Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Getting Into the School Groove...

I had a tough time getting out of bed this AM- I felt like I had just closed my eyes when my alarm began to sound. It's a good thing I LOVE school, my professors, my classmates and the material. 

Breakfast was a bit rushed. I chugged this Mix 1 Strawberry Banana Lean Performance Protein Shake on the train (accompanied by a whole wheat sandwich thin with sunflower butter).

I'm not usually a fan of the strawberry-banana combo, but I was jammin' on this shake- it was thinner than I expected- almost the consistency of soymilk- which was great because I'm not a fan of chunky things that come in a bottle.

You really can't beat those nutrition facts, either... I would definitely be interested in trying their other flavors- UM, HELLO Blueberry Vanilla! :) 

Despite dashing out the door I found myself at school relatively early. It was a good thing, too, because I got lost trying to find my first class (our campus is OLD, with a few new extensions with similar names and room numbers, built like a maze). 

My classmate Jonny was early as well, so he and I played around began to warmup while waiting for everyone else. 

Our first class was Movement- with a strong emphasis in the Alexander Technique. I LOVE MOVEMENT (dance, athletics, theatrical movement, mundane movement...) and I'm so excited for the work we'll be doing in this class! We did a really fun movement improv exercise in the first half of class, and we were all DRIPPING sweat by the time our break rolled around!

After Movement I convinced my classmates to take a "First Second Day of School" photo. We seven make up the Brooklyn College MFA Acting Class of 2013, and we'll be taking every single class as a group for the next two years. I think it'll be fun to look back at this picture at graduation! From L to R, Patrick, Jeremy, Jonny, Aaron, Me, Andrea and Sarah. 

Lunch was QUICK- we have 30 mins to grab a bite to eat and change buildings for our next class. I snarfed down a Clif Chocolate Chip Peanut Crunch bar from my HLS swag bag.
 So chewy and filling. I love you, Clif Bars. 

 Accompanied by a Musselman's Raspberry Acai Healthy Picks Applesauce- I loved this! So light and clean tasting. I also chowed down on some Chili Spiced Pineapple from TJ's. OH. YEAH. 

Then it was off to Acting class- we worked a bit on releasing some of the tension we hold in our bodies without noticing. We also did a few exercises that helped us connect with ourselves, each other and the space in the room. We also had the opportunity to share one thing that made us happy, one thing we were afraid of and one secret- opening up to our fellow actors is really helpful in building the trusting and supportive environment that facilitates growth. It was really enjoyable. 

After Acting, my classmate Aaron and I headed to the gym- he did legs, I did upper body, we both did core, and then he hit the pool while I did a few quick miles on the treadmill- I haven't run since before the hurricane craziness so it was nice to get back into it. 

I snapped this shot walking home from the train today- it was an exceptionally gorgeous evening, and the sky was STUNNING. 

What did you see today that was beautiful?

First Day of School!

I'll bet my classroom looks a bit different than your classroom. 

Prop shelves. Where all the most random things in the world co-exist in harmony.

Not sure what all the rice is for, but it's acting school, so I'm not surprised. 

Our classes take place in the old (but beautiful) Brooklyn College campus.

My first class yesterday was a Voice for the Actor class. My voice is one of my biggest challenges as a performer and I think I will grow a lot in this course. We spoke a lot about identifying where we hold tension or misalign our bodies, what this does to our voices and how we can correct these things. My homework is to identify three people (well-know) whose voices REALLY ANNOY me, and figure out why. I also must identify one person who's voice I love, and why. 

What celebrity, politician or well-known personality's voice drives you insane?

After Voice I joined several of my classmates in one of the courtyards on campus to have lunch outside. I brought goodies from my HLS swag bag (see my recaps of HLS here and here): 
 Barney Butter. I ate this bad boy straight out of the packet. SO. VERY. GOOD. I shared with one of my classmates who spread some on an apple, and he loved it as well! I hear Barney Butter make a chunky almond butter- I NEED TO TRY IT!

 This Nature's Path Organic Peanut Choco Bar was BANGIN'! So yummy! A little high in sugar for my preference, but I would be excited to try more products from this company. 

