River, Cookies, and Concerts

Updates since last week:

I finished "Me Before You" and cried my eyes out, because it is still the saddest story, even if you have read it/seen the movie, and then proceeded to watch the movie, again.  Sam Claflin + Emilia Clarke = beautifulllllll people.

As I had mentioned earlier, my phone died so i've been waiting for the iPhone 8 to come out.  I purchased it + a $100 beautiful PROTECTIVE case in my favorite color of the moment on Tuesday morning.  I came home, worked on some personal touches for that big cookie order, and then Bryan and I met our friends, Ben + Katie (a couple) to inner tube down the Russian River!  I brought the phone because it now had a waterproof case + the phone is "water resistant" whatever that means.  I took some photos and documented it (unlike the time I went with Bryan and Niki which i'll never forgive myself for).  We finished our 3 hour run and somehow my phone was lost.  We tore two cars apart and retraced our steps and finally admitted defeat.  The next morning we both checked our cars again (we had had a few drinks on the river, obviously, so we wanted clear minds) and still nothing.  I begged Bryan to have Ben do one more thorough check and this morning he texted saying he found it!  Thank goodness!  I'll never let her go again.

My cookie event went well!  I ended up making brownie cookie sandwiches with a salted caramel frosting + a little extra caramel sauce and sea salt.  As I mentioned previously, I am a big procrastinator, and did not start doing anything until the day before.  That might have been ok if I was just making cookies, but I decided that I wanted to hand cut, hand heart hole punch, hand stamp, and hand write little kraft labels for each cookie sandwich.  Plus, each cookie sandwich was individually bagged, taped, and then ribboned like a present with a tag attached to each.  I didn't even start baking until 8:00 that night, after we got home from the river in terribly sad moods and realized I needed to make another trip to the store (about 12 minutes each way).  Thank goodness my husband is the best husband ever and he packaged each cookie sandwich, taped each bag shut, and cut a bunch of string for me.  He finally went to bed at 3, I believe.  At 5:00, I decided I physically could not do anything else.  I got less than 2.5 hours of sleep but finished with enough time to do dishes and shower.  I had originally wanted to write "salted caramel brownie sandwich" and my website on each package, but I was only physically able to do about 30 or 40.  It hurt my obsessive compulsiveness but I just didn't have time.  Long story short, I was very happy with how they came out and snapped a few pictures of the whole 150 of them in a box, but just didn't have time or energy to get some individual shots.  I'll have to do a small batch just for photos.  The brownies and caramel sauce (I ran out of frosting) were Niki approved, so I feel good about it all!

Yesterday was a jam packed day! I was on my 2.5 hours of sleep and had to drive to SF to deliver those cookies, but I made it there right on time!!! (I also drive fast, which it seems like NO ONE does anymore).  I caught up with a friend for some much needed coffee for a few hours, visited my cousin at work and ate by myself, (which I am soooo proud of myself for, although I would not have been able to do it had she not been working, but baby steps) got to see my mama for an hour or so, and then went to an epic concert with Niki.  We went because she is obsessed with this Chicago rapper, Joey Purp, who was opening for Mura Masa.  We did not know Mura Masa, so we spotify-d him prior to the show, and were pumped.  Random show, because Joey is a rapper and Mura Masa is an electric DJ, but, somehow it worked.  When we bought the tickets, the day they came out, we stupidly and accidentally got tickets for the very last row, ha.  The venue was the Fox, in Oakland, which has general admission standing room on the first floor and seating above.  Niki tried really hard to get us on the floor, but everyone said no, so we decided to just stand in the front row of the balcony, because we assumed it wouldn't fill up.  For Joey Purp we were good and no one was upstairs and it was still a really good view.  Between the time Joey was done and Mura Masa started, the place FILLED up, but somehow no one showed up for the seats we were standing in front of (thank goodness because I was going to have a heart attack at the thought of someone busting us).  Mura Masa is a 21 year old Britishy Frenchish DJ (he's from a made up country called Guernsey/it's not made up but i'd never heard of it) that is so talented it hurts me.  He plays a million instruments and even sings.  His music is so great if you play him on the radio, but live it is surreal.  We were dancing like crazy and had the time of our lives.  He had two special guests - Bonzai, who sings on one of his songs and sang on 2 or 3 tracks, and then Fliss, who I can find no info about, sang vocals on a bunch of songs and was a great dancer and entertainer, although my most favorite parts of his set were when he was alone just playing his music.  Niki and I do this new thing where we don't get drunk for events because we experience it more fully and it's great!!!!!  It was a great show and if he comes back to town we will see him!  I then drove home for 1.5 hours.  I don't know how I did it, but I lived to see today!  Today Bryan and I picked up my phone from work, had breakfast at a place in Healdsburg that was OK, then went to Goodwill and got a dresser for 30 dollars (all of his stuff is in crates and it's killing me).  We tried to fit it in the car but it was an inch too wide, so we rented a UHAUL for an hour.  We got home and he sanded it,  He also started to sand a daybed from Kim + Ken that we are going to re-do.  I was basically a waste today because I woke up too early out of excitement for my phone (I am a firm believer in getting enough sleep and if you "sleep in" it's probably your body needing it) until I started this blog 3 hours ago (yikes).

