Happy New Year and a Whole30 Challenge!

Hello lovelies,

I took some time away from writing the last few weeks to focus on my family, friends, and the holidays. The end of the year is always so hectic, as is the beginning of the next one. I am preparing to hit the ground running this January with classes, auditions, adventures, a new job, and new experiences, and there is not a lot of time for me to relax it seems!

Anyway, I had a lovely Christmas, and for my family this was the first Christmas that actually felt like a true Christmas in a long time. It was just my family, my siblings’ significant others, and my grandma, and it was perfect. We ate delicious food (some of which I prepared), including home made ginger bread I made with my dad. I received some very generous presents, some of which I am going to review on here hopefully sometime this month. 🙂

I loved my makeup on Christmas Day! My aunt’s boyfriend even complimented me on it.

I spent New Years Eve running around Manhattan and NYC with some friends who live there. I had a great time, and it was my first time spending New Year’s Eve in NYC since 2005 when my family went in to see the ball drop! I met some friends (old and new) at an Indian restaurant, and then we took a cab over to Industry City in Brooklyn for a NYE party!

I actually had to teach fitness this morning. I wasn’t drinking much last night because I knew I was going to be up late and had to be functional for work, but I still had a great time, made it to work on time, and did my job well! I also was kissed at midnight for the first time in a few years, and it meant a lot to me. So if last night/early this morning is any indication with how the rest of 2019 is going to go, count me in for ALL OF IT.

Top 9 Instagram posts from 2018 @julias_leaps_of_faith

My last/newest endeavor is today I began the Whole30 challenge. It is basically a dietary plan that cuts out all anti-inflammatory foods as a “reset” to your body, taste buds, cravings, etc. No dairy, wheat/grains, corn, seeds, legumes, processed sugar, artificial sugars, and alcohol. Basically what foods are “approved” are lean meats, veggies, fruits, tree nuts, and potatoes. I am not following this diet verbatim because I am very active, and I do need some grain carbohydrates throughout the day just to keep my energy levels up. However, I will be doing a check in with this after the month is over to see how I feel, and see how I did!

I am so thrilled 2018 is FINALLY behind me. There were a lot of amazing memories in 2018 that overshadowed a lot of darkness, so I am grateful for all of the change and growth 2018 brought me. Now, however, I am prepared for a bountiful 2019 where I hope to see some pay off with all of the seeds I’ve planted and watered in 2018. 2019 Julia is determined, better trained, more confident, and more self-aware, and I look forward to what’s to come.

xoxo

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The Blogger Recognition Award

Thank you to My Little Wild Life for nomination me for the Blogger Recognition Award! I haven’t been nominated for one of these awards in a while, so it means a lot to me to have readers who enjoy my content and think it is worthy of recognition! Thank you to all who read my blog, and enjoy what I post enough to keep reading. 

Rules for Acceptance of Nomination

  • Thank the blogger that nominated you.
  • Write a post to show your award.
  • Give a brief story of how your blog started.
  • Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers.
  • Select 15 other bloggers you want to give this award to.
  • Let them know you have nominated them and provide the link to the post you created.

How did Your Blog Begin?

Julia’s Leaps of Faith was born in June of 2015 when my now-ex boyfriend joined the army. It began as a safe space for me to write about my frustrations and experiences with the military and long-distance dating, while being a full-time college student completing two majors, who was also working part-time. Eventually, I began posting about other topics, including beauty, which I soon realized was the category most visited by my readers. I changed my blog from a “MilSO” blog, to a beauty blog, and received great response to the change. As college grew busier, I took some time away from WordPress to focus on my studies.

Finally, I graduated college in 2017 and decided I wanted to devote most of my blogging to my experience in the performing arts industry, with the occasional post about great beauty products, and healthy recipes. Julia’s Leaps of Faith is now a beauty, dance, and lifestyle blog dedicated to the authentic relaying of my experiences navigating the NYC dance scene, and promoting a healthy, active lifestyle.

Advice to New Bloggers

My biggest piece of advice is write from your heart, and write about topics you enjoy. I know my readers enjoy beauty posts, but right now my focus is on dance and healthy lifestyle, and I genuinely enjoy putting out content about those topics. There was a point in my blogging history where I grew very bored with topics about dating in the military and topics about beauty products because my content started to feel redundant and bland. I felt like I needed to only write about what I thought people wanted to read. Now, I keep my readers interest’s in mind, however, I only post about things I feel passionately for. It keeps blogging from becoming a chore, and it keeps me motivated to continue updating my feed.

Keep your content unique to you and your personality. Your blog will find it’s niche naturally as time progresses. I would say my blog is FAR from a MilSO blog anymore, and I am incredibly happy I didn’t continue trying to only cater to military significant others. Also, don’t be discouraged if you do not gain a quick following. You should blog for you, and the followers will come if you are persistent and write passionately.

