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Chris Hanmer’s School of Pastry Design in Las Vegas, NV is Open for Business

What self respecting foodie doesn’t dream about the prospect of learning culinary secrets from a “World Championship Pastry Chef” and “Food Network Challenge” chef?

Dream no more gastronomes, the opportunity to do so is now within your reach!

Celebrity chef and culinary artist Chris Hanmer has recently opened “The School of Pastry Design” in Las Vegas, Nevada and one doesn’t need a professional resume to enroll in a class. This is definitely a little bit different of a thing to do in Vegas, compared to the normal stuff like Crazy Girls in Vegas.

Thanks to the school’s opening, ordinary home cooks can learn such exclusive, award winning modus operandi as “flexible chocolate”; a technique that hammer created during a coveted “Food Network Challenge.”

What follows is a brief description of the school’s partial curriculum and where those interested can garner more information.

Chocolate Classes

“The School of Pastry Design” is currently offering four different chocolate classes that range in price from $400 to $800 per person and six to eight hours in length.

The most expensive chocolate class is an eight hour “Chocolate Lab” that challenges participants to look at working with chocolate in innovative ways. It is a superlative class for beginners as is the $400, six hour “Chocolate Tasting Class.”

There is also a $400, eight hour intermediate class known as “Chocolate Class Series One” where participants will gain and expand upon such rudimentary chocolate techniques as tempering, colorization, storage and the creation of flowers.

The $600, eight hour “Chocolate Class Series Two” is for the more advanced student and ends with the participants creating a three foot tall chocolate sculpture.

Sugar Classes

Presently there are three different sugar classes listed on “The School of Pastry Design’s” curriculum. They range in price from $400 per person up to $1,200 and from six to ten hours in duration.

The most advanced of the trio is the $1,200, ten hour “Sugar Series Three” class wherein participants will learn a variety of techniques such as sugar blowing, casting, pulling and pressing.

Attendees will also be able to work with silicon molds and vinyl tubing to create an authentic sugar sculpture.

The other two classes are more for the beginner and the intermediate students.

Those classes cover sugar boiling, pulling, blowing, storing, colorization and employing basic sculpting techniques such as sugar flowers and sugar ribbons.

Additional Information

Advance reservations are strongly suggested and may be made by contacting the school staff directly either online or by phone.

Would be students should be advised that the school’s curriculum, polices and prices are subject to change without advance notice and therefore should be confirmed with the school’s staff prior to registering.

Having to Deal With the Dreaded Carpet Again

There comes a point in time (or many points at many times) when a carpet needs a good cleaning. Sure vacuuming can be great for day-to-day upkeep, but when it comes to the carpet that’s in the office, this thing needs therapy for all it’s been through!

I already know what you’re thinking, “Oh it can’t be that bad.”

Well let’s think about this real fast. Imagine a place where people walk all over melted rubber on asphalt, mixed with some gasoline and oil. You walk around in that all the time, then have to come up into the office where we have carpet and guess what happens? You guessed it – the carpet turns into some sort of roadway with hard sticky material.

So what are our options? We could do the smart thing and just get rid of the carpet. We could also require folks to remove their shoes before entering the office. Maybe we could just hire something like a carpet cleaning alexandria va company every once in a while. Obviously hiring a cleaning company all the time would get costly, but having carpet in the office is supposed to be a bit of a comfort feature which is nice when you’re at the track all the time.

Even if we did end up hunting for a carpet cleaning company, imagine trying to describe over the phone how bad the carpet is. “So, uh, the runways on the carpet are pretty much 1 zig-zagging path of hardened rubber, and all around it is a cloud of gas and oil residue.”

We will probably go with just replacing the carpet once and for all – maybe throw down something easy to clean like linoleum. I’m sure I’ll miss the days when I could kick the shoes off and relax a bit, but on the other hand I won’t have to be hassled by doing a major clean up every month.

Professional and Punctual Airport VIP Services

Although there are some people that genuinely enjoy the chaos of traveling by airplane, the vast major of us find traveling to be a hectic nightmare that is a necessity sometimes. This is especially apparent when traveling to foreign country, and you have to deal with things like collecting your luggage, getting through the customs and passport controllers, and potentially having to catch connecting flights to another area. Having to jump through all those hoops is enough to make even the most experienced traveler a bit squeamish.

