Re-Inventing Myself for Year 25

Hi readers!

It’s been a long time since I posted, and believe it or not, a lot more has changed since I received my acceptance letter into graduate school! I landed an amazing job, I re-built my wardrobe so it isn’t just athleisure, and I adopted a furry friend! In addition, I changed my hair style and color, and have been waking up genuinely happy for a consistent period of time (which is probably the longest stretch of waking up geuninely happy I’ve ever experienced). Additionally, I turned another year older, and am officially a quarter of a century old! Many changes have happened, and I’m sure many changes will continue to occur. But I wanted to let you know how my summer has been going, and how these changes have been woven into my day-to-day life.

Let me begin with my job! I am a mental health aide/recovery assistant at a residential eating disorder program for adolescent girls. I’ve been wanting to work at this facility for a year now, and finally landed the job back in May! I have learned A LOT already from working there for two months, and I know my experience at this facility will really benefit me with all of the counseling theory and training I will receive in graduate school. The job is super demanding, and really difficult at times handling so many patients, but I really appreciate my opportunity, and I love the facility I work at because it is absolutely beautiful! As someone who has recovered from anorexia nervosa, this is a very special way for me to utilize my experience with the disease to help young women.

Next, now that I have a full-time job, it has required me to buy clothes that are not just athletic clothing since I am no longer dancing or teaching four times a week. This, in turn, has allowed me to afford buying some new clothes simply for day-to-day, and social outings also, and for once I feel like I have a “style” to the clothing I wear. It’s been really fun playing with prints and colors, and the patients I work with have told me I have a very “bohemian” flare to my style, which is cool! I haven’t been choosing a bohemian style of clothes in particular, but it’s nice to know my clothing has a style coordination of some sort.

On my off days (which are during the week), I have been going down to my family’s beach house and meeting up with my good friend from undergraduate school. We’ve been going to the beach, and the boardwalk, and shopping! It’s been really fun to have some girl time, and also be TAN! I’ve not been this tan in such a long time, and I really love how sunkissed I look nowadays. I think the influx of vitamin D has been helping me feel so happy all of the time!

As you probably saw in my post about graduate school, I dyed my hair red. Then two weeks ago when I got a haircut for the first time since March, I decided to cut my bangs which was also an impulsive decision. But I really love them! I’ve been craving changes, and changing my hair is a really simple, and fun way to do it. I also feel like I’m truly starting to get to know myself in an authentic way, and my hair definitely represents this process.

Probably one of the cooler and more drastic changes I’ve made is I adopted a cat!! She is a tortoise shell colored cat named Sally, and she is super sweet. I’ve only ever owned dogs, so learning cat behavior is a tad anxiety-inducing, but also pretty cool because she is a gorgeous cat, and pretty mild-tempered for being a rescue and never being in a home with dogs before. I am looking forward to getting to know her more and learning her likes and dislikes so she can have a happy, and safe forever home with me.

Finally, I’ve been catching up with a lot of my cousins on my mom’s side of the family, which is awesome because I really enjoy my cousins and wish they lived closer. Most of them live on the West Coast or near the West Coast. But technology and social media have been fun ways to keep in touch and catch up on our lives amid this COVID-19 crisis!

Something else I’ve realized through the last two months was I really am not in the headspace to start dating again. I spent most of 2019 trying to find someone to date, and even had a boyfriend for half of a year, but we were at different points in our lives and decided to end things. I am working full time now, assimilating my rescue cat into my family’s home, and I am going to start graduate school full-time in about six weeks (which means I will have NO days off). On my off time, I want to spend it down the shore, or with my family. I officially deleted all of my dating apps/accounts, and after a year and a half of online disappointments, I am going to give digital dating and dating in general a rest. I’ve realized that being single at 25 years old is pretty “normal”, and I am definitely in no rush to “settle down” or get married.

So, I’m devoting the rest of 2020 (well, indefinitely) to myself and my goals and working hard and saving money. I will practice self-care and have fun when I can have it, and focus on what’s important – my degree and my family and my job. I have a lot of goals, and if someone told me this is what my life would look like at 25, I wouldn’t have believed them. But as I mentioned before, I’ve been waking up genuinely excited for life and happy for the first time in my whole life. I never remember being this consistently happy in my 25 years on this Earth. But who knew through this pandemic and all of these life-altering changes I would find and experience actual happiness for the first time ever?

