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Dog Tag, Inc Fellowship Program - Summer Cohort 2016

Dog Tag, Inc Fellowship Program – Week 1

This summer, I have the pleasure of being involved in the Dog Tag, Inc Fellowship Program in Georgetown, Washington DC.  Dog Tag Inc. seeks to provide a transformative opportunity for veterans with disabilities, spouses, and caregivers by offering an education at Georgetown University and experiential learning in our small business venture, Dog Tag Bakery. Upon completion of the Dog Tag Inc. (DTI) program, transitioning veterans earn a Certificate of Business Administration from Georgetown University and are business ready, competitive, and employable.

Dog Tag, Inc Fellowship Program - Summer Cohort 2016
Dog Tag, Inc Fellowship Program – Summer Cohort 2016

Read about all the amazing fellows in this program with me here!

Although the program has just begun, I have learned so much already.  As I navigate through this journey, I want to share with you the highlights of the process and the bits of knowledge and understand that I have learned.  I’m going to try to write a weekly recap and summary of my time in the program and what I’ve learned.

Dog Tag, Inc Fellowship Program - Summer Cohort 2016 Dog Tag, Inc Fellowship Program - Summer Cohort 2016

The first few days were super exciting and were filled with a whirlwind of knowledge, introductions, and overviews of the program.

We met with Alumni of the program and were able to pick their brains about their experiences, good times and bad, attempt to get a sense of what we had gotten ourselves in to.

Dog Tag, Inc Fellowship Program - Summer Cohort 2016

We were also fortunate to meet with the President of the Board of Directors of Dog Tag, Inc., Phil Cassidy.  Phil has had a long career in business including working for Jack Welch, CEO of GE as his Chief of Staff.

There were a few things that Phil said that have resonated with me.

[bctt tweet=”Control your own destiny or somebody else will. -Phil Cassidy” username=”javacupcake”]

“Control your own destiny or somebody else will.”  When Phil said this, I instantly knew what he meant and why I was in this program.  I was here to seize my life and make it into what I want it to be.  This is now MY TURN to control my destiny and not leave it to the Army or outside influences to decide for me.

Dog Tag, Inc Fellowship Program - Summer Cohort 2016

Phil also advised us to “…make sure you surround yourself with smart people.  You will always be successful.” As I heard him say this, I looked around the room at the other fellows in the cohort and wondered what their strengths were.  I have begun to see them in these first few days, but I know by the end of the experience I will have gained so much understanding, insight and knowledge into myself and my life’s goals.   Phil also advised us that when we own our own businesses and start to hire employees, that we should always hire people who are smarter than us.  Surround ourselves with people who are good at things you lack in.  Creating a team is better for the business than creating competition.  Smart man, Phil is.

[bctt tweet=”…make sure you surround yourself with smart people. You will always be successful. – Phil Cassidy” username=”javacupcake”]

After the orientation was complete, we moved into the meat of the program… lectures, classes with Georgetown, and guest speakers.  My favorites included a talk about Intellectual Property Rights from Gail Lione (a professor of Law at Georgetown University) and the first day of our Principles of Management class with Dr. McCabe, a professor at Georgetown School of Business.

Dog Tag, Inc Fellowship Program - Summer Cohort 2016

Gail provided so much insight into what it means to trademark and patent things as well as what “fair use” means and how it applies to my role as a food photographer and blogger.  I plan to write-up a short synopsis of what I learned for my blogging community in the near future.

Dr. McCabe’s class will teach me what it means to be a good leader and manager of a business.  I’m really excited to learn his theories and techniques and apply them to my life as a parent and in the future as an employer!

Dog Tag, Inc Fellowship Program - Summer Cohort 2016

Along with book learning and guest speakers, as Fellows we will take part in four rotations at the bakery with different executive members of the company.   We’ll be in rotation with the Executive Pastry Chef, the General Manager of the bakery, the Director of Development and the Director of Business Operations where we will learn their role in the company from the bottom to the top and getting hands on experience in their role.  This fellowship program is a comprehensive look what it means to be an entrepreneur and business person in a real-world way.

