Category: love

A Toast for My Friends

Sarah Lucille has changed my life.  I can say with confidence that everyone in this room can related to and understand this fact.

Like all of her closest friends, I met Sarah in the water.  Our friendship grew through the mutual struggle in competitive swimming, our respect for each other blossomed in countless hours bouncing back and forth off the pool’s walls, trying with all the might in our skinny arms to be the absolute best swimmer that we could be.  Despite the stress, competition, emotion, and simple act of growing up, Sarah was without a doubt supportive, encouraging, engaging, smart, well rounded, and of course, excited.

Sarah Lucille changed my life when she introduced me to the world of synchronized swimming.

We were both at of U of M, a large and intimidating university not very much like the smallish city from whence we came.  In trying to carve out a sense of self,  it was very intimidating to be in a sea of students, all the same age, and everyone really good at something.  I personally was so average in intelligence, so below average in social skills, so under coached in how to fit in, but so ready for the challenge of starting out my adult life away from the coziness of my where I came from. I wanted to find a niche, a way to make the experience negotiable, I wanted an extracurricular to fill in the gap between school and the new found party life.

A few weeks after synchro practice began, I got a call from Sarah telling me that I have join this team.  She raved about how you didnt need any experience to join, about how great the group was, how beautiful the olympic sized pool and diving well were, how this top notch facility would let us swim in its glorious pool.  She really saw the potential in the team. That little push was all it took for me to dive into the strange world of synchronized swimming- sport that blends ballet and water polo.  I can say with confidence that if it wasnt for Sarah, I never would have joined, I never would have stuck with it, I never would have the honor to consider myself a member of that team.

Seriously, I am sure that no one knows too much about this obscure sport, so let me give you a few details.  Its like dancing in water, it’s being graceful while looking like a wet dog, it’s defying all natural instincts when you are faced with the water: you keep your eyes open, you have to maintain a clear sense of direction while also upside down and submerged underwater, and you have smile all while wearing a sequenced bathing suit, have your face painted with clownlike make-up, and your hair literally glued to your head with gelatin.  Most importantly, you have to stay clear headed and in control while under pressure, underwater, while wet and confused. You cannot touch the bottom, you have to count music the entire time, and you have to copy the movements of seven other people.  It sounds impossible and it felt like that the entire 4 years I was on the team.  In the beginning, we would be SO proud when there was just a few seconds of actual synchronization.

This was an extremely hard sport, but good lord did we have a good time.  We had a lot of adventures and I learned more about myself then than ever before or since.

Being a part of this team is the single most important event of my college years.  I would not be the same person today  if I was not able to be on this team and share this traumatic event with Sarah.  And just like in highschool, she was fun, encouraging, creative, energetic, supportive, engaging.  Never critical, needy, judgemental or negative.  She always wanted me to succeed and be a great swimmer and pushed me to keep on trying even though I had no natural talent nor grace.

In getting to know the other bridemaids, it has been stated again and again that Sarah has helped everyone push there boundaries, to encourage everyone to try a little harder, go a little further, never give up or give in.  She has made people stronger, more confident, more talented all with in her style of happy encouragement and determination.

Sarah has an infectious personality that spreads cheer, joy, and optimism throughout every situation.  I can say with confidence that everyone in this room can relate to and understand with fact.

Sarah has a level of enthusiasm for life  and consideration for friends that has been unmatched.  Until I met Cy.  It did not take a long amount of time for me to realize this.  As soon as I got to know Cy I was convinced that Sarah met her perfect match.  Being with both of them together makes to best of times great, the happiest of circumstances hilarious, the simplest of events remarkable.

With all the stress and overload of details leading up to the wedding, with taking on the silly task of catering their own wedding, welcoming old friends from far and wide, setting up family and accommodations, filling up her binder with all the details, there has never been any moment of doubt that this wedding is not the best idea ever.  It is so inspiring to see a couple so perfectly matched and so damn ready to shared their vows,  without a trace of doubt in their decision to pledge a lifetime dedication to the other person.

Cheers to friends who make you a better person and cheers to the inspiration found in love.

Thank you Mrs Hans and Mr Van Wesep for including me in your celebration.  I look forward to your shared shennagins and adventures as married couple.  Love you both and am prividelged to have you guys in my life.

Toasted Love


Finding flavors alive in the dead of winter is not the same as the flourishing spring, but we can still get that feeling of excitement and jubilee in this frozen wonderland.

For this dish I focus on the flavor of the amazing Maillard reaction, or more widely know as toasted.  The Maillard reaction is similar to caramelization , but the flavor is not as strong.  This is the magic spot that occurs before caramel, it is a browning process when the sugar reacts with amino acids, around 300 degrees Fahrenheit.  It is what happens when you put bread in the toaster, it is what happens when you start to smell the cookies baking in the oven.  The Maillard is amazing, and I love it.  That is why I chose to focus on this beautiful reaction for Valentine’s  day brunch: I did it for love.  I did it because Milliard represents that toasty warm feeling of butterflies in your stomach, stars in your eyes, a smirk on your lips, a giggle under your breath.  The feelings of love, the feeling a coziness, the feeling of comfort, content, and closeness.

I want to represent various flavors of the browning process, to create a subtle yet complex taste.  There is caramelized white chocolate ganache – toasty, sweet, creamy, and downright heavenly, brown butter milk solids- nutty, rich, and aromatic, oatmeal streusel- for texture and to add comfort, a touch of cinnamon for warmth, and finally a coffee cake sweetened with unrefined sugar- to add depth, to add a unique sweetness, to add character.  This is topped with a light sherry vinegar and unrefined sugar glaze, to add pop to the sugar, to give definition to the toasty and sweet flavor profiles.

The taste of love, the feeling of comfort, the joy of winter.





Honestly the worst thing about marriage and the American love story is that the dude always purposes. He has to.  The women never presents the diamond ring.  Or what, she purposes with a $20 silver fake band and then hopes to get a diamond that costs her boyfriend a year’s salary.  So romantic.  God I would pay to see men in their kept diamond rings that display the paid love, the opposite of dowry.  I want to see powerful women with only the imprint of the quickly discarded ring as they relax after work, sipping on cocktails and flirting with the waitress.

Intrinsically unfair, I only date poor guys.

neon dreams

I want to kiss you in the forest

Where all is dark except we make our own stars.

I twinkle around you

The sparkle in a stolen sentiment.

You can put out a fire with your gaze

Throb a red heart with a pulse in your step.

You have lightening bugs in you fingertips

A tight tune in your hug.