 This Cinnamon Apple Sauce from Santa Cruz Organic tasted like my mom's homemade apple sauce. I. am. hooked! And they have other flavors!

I also brought some raw almonds to share. Mmm...

Our afternoon class was Speech, specifically Diction and Dialect for the Actor. You may be asking yourself, "Aren't voice and speech the same thing?" The short answer is 'no'. Voice focuses on the quality of the sound that you produce in your body, both verbally and non-verbally. Speech focuses on the formation of that sound into words. I love studying speech, and we're using a text that I'm familiar with and adore. I can't wait to dive into the IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet). More on this later. 

After class, I went to the student center to pay for my gym membership- I can use the college's gym for $18.60 a semester! Goodbye Bally's, for now. :( I'll miss you. I won't miss the fact that you are NEVER air conditioned and your treadmills need to be put out to pasture. 

I arrived home and whipped up a low maintenance dinner. 
Pineapple mango salsa chicken with brussel sprouts! 

Take frozen chicken breast, place on a sheet of aluminum foil, cover in salsa, wrap in the foil like an envelope (en papillote), bake at 450 for appx 40 mins, microwave brussel sprouts, scarf down while doing homework. 

I'm off to school! Today I have a movement/ Alexander Technique class in the AM and an Acting class in the PM. After Acting I'm hoping to head to the college's gym... my body is craving a good workout.

Don't forget to check out my Bondi Band Giveaway ending this week.

What shortcuts do you take to stay healthy when you're busy?!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Final Day of Hurrication

 It was sad leaving baby Ronnie on our final morning of hurrication (See Day 1, Day 2 and Day 3 here). After breakfast, we packed up, said goodbye and headed back into Manhattan. 

We got back into the city with enough time to enjoy lunch together before Joe had to go to work and I had to go home to prep myself for school. We decided to check out Whym on 9th Ave and 58th St. 

 I opted for the House Made Veggie Burger with avocado. 

 Joe went with the Grilled Chicken Wrap.

 Joe's wrap was DELICIOUS- smoked bacon, avocado, fresh mozzarella, baby spinach, toasted pepita mayonnaise and grilled chicken breast on a whole wheat wrap. Simple, clean and refreshing. The sweet potato fries were so flavorful, but unfortunately not very fresh tasting. 

 My buckwheat and blackbean veggie burger on a sesame brioche with chipotle aioli was filling- I loved the crisp edges, but the inside was a bit mushy for my liking. The dressing on the field greens was great. 

Joe and I grabbed a quick iced coffee after lunch, and then I headed home to organize myself for the start of school! 

 I finished gluing the final pieces to this selection of images that I found representative of my voice- it accompanied a paper entitled "The History Of My Voice". It was really interesting for me to reflect on my voice and vocal associations as they relate to my personal history. We do lots of those sort of assignments in acting school. :) 

 I prepped some joats (jar oats) for a solid start in the AM- this particular batch contained chia seeds, flax seeds, oats, rice protein powder, cinnamon, TEMPT hemp milk (review coming soon!), water and sunflower butter. I added a few frozen berries after mixing and popped it into the fridge. 

 Then it was time to decompress. This tea did the trick. 

 I set up shop in my homework nook, reviewing my reading, proof-reading my papers and getting focused!

I had a small bowl of cereal before bed since we had a late lunch. 

 These bad boys taste like fall! Mmmm....cinnamon. Love.

And then, sweet dreams! :)

Stay tuned for a recap of my first day of grad school! 

Don't forget to enter my Bondi Band Giveaway!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Hurrication Day #2

Sunday was Irene's slated date of arrival, so we stayed in and enjoyed a lazy hurrication (hurricane + vacation) day at my friends' home. 
 Joe set to work making multigrain pancakes, and I caramelized some peaches! 

 Brown sugar + cinnamon + vanilla extract- mix in a bowl and then sautee in a pan with butter until glaze forms, simmer and allow the peach juice to reduce for a few moments, and then serve! 

 Simple, divine goodness. 

Little Ronnie LOVED his pancakes! 