Dog Tag, Inc Fellowship Program - Summer Cohort 2016
My Rotation Group: Me, Executive Pastry Chef Rebecca Clerget, Merceditas, and Sharod

My first rotation will be five weeks with Executive Pastry Chef, Rebecca Clerget. At the bakery, Rebecca is responsible for the management of bakery operations, execution and implementation of menu items for our retail bakery and overseeing the baking and pastry training for our veterans and their spouses.  So not only will she be teaching me how to bake like a professional, but she’ll be teaching me how to run a bakery kitchen.

Dog Tag, Inc Fellowship Program - Summer Cohort 2016

During our first two days in the kitchen with Rebecca, she has given us a tour of the bakery and talked about why things were placed where they were and how basic operations work as well as have us get right into making some of the products that are sold at the bakery!

Dog Tag, Inc Fellowship Program - Summer Cohort 2016

So far, we’ve made gingersnaps, snickerdoodles, sugar cookies and summer berry tarts!  If you’re in the Georgetown area this weekend, swing by the bakery and try some of yummies my team made!

Dog Tag, Inc Fellowship Program - Summer Cohort 2016

The summer berry tarts are seasonal and won’t be around much longer, so I highly suggest to get in and try one!! They are incredibly flavorful and so darn delicious!

Dog Tag, Inc Fellowship Program - Summer Cohort 2016

Final Thoughts:

As I look back on my first days as a Fellow, our program director, Kyle asked us to think about what our first impressions of the program and experience were.  Besides the specific content of the program that we learned, I also learned a lot about myself.

The transition from being the primary caregiver to my entire family to the one who leaves everyday for work has been a difficult one.  My ability to trust that my husband was adequately taking care of the kids and life at home really tested my faith in my husbands abilities.  I needed to learn to let go and trust that my husband is capable of taking care of things.  And you know what… he has been.

[bctt tweet=”This is the time to be selfish, to work on my goals & strengthen my life.  Not tomorrow. Today. ” username=”javacupcake”]

Finally, I came to realize that these 5 months are for me… and only me.  I am allowed to take these months to focus on what I want, what I need and let my family, friends and community support me like I have supported them.  It is finally time for me to be selfish.

I have ideas of what I want my life to look like, but I know this program will help shape what that will be.  I am so excited to see how I transform over the next five months!

Made Creative Bakery - Rome, Italy | The JavaCupcake Blog - Travel https://javacupcake.com

Made Creative Bakery – Rome, Italy

Nestled on a cozy side street of Rome, Italy and close to the River Tiber and the Piazza Navona, the Made Creative Bakery is a delicious retreat for both tourists and locals alike!

Made Creative Bakery - Rome, Italy | The JavaCupcake Blog - Travel https://javacupcake.com

In October 2015, my husband and I were treated to a once in a lifetime trip to Rome, Italy with a group of wounded soldiers and their families. On this trip we attended an audience with the Pope, toured Roman ruins and shopped at the Piazza Navona.

Made Creative Bakery - Rome, Italy | The JavaCupcake Blog - Travel https://javacupcake.com

On our last night in Rome, I knew I needed to find one of the several cupcake bakeries before I left! I had been walking all day, I was exhausted but I was determined.

My husband and I reached the Piazza Navona just at dusk and were given 45 minutes to shop at the stalls and stores along the piazza. Instead of shopping, we sprinted 3 blocks over to Made Creative Bakery for cupcakes!

Made Creative Bakery - Rome, Italy | The JavaCupcake Blog - Travel https://javacupcake.com

The store was just a few minutes from closing and I was so thankful we made it in time! It was almost Halloween so their store was filled with pumpkin and ghost themed cookies and cupcakes!

Made Creative Bakery - Rome, Italy | The JavaCupcake Blog - Travel https://javacupcake.com

This bakery was a cute, small shop but full of character and charm. The decor was simple and bright, which I liked. They probably found their energy quote through a service similar to Utility Bidder because their prices for very reasonable. The lady behind the counter spoke little English but was still helpful and polite.

There were a few bar stools for seating and when the store wasn’t about to close, they had tables and chair outside for more seating.

