Sunday, November 9, 2008
Friday, October 31, 2008
Even though I passed the Illinois bar exam, my old MPRE score has expired. Soooo... I've got to retake that on November 8th, before I can be admitted up there. The MPRE is no big deal, just a hassle.
Favorite quote from the study materials:
"1. The Lawyer Must Avoid Disruption
Example: Engaging in a fist fight with your adversary may be cathartic but is a violation of the MRPC."
Are you serious?? Because I thought that was okay. How else are lawyers supposed to solve problems if we can't use our fists??
at 11:47 AM
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
I'm in a state of total shock. I passed the Illinois bar exam!!! 12 hellish days of rollercoaster, but I squeaked through - even studying the wrong subjects! The rumor must be true about passing all the out-of-state licensed attorneys, huh!
Anyhow... time to start looking for Chicago tax jobs - help a sistah out!
p.s. - there was a cake this week; will post after company has left town.
at 10:37 AM
Monday, September 22, 2008
Friday, September 19, 2008
Thursday, September 18, 2008
I played with fondant today. Man... that stuff will take some getting used to! When I took it out of the fridge it was a total brick. I put it in the microwave for 10 seconds... no noticeable difference, so I put it back in for 10 more. Still no difference, but I figured I could just get it going with the heat of my hands. I cut it into portions for coloring, and then began kneading.
Mom wanted an autumn themed cake, so we wanted to have the base icing in brown. Despite what the color wheel says: red, yellow, and a little blue, do not make brown.
After adding TONS of orange, they make:
I didn't have a big problem smoothing the fondant onto our layer cake. But there were little bits of powdered sugar in it... it's like I probably should have sifted it onto my kneading area.
After smoothing it on, we added a teal border around the bottom with some acorns and leaves.
Topped it with some more leaves... I wasn't really happy with how it turned out. Our other colors were kind of neon, so I wanted to use them just as accent behind the red leaves. Not the best.
And the top view:
As mom put it, "it was a learning experience."
at 4:35 PM
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Today I made marshmallow fondant. SO much fun - and extra tasty (tastier than regular fondant, I've heard - but I haven't tried regular fondant yet). Also, it's really easy and not as messy as people make it out to be. I've also heard that you can make it in a kitchen aid with the dough hook so long as you grease the stainless steel bowl with crisco.
That's the final product wrapped up in plastic wrap. I followed this video to make it. So much fun to squish the marshmallows and knead the fondant.
... I should really be baking bread instead of icing cakes ...
at 9:23 PM
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
The best part about all this caking? Going to the specialty stores and browsing through fun knickknacks! Aside from ingredients, here was my loot:
Can you tell I'm gearing up for a Halloween cake. I got orange and black coloring as well as pumpkin, ghost, and bat cookie cutters. I also bought a cheap cake leveler, because I'm having a hard time using a knife to do the job.
I'm so excited for fondant!!
at 1:57 PM
Monday, September 15, 2008
So we decided to try our hands at a layer cake today. We chose mocha cream for our filling.
I built a dam around the edge of stiff buttercream frosting, to hold in the mocha filling.
After making the layers, I iced the whole thing with white buttercream, and did a yellow basket weave around the sides with a rope border at the top.
Mom also did a basket weave, but topped hers with a "grass" edge.
Running out of creativity (and icing). I topped my cake as follows:
Mom trudged on and got a little bit wild (as she always does).
I think I've graduated to "Publix Cake" skill level. Impressive for one full week on the job! Still dying to play with fondant!!! Maybe that will be an upcoming post!
at 9:09 PM
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Friday, September 12, 2008
So today I hit the parchment paper with my new toys. I just wanted to play around with the different tips. While my icing was still cool (and therefore stiff), I took yet another shot at the Wilton Rose.
I think I'm getting better! Sorry the images aren't exciting. I didn't bother to dye my icing, since I'm just playing around. I've been reusing my icing and just calling it inedible. I might dye the whole pot tomorrow for images sake. ANYHOW.
I had success with these little stars (even though they aren't technically 'stars' - I was using the wrong tip). I've seen cakes iced entirely with these stars, and I'm thinking that might be the easiest way to go for now until I actually get some skillz.
And finally... I can't make a leaf to save my life.
I think it had to do with the fact that I practiced them right after doing roses, and my icing was still fairly stiff. I couldn't get the tip part... and then it just degenerated into frustrated squiggles. Who needs leaves anyhow... the flowers are what people care about!
at 8:44 PM
Thursday, September 11, 2008
So today, I didn't actually get any practice time in. However, I did make a run to Hobby Lobby where I racked up on some new goodies.
