making “me” time

And just like that, it’s the first day of Spring!

Growing up I learned that Spring was all about rebirth; plants and animals coming out of hibernation as the frost melted away into sunshine and warmer weather.

blooms at Lake Elsinore

And while warmer weather might not be there for everyone (just come visit Southern California to get your dose!) there are hints of Springtime popping up everywhere:

ps loving the portrait feature on the iPhone 7!

…Like poppies! Popping up (can’t help myself!) throughout the parks in California. Known as a “super bloom”, the wildflowers are extra happy and vibrant this year because of all the rain we got during winter–see we really did have seasons this year!

..We also “sprung forward” so the days are feeling longer and the nighttime slump comes later.

…There are lots of “spring cleaning” ads. Having been in my new space for a little over a month, I’m taking the time to clear the clutter and get rid of excess stuff I haven’t touched in months.

…It’s March Madness! My Dad is in his, damn I can’t even remember how long he’s run it, but he’s the ring leader (call him the “commish”) of a big NCAA basketball tournament pool. His emails bring me joy everyday. It also helps that my alma mater, UNC, is still in the running and Villanova (last year’s champs who beat us) are already out. YES!

…Pastel colors are everywhere! Stores are gearing up for Easter (hello Reese’s and Cadbury chocolate eggs!) and flowers are blooming.

wildflower cluster

So back to flowers and “me time”. Over the weekend, I decided to drive out solo to Lake Elsinore and see the colorful blooms. Man, did I feel like I was in Oz (not just how colorful, but lotssss of other people had the same idea).

cactus meet flowers

Wanting some time with little human interaction to reflect, soak up the sun and take some pics, I took a slightly steeper path, made it to the top and spread out my things.

alllll by myself (and loving it!)

I CAN’T TELL YOU HOW IMPORTANT THIS IS. For everyone!!!! Making time for yourself-even if it’s just 15 minutes and at your kitchen table- it is so vital to staying grounded. For re-centering, rebirth (hey, hey, Spring connection) and refocusing on you. What brings you happiness and what you need to let go. I’ll write more on this later in the week and the steps I take, so look out.

sunny selfies

In the mean time, on the first day of Spring. I dare you to take some time for yourself. JUST FOR YOU. Because at the end of the day- even with girlfriends, boyfriends, moms, dads, spouses, family, coworkers, etc. If you aren’t making yourself whole and happy it’s going to make it damn challenging for the rest of your circle to bring you that fullness. Find it in yourself. I promise it’s there.

You can start small and:

…buy yourself flowers

…get whipped cream on your coffee

…read the comics AND the sports section from a real newspaper

…sit an extra 5 minutes in your car to listen to your favorite song (again)

…take a walk around your block during your lunch break, or when you’re home from work

…smile

…stay longer post workout to stretch a little deeper or dip into the sauna if that’s available.

Whatever you choose do it for you!

Wishing everyone a great start to their week. Let me know how you take your “me time” in the comments.

xo N

whiskey wednesday: irish coffee

It’s almost the DAY!!! And there’s truly no better way to kick off your weekend/Friday/St. Patrick’s Day than with an Irish Coffee.

So maybe lose the booze before work…save it for 5PM and you need a pick me up…but if you’re lucky and have the day to celebrate here’s how you should make yours:

IRISH COFFEE (Serves 1)

4-5oz brewed hot coffee

1-2oz Irish Whiskey

dash of sugar

splash Bailey’s (optional)

1oz whipping cream

splash of maple syrup (more if you wanted sweeter whipped cream)

Place 2 metal bartending tins in your freezer (this can be omitted if not adding whipped cream). Brew your coffee any which way you please. Add coffee to a mug and sprinkle a dash of sugar. Pour 1-2 oz of your Irish Whiskey and stir. If you’re adding Bailey’s, do so now. In the meantime, take 2 bartender tins and pour your whipping cream and maple syrup in, toss in a protein mixer, close tins and shake shake shake. Top fresh whip cream onto coffee. ENJOY! (do a jig!)

PS if you want to add DONUTS to the equation, use this recipe!

PPS definitely add the donuts

PPS that is all!

whiskey wednesday: women and whiskey

Dearest Friends,

Happy International Women’s Day!

Although I celebrate the ladies in my life on the reg, I think it’s important to take a day and honor all the smart, caring, hilarious, gregarious, loving and nasty women in our lives. Call them, sing them a song, mail them a good old fashioned letter (loooove me some snail mail), hug them dearly-maybe even buy them a drink! Because liiiitle known fact, women were at the helm of distilling spirits back in the day.

Yep you read that right. Before the industrial revolution (about 1760-1840), distilling spirits was considered women’s work because it was all about following a recipe while at home. Like mama was distilling whiskey while churning butter, while cradling her 5th kid. Well done ma’am.

Anywho, it’s really the ladies who should be championed while you sip your whiskey, namely Catherine Spears Frye Carpenter. Her invention of the “sour mash” in 1818 has helped keep alllll the whiskies consistent. What she realized was, if you keep a quarter of the previous fermented batch and add it to the yet-to-be fermented batch, it helps create natural yeast and keeps bacterial contamination at bay. Therefore, consistent final product achieved. YAS! CDFC, you are a goddess. (Read more on this HERE)

So to all my ladies out there, I raise a pickleback shot to you! You are a badass, your stories deserve an audience, you have a right to equal pay–equal everything for that matter. And I need you- your love, support, and friendship. You uplift me everyday. Truly, I don’t know what I’d do without all the strong/compassionate/witty/passionate/creative women in my life. You are the TITS (literally).