I hope your summers are going well and hope you are finding joy in every day, and something to be grateful for. Keep working hard, staying positive, and manifesting your goals.

XO

One Skillet Turkey Sweet Potato Dinner

Hey friends! I’ve been in quarantine for over seven weeks, and have been cooking up some delicious meals I find on Pinterest or Google! I should have shared all of my creations, but I haven’t done that because a lot of recipes I’ve followed very closely to their original, and didn’t want to take credit for someone else’s meal. This recipe, however, I doctored and cooked differently than the original recipe directed. I also added a few ingredients to expand the taste, so I wanted to share what I created. It was a hit with my family and very easy to make!

You will need:

1 lb ground turkey (93-99% lean)

1 yellow bell pepper, diced

1 white onion, diced

4 cloves minced garlic

2 large sweet potatoes diced (or 3 cups worth)

4 tablespoons of olive oil (two for the pan, and two for the potatoes)

1 tbsp fresh rosemary

1/2 cup of shredded low-fat mozzarella

1 tsp chilli powder

1.5 tbsp cumin

2 tsp Soul Seasoning (you can buy this online here)

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

Salt and pepper to taste

*Optional* 1 and 1/2 tsp of chopped parsley, cilantro, or chives – your choice

To begin, mix your diced sweet potatoes with olive oil, salt, pepper, and rosemary. Toss until coated. On a parchment paper lined cookie tray, roast the potatoes at 400° farenheit for 25 min.

Next, heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a 12 in cast iron skillet. Add garlic and let the skillet and garlic get hot and fragrant about 3-4 min. Add ground turkey. Cook on medium heat until no pink shows 6-8 min.

Add cumin, chilli powder, red pepper flakes, and soul seasoning to season the turkey. Add salt and pepper to taste. Then add your small diced onion and yellow pepper. Let the onions cook until they’re translucent.

Now this is where your preference plays a role in your cook time. If you want your potatoes crispier, you can add a few tbsp of water to meat mixture to avoid the meat drying out as you wait for the taters to crisp up. You can lower the heat on the stove top while you wait. But I found the potatoes were cooked and somewhat crisp after around 25 min.

After potatoes are finished, immediately transfer them into the meat skilled and mix everything together. Top with your mozzarella cheese, and then take the whole skillet and stick it in the oven. Set the oven to BROIL for 1.5 min to brown and melt the cheese.

Take the skillet out of the oven, and top with chopped parsley or chives or cilantro! Or serve plain! Your choice!

Serve immediately and enjoy 😉

The end result is savory with a little kick of heat at the end, but the sweetness of the potatoes offsets the spice. It’s SO good, and low-fat!! I served this with corn muffins as a side, and it was very filling to feed my family of four (mom, dad, brother, and myself!). If you have a larger family, you can definitely double the recipe and cook it in two skillets or one larger pan!

I hope if you try this recipe, you enjoy it! Enjoy your meals with your families and loved ones, and stay healthy and safe!

Xoxo

How to Create a Dance Reel

Hello loves! Today is day 25 (maybe?) of quarantine for me, and as I sit here and work on my application materials for graduate school, I realized I had to update my dance reel. Since interviews and auditions are now going to be virtual, I may be able to have my digital audition waived if I send them my updated dance reel. That being said, I haven’t touched my dance reel since late 2017 or early 2018. Two years has brought with it a ton of performance opportunity, rehearsal, and corresponding footage to add to my reel.

My brother used to have Adobe Premier Pro, which I used to create my dance reel the first few times in 2016 and 2017. If you have access to Adobe Premier Pro, I HIGHLY suggest you use that software. It is one of the best video editing softwares I’ve ever used. However, any software that can handle large files will do. Your reel doesn’t need a lot of effects or complicated edits.

Right now, my brother only has access to Adobe Premier Rush, which is a basic editing version of Premiere Pro. As I adjust to using a not-as-fancy software, I wanted to share with you that you can still use basic softwares to create a professional reel.