However, there is a solution to alleviate these problems – airport VIP services.

Most VIP services for airports have different levels of luxuries, providing varying levels of stree-free travel.

The basic service usually includes expediting your procedures at the airport, which involves passport control. When you land you will be greeted by the service provider, taken through customs, grab your luggage, and escort you to your driver.

The same goes for departures. VIP service companies will schedule to have you picked up and taken to the airport, where you will be using the VIP counter and then passport control.

And that’s just the beginning.

If your pockets are deep enough to afford the more expensive levels of service then prepared to never lift a finger again, and forget about lounging and waiting in the same area as everyone else.

These companies know that time is money, and your time is very valuable. Start making your traveling a pleasant experience by hiring a VIP airport service for the next time you travel.

What You Need to Know About Mortgage Brokers Before Choosing One

It’s no secret that first-time buyers, as well as seasoned vets, choose to go with a mortgage broker to purchase a home because the broker will navigate the minefield that is mortgage options. The broker will act on your behalf and shop around with different lenders to see who can offer the best deal, given your financial situation.

How can you find a good broker?

To start, you could ask around for recommendations, like from your real estate agent or other homeowners. Maybe aim for someone that is experienced with customers like yourself, like if you are a first-time buyer. Once you have a couple ideas, you can check for online reviews on sites like Zillow or Yelp. For example, if you live in Chicago you could search for Lombard Mortgage and see who has the best feedback.

So what exactly does the broker help with?

How do brokers make money?

The majority of brokers generate profits by marking up the price of the loan from the wholesale lender. They may disguise this by giving it a different name like a processing fee. At the end of the day, the profit of a broker is typically coming from your pocket, so you should always attempt to negotiate the pricing. The caveat is that the broker should be able to find a much greater deal than you are able to, and save you much more money than the broker would charge in fees.



Our Take on the Yamaha P115 Digital Keyboard

For anyone out there looking to dip their toes into the amazing world of digital pianos, you’ve probably come across or heard of the Yamaha P115. This keyword weighs in at a modest $600 on Amazon, making it a no-brainer, entry level keyboard. Below we will try to break down our opinion on this impressive machine.

In conclusion, this digital piano is a steal for the price. In order to get significant upgrades, you’d have to spend at least double the price tag of a P115. What really takes this unit to the next level is having a proper sound system or set of headphones. Couple that with the endless possibilities of sounds when hooked up to the computer, and you have something that you may love more than a real piano.

The Acer Predator Z-35: The Best Ultrawide Monitor

We bought this Z-35 after having some excellent experiences with the Acer X34 monitor, another ultrawide monitor that is not only curved, but comes with all the bells and whistles too. We were so satisfied with the X34 that we were actually skeptical if this monitor could live up to the same expectations.

That being said, let’s jump into the details.

Aside from the fact that the Z-35 actually has a lower resolution, the overall consensus is that this model actually out-performs the x34 in almost all aspects. Since we are a team of people that are heavily into details and can notice the slightest differences, like the change to 144Hz, the difference is as clear as day to us. Unlike the X34, this monitor has essentially no back-light bleed, and there are no problems when the G-sync is enabled. No dead pixels yet after a couple months of rigorous use, unlike what happened with our X34. Blacks on this screen are actually wonderful when compared to the X34 because of the lack of light bleed. We are also running 980’s in SLI on every machine and the monitor handled all the high FPS programs with ease.

The only con we have about this unit, and this doesn’t really have to do with performance, is that when it arrived it didn’t seem “new”. Right out of the box there were random dings here and there, along with some scuffs. Even the foam that covers and protects the screen seemed to not fit properly, unlike what you are used to seeing when you purchase a top of the line monitor. Again, doesn’t effect performance at all, and it’s possible we just got a unit that had been returned or refurbished.

That being said, the monitor performs just like you would expect from something that costs about $1,000 and out performs the X34 in almost all aspects.

