Johnson & Wales University

I know we have all been busy on summer vacation but I couldn’t just not post one final post on this blog that I’ve been a part of for over 2 years. I am officially a JWU Alumni, I graduated with my fellow graduates in the centennial graduation ceremony on May 24. I graduated with honors with my bachelors degree in BPA/FSM. It was a really bittersweet and emotional day for me, I literally sobbed as I pulled out for the last time and saw the CCE building (the big one in the bottom right) that I spent so much time in fade into the distance and not knowing when I would be seeing it again.

I tried to paraphrase my long note that I wrote reflecting on my 4 years of college but even that still didn’t capture everything. College isn’t  something you can sell by just describing to someone because each person has their own experiences and their own lessons to learn. But I can undoubtedly say that JWU was worth all my blood sweat and tears and has given me so many memories to last the rest of my life.

I will still be regularly on my other blog and will still be running my Disney blog if you’re interested in learning more about the program. I love helping other so if you find yourself with questions about JWU or Disney, you are always welcome to ask! Because once a wildcat, always a wildcat!

Congrats to my fellow graduates!

High-res This is going to be one of my last few post because….I’m graduating on Saturday! After 4 long years that somehow still managed to go by with a blink of an eye, I’ll be graduating magna cum laude for my bachelors degree in Baking & Pastry Arts/Food Service Management. I’m sure I’ll post my real long and mushy post on Saturday!
I decorated my cap for graduation, and it was even seen and reblogged by the official Doctor Who Tumblr! For those of you who don’t watch the show, the two things in the middle are called Sonic Screwdrivers. They basically get the Doctor where he needs to go and help him accomplish what he needs to get done. What better way to help guide my journey! I started in New Jersey, made it to JWU, and will be embarking on my 3rd Disney Culinary Program in September with the hopes of going on full time. As my hero Walt Disney preaches, if you can dream it-you can do it!
Congrats to all my fellow graduates!

This is going to be one of my last few post because….I’m graduating on Saturday! After 4 long years that somehow still managed to go by with a blink of an eye, I’ll be graduating magna cum laude for my bachelors degree in Baking & Pastry Arts/Food Service Management. I’m sure I’ll post my real long and mushy post on Saturday!

I decorated my cap for graduation, and it was even seen and reblogged by the official Doctor Who Tumblr! For those of you who don’t watch the show, the two things in the middle are called Sonic Screwdrivers. They basically get the Doctor where he needs to go and help him accomplish what he needs to get done. What better way to help guide my journey! I started in New Jersey, made it to JWU, and will be embarking on my 3rd Disney Culinary Program in September with the hopes of going on full time. As my hero Walt Disney preaches, if you can dream it-you can do it!

Congrats to all my fellow graduates!

Another busy few days as a tourist!

This past weekend I was able to see the first Watefire of the season which was also my last :( It was always great fun to kick of the start of a school year with a stroll downcity during Waterfire. There’s music, pop up carts selling food, live entertainment, and a good night with friends. I got dinner at the famous Haven Bros food truck that has been featured on Man vs. Food. It’s in the same spot, every night, and it had to be one of my favorite burgers, yum!

Also that weekend, I took a day trip to Newport. As a JWU student you get to ride RIPTA for free, so my hour bus ride came at no cost. Luckily the weather held up and I got to enjoy the Newport Mansions. They have different tier tickets but I went with the Breakers Plus One for $24.50. I got to tour the famous Breakers Mansion and I opted to tour the Marble House. You really have to see them to believe it, absolutely stunning!

This Sunday I went to Boston for another trip. I’ve been to Boston so many times but have never done the one thing I actually wanted to do, the Freedom Trail. Parts of the trail cost extra admission money but you can obviously walk the trail for free. It starts in Boston Common which is absolutely beautiful and goes on for 2.5 miles, so wear comfy shoes! You pass by old state houses, famous churches, the graves of famous Americans, and it brings you to a statue of Paul Revere and the very church where he lit the candles to warn of the British, 1 if by land 2 if by sea. I love history and seeing history books come to live so I thoroughly enjoyed it! I even got a delicious burgers at one of the oldest taverns in Boston. Cheers to that!

I think sometimes one can forget how beautiful our surroundings are when we’re stuck in one place for most of the time. I personally think Providence is really brown, but Newport is beautiful I was born in New York and live a simple train ride from the city, and I think I’d rather spend the day in Boston, sh don’t tell my family! Don’t forget to explore what’s around you! and definitely span it out over 4 years and not trying to cram it into a few weekends!

A few weekends ago I got to cross something off my bucket list, a trip to Vermont! Active members of the Baking & Pastry Arts Club got to celebrate the end of the year with a trip to the Cabot Factory and Ben & Jerry’s Factory in Vermont!

We all boarded the bus bright and early at 7 AM  but all excited.  I’ve spent quite a bit of time driving through states and I have to say, Vermont has the best view!

Our fist stop was the Cabot Creamery. We learned all about how they make cheese and other products and how the co-op is made up of family farms. I feel better buying Cabot now that I know my money goes directly to the farmers! And of course, what good does learning about cheese get you when you can’t try it? Free samples!