New Nominees

I nominate:

  1. Away We Run She was one of my first followers/blogger acquaintances on WordPress, and I really enjoy her posts!
  2. Jenny in Neverland
  3. A Beautiful Thing
  4. Always, Cleia
  5. Bee Beauty
  6. Kirsty Jarvie
  7. Coastal Crochet
  8. The Dorky French
  9. Beccap Beauty
  10. What’s on Mimi’s Mind
  11. Charlotte’s Makeup Blog
  12. Paige Alicia Beauty

Right now I only have 12 nominations, but I will be adding the final three once I do some more reading on my WordPress reader. Thanks again to My Little Wild Life for nominating me! It’s so nice to have bloggers suppot each other and what we love to do – write!

xoxo

Final Performances of 2018

As 2018 winds down, the curtain just closed on my last performance of 2018. I finished out the year with my one company’s annual Nutcracker Tea – an abbreviated version of Act II of the full-length Nutcracker. Guests are invited to eat sweets and pastries as they drink tea and coffee and watch the main company and the student company perform. It was so much fun, and I enjoy performing the Nutcracker for all of it’s magic and for the beautiful music.

This tea is most suitable for young kids, as we also have “fairy makeovers” available to them before the show, and they have the option to sit up front and close at the children’s seating right in front of the black box stage. Their eyes are usually so excited and curious as they watch everyone perform. It’s a wonderful feeling knowing you’re inspiring young kids, and I imagine this is similar to what people working at Disney feel like. I would still love to work for the Disney company one day. 

Other than Nutcracker, I performed in the gala for another company as their season opener on December 1. It was more of a wine and dine event for donors and patrons, but we performed a short, groovy dance for the attendees which was located at a really cute NYC dinner theater on West 72nd street. Lady Gaga apparently performed at this same theater before she became super famous, so it was kind of cool to think about that while having my own experience at the venue.

I have a few performances lined up for the new year already, as well as some auditions!! I’ll be performing a solo I’m choreographing at a showcase in March (which will be my first solo EVER!!), and I think we are going to be rehearsing for a full-length Cinderella ballet for May/June. The second week of January, I also have auditions for Disney World Orlando, and Royal Caribbean. They are open calls, so I’m expecting to be waiting a while as there are usually 400-600 people who show up for open calls. I will be re-auditioning for the Rockettes’ Summer Program in January or February as well, and hopefully more opportunities will be available soon. I can’t wait!

Related: Rockettes Mini Intensive – I Was Invited!

Voices of Dance Festival  The Tank Theater NYC
September 2018

2018 was filled with many successes, adventures, leaps of faith, and new experiences. Although checkered by heart break and some failure, I’d say for what it was, I made 2018 the best I possibly could given my circumstances. I am looking forward to burying 2018 in the past, and moving forward into 2019 happier, healthier, stronger, and way more excited for the future.

xoxo

New Natalie Dancewear Dance Socks

Hello loves!

On Wednesday, I was on my way to rehearsal when my phone lit up with an Instagram notification! A few weeks ago, I entered a contest on Instagram with DiscountDance.com – the online retailer I purchase all of my dancewear and needs from. They were having a contest, and to enter you had to comment below their photo your favorite blog post from the Discount Dance blog, and why for a chance to win THREE pairs of the new Natalie Dancewear Dance socks!

Well, as I am walking down 8th street in the East Village NYC, my phone lit up with a “liked comment” notification, telling me Discount Dance liked my contest entry comment. At this point, I totally forgot I entered the contest two weeks prior, and thought it was nice of them to acknowledge my comment (I wrote a lot, and really liked the article from their blog). Five minutes later, I received another notification from Instagram from a tagged comment from Discount Dance, saying I was one of the lucky winners!!

Coincidentally, this summer I discovered Natalie Dancewear made turn socks, which I put on my birthday wishlist! I didn’t necessarily think those socks were going to be great because they had padding on the ball of the foot of the sock, but I thought they  would be interesting to try. I never ended up buying them or getting them as a gift, so when I saw Natalie made a new design for their dance socks without padding, I new I had to enter the contest! If I didn’t win, I told myself I’d buy a pair just to try whenever DiscountDance.com had a free shipping deal.

Related: See Birthday Wishlist – It’s My Jordan Year

Now, I have three pairs of these socks coming my way for free! I was so shocked I won, and I cannot wait to try them out! They remind me a lot of the Apolla Shocks socks, which are the biggest name in dance socks on the market right now, with each pair retailing about $30. I don’t own Apollas, but I know a lot of dancers and dance educators who do who love them.