Cheers to you all!

xoxo N

 

whiskey wednesday: irish edition

Happy March!

a) I am so excited to share my #17shadesofgreen posts on Instagram, be sure to follow along!

b) In the spirit of St.Patrick’s Day, I thought it appropriate to give a little Irish whiskey lesson!

Quick History facts

  1. Like I mention in the video, in 1000 A.D. Irish monks i brought perfume distillation techniques to the fair Irish isle. The Irish then translated those into making distilled spirits that were very similar to what we now know as whiskey.
  2. The English term whiskey comes from a translation of the Gaelic phrase “uisce betha” meaning “water of life”. Pretty cool right?? Just me?
  3. Believe it or not, in the early 1800’s Irish whiskey was the most produced spirit in the UK and was more highly acclaimed than its cousin Scotch whiskey. However, due to the famine and change of people’s taste, Irish whiskey went on the decline so much so in the late 1800’s-early 1900s that all but 4 distilleries closed.
  4. Thanks to a resurgence in popularity in the 1980’s–we can thank the rebranding of Jameson for that– Irish whiskey is on the uptick! As of late 2016 there are about 15 distilleries now in operation.

types

Single Malt

Similar to that of a single malt Scotch, single malt Irish whiskey uses only malted barley in the mash during the distillation process. It is also distilled in a “single” location.

Single Pot

Similar to single malt, however, malted and unmalted barley can be used at the single location. This was the most popular style of Irish whiskey until the blends made their way into the market in the 20th century.

Grain Whiskey

Uncommon on their own, grain Irish whiskey is produced in a different kind of still, either a Coffey or column still, and uses a variety of grains. It is usually lighter in color.

a Coffey still (image c/o wikipedia)

Blended

The most common style of Irish whiskey on the market, is a blend of the three types of whiskey listed above!

Cheers friends! Enjoy your Irish whiskey this month! What’s your favorite brand?? I know my friend Jameson is my go to Irish Whiskey!

act like a champion today

So I just had a breakthrough, even though it’s been in front of my eyes since I was little.

Has that ever happened to you?

You hear something for years and it doesn’t totally make sense/you think you understand, and then BAM one day it hits you?? The marquee finally blinks in all of its’ glory!

Mine went a little something like this:

So, there’s a famous sign: “PLAY LIKE A CHAMPION TODAY” that hangs in stairwell between the Norte Dame football locker room and the tunnel to the field. Tradition states that all the players touch the wall on their way out before game day. My dad is an ND alum, so we had a replica hanging in our basement growing up. Later, as I was choosing colleges- I ended up choosing UNC because I saw that same sign in a stairwell at the theatre department, only it read “ACT LIKE A CHAMPION TODAY”.  A literal sign I should go there.

Now flash-forward to post college, living in LA and my acting teacher said something along the lines of “LA is the Olympics of acting, so you better train (aka rehearse, practice, read scripts etc.) all the time if you are going to make it in this sea of actors”.

And even with all of these sports metaphors, I was still thinking about myself as an “actor” and weirdly that meant I felt guilty about getting help– I needed to figure it all out on my own because that’s what the great actors do right?? They just find the character, they know the beats of the scene, where it needs to go to tell the writer’s story etc. The greats do it all on their own.

And it’s ironic too because part of the reason I love what I am doing is I constantly get to LEARN. I’m a student of life, as corny as that sounds. But subconsciously I was blocking out help.

But recently it clicked. The “BAM” moment happened during another acting class, as the teacher- a series regular actress- said her career changed when she started thinking about her auditions with an athlete’s mentality. No longer were they this big once in a lifetime, must book or fail situations. Auditions became a game. This meant she was still training, approaching the text from a writer’s stand point and making the strongest choices based on what was on the page BUT she then scored herself post audition like she had just played a game of basketball. That took the audition more into her hands and totally changed her dynamic in the room.

*Most* athletes don’t beat themselves up after all of their losses– because statistically you can’t win them all. Instead, they look at game tapes and work on improving their plays so next time around they can give it a better shot. By approaching acting with the same mentality, it has allowed me to reimagine what winning and losing look like. I feel more in control because I know I have the tools, and can keep training on the parts that aren’t up to par (pun intended).

Not saying this is the way. It’s just the way that I now approach my work- and maybe it’ll help you, regardless of your profession. The same principles can be applied.

Now that the marquee’s lights are flashing (thank God!) I don’t need to feel less than because I work through scenes with an acting coach or another actor (aka teammate). And winning doesn’t just come in the form of booking the job. It comes from keep track of growth in the audition room, classroom and onscreen, of being consistent and great at what I do. Being an athlete means showing up to all days like they’re game days; ready to utilize the training, while also trusting your teammates, coaches and your own worth–and ultimately “PLAYING LIKE A CHAMPION” all the damn time.