Made Creative Bakery - Rome, Italy | The JavaCupcake Blog - Travel https://javacupcake.com

I picked out a few goodies to have boxed up to take back to the hotel with us. Since I don’t speak any Italian and the woman behind the counter spoke little English, it was difficult to ask questions about the bakery.

Made Creative Bakery - Rome, Italy | The JavaCupcake Blog - Travel https://javacupcake.com

Made Creative Bakery also served a few other cookies and treats that weren’t Halloween themed including these monster chocolate cookies!

Big pillowy clouds of chocolate and so delish!

Made Creative Bakery - Rome, Italy | The JavaCupcake Blog - Travel https://javacupcake.com

I did try to take some pictures of the cupcakes that night when I got back to my hotel room. Unfortunately, it was dark, the lighting was horrible and none of the pictures turned out that great.

However, I did eat all three cupcakes and two cookies I bought and they were delish! The frosting on the cupcakes seemed to be some kine of meringue, but I couldn’t tell which one… probably Italian since you know, it’s in Italy!

Made Creative Bakery - Rome, Italy | The JavaCupcake Blog - Travel https://javacupcake.com

Made also provides workshops and makes customs cakes for parties and corporate events!

If you’re in Rome, make sure to stop by Made Creative Bakery for a treat! Tell them I sent you!

Made Creative Bakery
Via dei Coronari 25
00186 Rome
Monday – Sunday
11:00 to 19:00

{Review} Sprinkles Cupcakes in Georgetown, Washington, DC | The JavaCupcake Blog https://javacupcake.com

{Review} Sprinkles Cupcakes – Washington, DC

If you’re looking for a delicious cupcake in Washington DC, look no further than Sprinkles Cupcakes!

{Review} Sprinkles Cupcakes in Georgetown, Washington, DC | The JavaCupcake Blog https://javacupcake.com

It only took me two weeks of being back in the USA to start looking for my local cupcake shops.  The easiest place for me to begin was with the two shops that everyone knows about in the Washington DC area… Georgetown Cupcake and Sprinkles Cupcakes.

Sprinkles Cupcakes started as a cupcake bakery in Beverly Hills, California and was founded by Candace Nelson.  You may know Candace as one of the judges on The Food Network’s Cupcake Wars! Sprinkles has 19 locations in 10 states including several Cupcake ATM locations!

{Review} Sprinkles Cupcakes in Georgetown, Washington, DC | The JavaCupcake Blog https://javacupcake.com

Upon walking into the DC location of Sprinkles Cupcakes, I was greeted with a sweet young woman behind the counter.  She noticed I was looking intently at all the cupcakes and asked if this was my first visit to the bakery.  I told her it was and that I was very excited to be there.  Hearing that it was my first time, the woman made it a point to tell me all about the cupcakes they had on display in the case and offered to answer any questions I had.

{Review} Sprinkles Cupcakes in Georgetown, Washington, DC | The JavaCupcake Blog https://javacupcake.com

It was later in the afternoon when we were in the shop, so we didn’t have a full stock of cupcakes to choose from, but the selection was still great.   The woman behind the counter said the Red Velvet cupcake was the most popular in the store, but since I’m not a huge fan of red velvet, I opted for the chocolate raspberry and classic vanilla vanilla.

{Review} Sprinkles Cupcakes in Georgetown, Washington, DC | The JavaCupcake Blog https://javacupcake.com

The frosting on all the cupcakes are frosted by hand with their signature flat sides and top.  Each cupcake is topped with the Sprinkles signature sugar candy.   Seasonally the swap out the classic double dot for hearts and other shapes.

{Review} Sprinkles Cupcakes in Georgetown, Washington, DC | The JavaCupcake Blog https://javacupcake.com

These cupcakes were pretty fantastic!  I was pleasantly surprised at how fresh and moist the cake still was by the end of the day when I tried these cupcakes!

{Review} Sprinkles Cupcakes in Georgetown, Washington, DC | The JavaCupcake Blog https://javacupcake.com

My personal favorite flavor combination is chocolate and raspberry together, so I knew I had to taste this cupcake.  And let me tell you… it did not disappoint!  The cake was rich, moist and delicious and the raspberry frosting complimented it perfectly!  Yum!