Our next stop, and my bucket list item, was Ben & Jerry’s. A little fact about me, I am obsessed with cows. I love them, I collect anything cow related, they’re my favorite animal. It all started because my aunt and uncle had bought me a cow from their trip to Ben & Jerry’s before I was born. He was always with me when I was little and he is right here in my dorm room at 22. It has always been my dream to take him back “home” and I got to do that! I’m sure everyone was thinking why does this girl have an old ratty cow with her! We got to learn all about how Ben & Jerry started their business and their involvement with the fair trade movement, see the making of the new Core line (which are delicious!) and explore the factory. I even bought one of their new cows :)

I was a part of this club since the beginning of my Freshman year and unfortunately my time is done. I had such a great time in it these past 4 years doing things like making caramel apples for a fundraiser, making decorative dough ornaments, baking for charities, learning business tips from chefs-including chefs who have been on tv!, and making great memories. I encourage all JWU students to look into it, even if you’re not pastry. It’s $10/tri or $25 for the year and that money goes towards ingredients and trips like this, it’s worth it!

Phew! What a few weeks it has been! I’ve been busy being a tourist since as you can tell in my bottom right picture, I’m graduating! These 4 years really flew by and I definitely regret not doing some things sooner. I’ve been busy trying to push through the last few weeks of school (ever!) all while being active seeing and doing things around town.

One of my favorite excursions was a trip to Fenway Park at the beginning of the month. I had always wanted to go and time was running out! You can usually get bleacher seats for around $30 but we had a deal with our Stop n’ Shop points. Getting there is super easy, just take the train into Boston and the green line into Fenway and you’re set for some peanuts and cracker jacks! Unfortunately we lost but it was still great fun. I really regret not going sooner because I definitely would have gone more!

That weekend was also the Wildcat Wahoo Carnival. At the end of the year, our parking lot turns into a carnival, think kind of like Grease. You get tickets to play games, free souvenirs, classic carnival foods, and unlimited rides. Tyler Hilton, who used to be from One Tree Hill, was there for music entertainment as well! To cap off the night we had centennial fireworks over the bay, unfortunately my phone had already died! But as someone who has seen Disney fireworks countless times, even I have to say the finale was good!

More recently this past weekend I definitely go to pack in some entertainment! Within walking distance of the Downcity Campus is a concert venue called Lupos. It just so happened that one of my favorite county artists, Hunter Hayes, was going to perform there on Friday as a part of his attempt to break the record of 10 shows in 10 cities in 24 hours all while helping to end childhood hunger. He successfully broke the record and put on a great show!

The next day I went to the Providence Performing Arts Center (right down the block from the Downcity Campus) to see the Book of Mormon. PPAC puts on great Broadway shows throughout the year, I even saw the Rockettes my freshman year! I had always wanted to see the Book of Mormon so I played the ticket lottery for the show. 2 1/2 hours before curtain time for certain shows they hold a lottery to give out certain amounts of tickets valued at $25 a piece. I ended up winning one and was in the front row! I have paid some big bucks for tickets and have never gotten that close! The show was absolutely fantastic and a great way to end one of my last weekends in Providence!

There’s always so much to see and do in Providence and the surrounding areas,like Boston.Just don’t wait too long to try and get everything done!

High-res On the last day trip of our time here, our whole group piled into the bus and made the half hour trek to Ischia, one of the islands off of Naples. I came to the island with expectations for it to be much like Capri. Though in appearance it was similar to the popular isle of Capri, with it’s stone white and light colored buildings, it was much different as it was more residential with less tourists.
            Our group of 30-something individuals strolled up a hill to come to the Terme Manzi Hotel and Spa, a five star hotel that specializes in it’s spa facilities. It was interesting to see what this hotel concentrates on compared to the other two five star hotels we’ve visited.
            We were first offered a glimpse of the rooms and I became enamored with the tile and decor. It was bright and simple and matched the southern Italian decor of mosaics. The tiles were white and painted with an elegant blue and yellow orange design. Most rooms offered balconies and beautiful tile bathrooms. We then toured the spa facilities. They were extensive and offered treatment in massages, skin therapy, mud baths and more.

            We spent the rest of the day at the beach, enjoying the still frigid waters of the Mediterranean. I thought about how all of our travels and visits to hotels has inspired many new ideas for when I open a hotel of my own in the distant future.

On the last day trip of our time here, our whole group piled into the bus and made the half hour trek to Ischia, one of the islands off of Naples. I came to the island with expectations for it to be much like Capri. Though in appearance it was similar to the popular isle of Capri, with it’s stone white and light colored buildings, it was much different as it was more residential with less tourists.

            Our group of 30-something individuals strolled up a hill to come to the Terme Manzi Hotel and Spa, a five star hotel that specializes in it’s spa facilities. It was interesting to see what this hotel concentrates on compared to the other two five star hotels we’ve visited.