- Grass Tip
- Leaf Tip
- Medium Writing Tip
- Super Fine Writing Tip
- New (non-spice rack) turn table
- Another book with instructions in it
- Checkered Cake Pans
Must.Perfect.Piping.Techniques.First! (else I'll never do them and just play with fondant!)
at 8:54 PM
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Today, we took a break from cake baking to focus on practicing our techniques - namely roses and basket weaving. Oh the patience!! Again, after a few minutes, my roses became droopy. Next time, I'll mix some powdered sugar in to the mix to stiffen it up.
Since we weren't using cakes, there weren't any exciting pictures. After I was already tired of it, I went back and did a quick basket weave to take a picture - you can see how careless I got toward the end.
And mom in action:
at 3:29 PM
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Now that I know I can get icing onto a cake using a butter knife and ziplock, I decided it was time to make life a little easier (and more interesting). First thing this morning, mom and I headed to the cake store to buy some pastry bags, icing tips, rose nails, and yes - a huge HUGE tub of icing so that we could get right down to business. We also bought two books with pictures for inspiration.
Back home, mom got busy baking more cakes. Once cooled, I used my new spatula to slater on some icing. Oddly enough, I found the spatula much more unwieldy than the butter knife. Also, the icing was more stiff than yesterday's so I ended up with some crumbs in the icing. The final product?
Not the prettiest cake, but much more experimental. I shell piped the bottom, tried my hand at some rope around the bottom edge, an oversized version of cornelli lace, two zigzag puff leaves, and of course four alleged Wilton Roses.
OMG those roses!!! Well, I guess the main problem was that the icing was getting hot in my hands, so it became more fluid (and messy), and then a droopy mess to work with. I haven't got the knack of it yet. For the first several attempts I had my tip upside down... by the time I realized and flipped it, the icing was getting runny. The four above were the best I could pull off.
Mom also tried her hand at some roses.
She wouldn't claim title to her masterpiece, instead attributing it to Mr. Van Gogh. It may not be a looker, but I'd call that a vast improvement from Day 1, no?
at 10:36 PM
While I wait for my bar results (with very little hope, unfortunately), why not take a foray into something totally different.
As you all know, I've studied to become a tax attorney - a profession that (arguably) leaves little room for artistic self-expression. After a recent career chat with a friend, I decided to find an outlet. I've always been interested in cake decorating. I'm not talking about your average grocery store bakery cake; I'm talking about Charm City Cakes, Colette's Cakes, etc. That said, I've never actually attempted to decorate a cake before.
I tried to sign up for a Wilton class, but the woman at the store neglected to tell me that I had to preregister. I found out the day of, that the classes were full, and I'd have to wait until October. I'm already waiting until October for bar results, so I decided to take matters into my own hands regarding cake decorating.
Without further ado - what follows is my cake decorating self-education.
I've enlisted my mother into this journey for some companionship. Our mission on our first day was merely to coat a cake in smooth icing and to experiment with icing. We had not yet purchased any tools. I turned a spice rack into my turn table, used a ziplock bag for my pastry bag, and a butter knife for smoothing. End result?
Okay, so first things first, we can all agree my hand writing can use a little work. Given my tools, I thought it was okay. Mom's cake turned out as follows:
Yes, her hand is covered in icing... why? Because she doesn't know how to use a pastry bag.
And yes, you can see we're using store bought icing. BUT, as I said, this was on a whim - no tools! The cake, on the other hand, was from scratch. I should've taken a picture when we cut into it later that night - the inside had not cooked. Anyhow! Luckily the dogs were happy to help out, and the remaining cake was tossed in the garbage.
Yes, that's icing on her skirt - freshly (and promptly) cleaned by dog tongue.
at 9:57 PM
Friday, July 25, 2008
So today was my last day studying in Alabama before flying up to Illinois. It was not as productive as I had hoped, because I had some other errands to handle. First, I had to call a headhunter back about a potential job, and second, um yeah... packing.
I'm still not finished packing. It's incredibly difficult to pack for 10 days of craziness. We're talking Chicago, bar exam, Miami, Melbourne, wedding, and back. That is, back for four days before flying out to Seattle. It's different climates, and events, and then all the side items - ID, bar ticket, wedding gift, etc.