Currently reading: "The Book of Secrets" by Deepak Chopra

Currently listening: Mura Masa anything, but favorite songs are "Messy Love" and "Love for That"

Current color obsession: anything in the range of robin's egg blue to sea foam green to mint

Upcoming projects: dresser re-do, day bed re-do, felt tropical garland, and Halloween costume

Upcoming Caballito event: Kim's birthday at Shed, so I am making her birthday cake

Upcoming Brynne events: nephew's 6th birthday party 9/30, meeting baby Lorenzo + catch up with Maria and Lis 10/1, John Mulaney 10/5, Terror Jr 10/6


Museum of Ice Cream

Hello!  As promised, here is my big Museum of Ice Cream blog!  

First things first, I've been waiting for this day for months!  I discovered MOIC when they were in LA and followed them on Instagram, falling more in love with each post.  I knew the squad I wanted to go with: my sister, Niki, and my cousin, Ericka.  I did some digging before the next city was announced and read one article in which the founder said she'd LIKE to come to SF next.  Fast forward to several weeks ago when they made the SF announcement official!  I set an alarm for the morning of general ticket sales.  At EXACTLY 9:00 A.M. when tickets went on sale, I clicked the button.  I was immediately entered into a virtual queue (something I didn't know existed, but feel is pretty frickin' cool!). I was in serious panic mode because I had to leave for work at 9:30.  The page very clearly said not to refresh, but I couldn't help but wonder if the screen was frozen.  I couldn't concentrate and my heart was racing so fast, but 15 minutes in, the purchase tickets screen appeared!  I was able to purchase 4 tickets!!!!  I started a group chat with all of us and we got outfit ideas rolling immediately.  We had a little less than a month to finalize everything, so we all hopped on the internet to find some stuff.  Morgan found these adorable skirts from a company on Amazon that she has used before (CowCow), so she knew sizing was accurate and was able to describle what the material would be (polyester/spandex).  We had to do expedited shipping, as they were coming from China.  I knew I wanted ice cream earrings, so I researched and found some really cute ones.  As is normal with me, I procrastinated, and by the time I was ready to order earrings, they definitely wouldn't arrive on time.  Luckily, FANCY SPRINKLES had 2 pairs of super cute big plastic earrings, so I got x2 of each!  The week leading up to the big day we all finalized the shirts we'd be wearing - Niki had purple, Morgan had pink, Ericka had orangish red, and I had teal.

Fast forward to the day of.  Since MOIC is in SF, I had to make the trek out there.  Luckily/not so luckily, our tenants were having some home issues, so Bryan decided to drive down with me to check it all out, therefore, I didn't have to take the bus.  Morgan, Ericka, and I met in Oakland, and Niki met us at an SF Bart station.  I'll admit, I was a little self-conscious about us all matching in public, but there was no one on BART and the girl at Starbucks loved it! We got in line, which had the most beautiful glitter pink stanchion (did anyone else know that's what the ropes that are used to form lines at events are called?) and waited!

