumms, lol.

Until next time...

Strawberry cake with a strwaberry butter cream frosting. Please ignore the script, this is not the final version of the cake, I didnt capture the alterations.

Black forest cake. Chocolate cake with a cherry filling, vanilla frosting and chocolate shavings on the sides.

Marble cake with chocolate filling and chocoalte frosting.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Learned Behaviors

With this new found hunger for life I have found myself reflecting on everything that pertains to me. The way that I grew up, my family, my friendships, the things that make me happy, the things that make me sad, pretty much everything about my existence. Something that I have recently realized is that I have never found anyone quite like me. I have three sisters and one brother, we look alike, but we all have completely different personalities. And believe it or not I am the odd ball. Its not that bad, its fun, and its the truth. Here is an example of my odd ballness, my youngest sister's bday is October 24,my older sisters bday is December 25, my oldest sisters bday is June 26, and my brothers bday is January 28. Look at the day they were born, all in order, all that's needed is the 27th, good thing my bday is March 27th right....wrong its June 4th. There are other things that I can talk about but the truth of the matter is that I never had a problem with being different. From a young age I was comfortable in my skin. I didn't mind playing alone, or playing with others. I didn't see anything wrong with crying after my mother left me. I didn't care about matching clothes, or what my reflection looked like. I was never self conscious. I learned later in life that you are supposed to care what people think about you and have things that you don't like about yourself. I stopped wearing flip flops because I was told me feet were to big. I'm sure they are, but they are my feet and I didn't have much control over them, so why not embrace them. Once I realized that my feet are perfect simply because they are mine I did away with the sneakers and embraced my Fred flinstone hand feet.

In regards to my baking I sometimes find myself discouraged because there are so many wonderful cake decorators out there. Real artists making real art. I am just someone who is fiddling in a possible interest, there is no place for me in this culinary world. Or is there? When I find myself having the negative, counter productive thought I automatically challenge it and remind myself that I am not trying to be like the cake boss, or even the woman that I interned with. I am merely doing something that I enjoy and allowing others to be apart of my journey (by indulging in MarYumms yummies). I am going to leave my mark my way. I cant be the Maryam who put socks on with flip flops because everyone else had issues with themselves, I am going to embrace the Maryam who is comfortable with herself, flaws and all.

Pictured above is a splenda strawberry flower cake and a coconut number six cake, both received positive feedback so that is good with me.

Until next time...