The Natalie socks retail for about $11.00 a pair (but right now they are on sale on their website for $5.91), so I will definitely be writing a follow-up post about their wear, durability, and traction once I have a few weeks to test them out! Here is a link in case you want to check them out:

Natalie Dance Socks

This was one of the highlights of my week, so I just had to share it. I hope you all enjoy this snow day we’re having if you live on the Northern East coast, and if not, have a fabulous Friday anyway!

**This post is not in any way sponsored by DiscountDance.com. I entered the contest and was choosen by the decision of Discount Dance**

Xoxo

Julia – You Got WHAT Pierced?!?

Hiya sweet things!

It’s Sunday night, and in my last post I promised to explain the new piercings I had installed in October. (See: October Blessings – Reflection) These piercings meant a lot to me for a multitude of reasons.

I won’t go into detail about the reasons because there are a lot of them, and some of them are very personal. However, I am excited to share my experience with you all because when I was doing research on the piercings before booking my appointment, I realized there was not a lot of reliable information about them available online. I hope my sentiments and thoughts on my experience help someone understand what it is like.

Back in August, I finally met with a reliable local piercer, and booked my appointment to have my nipples pierced! Yes – my nipples! I always played with the idea of having mine done since my freshman year of college, but never encountered a time where I could afford fine jewelry, the piercing itself, or the pain since I was a dance major and was always rolling around on the floor for modern dance class. I did my research, and found a local piercer with a reputable name. I met with her in August, she measured me (yes they have to do that!), and I looked through some catalogs for custom jewelry.

nipple bars

All of my options from Neometal

I am allergic to nickel, and even the basic surgical steel bars they use for the piercing have some traces of nickel in them. To be safe and avoid an allergic reaction, I decided to splurge and order 100% titanium nipple bars (They were really expensive). I figured if I slurge now, I wouldn’t have to worry about changing them to prettier ones later on. Mine are anodized rose gold, and have threadless lavendar opal ends! THEY ARE STUNNING. Anyway, I ordered them from Neometal, and waited 8 long weeks for them to come in! Once they came in, I booked the first appointment I could make with my piercer.

My sister came with me, and let me tell you – THANK GOODNESS she was there. I was an excited, nervous wreck. Once I was in the room, I took my top off and the piercer cleaned and prepped the area for piercing. Additionally, you have to sit on your hands when you are pierced so you don’t flinch and mess up the piercing. No pressure, right? My sister held one hand and I sat on the other.

giphy

Many people contemplating this piercing wonder about the pain. I have a high tolerance for pain, and I am not going to lie to you when I say this hurt REALLY bad. I mean, REALLY REALLY bad. My left boob was done first, and it felt just how you would imagine a 14 gauge needle going through your nipple would feel – AWFUL. They also have to leave the needle in before they slip the jewelry in, so the exchange of needle to jewelry is also a painful and awkward sensation since your body is in shock, and your nip is just chillen with a deeply punctured needle sitting in it.

The second one hurt even worse. The piercer said the second side hurts worse because once the first one is done, your body’s adrenaline drops because mentally we believe the pain is over. For me this was true, and the right nipple has been healing slower than my left one. However, I was also told from the piercer that is normal because we are not symmetrical beings.

20181111_195759.jpg

Anyway, afterwards I was given the aftercare – a sterile saline solution with gauze – and was told to spray the piercings 2 to 3 times a day and that’s it! Do not turn your piercings, and do not touch them! Mine only bled for the first four days, the first two days being thicker blood. Bleeding is normal, and I was told they could potentially bleed for the first two weeks. I was instructed to let the water in the shower clear the piercings off, however, if the blood was really bad, I was told I could spray the saline solution on a q-tip and gently try to clean them off.

If you wear the gauze in your bra for the first week, spray them consistently, and maintain your hygeine with daily showers, they will heal fine. I’ve had mine now for three weeks, and they are perfectly fine. I barely even feel them honestly, and after the first week, the residual piercing pain had almost totally subsided. The day after mine were pierced, I had to teach fitness, dance through a 3 hour rehearsal, and then teach dance at night. Even after all of that exercise and moving, they didn’t really interrupt my day at all, or my dancing, which is what I was most worried about!

nipple bars2

They start you with slightly longer bars to account for swelling, but after 6 months you can have them sized down to have a more snug fit. Full healing takes 9 to 12 months, and you’re free to change them whenever after a year. I don’t have a significant other at the moment, but my piercer also said comically nipple piercings can have oral contact after about 8 to 12 weeks. LOL thank you for the tip sis!

I am so happy with my piercings, and I just adore the way they turned out! The first week, I continuously peeped at them because I couldn’t believe I finally went through with it and had them done. They’re also super cute, and make me feel 1000x more confident. I love them and I hope if you’re contemplating this type of piercing, this post gave you some insight into the process and aftercare.

xoxo

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