The staff were dressed in all light pink, because of course.  We got let in and had to wait in the entryway until a few more people were admitted.  These people would become members of our "team", which we were forced to name.  I think we ended up being "Sprinkle Mint Chip". We needed a team captain, and luckily there was this ADORABLE girl in SWAN SUSPENDERS that was up to the challenge.  To be honest, the 4 of us hated this part and hated the idea that we'd be grouped like this, so we were a little stressed about what was to come.  We went over some "rules," learned a little bit about the history of the building (it was an old bank and the bottom floor was covered in concrete and the MOIC team demolished it and created perfection), did a little bit of cheesy team chanting, and then, thankfully, we were released.  The first room had a ring toss where my OLD phone tragically took it's last breath as I tried to boomerang Niki tossing.  The next room was the most beautiful pink diner with a sundae from BIRITE that they made exclusively for MOIC.  It tasted "like Christmas" was what one of the staff members said.  Also in this room was a pink juke box (I made a mental note not to describe everything as beautiful, but please know, it all was) and records all over the wall with ice cream related words replacing either the artist's name or the song.  For example, VANILLA Morrison's "BROWNIE Eyed Girl".  The next room was a wall full of pink magnet letters for us to write whatever we wanted.  It was here I learned that we all have 6 letter names, as they are what I wrote out with the letters.  There were 3 types of mochi being given out here, so we all made sure to get a different flavor to each try (chocolate, strawberry, cookies and cream). We then received cotton candy with edible glitter spray on it!!!!!!  There was a metallic wall with cherries all over it + humongous hanging clouds and cherries that we posed with.  Life sized gummy bears in a beautiful village of sweets filled the next room.  After that was a room with a few large popsicle sculptures and wallpaper that had a million different popsicles on it.  There was a small kaleidoscope room that gave us our band's album cover picture, if we ever start one.  A rainbow painted room awaited us with a magical unicorn named Grant and "Unicorn Milk" soft serve with a cone that was dipped in what I believe was hot pink melted white chocolate before adding the ice cream.  There was also a small room you had to crawl into that was the inside of a disco ball.  We later found out this was the unicorn's stable, of course.  We were handed pop rocks for the next room, which was a life size rock candy wall with a rock climbing wall next to it that Niki had to climb (she ALWAYS wants to rock climb when I am with her).  Once she got up, she couldn't get down, and I had to help her.  There was a heaven-sent pink stairway we walked up to get to the grand finale, the sprinkle pool.  We waited in line to go in in groups, as it's a pretty small pool.  There was a big life preserver to take photos with and a sprinkle fountain to observe while waiting.  We were given some rules, took our shoes off, and then got a bunch of amazing photos in the pool!!!!!!  Our timeframe was very small and we snapped pictures until the very last second.  We thought the exhibit was over until we stepped out and saw three "rooms" designed differently, with a swing (or 2) in each!  The first room had bananas, the second was pink glitter, and the third had whipped cream canisters from floor to ceiling.  There were two ice cream flavors for sale, but we just asked for samples, and they were truthfully the same flavor, except that one had circus animal cookies in it.  There was a ping pong table that Morgan and Niki played a round on and then a fun little gift store!  They had playing cards, which Morgan has been collecting forever, so she had to get them!  There were a ton of cute things in the gift shop, but I refrained from making any purchases.  All the staff complimented our matching skirts and earrings, YAY! We had a great time and to me, it was well worth the price ($38 each).

Pictures below!

Hello Fall!

Hello everyone!  I told myself I would restart my blog come the first day of Fall, but here I am, the day after, and I don't have much to share.  I am hoping to make this a lifestyle blog, not just about my sweets, so bear with me!  I think I'll just give a little introduction of me and my life today!

My name is Brynne Oliver-Ziontz, I'm 31, and I reside in a small town north of Santa Rosa called Forestville with my husband of almost 3 years, Bryan, and our 2 beautiful cat daughters (Baylee is a tortoiseshell with a serious case of tortitude and Summer is part maine coon part abyssinian with a serious case of angelitude) with thoughts of real daughters (or sons) running rampantly in my mind.  Funny thing about Forestville is that my oldest friend, Maria, had what her family called their "summer home" in this quant little town while we were growing up in San Francisco, and she always wanted to spend her weekends and her summers here and I never got it.  I visited a few times and, being the city girl that I am, hated it.  When it came time for college + adulting, she moved out this way permanently.  Our other friend, Lis, moved out here, too, a few years later and stayed in Maria's family's home while working and going to school, and even then I wasn't convinced it was a fun place to live. Fast forward to a few months ago, when my husband and I were commuting to our mutual workplace in Healdsburg every day from Oakland (he had already done it for 1.5 years before I started my job) where we own a home, and I decided that the commute was terrible.  I had already started to get a feel for this relaxed, nature-driven, country vibe and I was smitten!  We started really looking and got so lucky and met an amazing couple, Kim + Ken, that own a house out here with an addition they built on.  They liked us, thank goodness, and we officially moved in July 4th.  The property is wonderful!  Our living area is attached to their home, but the connecting room is our spare room that overlooks the deck, and their connecting room is their guest area + the acoustics are great. There is a big yard with a whole flower garden, a vegetable garden, several fruit trees, bees, and chickens!  Our space is a 1 bedroom, but the living room is humongous and we have that extra room that serves as storage/litter box space right now.  It has now been 2+ months and we are still trying to figure everything out.  It has been really hard on me, just because I got used to owning my home and doing whatever i wanted to each room (or rather, designing what I wanted and having Bryan, my husband that learns how to do everything from the internet, make it happen :) teehee.  The rooms are all wood walls and the whole house, including the kitchen and bathroom, is carpeted, so that has been a real challenge for me, visually.  I hope to put my creative thinking cap on really soon and make this place feel like home/share with everyone what i've done!  We have barely touched the yard, which breaks my heart, as it will not be warm for much longer, but I spoke to Kim today and she and Ken did a big garden clean-up and i'm hoping that Bryan and I can put in a few hours on Tuesday (our day off together).

