March Madness Bake-Off

So a few people at work decided it might be fun to have a March Madness-style Bake-Off. There are a number of people (myself included) who regularly bring in baked treats for the office: my office-mate and I alternate bringing in monthly treats and send out a Happy Birthday email, naming the employees who have a birthday that month; my direct supervisor bakes THE BEST chocolate chip cookies for her son’s school every few weeks and brings in half the batch; another coworker makes the most beautifully decorated cupcakes and tries out new recipes on us — basically, we’re an office that loves our baked goods.

So the rules were simple:

1. Everything must be made from scratch (within reason – obviously chocolate chips and sprinkles, etc. were allowed, but adding store-bought candy was not)

2. Week 1/round 1 had to be a cookie, week 2/round 2 had to be cake/cupcakes, and week 3/round 3 was “anything goes”.

3. Competitors were given random numbers and the office wouldn’t know who baked what or when each person was going.

4. Voting would be done anonymously via surveymonkey.com polls.

There were 9 of us for week 1: 3 people each brought in cookies on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. The top 2 from each day progressed to week 2, where 2 people each brought their choice of cake/cupcakes on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. One winner from each day was chosen and progressed to week 3, where it was a winner-take-all competition on April 2.

Continue reading

Student Loan Debt + Repayment Progress

Considering that my blog title is TheActuarialChef and not just TheChef, I am thinking that some who read this blog may be interested in more than just recipes. If you’re not interested in anything but recipes, feel free to skip this post.

This is where it gets personal. I’ve contemplated posting vs. not posting this content, but I feel like I have to. Too many times have I thought I was the only one in this scenario. There may very well be readers out there who think they’re alone in this. If I can make even 1 person feel less alone, then this post (and the ones to follow) is a success.

I graduated college in 2011 with a LOT of debt; almost $90,000 if we’re being┬ácompletely honest. This year, I have decided to track my progress in paying down that debt visually, and share it with you.

Behind the scenes, I have spreadsheets and word documents with relevant (personal) data. But that information is for my eyes only. Here, I’m going to post a monthly debt update/ summary.

Enjoy the fancy graphs and let me know how much more of this type of content you want in the comments below.

Continue reading