Oh, and a little TMI for the internet, I got my period. Yes! The afternoon before a day stuck on an airplane - love it! I suppose it could be worse, I could have gotten it Tuesday during the exam. Sigh... I can't wait for Tuesday night! Party in my hotel room! :)
at 9:41 PM
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
God I'm a rollercoaster. Confidence is back.
I covered suretyship, I'm sure I've got tax down, and at least I had admin law back in law school (besides, tax law is largely admin law, right?). I also finished real property and torts (two of those MBE surprises). Then did practice essays for contracts, real property, and torts. That leaves only con law, crim pro & law, and evidence untouched. I think I'll skip evidence, because it doesn't make for a meaty essay. Con law has always been the hardest subject for me to grasp, so I'm better of skipping it, and concentrating on the hot topics: commercial paper, secured transactions, Illinois civil procedure, and equity. So that's precisely what I'm going to do. Hit the crim law elements, rely on my memory of procedure, and then go firmly plant the big boys.
In the mean time, it's lunch!
at 12:59 PM
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
*Sigh* So I finally realized that MBE subjects can be tested on the MEE. Then today, I pulled out another source that says admin law, tax, and suretyship can be on the MEE or Illinois Essays, one. Three more subjects?!?! Nooooo!!!
Admin Law - I took the class in law school. All I remember is that it felt like con law. I'm going to play the odds on this one and skip it.
Tax - I thought for sure, since I had an LL.M. in tax that this wouldn't be an issue. I skimmed the outline of the text and realized that I know nothing about super basic income tax. I can't point out an above-the-line from below-the-line deduction, because I normally just pick up a 1040. Regardless, I'm not going to bother with this one either.
Suretyship - This one I think I should take a stab at. I only know two things about this subject: (1) Statute of Frauds applies, and (2) the difference between a guarantor and a surety is that sureties are primarily liable and guarantors are only liable once you've made a demand on the primary person. Yeah... that's it.
Hopefully this post will be a calming influence for the rest of you sitting for the IL bar. If you even sat through a lecture on one of these subjects, you're ahead of the game (or at least ahead of me)!
at 6:41 PM
Sunday, July 20, 2008
I covered wills and trusts today. That marks the official coverage of every non-MBE subject. I think the MBE subjects can be on the MEE, so I suppose I'll review those too if I have time. However, tomorrow is being devoted to practice. I'm going to do two essays on every subject I've covered and make note of any trouble subjects.
A classmate of mine is sitting for the California bar this summer. He took Florida in February, and New York and Connecticut last July. Considering that his circumstances are similar to mine (i.e. he just finished exams two weeks ago), I gotta wonder how he has the energy!! I want some of what he's taking! I'm only taking two exams within the year, and I'm burned to the core.
Anyhow - it's almost time for a dinner break.
at 6:38 PM
Saturday, July 19, 2008
Federal Jurisdiction & Procedure and Personal Property... check and check!
Starting to get a little nervous. I fly to Chicago a week from today, and although I've read several subjects, I've not done much practical work and all my subjects seem to be blurring together. This whole bar exam in two weeks may not have been the smartest $2,000 investment I ever made.
At least I don't have to deal with the MBE, and the MPT seems like a joke from an outside view (and worth only 7% of the score). C'mon motivation - don't make me wish I took that $2,000 and went on vacation!
at 4:27 PM
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Civ Pro today - what a yawn. Apparently it's highly tested, so it got a whole day to itself.
I got my seat assignment - not bad - only half a mile from my hotel. They're crazy about sunglasses, pens, and pencils. I mean, they must have said that they were prohibited at least 15 times. I mean - how is someone going to cheat by bringing in a pencil? Have the FRE carved into the side of one?
Anyhow, as a break I took a swim. Someone must be cracking the whip on me, because a hoard of mosquitoes came and got me - 3 bites on my face/neck (the only part out of the water). Jeez bugs - I deserve a LITTLE break.
I'm getting excited about visiting Chicago. It's been so long since I've been up there! 8 or 9 years at least. I'm not stressed about this exam (yet), so I'm hoping this trip is an exam/vacation. I've not put the books down in what seems like years now. I finished exams a week ago and hopped right into this.
at 6:27 PM
Monday, July 14, 2008
I started studying today. I read the outline for commercial paper and half of the agency outline. This afternoon I'm going to finish agency and work on essays & model answers for those two subjects. I'm beginning to think this is totally doable.
Keep the positive energy coming!
11 days and counting
at 12:25 PM