{Review} Sprinkles Cupcakes in Georgetown, Washington, DC | The JavaCupcake Blog https://javacupcake.com

I always judge a cupcake shop based on their vanilla cupcake.  If they can’t perfect the classic then they have no business being in the cupcake business.  The Sprinkles vanilla cupcake is as close to perfect as you can get in a vanilla cupcake.  The cake had a light crumb and was packed full of vanilla beans and amazing vanilla flavor.  Their classic American buttercream was had perfect amount of  sweetness and was creamy and so good.  Seriously.  So good.

{Review} Sprinkles Cupcakes in Georgetown, Washington, DC | The JavaCupcake Blog https://javacupcake.com

From start to finish, my entire experience at Sprinkles was fun!  The pink colors of the bakery are inviting and playful, the staff is incredibly friendly and the cupcakes are delicious! My time at this cupcake shop was exactly what I want an experience at a world-famous cupcake shop to be like… memorable!

If you’re in the DC area, make sure to check out the cupcakes at Sprinkles… it’s an experience you won’t want to miss out on!

Sprinkles Cupcakes – Georgetown
3015 M Street NW
Washington, CD 20007
2 blocks east of Wisconsin Avenue NW
(202) 450-1610
Monday – Saturday 9 – 9 Sunday 10 – 8
cClosed on Thanksgiving and Christmas

Dog Tag Bakery (Washington, DC) - Making it deliciously simple for you to empower the lives of our veterans and military families | JavaCupcake.com

{Review} Dog Tag Bakery

Located in the Georgetown district of Washington, DC, the Dog Tag Bakery serves not only as a local hot spot for breakfast, lunch, and baked goods but it also serves as a resource to empower the Veterans and military families in the community.

Dog Tag Bakery (Washington, DC) - Making it deliciously simple for you to empower the lives of our veterans and military families | JavaCupcake.com

Last year, I had read an article about the Dog Tag Bakery and thought it was an outstanding concept to not only help military veterans, but provide a delicious service to the community. Once I found out I was moving to the DC area, a friend reminded me it was there and suggested I go visit! It was actually hard to find out about this place online, which suggested to me they may benefit from using local SEO services to boost their online presence.

Dog Tag Bakery (Washington, DC) - Making it deliciously simple for you to empower the lives of our veterans and military families | JavaCupcake.com

Nestled on the corner of a side street in Georgetown, the Dog Tag Bakery provides an inviting, cozy, and safe environment for all their patrons. Whether you are a Veteran or a businessman, the Dog Tag Bakery’s home-like atmosphere makes you want to stay for hours enjoying coffee and pastries. I really loved that the decor of Dog Tag was patriotic without being over the top. The red, white, and blue was perfectly infused into the design while maintaining a modern, classic feel.

Dog Tag Bakery (Washington, DC) - Making it deliciously simple for you to empower the lives of our veterans and military families | JavaCupcake.com

One of the focal points of the bakery is a chandelier made only of dog tags. The display not only serves as a centerpiece for one of the sitting areas, but it also is a talking point for all those who visit the bakery. Next to the display is a World War II dog tag maker that is used in the store to punch the names of all the Veterans the bakery provides help. Those tags are then hung in the display. It’s a beautiful tribute to the men and women who so bravely serve our country in the military.

Dog Tag Bakery (Washington, DC) - Making it deliciously simple for you to empower the lives of our veterans and military families | JavaCupcake.com

Dog Tag Bakeries menu consists of fresh baked bread, croissants, muffins, cinnamon rolls and other breakfast items as well as sandwiches made with meat from local veteran-run farms, coffee, cookies, and layer cakes.

Dog Tag Bakery (Washington, DC) - Making it deliciously simple for you to empower the lives of our veterans and military families | JavaCupcake.com

Dave came with me to the bakery and he ordered the crumb cake and a double espresso. Unfortunately he ate it before I could take a picture of it, but he assured me it was delicious!