A little bit more about me - clearly, my background is pastry!  I went to Johnson & Wales University in Providence, RI, right after high school to receive my AS in Baking & Pastry Arts. Why East Coast, you may ask?  I was born in Connecticut and my whole family is from there, and my mother, father (who passed when I was 15), sister (Morgan), and I moved to San Francisco in 1991 when I was 4.  My most favorite uncle (Uncle Rickey, who passed in January - I might mention him from time to time because he was a very important part of all of our lives) still lived in CT with his daughter, Ericka (my baby cousin/sister who is now 19), and for as long as I can remember, I felt like a part of me was missing and it needed to be discovered back where I was from.  So I moved to RI, hated it, went to my uncle's every weekend I could, made my mom visit me every chance she could, did my internship in San Francisco, and moved back home as soon as I physically could!  I hit the jackpot and received a job at a fancy restaurant called Michael Mina, which paved the way for my future.  I met a lot of great people there, learned so much, and most importantly, met my mentor, Bill Corbett!  I followed him for years at several different restaurants.  I tried being the Pastry Chef a few times, but nothing ever felt right.  It's important to note that I went to school thinking I would do wedding cakes after I graduated, but, instead, worked the line at restaurants for years and years and never really got experience.  I got burnt out so many times and hated my job and hated the path my life had taken every other day. Finally, I said enough is enough, and took a job NOT in the kitchen.  I started as a counter person at this hip bakery/cafe in San Francisco, Craftsman and Wolves in 2014.  Because of my experience, age, and drive, I quickly climbed the ladder there.  I became key holder, then assistant manager, then General Manager, then I hated that and became Office Manager, then they convinced me one more time to go back as General Manager, and then I had to leave because customer service + being the boss of much younger than you people is exhausting.  My last day was December 31, 2016.  My hope was to finally get my business, Caballito, off the ground running, but of course, life doesn't happen so easily.

I had this dream of living in Oakland in my hella cute bright yellow house catering parties with my tropical desserts, while also making jewelry, candles, doing flowers for events from time to time with my BFF and business partner, Niki, and just doing a hodgepodge of things making enough money to pay the bills and live my life.  The first few weeks of January I was so burnt out nothing was going to happen.  Then, I finally got some momentum, and my uncle died.  This is my mother's baby brother, her best friend, a man she took care of all her life, and she was broken.  My older sister, who we joke, has no soul, sometimes, was also devastated, because he was a big part of her life for 5 more years than me AND she lived right above him.  Ericka was his mini me and his best friend.  He was sick, he had cirrhosis of the liver and hepatitis C, but he was better than he'd been, and his death was sudden and unexpected.  It took me a few weeks for it really to sink in, I think because I was so worried about the three of them, and then when it did hit me, I just couldn't really do much of anything.  So, all in all, my family was a mess.  THEN, I got really sick. I had pains in my stomach, in the back of my body, in my sides.  I couldn't finish a meal, I was dehydrated, so I finally got insurance again (lost it when I left my job) and went to the DR!  She had me go in for blood work, and the next day, called me back and said I had to go to the ER immediately because my liver tests were irregular (let's just say, I love wine so that scared me quite a bit!).  I freaked out, made my sister come get me, made Bryan turn around on his long commute to work, and got admitted to the ER.  After hours of tests and no one really telling me what was up, I found out I most likely had a gallstone.  They monitored me for 2 days and then performed the first of 2 surgeries on me.  The first one I think was just to put a camera in me to look for the gallstone, because they couldn't see it.  They kept me monitored and constantly took my blood, and it was clear I wasn't getting better, so the next day they removed my gallbladder.  I think I was in there 4 days, and tbh, that was an amazing experience.  It was Kaiser in Oakland and everyone was so sweet + I learned I love Guy Fieri and watched five million episodes of "Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives".  Mama, sister, and hubby visited when they could, but I was also fine alone.  I had a great liquid diet of beef broth and apple juice, I got my blood taken like 5 times a day, I had an IV of liquid constantly flowing into me, I had some pretty great diarrhea (tmi, sorry, but they had me on stool softeners), and really I got to sleep all day, which is something i'm pretty great at, if I may say so, and LOVE to do!  The craziest part though, was that I was supposed to go to Japan with my sister and husband, and it almost didn't happen!!!!  I literally got my gallbladder removed, went home that day, because surgery was the easiest part, and left for Tokyo the next day.  I was uncomfortable and Bryan had to carry everything for me, but dayum, was it worth it.