The Poor Man’s Solution to Everything

You know in times like these, some people don’t have the extra money to sling around on this and that. Sometimes we need cheap, practical solutions for our problems because we really have no other choice.

One thing that we love to utilize in our family is assorted types of plant extracts. The main pros of plant extracts is that they are cheap and very versatile. One of them that has the widest range of uses is castor oil. Castor oil is a basic fluid used in many everyday items, so it is generally considered safe for most uses. You can buy castor oils basically anywhere, including online if you are feeling particularly lazy.

I myself have been using it for a while to help with falling asleep. I used to always have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep, but after taking regular doses of castor oil, I actually sleep well during the night, and the dark areas under my eyes have gone away significantly.

Getting Locked Out While Out of Town

Recently we had a little bit of down time at the track, so we decided to take a bit of a road trip to Michigan to see what they have to offer in terms of tracks, speedways, and even drag strips. I guess you could say this is just something we like to do, and we blame it on our passion to home grown racing and events. That being said, we still enjoy the bigger events and leagues like NASCAR, but there’s something special about taking pride in the grass-roots of racing in general.

Anyway, while on our trip through Michigan, we came through Detroit to see what it has to offer. Of course we were also interested to see first hand what that city is like, because at one point it was the heart of the automotive industry in the US, but since has been degrading mainly due to the bad economy. The news would have you believe that most of Detroit is dangerous ghettos and abandoned homes, which is true to a certain extent, but there are plenty of areas that are just fine.

One of the awesome tracks we visited was the Hazel Park Raceway. After adventuring around and snapping some pictures, I realized that I had locked the keys in the car. I thought I had the spare key in a box underneath the car, but I hadn’t checked it in at least a year, and of course it wasn’t there anymore. I was forced to look for a reliable Detroit locksmith that wouldn’t take advantage of me with shady prices. While on the phone I made sure the price was clearly stated, and that there would be no additional fees added on top. Luckily I didn’t lose the keys altogether because I would have to spend even more money to get a new transponder key which are just unreasonably expensive to replace.

Easiest Way to Keep Keys Safe at the Track

Typically there aren’t too many cars left at the track at any point in time, but just to be safe we invested in an all new home safe for the office. It’s crazy to see the difference in how different safes are compared to back in the day. While the idea and the shape is still the same concept, the locking mechanisms are way more advanced, and arguably easier to use. Instead of the old school dial you are able to opt for a numpad to type in your combination. On top of that, if you are feeling like splurging a bit, you can get a safe that works by scanning your fingerprint – welcome to the future everyone! Even the hinges are more advanced, and opening the safe is a breeze now instead of being a workout.

When I was doing my research to find a new safe, I simply went to Google and searched for best home safe. To my surprise, I actually learned that online places like Amazon even sell safes and will ship to you. Can you imagine being the USPS delivery person that needs to bring it to your doorstep.

Choosing Between Modern Leveraxes

If you are from up north then you already know what it’s like having to deal with chopping wood. For those of you that don’t know or have grown up in a generation where you don’t utilize fireplaces and fire pits, allow me to explain a little bit for you.

To the unacquainted, there may only seem like there is one kind of axe, but the truth is, there are many different types of axes and they each have their proper times of use. First you have the splitting maul, which is mainly used for splitting big trunks of wood into more manageable pieces. Then you have a felling axe, which is used when you want to chop down an actual tree and clearing off large branches. The felling axe also has a little brother called the hudson bay axe, which is really just a smaller version that is meant for one-handed use. From there you get even smaller to be considered a carpenter’s axe – the reason for it being so small is for maximum control when doing woodworking. Lastly, and the most specialized, is the broadaxe, which is used mostly for situations when you need to create a flat surface on your wood project.

So if you’re living up north in cold weather, then a new thing called a splitting axe should be your best friend. You can read online for leveraxe splitting axe reviews and find out which you would prefer. The reason why I suggest a splitting axe is because they are specialized for splitting wood, and the way they are shaped and engineered make them safer to use. They have special features that prevent many of the typical ways that people injure themselves with regular axes when trying to split logs.

Hiring a Helping Hand

Down at the track we’ve been looking into hiring some helping hands on some of the busier nights. We don’t necessarily need full-time help just yet because we are not constantly busy, we just have small periods of high activity and we are stretched thin when those times come.