Dog Tag Bakery (Washington, DC) - Making it deliciously simple for you to empower the lives of our veterans and military families | JavaCupcake.com

I ordered a cappuccino, a snickerdoodle cookie, and a slice of chocolate layer cake. The cappuccino was the best I have had since being back in the USA. The barista hand packed the espresso grounds and freshly brewed the shots for my drink. I was offered a choice of milk and amount of foam. It reminded me of the cappuccino I loved so much when I was in Italy. The snickerdoodle was soft, chewy in the middle, and packed full of cinnamon flavor. Delicious!

Dog Tag Bakery (Washington, DC) - Making it deliciously simple for you to empower the lives of our veterans and military families | JavaCupcake.com

The slice of chocolate cake was rich, chocolatey, dense, moist and covered in the most delicious chocolate ganache I’ve ever had. It took me an hour to eat this slice because it was so good I truly needed to savor any bite.

Curious why there are no cupcakes at this bakery? The staff told me that the market is already so saturated with cupcakes and there are two huge cupcake stores within walking distance from Dog Tag… there’s no need to sell cupcakes at their bakery. Makes sense! The Dog Tag pastry chef was trained in France so the baguettes and breads are authentic to the French style of baking!

Dog Tag Bakery (Washington, DC) - Making it deliciously simple for you to empower the lives of our veterans and military families | JavaCupcake.com

Before we left, my husband decided he wanted to try one of their roast beef sandwiches. The sandwich included a fresh roll topped with pickled red onion, loaded with local roast beef, a pepperjack cheese and a red sauce. I didn’t take a bit because I’m not generally a big fan of sauce on sandwiches, but my husband who is kind of a sandwich snob said it was the best he’s had since being back in the USA! That’s a big compliment coming from a man who eats a sandwich every day!

Dog Tag Bakery (Washington, DC) - Making it deliciously simple for you to empower the lives of our veterans and military families | JavaCupcake.com

A big thank you to the staff behind the counter of the Dog Tag Bakery for making our experience so pleasant and enjoyable! Their smiling faces were genuine and much appreciated!

Dog Tag Bakery (Washington, DC) - Making it deliciously simple for you to empower the lives of our veterans and military families | JavaCupcake.com

More than being a great bakery, Dog Tag Bakery is part of Dog Tag, Inc. whose mission it is to serve Veterans and their families, providing them the tools they need to succeed in the business and life.

From their website…
Dog Tag Inc. is an innovative five-month training program that holistically fosters the growth of driven, entrepreneurial-minded wounded veterans, spouses, and care-givers, through a world-class education, ample leadership development opportunities, and a personalized business management rotation.

By the end of our program, graduating fellows have earned a Certificate in Business Administration from Georgetown University’s School of Continuing Studies. The curriculum serves as an introduction to business from an academic perspective and consists of seven courses that are tailored to the small business-focused goals of our fellows. Courses include accounting, management, communication, financial management, marketing, business policy, and entrepreneurship.

Dog Tag Bakery in Georgetown provides the vehicle to put the classroom learning into context as fellows rotate through the various business roles within the bakery. The storefront includes a state of the art bakery and kitchen as well as classroom space. We provide experiential learning by facilitating a working rotation through the storefront and non-profit. Fellows will have a chance to learn every aspect of a small business including accounting, operations, staff management, product creation, customer service, and marketing. Through a combination of shadowing and project management, our fellows are expected to complete tasks independently while communicating their needs and progress with management.

Photo+©+Tony+Powell.+Dog+Tag+Bakery+Shoot.+September+11,+2014
Photo courtesy of Dog Tag, Inc.

I need to disclose that I have applied for the Summer 2016 fellowship program at Dog Tag, Inc.. I want to be completely transparent when I say that I am not writing this review because I want to influence my chances of getting into the program. This review is 100% my own personal opinions, with or without being in the fellowship program. Dog Tag, Inc. is an amazing organization and I would feel privileged and honored to be a part of it, whether that’s by reviewing their bakery or being a party of their fellowship program.

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If you’re in the DC area, I suggest putting a stop at the Dog Tag Bakery on your list of must-see places. Not only will you enjoy delicious food, but you’ll be giving back to Veterans and their families members.

Dog Tag Bakery
3206 Grace St NW
Washington, DC 20007

Tuesday – Sunday 0800-1800
http://dogtagbakery.com

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