Bound” Borne Dance Company
The Secret Theater NYC

Here are my tips for creating a kick-ass dance reel!

  1. Choose a theme for your reel. If you need a reel for a teaching position, you want the reel to include class videos of you instructing, your choreography, you demonstrating in class, and giving students corrections. If you need a reel to audition for a role on Broadway, you want to showcase your more commercial styles of dance – jazz, tap, theater – and maybe include footage of you dancing in dance heels or other footwear you might be expected to wear if you were to land the gig. If you are a contemporary dancer and want to audition for a contemporary group, you would want to include footage of you dancing modern/contemporary styles, some improvisation footage, and maybe partnering. You can make multiple reels, and a lot of dancers do this to keep them all separate and concise. Determine your desired job, and then create from there.
  2. Access decent video editing software. As mentioned above, you don’t need software with a bunch of fancy tools. Adobe Premier Pro is wonderful because you can add arrows to your clips to indicate where you are on stage if the footage is of you in a group. With Adobe Premiere Rush, I am not able to add arrows. But instead, I chose clips where I am clearly in the shot and that is clear I am the person dancing. I also can add titles to the clip to explain the name of the piece, what group I was performing with, and the theater I was dancing in.
  3. Choose clips that are clear and showcase your best technique. I cannot stress this enough – but chose clips in a high resolution, where your form, face, and shape are discernible from the background/other dancers. You want to keep the clips short, and you don’t want the director taking each 5-15 second clip just to figure out where you are in the shot.
  4. Choose short clips. See above! You want to be distinguished from the rest of the shot, and you do not want the clips to be so long that the director or viewer become bored. You don’t need to showcase all 45 min of your favorite performance. Your favorite moment or moments will do just fine!
  5. Mute the audio on all video clips. You want to choose one audio track for the entire reel. Multiple audio tracks cutting in and out from clip to clip is distracting and looks unprofessional. Mute everything, and choose the right track to put over it!
  6. Choose engaging audio! You do not want to choose a very popular track (such as a song on the radio). Think of your reel and what fits best with what you are showcasing. Instrumentals are a great place to start for any type of reel. You want something dynamic and engaging, but not overpowering where it distracts from the footage. Also, keep songs appropriate. If your audio of choice does include lyrics, make sure it’s a clean track with no offensive lyrics.
  7. Transitions between clips should be simple. A classic “Cross fade” transition is very useful for reels. Its clean, and lets the videos flow organically into one another. Plus, almost every video editing software no matter how basic has this option. Keep the transitions consistent throughout the video if you can (use just one), and avoid any glaring transitions that distract from the clips.
  8. Keep your length short! The entire reel show not exceed three and a half (3.5) minutes. A five minute dance reel is just way too long for an individual. This is why it is good to make separate reels for separate jobs. Additionally, a choreographer or director will know how you move about a minute into your reel. Anything longer than 3.5 minutes they might not even look at.
PC: Dovitsky NYC
Bound” Borne Dance Company

Hopefully you found these tips helpful! As you create your reel, also make sure your personality shines through. You can choose text font styles, colors, etc. that you like. Just remember, keep those choices consistent throughout, and make sure they are not distracting from what is happening on screen. I will hopefully be finishing my new reel soon, and I will post the final version into a post on here once I am done.

Thank you for reading, and if you are taking this quarantine time to catch up on needed reel updates, I wish you well in your creations!

xoxo

May 2019 Life Update

WOW it’s been a minute since I posted on this account, and for that I am deeply apologetic. Life has been throwing me curve balls left and right, and I’ve been working and training a LOT in preparation for my summer.

Here are some of my recent activities, endeavors, and favorites for you all to see what I’ve been up to!

Orange Theory Fitness

A brand new Orange Theory Fitness opened very close to my home town. If you don’t know what Orange Theory is, it is a high intensity interval training (HIIT) fitness program. I’ve been curious about OTF for about a year now, and was SO SICK of my old gym membership. I have a membership at Crunch Fitness, and my schedule is so busy, I was barely using it. When I did go to the gym, I was so unmotivated to work out hard because it was late at night. I spend so much time preparing and teaching classes for clients and students, that the last thing I wanted to do at the end of the day was go to the gym and create an intense workout for myself to complete. In addition, the classes at my home gym are AWFUL.

