Pegli, Italy – Una Ballerina, Focaccia, e un Caffè Latte Macchiato

It’s been so long since I posted on here, and usually October is the month of the year each year I am actively blogging about Halloween, fall activities, and happenings in my life. Usually I am preparing for Nutcracker and drowing in Dunkin pumpkin coffee, but this year is a bit different.

As the weather changes over to autumnal coolness, I am feeling myself yearning to be back in Italy. For the Joffrey Ballet intensive I attended, I stayed in a small beach district of Genova on the Mediterranean coast, called Pegli. I have been missing the beautiful, simple town; the delicious foccacia, pesto, and espresso, and the intense heat of the sun during the long dance days.

My two weeks with the Joffrey School were so magical and enlightening. Not only did I travel – BY MYSELF – to Pegli (which involved a 7 hour flight, THREE train transfers at stations with no escalators, and a 50 lb suitcase), but I trained hard in a beautiful dance studio on a mountain (that had no air conditioning), with people from all over the USA and Italy. I still can’t believe I was brave enough to do all of this on my own, and with my own money.

No one in this district spoke English, so it forced me to use the little Italian I do know, and learn how to speak. Joffrey also equipped us with four Italian language lessons while we were there. I was told I have great pronunciation, and a lot of Italian people believed I’d been speaking Italian for a lot longer than one week!

Here are some images from the district I lived in. I walked up and down the lungomare (path along the sea) after every meal, and admired the scenery, culture, people, and beaches.

I drank an ameretto sour at a beach bar with my roommate late one night, and tried to communicate with our waiter in Italian to figure out if the other waiter was his brother.

“È tuo fratello?”

“Si, mio gemello!”

I made friends with the hotel baristo and he gave me a bottle of the wine I drank every night for free as a parting gift.

I traveled to Milan and toured the Duomo, and the La Scala theater. We toured Genova, and toured the Princess of Genova’s palace, and the Genova Aquarium – the second largest aquarium in the world.

I ate the most bread and pasta I have in my life, and also drank the best coffee I’ve ever had in my life every morning and afternoon! I cosumed so much gelato I’m surprised I didn’t turn into it. My favorite flavor of gelato is yogurt gelato!

We even toured the world’s best, and freshest pesto company greenhouses, and made our own pesto with their family recipe! Genova pesto is known to be the best in the world.

I cannot wait to travel back to Italy to explore more of the country. With this experience under my belt, I am not afraid to travel alone anywhere. I am so thankful for this experience, and will remember it all for the rest of my life. Thank you to the Joffrey Ballet School for this amazing experience, and all of the amazing faculty.

xoxo

July 2019 Happenings!

Hi everyone!

I turned 24 this past week, and I can’t believe I already made another 365-day trip around the sun. This was the first time I was home for my birthday in two years, and it was amazing to be home with my family and close friends. I share the same birthday as my mom, so to be able to be home and celebrate with her, my grandma, my siblings, and my father meant a lot to me!

A lot has happened since I last posted! Remember in my last post how I mentioned I was going on an audition? Well, your girl was invited to join the company she auditioned for, and tomorrow will mark our third rehearsal together for the summer! It’s very exciting to think I am starting with a new performance group (based out of NYC), who has such an important mission that is near and dear to my heart.

Related: May 2019 Life Update

This specific company is dedicated to raising awareness about eating disorders, and de-stigmatizing mental health. As someone who considers herself a recovered anorexic, and someone who struggled with anxiety her whole life, joining this team of artists means THE WORLD to me. I am so excited for our season. We have so many amazing projects lined up for the summer and fall!

Related: How Dance Helped Me Survive Anorexia and Literally Everything Else

I leave for Joffrey Italy in LESS THAN TWO WEEKS!! I literally CANNOT BELIEVE I AM GOING! I prayed for a year for an opportunity to dance and travel, and last minute went to the Joffrey audition, and then was accepted into the Italy location! Life is so funny with the way it works! I can’t wait to travel, train, and experience Italian culture right on the Mediterranean.

Related: Joffrey Ballet School Summer Intensive

Another cool thing I did recently was get another piercing! I wanted my septum pierced for a while and decided to pull the trigger and go get it done a week and a half before my birthday. This way, it would have a whole month to heal before I leave for Italy. I LOVE how it came out! The piercing is a titanum horseshoe because I can flip it into my nose to hide it. I had it anodized rose gold to match my nipple rings 🙂 Haha. I adore it, and it’s been healing well. I can’t wait for it to heal completely so I can wear cute clickers and other jewelry.