We lounged around the house for a bit, and then snarfed down some ice cream while playing Betrayal: House on the Hill (only the BEST board game on earth). 
 Around 3p we lost power. It was actually pretty relaxing- Christina played with the baby, the boys played board games and I did some homework, all with the windows open, letting the sunlight and breeze into the house. AND since our friends have a generator, we were able to keep the fridge and a lamp going...

 Things got complicated when it got dark out! We opted to do dinner on the grill, which involved me holding up a flashlight so Christina didn't burn herself!
 Don't be deceived by the flash- it was A LOT darker than it looks here. 

Mmm... grilled avocado squash from Stokes Farm. We also had delicious all-beef nitrate and filler free hotdogs. 

 Everyone relaxed a bit after dinner. Joe and Little Ronnie always seem to have an extremely good time together. 

And then.... bedtime. 

For more of our hurrication adventures, check out Day 1 and Day 2

Hiding from the Hurricane.

I am thankful that the damage sustained to our area from the hurricane was significantly less than expected. My thoughts go out to those who had a rougher experience with this storm than we did. I just returned to my apartment to find absolutely no damage whatsoever. I am very grateful. 

Our evacuation plans brought us to Bergen county, where two of our best friends, Ron and Christina, live with their gorgeous little one- Baby Ronnie!

He and Joe have fun together...

On Saturday morning, Christina whipped up some french toast and blueberries for breakfast. So simple, but so satisfying! 

She also made iced coffee! THAT's what friends are for. 

After breakfast, Ronnie and I played around a bit.

And then we swung by their family's farm in Old Tappan, NJ, where Ron works with his father, Papa Ron. Stokes Farm sells at several Greenmarkets in NYC, including Tucker Sq (near Lincoln Center), Union Sq and Tribeca. They also have a produce stand on their farm, which is where we visited.

Once again, I snatched up baby Ronnie (I SWEAR I'm not trying to steal him...).

Little Ronnie's cousin picked me a beautiful flower!

I drooled over the gorgeous produce for a few minutes...

And then we swung by Amato Bread for lunch. 

Behold the world's most epic Italian deli sandwiches. 
Piles of fresh mozz, eggplant cutlet, roasted red peppers, capicola, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, sopressata and love, smooshed onto the most decadently fresh hero I've ever eaten. More, please.

After a food-induced coma for us (and a nap for Baby Ronnie), Christina and I headed into the kitchen to whip up homemade heirloom pizza for dinner. 

OK... So we cheated and bought dough...

But we made up for it with Stokes Famous Heirloom Tomatoes! I never, ever liked tomatoes until I spent a few summers working at Stoke's Farm's Greenmarket stand- after conceding to try an heirloom tomato, I became obsessed, and have been ever since. 

The boys stepped aside and let Christina and I get to work!

I'm so accustomed to cooking in my tiny, cramped Brooklyn apartment that cooking in Christina's gorgeous kitchen felt positively luxurious!

We selected a few of the tomatoes based on flavor and consistency (some meatier ones to balance out the more delicate). 

With the winners! :)

This variety of heirloom is ripe when it's greenish yellow!

Christina and I get down to business rinsing and coarsely chopping! 

Heirlooms are also referred to as "ugly" tomatoes because of their imperfections, but don't let their appearances fool you- they're beautiful in your mouth!

 After cubing the tomatoes, we tossed them in a bowl with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and fresh garlic.

 Baby Ronnie supervised. 

 The tomatoes went in a saucepan, where they stewed on medium heat. 

I got to work on the dough. Fun fact: my mother owned a pizza shop once, and I am a MASTER dough handler. :)

 We prepped the dough with an olive oil, garlic and herb drizzle. After pressing the excess liquid from the tomatoes, they topped the pizza along with some mozzarella, parmesan and goat cheese. Into a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes...

 ...annnnnnnnnndddd..... perfection. 

 I know, Baby Ronnie, it's a thing of beauty, isn't it?

Served with a side of heirloom tomato soup- maybe I can get the recipe from Christina?

Heirlooms are in season NOW! GO. BUY SOME. You'll thank me.

There are still a few days to enter my Bondi Band Giveaway!