To make matters worse, we don’t really have a proper budget to help hire the right people. By no budget I mean no money to make or post ads that would cost money, and no money for things like background checks. Let’s be honest for a moment – we would obviously love to just be able to trust most people, but doing at least a background check is mandatory when hiring someone to represent your company and reputation.

Luckily I stumbled upon a background check website that offers a much cheaper service than I’ve seen from other companies. I first read about them from a review in Business News Daily, and I figured if they have a good review of them then why not. The website is called and what I think is best about the service is that it’s all online – I don’t have to send in any information or go to some physical location.

If you are reading this and are interesting in helping out around here every once in a while then please let me know and I can give you more information.

Thinking About Traveling to India

Even though this is a really long shot, we’ve always been thinking about making a trip to India to see one of those crazy temples they have there. One of the most magnificent temples in India is called the Golden Temple Vellore. It’s made completely of gold for the most part and is located in such a serene part of the country. But of course I wouldn’t know the first thing about traveling out there so I have to consult a Golden Temple Vellore Timings guide to figure out what days and times are best to visit because they certainly do have some rules about visiting.

Fending for Yourself

You know how some of us live out here. We live within our means, and do what we can to be self-sufficient. Things like growing produce and raising livestock are common in our area of the country. We do have one big advantage over the city dwellers, and that’s average property size. Heck, even a lot of double-wides have more property with them then the average house in the city.

Anyway, the point was to have a discussion about livestock water tanks. For those of you with just a couple small animals don’t need to worry about this as much, but for some of us with larger animals all over the place we need to choose our equipment wisely. Luckily Amazon has come to the rescue because they have the cheapest prices I’ve seen. You can get an 85 gallon tub for about $120 bucks.

And if you shop around a little bit more you can get some with features like a plug at the bottom or even metal ones with zinc coatings.

All I’m trying to say, if you’re still using some shoddy wood, homemade tanks, maybe consider splurging on a new tank at the least.

Wanting to Visit?

Hello again out there. Just wanted to make a quick post to see if anyone out there is interested in traveling to come visit our track. I could help arrange all sorts of accommodations, and if you aren’t able to purchase a hotel room to stay at I may even be able to find lodging for you.

My only real recommendation is that if you are flying in and don’t have a car to use, you should get a rental. You can search for some car hire comparison and choose the right vehicle for your needs. Unfortunately transportation is the only expense that I cannot help cover for you, but if you need anything else please feel free to let me know. Even if you think it’s not possible – you never know!


New Mattress Woes

When racing is a huge part of your life, it can be tough to keep up with other aspects of your life. Some let themselves get worse health-wise, and some let their personal belongings slip to low levels of quality. Let’s be real, if you spend most of your time in the shop, and your money goes to racing expenses, you don’t have much leftover to upkeep your life.

One thing I personally let slip for too long was getting a new mattress. Apparently a general rule is you should replace your mattress every 5 to 10 years. The National Sleep Foundation suggests that the typical lifespan of a mattress is 8 years, but of course I had my mattress for so long I lost count of the years!

The scary part looking back on it is that mattresses absorb body fluids and stains, notably from nightly sweating, accidental spills, etc. and can seep through into lower layers, which is why a mattress protector is suggested to protect it, which can be removed and cleaned or replaced if damaged. Can you even imagine how bad it can get after 10+ years of use?

My only tip to anyone reading is to make sure to test out the mattress you are considering buying, lay on it for at least 10 to 15 minutes in the store to get a real feel for it. Keep in mind that firm isn’t always best. Some research has shown that the best mattress for low back pain is a medium firm mattress, rather than a firm mattress. Make sure to check the warranty and ask about any comfort guarantees or trial periods before buying.

As for me, I found some stores that are local to me and was able to give some mattress a “test drive”. After figuring out which I preferred most, I was able to leave with some great info and search for a better deal online (sorry mattress shop).  I ended my search at and got an awesome deal. I’m still not looking forward to getting a new mattress in the future, but after this experience, it should at least be a little bit easier.

Anyway just my 2 cents. See you guys at the track