Related: Julia – You Got WHAT Pierced?!

I’m feeling really optimistic about the future, and my coming adventures in Italy and NYC. I’ve been working and trying to enjoy my time home before I jet set off for four weeks to train. 24 is already giving me great energy, and I can’t wait to see where I am next year when I turn 25 (that is a SCARY number oh my gosh).

I hope I can write more, and at least make a post or two while I am in Italy! If not, I will definitely be posting when I get back to the states and after my NYC intensive. I hope you all are enjoying your summer vacations, travels, and adventures!

Xoxo

Flourless, Eggless, Dairy-Free Pumpkin Pancakes for your October Morning!

Hello beautiful internet readers! HAPPY HALLOWEEN! Today I have another recipe for you!

My friend sent me a Snapchat the other day of these delicious vegan pumpkin pancakes she made. I asked her for the recipe, and decided to try them for myself!

The original recipe can be found at The Big Mans World website, but I doctored it a little bit to fit my needs.

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Ingredients

  1. 1 cup rolled oats (I used flattened quick oats and it worked well!)
  2. 1/4 cup milk of choice (I used coconut milk) **I found this recipe needs an extra 1/4 of milk, making the final ratio a 1/2 cup of your milk of choice**
  3. 1/2 cup pumpkin puree (I used organic)
  4. 1/2 tsp of cinnamon
  5. 1/2 tsp of pumpkin spice (or you can mix equal parts cinnamon, ginger, and cloves to create your own)
  6. 1 tbsp of baking powder
  7. 1 tbsp of apple cider vinegar
  8. 1 tbsp of sticky sweetener of choice (I used maple syrup, but you can use honey or any other syrup)
  9. 1/4 cup of chocolate chips (totally optional but totally worth it)

Instructions

  1. Add all of the dry ingredients and blend them together. I did this first as it created almost a flour-like base for all of my wet ingredients.
  2. Add all of the wet ingredients to the dry mixture and blend together. I used my NutriBullet, but if you don’t have a blender you can use a hand mixer or stand-up mixer. Stir in chocolate chips.
  3. Let the mixture sit for 3 to 5 minutes, and use an oil or fat of choice to grease a heating skillet. I used coconut oil because I love it, and find it keeps my pans greasy better than a vegetable oil.
  4. When the pan is hot, use your 1/4 cup to measure out a 1/4 cup of batter and pour into the pan. You will need to move the batter around to flatten it out a bit.
  5. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes on each side for a more traditional pancake consistency.  The original recipe says to cook for 1 to 2 minutes, and when I did this for my first pancake it was a little too wet for my liking still. Cooking the pancakes for a bit longer per side gave them a traditional pancake shape and consistency. When I saw the edges turning golden brown I knew to flip them. **Make note when cooking longer not to burn them**
  6. When done, plate them and serve with your favorite toppings, fruits, nuts, etc. And don’t forget your coffee!

Voilà! You can now enjoy healthy, vegan delicious pumpkin pancakes!

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If you have any leftover pancakes, individually wrap them in foil or plastic wrap and store in the freezer! When you are in a hurry in the morning, you can take them out of the freezer and let them defrost for a few minutes and eat them cold, pop them into the toaster and toast them like bread, or reheat them in a skillet!

I hope you enjoy this recipe, and I hope you try it for yourself! They are so delicious and easy to make, and also super filling/satisfying!

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Hope you enjoy the spookiest day of the year!!

Happy Hauntings!

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The Parlour – Durham, NC

Surprise! I didn’t think I was going to have time to blog this week, but turns out I do! And today I am sharing something I am SO passionate about. It is ice cream, and ice cream I found in Durham, NC.

As an ice cream lover, I am SO LOYAL to my chocolate and vanilla swirl soft serve in a cake cone (also known as a wafer cone). I usually top it off with rainbow sprinkles, and voilà! That is ice cream bliss for me. However, while I was at the American Dance Festival last year in Durham, I discovered “The Parlour”, which is downtown Durham’s favorite local ice cream shop, and for good reason!

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Not only do they have homemade flavors such as Lavendar-Vanilla, Blueberry Buttermilk, Salty Malty Caramel Truffle, and Coconut Cream Pie (all of these are DELISH by the way), they have Kalamansi and Blueberry flavored sorbet. In addition to these, they have vegan options like Yuzu Mandarin and even Chocolate! Among my favorites of all of their amazing varieties is their Vegan Chocolate ice cream! And I must say – it actually bumps chocolate and vanilla twist with rainbow sprinkles to 2nd place in my favorites book. There is actually no competition – this vegan chocolate ice cream has landed #1 as my favorite ice cream of ALL TIME!

