PHILLY OR BUST!

Listen. I want you to know that if you move away from NYC, you are not giving anything up. New York City isn’t always the end all be all, and if you feel that way, then you are either:

  1. Meant to be in New York forever (which is awesome, good for you for knowing.)
  2.  disillusioned. You are NOT giving anything up.

When I moved to Brooklyn three years ago, I knew I wasn’t going to stay forever. I, similarly to maybe one third of the population in NYC, am an actor. I am a working actor, a union actor. When I moved to Brooklyn, I imagined art, music, and inspiration. I did not expect anger, fear, and overall grumpy people. So many told me that New York is negative and mean, but I am an optimist, and I chose to ignore that feeling.

 

WE LOVE IT!

I am still an optimist, but I no longer live in NYC. That doesn’t mean I don’t still love it, or that I don’t believe in it, or that I don’t believe in you if that’s where you plan to go, or that’s where you live now. I just want you to know, that if you move to NYC, and you don’t feel inspired or creative there, it doesn’t mean you failed. It means you’ve tried, and you’ve learned.

That’s what happened to me.

MAY 2015

I was acting in a Shakespeare festival in Pennsylvania. It is a reputable theater company, full of people I admire, people that encouraged me, people that don’t judge, people that want to do the same thing as you: act. People that want to take an audience away from the drama for two hours, with a different kind of drama. Storytellers. People that inspire you to dream. I am forever grateful. Coming off of this festival, I was on a high. If I didn’t move to NYC right now, I never would. It was on my fiance’s (then boyfriend’s) bucket list too. And so we did.

BROOKLYN

It was perfect. We found an apartment for a mere 1,600 a month (lol cheap for NYC, but still a fortune for us).

Guess what? I barely left my apartment. I was nervous and scared. I was intimidated. I knew I was better than half the people out there auditioning, and still, I doubted myself.

I felt like I was my apartment. A brownstone. But when you went inside, it was old, undusted, with a fridge half the size of the original invention. Two rooms, both of which were brightly lit, but had curtains, so your neighbors can’t see inside.

What was this new feeling? Why couldn’t I believe I was more than this? Is this my life now?

I auditioned here and there. I got cut for having brown hair, for not being an ingenue, for being too much of an ingenue. For being a sidekick, for this, for that, for the other thing, for blue eyes, not muscular enough, not natural enough of a smile. It gets to you. My very best friend was consistently working in Broadway. I met many people, because of her. I got to see many shows that I loved, and met many people that inspired me. But, listen to them when they tell you it gets to you. Sitting at home, going to work at a server job, gets to you most of all. I worked in theatre here and there, but it was work I didn’t feel i could delve into. It was always to make money for the theater. I didn’t go to school for business. This is not what I wanted at all. At one of my jobs, I once had to tell a man he could not have an additional person sit in the aisle, to which he responded (very angrily, and loudly) “I am God, you are nothing.” It wasn’t just this experience, more than that that made me start to feel differently about where I was living.

AND THAT IS OKAY.

 

 

I do not think it is NYC’s fault for making me feel bad sometimes. I still LOVE New York. I especially love Brooklyn.  It is something that I had to go through. I am not going to change people. I am going to change myself, and hopefully inspire change in others. I am proud that I’ve done what I’ve done. That being said, I don’t have the stomach for Manhattan I have the heart for it, yes, but If I can’t be there fully, I want to spend my time elsewhere.

MARCH 2018

Adam, my fiance, feels similarly to me. I don’t want to continue making my money in a way that depressed me. I want adventure, I want inspiration. Our lease is coming to a close and so we have made a decision.

It is such a hard decision. My very best friends are still there. My pride is there.

But I want you to know that just because I am somewhere new, doesn’t mean that I am someone new. I am different, yes, but evolved. I have not given the away the things that mean the most to me:

my friends

my art

my family

my passion

my optimism

 

PHILADELPHIA, JUNE 2018

I am here. I feel new, refreshed, pretty great. I am starting somewhere new. Somewhere where people say hello, and root for each other, and encourage each other to make art. New York, I still root for you, will you root for me here?

DSC_6392

 

Love truly,

Valerie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pie Time

So basically, for the past two years I’ve been working on perfecting my pie-baking skills.  At this point I feel like I’ve really got a crust down that I really love. I use it for almost all of my pies now. I’ve learned a whole lot about baking from all of these adventures. Mainly, I’ve discovered how baking can be a huge source of stress relief for me. I really enjoy pouring my time and effort into something that physically manifests itself into something positive when the work is done.

I am predominately an actor and singer, so baking is a just a hobby for me. That doesn’t mean that I don’t taking baking seriously though, and I do. I really do. I take a lot of pride in baking and it means a lot that i can share it with my family and friends.

(p.s. I’ll share my pie crust recipe at the bottom of this post. I’m pretty proud of it.)

14533726_570817859787271_6476556716656820224_n
Strawberry Fig

One thing that I’ve really figured out from all of my efforts is that I have to accept that I can’t make a perfect pie every single time just yet. And that’s okay. I have to accept that once in a while, I’ll have a liquidy filling or a burnt lattice, or the the decoration won’t turn out the way I had hoped.  Precision is pretty important, so things can get tricky sometimes. I’ve also learned that I’ll never make a perfect pie if I give up. So that’s why I keep on making them. As I kept on practicing these past two years, I have noticed a lot of improvement in myself, and I can now confidently say that I make a pretty darn good pie.

Another thing I feel like I can kind of pat myself on the back for is flavor inventing. It’s pretty awesome to experiment with different flavors and fruits in unexpected ways. I like traditional pies as well, but I have a lot of fun making things that are a little out of the ordinary. The strawberry fig in the top picture, for instance, turned out pretty awesome. I’ve also done things like cheesy apple and wine pie and peach and blackberry pie. I can’t wait to invent some more.

Val’s Pie Crust

2 1/2 cups flour

1 cup REALLY cold butter

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup ice cold water (i literally put an ice cube in the water after I’ve measured it)

yields enough pie crust for the bottom crust and a lattice

When you’re making a crust, make sure you’re really precise about it. I start by sifting my flour and then throwing the salt in. Mix that together. Take your butter out of the freezer (yes, you read that right. Freezer) and using a box grater, grate your butter. Add it to the flour/salt. Push that stuff together, and slowly add your water. Mix until it forms dough. Wrap it in some plastic wrap and throw that sucker in the fridge until you’re ready to use it! Good luck!

14677209_1780950738828116_288563476635320320_n(1)
Raspberry and Apple (some strawberries thrown in there too)

Festival Season

As soon as warm weather starts to peek around the corner, festivals pop up everywhere and anywhere. I’m talking music festivals, art festivals, and any other festival (I’m sure you’re all familiar). The Cherry Blossom festival is no exception to the new-found liveliness we all feel as soon as 40 turns to 65.

As members of Brooklyn Botanic Garden, my boyfriend and I enjoy extra perks at this friendly city establishment (including free admission, cha-ching).

This is a plea for you all to support your local non-profits and businesses. We all need these beautiful things in our lives. The cherry blossom festival is a perfect spark to the fire that is festival season, and summertime. Get out there and smell the roses, boys.

18096010_1442902979344416_5753708042793254912_n

Hey, also, the Brooklyn Botanic garden features many festivals throughout the year. I totally siked you out and made you think this was the only one, but that’s a lie. If yu get a chace to go, go. You can also get married here! So if you’re thinking about it….it’s an option and all that jazzerooni.

Cheers,

Valerie