            We were first offered a glimpse of the rooms and I became enamored with the tile and decor. It was bright and simple and matched the southern Italian decor of mosaics. The tiles were white and painted with an elegant blue and yellow orange design. Most rooms offered balconies and beautiful tile bathrooms. We then toured the spa facilities. They were extensive and offered treatment in massages, skin therapy, mud baths and more.

            We spent the rest of the day at the beach, enjoying the still frigid waters of the Mediterranean. I thought about how all of our travels and visits to hotels has inspired many new ideas for when I open a hotel of my own in the distant future.

           On Saturday, as part of our group trip to the Emilia Romagna region of Italy, we spent the day exploring area around Modena.

            We started at the Villa San Donnino ready to take on the busy day ahead of us. There is nothing better than tasting vinegar mid-morning, especially eating ice cream paired with Balsamic vinegar.

            A young Italian woman from the Villa San Donnino let us in on the secret of production that we were unfamiliar with. Like wine, the older the vinegar, the better. This particular vineyard uses white grapes to make their product. During harvest, in September and October, the grapes are picked and squeezed and immediately cooked at a hot temperature but not quite boiling. It is then put into a system of five barrels, each one a bit bigger than the other. The barrels are stored in a cold attic during the winter. If it was stored in a warmer environment it would ferment and turn into wine. Over time, some of the vinegar evaporates and in comes the reason why there are five barrels at different sizes. If the first one loses one liter in evaporation, a liter is taken from the second one, and so on.

            This complicated process brings us many different kinds of vinegar that can be put on fruit, bread, salad, ice cream and many more infinite possibilities.

            Our next adventure began in the valley of beautiful rolling green hills, at the San Polo Vineyard. We took a tour of the cantina and learned the special way they made their wine. They pay attention to the most intricate details and really care about their product. The tour was followed with a tasting which included red and white wines, parmesan cheese, salami, prosciutto and bread, including the most amazing potato bread.

            What better way to finish our day of eating with more splendid food. We had our farewell dinner at a restaurant in Bologna which included wine, bread, lasagna, meat and potatoes and of course, dessert. With protruding stomachs, we walked home pleasantly content with the day’s adventures. We are so fortunate to be able to have the experiences that we do and learn about the Emilia Romagna region through adventures and food. It was eye opening to see the differences in business, people, and daily life in the north of Italy compared to the south we’ve been so immersed in for a few months. I’ve fallen in love with yet another region of Italy and can’t wait to return.

 

Hey guys!

So I previously expressed to you how I love to design and being a designer is my ultimate dream. Well, to support that, Here are some looks from Providence College fashion show, here in Providence, RI, that I was previously in. This event place on April 26th.

Enjoy!

Excursion to Modena

Modena is a city located on the south bank of the Po River, north of Italy, which is very close to Bologna.  It is the traditional industrial, and agricultural center in Italy, and famous for Italy’s most scenic tourist attraction.

We went to Villa San Donnino for vinegar tasting in the morning. Villa San Donnino is a famous traditional balsamic vinegar company which is highly recommended in TripAdvisor. The price of the vinegar differs from year to year. The most expensive one is €150.00 which is 100 years old.

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 We tried 6 different types of vinegar. The most special two was ABTM products which have been matured for at least 12 years; ABTM Extra Vecchio products which have been matured for at least 25 years. The product is protected by The Consortium of Producers of the Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena and can only be bottled in 100 cc bottles, and each individual bottle is numbered.

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We also got a surprise: vanilla ice cream with vinegar, which tasted special but yummy. 

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We visited Ferrari Museum in the afternoon, which was pretty cool. The Museum has 6 main halls for exhibition, and more than 500 square metres of other areas offering different services such as the Ferrari Store, the café, a professional driving simulator and a photo point. The experience is offered via cars, big screens and films, etc. We saw various historical cars, and collections of today’s models.

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Haiyao Xie

It’s Raining ! I’m usually one to stay in on rainy days and watch movies but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to visit the city of Ferrara also known as the “Italian City of Art”. About an hour drive from where I was staying in Bologna my group and I met up with a tour-guide where we had a guided tour of the city. Unlike a lot of Italian cities Ferrara had broad streets and huge palaces dating back to the 14th and 15th century which made it very interesting to know that such a small and partially ruined city held on to its beauty and is so rich in history/culture. We had the opportunity to walk through the home of the D’Este monarchy, Castello Estense. What interest me the most out of the entire tour was the castle where Leonardo Da Vinci was a painter for many years and actually getting to stand on the oldest street in the city of Ferrara. 

The rain did put a damper on our mood because we were walking and standing in it for the entire time we were there. We eventually got a break from it all and had lunch at a well known local restaurant not too far from the center of town. For our first course we had Risotto, not my favorite and tortellini stuffed with sweet potatoes which was surprisingly good. Our second course which I absolutely loved was pork chops and potatoes which was gone in .5 seconds. We said our goodbyes to our very informative tour guide and made our way back to our hotel in bologna. It was an overall great day despite the rain I would love to visit again when the weather is much nicer. 

Dannielle McKnight