We are incredibly excited about today’s feature, because Lisa He of LHE Bakes creates the most beautiful baked goods! We love how her business has grown since the start, now creating dog treats, custom cookies for clients, and even cookie subscription boxes! She isn’t afraid to try new techniques or experiment, and we think that’s what makes her creations stand out and be so well executed! She’s gotten to where she is through practice and balance — and has some great advice to give through her own creative journey. Keep reading and get ready to seriously crave some cookies!
: Tell us a few fun facts about yourself!
: Am a software/medical device project manager by trade, but love to use my hands after my “day job” is over. I am slightly obsessed with my dogs. I know I’m going to have dogs for the rest of my life. My husband and I are pretty dedicated to fitness! We eat a “if it fits your macros” lifestyle and lift weights 4x a week– we were feeling really out of shape after getting our first jobs out of college, and realized that it was time for a change so we can live better, longer. We also LOVE doing obstacle races (for fun, not competition).
: How did you discover you had a passion for baking and wanted to pursue it to start your own home bakery?
: This was a complete accident! One day in college (this was in like 2008) I came across a photo of a French Macaron. They were SO ADORABLE that I became instantly obsessed and spent YEARS trying to perfect them. These beautiful little treats definitely sparked my passion for baking. Over the years, I’ve always maintained some form of creative outlet aside from my day job– because I need a well rounded life to be truly happy. I finally took the plunge last year and started this little gig on the side– haven’t looked back since!
Today we’re featuring the fun and bright illustrations of Ann Shen! We have actually been familiar with Ann’s work for awhile since we always come across her illustrations in different places online. We love how her designs have an aesthetic that makes it easy to recognize her work and we’re so excited to get the chance to learn more about her. From selling her pieces on Etsy and doing freelance projects, to working on her very first book (that will be released next fall!), Ann is one busy creative! Luckily she took the time to answer some of our questions and show us how much she really loves what she does. Read on to brighten up your Friday by seeing her illustrations!
: Tell us a little about yourself.
: Hi! I’m Ann and I’m an illustrator, letterer, and graphic designer based in Los Angeles.
This week we are featuring Natalie Wong! We love macarons and Natalie makes such unique ones! Natalie is attending university while running her own business at the same time. We know how crazy the workload can be at school, so it’s a pretty amazing feat to be doing both simultaneously. Just goes to show that if you are passionate about something you’ll find the time to pursue it. It’s also a great idea if you want to get a foothold in the industry you plan on entering after school. Running your own business looks pretty impressive on a resume! Read on to learn more about Natalie and her macarons!
: Introduce yourself and tell us what you’re all about!
: Hello everyone, my name is Natalie Wong and I am a macaron artist and baker from Oakland, California. I am currently twenty-one and I go to San Francisco State University hopefully it’s my second to last year of college. I’m studying management so that one day I can manage and run cafes and shops in multiple locations. I love baking and I always have, I also introduce my artistic background in my macarons like character themed ones. I try to make my desserts aesthetically pleasing as well as delicious, made with only natural flavors and real ingredients.
Since St. Patrick’s Day is right around the corner, Tara and I’s favorite Parisian bakery started selling Chocolate Guinness macarons and there’s no way we could pass that up! We are half Irish after all. So today we picked up our friend Jenny (who is also Irish!) and drove a 30 minute distance to get these delicious macarons from TC Bakery. We got a few of them and also got Chocolate Caramel ones which are our absolute favorite.
Now we’ve tried macarons from Laduree and Pierre Herme in Paris and I have to say that TC Bakery is just as good as both of them. It’s great to be able to get macarons that taste like they’re from Paris, but instead are from a little town in New York.
We then went to Jenny’s house and had them with tea, because for some reason they taste so much better that way. To stay true to our St. Patrick’s Day theme, we had Irish Breakfast Tea and talked about Ireland all afternoon long, since Jenny is going to Ireland this summer and Tara and I had a lot of tips from when we went last year.
All in all it was a very Irish-filled day and the Chocolate Guinness macarons were decorated with green sprinkles to have even more Irish spirit. Besides the amazing texture that macarons have, these had a tiny Guinness taste that wasn’t overwhelming and went so well with the chocolate.
Although Tara and I have had many strange macaron flavors like Liquorice, Olive Oil and Vanilla, the tea flavored Marie Antoinette macaron, and the strangest one of all, Cognac, I’ve never heard of a place that has had Chocolate Guinness macarons! That’s why it was necessary that we try them and add them to our long list of interesting flavors. I’m glad they tasted more chocolatey than Guinnessy though, because I’ll never forget how strange and weird I thought that Cognac macaron was. Although you may be skeptical, if you want to treat yourself this St. Patrick’s Day don’t hesitate to combine Ireland’s favorite beer with chocolate because it ended up being a pretty great combo!
Today I tagged along with Tara to the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) to eat lunch at the cafe they have there. She was meeting someone for a job interview, but I love CIA so I wanted to go get some food too! I had been there two times before but only had items from their lunch menu, and this time I was feeling tea and a pastry. After living in London for almost four months, I’ve learned to love tea with scones, biscuits, or crumpets. Since the cafe is known for their pastries, desserts, and macarons, I thought what better place to have tea time?! The cafe is completely run by the institute’s students so they have some really great chefs who are constantly practicing and making new things. Every time you go, there’s something different and they make all of their food look so beautiful! For today though, the Maple Frosted Brioche Donut looked pretty appetizing so I got that with a pot of English Breakfast Tea. I then got a Raspberry Macaron Tart to split with Tara after her interview was over as a treat!