Japan was the most magical experience I've ever had.  I grammed a bunch about it, so check me out at my personal account: @brynneziontz.  We were there for something like 12 days, and I still think about it every other day and MUST go back someday.  We got back early March.  I did a bunch of fun friends and family stuff.  In April, I had a gig at the Grand Opening of a shop in Oakland, Mischief, selling my sweets and met a great woman there that hired me to dessert cater her birthday party!  At the end of April, Bryan and I got an offer we couldn't refuse to go to Tulum in Mexico and dine at NOMA for free, because our dear friend, Robin, overbooked.  Long story.  Anyways, we got to eat at NOMA!! It was an amazing experience.  I got back from that tropical vacay and then quickly set up at Mischief to be a pop-up shop with Niki (@foreignspell) for the month of May, and then she and I jetted out to Chicago for a week, to witness the nuptials of a dear friend from Craftsman and Wolves, Amber.  Niki had been to Chicago, I had not.  It is an amazing city that I want to visit again and again and again (also posted a million pictures on instagram).

I started at SHED, where Bryan is the Chef de Cuisine, in the middle of May.  I accepted a job as a Larder associate (I slice meat for people + get them salads + plate charcuterie, cheese, and fish boards, all day.  Sounds interesting, but I've learned A LOT about meat and cheeeeeeeese!!) with the idea that I could float in our retail department and our coffee bar.  SHED is basically a big open space shop, all owned by one husband + wife duo, that contains a coffee bar, a restaurant, a grab and go section, a pantry retail shop, a housewares retail shop, and an event space.  I also accepted the job of making wedding cakes for guests having their celebration in the upstairs event space, the Grange.  We commuted for 2 months and then officially moved up beginning of July, like I mentioned.  We quickly jetted off to Cabo for a family vacay with my sister, mother, and mother's boyfriend, to celebrate his birthday.  We stayed at a hotel we had stayed at years ago, that was just remodeled after Hurricane Odile destroyed a lot of it!  All inclusive mediocre food + pool bar + ocean + fruity drinks + family = amazing time!  It was just a few days, but it was much needed.  After that, we spent all of our days off moving stuff from the Oakland home up here + getting the house ready for the new tenants that moved in August 1st!  I celebrated my 31st birthday with my sister, Niki, and my dear, beautiful, older cousin, Suzy, drinking wine and then eating at SHED!  I've spent some time in the above ground pool we have on the property, did a river day (with plans to get at least one more in), visited with Maria a million times before she gave birth to the most beautiful baby boy, Lorenzo, on Friday, September 22nd, hung with Lillie, my new and dear friend who is the partner of my boss in the Larder, as well as a coworker now, and her baby boy, Sam, and daughter by relationship, Georgia, drove down to Oakland/SF a few times for some MUCH NEEDED family time and BFF time (we went to the COLOR FACTORY, check out my instagram), made a bunch of desserts for friends + to eat, MADE A WEDDING CAKE at SHED, worked a day at Outside Lands, SAW HAMILTON, worked on some fun projects, and basically, started living my best life.  All in all, the move up here has been life changing and I am so happy we decided to do it!  I have my days and vow to try really hard to work on me, whatever that may mean, but all in all, I love my life.  I want to be able to share my experiences on here, good and bad, because I think that's the most important part of doing these things.

Thank you for coming along on my journey :)

Instagram handles: @caballitosweets for desserts, @brynneziontz for me, @seahorseseverywhere for images of seahorses found naturally in the world, and @brynnelovesstarbucks to see all the fun ways my name gets spelled when ordering coffee.

Currently reading: Me Before You by Jojo Moyes because I want to know what happens next (I saw the movie first) + Emily Post's "Etiquette"

Currently listening: "When I Was Yung" by Yung Pinch, "Useless" by Terror Jr, "Deeply Scarred" by Trippie Redd

Favorite Artists at the moment: Terror Jr and Frenship

Upcoming Caballito Events: 150 brownie and salted caramel cookie sandwiches individually packaged, so stay tuned for all that cuteness

Upcoming Brynne Events: just went to the Museum of Ice Cream, so there will be a whole blog all about that, River Day 9/26, Mura Masa and Joey Purp at the Fox 9/27, and meet baby Lorenzo tbd