Their vegan chocolate ice cream has a consistency between a hard ice cream and a soft serve. It is not too hard, yet it is not super soft. Unfortunately, I suffer from a lactose sensitivity, so my love for ice cream is plagued by a bought of stomach cramps and bloating, and a trip to the bathroom after eating it.

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BUT this ice cream is incredible because it is vegan so I avoid the effects of the lactose and heavy milk fats. Plus, it has such depth to it’s taste! It tastes like a serious fudge brownie, and I am able to enjoy all of it’s cold, chocolatey deliciousness without the lactose-induced bellyaches that usually follow.

I took my mom to The Parlour the day we drove down to NC together to show her how amazing it actually is. And she loved it. She ended up buying the Blueberry Buttermilk, and she tried my vegan chocolate and said it was too good to be vegan!

If you all find yourselves in Durham, North Carolina definitely stop in to The Parlour and try one of their many amazing flavors. I dare you to order the vegan chocolate and not love it! I bet you will love it so much you’ll go back for seconds! And thirds, and fourths…

I will be posting more about my food and travels throughout the next two months! Keep your eyes out – I will be dancing a lot which means I will be very hungry 😉

Until next time,

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Vegan, Delicious Steel Cut Oats Recipe

Hi everyone!

I’ve been trying to lead a healthier lifestyle, including changing what I am putting into my body. A healthy gut is essential for a healthy mindset, and I’ve been playing around with different recipes and types of food to sustain me. A few weeks ago, I decided to try to cook steel cut oats as an alternative to my usual go-to flattened rolled oats. I found an awesome recipe on Cookie+Kate on how to cook steel cut oats, so here is the recipe and what I did!

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Fun Fact: Did you know steel cut oats take longer to cook than rolled, flattened oats because the oat grain itself is cut in half? Thus, it is thicker and pointier than a flattened oat, and takes longer to cook thoroughly. Both types of oats derive from the same groat grain, however, flattened “quick” oats are more processed which is why the health food community prefers steel cut oats, as they are less processed!

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup milk of choice: almond milk, cow’s milk, coconut milk, etc. (**I USED UNSWEETENED COCONUT ALMOND MILK**)
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil or unsalted butter (**I USED COCONUT OIL**)
  • 1 cup steel-cut oats
  • ¼ teaspoon salt (**I USED HIMILAYAN PINK SALT**)
  • Any toppings you want! Fruits, nuts, seeds, syrup, honey, etc.

DIRECTIONS

Add the water and milk to a saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. In a skillet, melt the coconut oil and add the steel cut oats. Toast the oats for 2 to 5 minutes until they are fragrant. (I personally toasted mine for 7 min as I let my liquid mixture heat. I was not disappointed, and the oats smelled incredible).

Once the oats are toasted and the liquid mixture is simmering, add the oats to the liquid. Reduce heat slightly to prevent scorching, and cook for twenty minutes, stirring occasionally. Mixture should be thick. After 20 min, add the salt, and continue to cook and simmer for an additional 10 minutes (give or take depending on preference, or if you’ve doubled the recipe). Make sure to stir a few more times during the last 10 minutes.

Once the time is up, remove it from heat, transfer to a bowl, and get creative with toppings!

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For my bowl, I added two teaspoons of light brown sugar, a tablespoon and a half of organic maple syrup, frozen strawberries (that thawed on the hot cereal and were super sweet!), sliced banana, unsweetened coconut flakes, and flax seeds!

This recipe yields a lot of product, so make sure to let the oats cool completely in a covered pot before putting in a covered tuperware and storing in the refriegerator. If you don’t let them cool completely before storing them, they could form a layer of discoloration on the top of the oats. This is normal and is not bad for you, however, it may look unappetizing, and then you’ll have to scrape off the discolored part before reheating or eating cold. So to save yourself the trouble, and cover them and let them cool!

I also ate some left over the next morning and served them as cold oats. It was delicious! This recipe takes some patience, but the leftovers are great for busy mornings after! Also, toasting the oats beforehand gives them such a better flavor and creamier texture! It really is worth the extra few minutes!

I hope you enjoyed this recipe and give it a try! How do you like your oats? Let me know in the comments below!

Xoxo

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