For those reasons. I bought an OTF membership before they opened, and have been going for about a month now. I LOVE it. I plan on writing a whole post about Orange Theory and how I am running faster and rowing faster than I ever have before. This workout yields serious results. It’s fun, and because I spend a pretty penny on it, it forces me to go. I love working out in a group setting (that’s probably the dancer in me), so to be in a large group with everyone’s workout stats visible and updating in real time, it motivates me to work really hard. Another reason why I joined Orange Theory was to prepare my body for the intensity of my summer training. – see below for more on my summer dance training!

Pure Barre Training*

I am not sure if I mentioned this to you all, but the Xtend Barre I worked at closed very abruptly and permanently back in February. I was very upset because I just passed my test-out in October of 2018, and invested a lot of time and money into being a great barre instructor. I was reluctant, but a new owner bought our old space, and is turning it into a Pure Barre! He reached out to me, offered me a position, and I am being re-trained in Pure Barre method starting on Monday. I can’t wait! Pure Barre as a company has a much better corporate organization and structure, and the workout is very intense. It is also very different than Xtend Barre training. I miss teaching Xtend, but I am very excited for this new adventure.

*My opinion is not the opinion of Pure Barre, and does not reflect the opinions of the company. All opinions are my own*

Auditions

After a VERY stressful and somewhat awful audition back in April, I’ve been taking some time away from auditioning. I was auditioning at least once a week since January, and to be honest, I am feeling a bit burnt out. I don’t like when dance/performance becomes a source of an unhealthy amount of stress. That being said, I haven’t auditioned for anything in about a month. But in typical Julia fashion, I have an audition this Saturday evening for a company I am very interested in working with. I am looking forward to this audition because it is for concert, contemporary work instead of commercial work which is what I’ve been focusing on the last few months. Hopefully all goes well – I am looking forward to the opportunity.

Photo by Tim Lytvinenko

Summer Dance Training

As you all know, I am attending Joffrey Ballet School in Genoa, Italy this summer, and the Peridance Capezio BLUEPRINT summer intensive in NYC. I’ve been working full-time between all of my jobs to save and pay for my trips! I am currently looking to book my flight to Italy, and then I am basically all set to go! I can’t believe I’m going to live in Italy for two weeks, and then hop right on a plane back to NYC to train with some amazing choreographers and perform in a show! I am looking forward to all of my experiences this summer!

I will hopefully have more time to post as the recital season draws near, and my studio teaching comes to a close for the summer. Life is really busy right now, but I am excited to see what is in store for the rest of 2019!

How are your 2019 goals coming along? What are you working towards, and what are you doing every day to bring you closer to those goals?

Xoxo

My First NYC Dance Job Starts this Fall!! (2018)

Hi everyone!

I am SO excited to announce I will be joining the Vanessa Long Dance Company’s Long2 Dance company starting in October 2018! Here is a blurb taken from her company’s webpage about her work!

“Vanessa Long Dance Company, a NYC based dance company, creates and performs original work by Artistic Director and Founder Vanessa Long. Since it’s founding in October 2014, VLDC quickly captured the attention of fellow artists, presenters, and audience members with its award winning work, ensemble of dancers, and fearless work tackling social and political issues we face in everyday life.” – vanessalongdancecompany.com

Long2 is the Vanessa Long second company! I will training and performing with Vanessa Long and her core company members starting in the fall, in addition to training with other guest choreographers who come in to set work on the Long2 dance ensemble. I am so excited I cannot contain it!!

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I auditioned for her on April 17 for the main company and was cut, so I did not expect her to reach out to me the next day and offer me a spot in her second company! ❤ I’ve been wanting to work with her for a few years now, and a dance professor of mine actually told me I should look into working with her during my senior year of college back in 2017.

This opportunity could not have come at a more significant time in my life, and I think it validates that I am on the right path. All of my auditioning, training, and hard work is starting to pay off! And the beautiful part is that this is only the beginning! I can’t wait to see where this road leads me, and I am thankful to participate in any way that I can.

Have a great day everybody!

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