Hello Sweet Fans!
It’s hard to believe it’s December already, and almost our one year anniversary at RareSweets. Last year this time, our team was diligently working to get our recipes and methods perfected for opening day. It was certainly an exciting time for us, and certainly one we plan on celebrating, so stay tuned!
While our team was working towards opening day last year, they were also getting into the holiday spirit. We are truly looking forward to sharing some of our favorite treats with you this holiday season. For me, the winter holidays are all about family memories and traditions; but many of these involve sensory memories as well. The smell of our Christmas Day Roast, the crackling of a fire, the pop of the Christmas poppers that we would always open at Christmas Eve dinner. Even the dripping hot wax that would inevitably fall onto our hands as we held candles at midnight mass on Christmas Eve, all of these are dear memories that I hold in my heart and feel that the holidays would not be complete without them.
Obviously, food plays a huge part in our holiday traditions as well. When I was tiny, we would spend many Christmas days with my father’s side of the family. This day involved many a competing lasagna, lots of pinched cheeks, and a cake with 100 eggs in it that was made for my Aunt, who’s birthday it was on Christmas. I never understood why the cake needed 100 eggs, other than it needed to serve close to 75 people and was bright yellow, but that still did not explain it! That family secret will just have to remain a mystery!
Also during my childhood, we spent a number of years living in London, England. Many of our family traditions took a British turn during that time. Our Christmas roast beef turned to goose. Our chocolate cake and pies turned to sticky toffee pudding and trifles. These days, our traditions are a nice mix of the many periods of our family holidays. I like the fact that we do this, as it’s a fun way to remember moments in time. Food is truly a sense memory for me, and it's certainly one of the reason’s why I opened RareSweets. I love being able to share my memories with our customers, and have them start their own traditions with our treats. Over are the days of my older sister and I putting way too much icing on our gingerbread houses and getting a belly ache from all of the candy that would end up in our tummies instead of the gingerbread house itself. But the sentiment, and the fun that this season brings remains the same.
This holiday season please let us help you create wonderful memories of your own. Our cookies and cakes all have stories to tell, and we want their stories to become part of yours.
PS-We look forward to chatting with you about your holiday orders with us. Please visit our website, give us a call, or stop in the bake shop to chat about your holiday needs!
PPS- Yes, I am the "cherubic" younger sister in that photo. Always trying to be just like my big sister!
Hello there sugar fans,
I hope you have been enjoying the summer. We certainly have been at RareSweets!
When I was a kid, summer was always a time when I could let loose and get into something that I loved doing, or learn something new. It was also a time of reflection, and a moment to take stock of where I was and where I wanted to get too. Even if that meant figuring out how to make it through my summer reading list or practicing my slap shot for the upcoming hockey season. Aside from watching too many Super Market Sweep re-runs, it really was a moment for me to take a deep breath and think a bit.
This summer has really been a time for me to think about work/life balance. It’s certainly a hot topic for women, especially for those with an entrepreneurial spirit. As for women in the food industry, we are usually told to be one of two things: tough, relentless and one of the boys OR just sit in the corner, look pretty and scoop ice cream all day. I like to think that there is another way for us to be. A way to be yourself (whatever that may entail), and unapologetic for it. It’s hard to do this; it’s sometimes easier to be anything else, but it ties back to my rule of following my heart.
What I am coming to realize is that in order to be successful as a female business owner, one needs to listen to different parts of themselves at different times. So, what about the head/heart/body balance? This is a question I ask myself multiple times every day. I mentioned before that I follow my heart, and I hold true to that. You would not be able to come in to RareSweets, and enjoy an amazing slice of cake if I did not live by that rule. Obviously, there comes a point in creating a business where listening to your head is essential to making the business a success. But doing this too much leads to you getting away from the big vision and makes you second-guess yourself and the culture you are trying to create. You may focus too much on success in the short term and less on the overall goal you originally set out for in the first place. You’ve also got outside influences, people who think they know better than you. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t. Sometimes they have a brilliant idea or opportunity, but you know it’s not the right decision for your business. Those are the toughest calls to make, but again, necessary in order for you to listen to your heart.
Did I mention this is kind of like being in a relationship? People think they know what’s best for you or what should work for you; they get protective and don’t want to see you get hurt. Throw in a few sleepless nights, some raw emotion, and too many plates that you need to keep spinning, and it all becomes even more confusing as to what part of you to listen to because they all start talking at once. But, what I am learning every day is that deep breaths are incredibly important on this amazing ride. Good friends and a solid team to work alongside are essential. All of these things are helping me in learning to listen to the right part of me at the right time, even if I have a 102 fever and didn’t know it at the time. These are the important and dear things that are holding me true to my original vision and keeping me balanced.
Finding this balance is certainly not something that happens successfully for me every day. Some days are good and some days I know I failed miserably. But then I remind myself that I can do better. There’s always room to do better.
With next month’s post, I plan to start at the beginning of all of this. The chubby cheeks, the summer weekends spent at my grandmother’s house in Monmouth County, nestled on her couch under one of her chunky sweaters, reveling at her delectable cornstarch pudding with one too many chocolate sprinkles. Let’s press rewind and I’ll give you the whole story. It may take some time, but I promise, it includes a lot of mind, heart, soul, and copious amounts of sugar.
I'm guessing I am around 2 or 3 there. Apparently my lack of grace while eating ice cream started at an early age!
Dear Sugar Fans,
Thanks so much for visiting our new website and checking out my first blog post for RareSweets. If you have made it this far into the website, my guess is that you are interested in learning more about us as a company, and how RareSweets came to be. We have been open at our first brick and mortar bakeshop at CityCenterDC for 6 months now, and what a crazy sugar-induced journey it has been. However, the story of how we got here is about as complicated as what happens to your mouth when you have a taste of our passion-fruit jalapeno sorbet . How much time do you have?
My plan for this blog is to give you insight into how I became interested in baking, or really how you couldn’t keep me away from making chocolate chip cookies and pretending to sell them to invisible customers in my living room. I also plan to talk about my transition in careers, and how I went from a writer, to a pastry cook, to a pastry chef, to a business owner. There’s a lot more to what we do as a company and what I do as a pastry chef than you may realize. Everyone dreams of doing something they are passionate about in life. Some of us take the leap and reap the benefits while also making the necessary sacrifices. I am one of these people, for better or for worse. I follow my heart, and deal with what comes of it. I’ll let you in to the good, the bad, the caramel burns, and the sugar coated visions.
I always say that it takes a family to build a bakery. Consider yourselves part of the family. And stay tuned!