Adventure Sharing!

One of the things that motivates me most in this life of sin is the fact that traveling is a thing. Like…actually going out of your comfort zone, plunging into a world of languages that you will likely be foreign to, and learning about the different walks of life that are happening simultaneously with our every day routines blows my mind in the best way.

So I have set a goal for myself! Ever since I lived in London for 2 months, I knew that I wanted to get far, far away from the beautiful yet somewhat daunting lifestyle of being an actor in New York City (typical, I KNOW) and explore new lands outside of the U.S.A at least 2 times a year! So far, I have kept up my promise and am excited to plan the next adventure!

What I realized, though, is that I have not been writing down and sharing with the world the wonderful experiences I am having and little tips and tricks I learned along the way. I would like to change that! So here goes nothin’:

Part 1 CAPRI

I made my first trip of the year this past May when I finally made it over to Italy. Sweet, sweet Italy. Land of unlimited pasta, gelato, and pizza. (This is not an understatement these are basically the only menu options and I was pretty happy about it.) I met up with my friend Nikki (whom I love dearly) over at the airport in Rome. She flew in from California and I from NYC. Seeing her was strangely calming; I was expecting to jump on her with glee and freak out, but we saw each other and just warmly embraced and began our journey. It was like a really great calm before a beautiful fuckin’ storm.

After traveling 8 hours on the plane (uh…many more hours for her coming from Cali) we promptly hopped on 2 trains, a ferry, and a very small, pretty terrifying bus to the island of Capri. Here is where our journey begins.

We stayed in Anacapri at an airbnb that was absolutely beautiful with a very sweet, very adorable older couple who spoke little to no English. Thankfully, Nikki studied Italian in school and was able to translate and speak to our hosts pretty darn well! While we were in Capri (we were there for about 3 days), here is some of what we got to do:

-Swim into the Blue Grotto

-Hike down to the natural arcs and sit on the small cliffs next to Fontelina beach

-Visit the gardens of Augustus

-Take the chair lift up to Monte Solaro

-Visit the lighthouse and have wine and pizza at sunset

-Met an insane man named Antonino (Who is basically like the mayor of Capri)

-Walk through a thunderstorm and duck into a seemingly small cafe only to find that it was a huge, magnificent garden covered by a massive bamboo umbrella. Here we had an amazing dinner, got free dessert, free drinks, and even a ride home! haha

These are just a few highlights from the trip to Capri. It was the perfect amount of time to spend there, as it is an island.

Some tips/things we learned:

-Most of the things to do in Capri can be free! Not everyone gets to swim into the Blue Grotto, but that is only because it is very tucked away and it states that swimming is “Stricktly” (the signs spelling, not mine) prohibited. And, to be fair, the actual look of the grotto is pretty intimidating. There is just a small deck next to it that doesn’t allow you to see into the cave itself. Once you jump in the water and swim over a bit, you can see that there is a chain that you can hold onto that will guide you into the grotto (which looks pitch black but once you get inside it is glowing ELECTRIC blue!) Luckily, we met some locals who convinced us to go swim into it when we didn’t even know it was an option and it was definitely one of the highlights of the trip! The only thing on the list above that actually cost money was taking the chairlift up the mountain, and that was pretty cheap. And of course, we bought our own wine and pizza which in total was about 8-10 euro!

-Capri is not really a party place! Thinking it would mostly be on “island time”, the actual town of Capri was very, very quiet at night. There were about 3 major nightclubs, 2 of which were closed and 1 which had no one in it! To be fair, we were there on a Thursday night at the end of May. And after midnight more people began to roam the streets. Perhaps there is more that happens that we weren’t able to come upon!

-Always be open to meeting new people and making conversation! They will have great tips and advice on where to eat, what to see, and things to do that are free of charge.

-We stayed in Anacapri and that was something we were worried about at first thinking it would be far from everything, but quickly learned that it was a brilliant idea! It is a maze-like town that has very friendly, warm people and is actually a lot closer to Capri’s main attractions such as the Blue Grotto and Monte Solaro. Also, it is a lot cheaper and has many corner stores and shops that sell a delicious variety of pizzas for about 2-3 euro and massive bottles of water for .70 euro!

-If you like hiking, there is plenty to explore and see here! I think it’s a great option to start off with on a trip to Italy because you only need a few days there, it’s actually fairly affordable if you are using airbnb and splitting with a friend (it only cost me about $127 for 3 nights! Not 2 shabby)

-Something that is not a bad idea if you enjoy traveling is to take a credit card out specifically for when you plan on making these sorts of trips. I planned my trip a couple of months in advance and paid for my flight and both airbnbs using my debit card so I wouldn’t have to worry about those things being taken care of. The credit card comes into play when you are actually overseas! I took out some Euro, but mostly used the card to pay for any transportation, meals, and extra little things I wanted. Be aware that they don’t really take Discover card over seas at all. I don’t know if this is fairly common knowledge, but I learned that the hard way in France when I ran out of Euro and couldn’t use my credit card. Give yourself a fair limit that you know you will be able to pay off over a couple of months.

I am really excited to share part 2 of this trip, which was when we ventured back up the coast and went to Rome! I feel like I have so much to share and don’t want to overwhelm, but should you have any questions feel free to reach out! Also, follow me on Instagram to see some sweet pics! @katie_lugo

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Touch of Rain

Sometimes life forces us to fly head first into situations we had never hoped to find ourselves in and leaves us feeling pretty barren, worried, or just plain weird. Recently, a lot of craziness has been happening in my world which has included loss of a loved one, having to move abruptly, and a job situation that I can no longer be giving my time to.

Although it has been a bit stressful and worrisome, I have learned to really calm down over things that I can’t really control and embrace the things that have helped me to get to this point. A lot of people I have talked to recently have had some major curve balls thrown at them in the start of this exciting new year, and if you are feeling that way, I wanted to share that things will only go up from here! Here are some tips of things that have helped me to feel a bit better.

  1. Reading a new book.
  2. Writing in my journal.
  3. Always doing my best with the given circumstances and knowing everything is going to work out. (And truly believing that!)
  4. Letting go of the things I cannot control but taking action for what I know I deserve.
  5. Being with friends and family and getting out of my head.
  6. Also allowing myself to enjoy solitude in times of panic to get to know myself in that way and what helps to calm me down.
  7. Taking one thing at a time. When you feel like everything is going wrong, it’s easy to start rattling off the things that aren’t too great at the moment. Instead, focus on the biggest thing that you do have control over and be kind to yourself in the process.
  8. BE IN NATURE. Go for a walk. Get away for a weekend. Plan a trip. Anything.
  9. Be active. Even when you don’t want to, simply doing even ten minutes of something active can help to get those endorphin’s running which will help to motivate you.
  10. Be mindful of what you are putting into your body. If you notice you are eating unhealthy snacks or fast food often, cut that out. Everything is okay in moderation, but knowing that these types of foods can have a negative effect on your overall energy is very important.

You deserve the best, and you deserve to be the best version of yourself possible! Despite your current circumstances, you are still you and you have a lot more control over things than you think you do in the realm of your thoughts. Set some goals. Give yourself time to mourn or worry, but remember that this is the one life (as far as we know) that we are given. So why not make the best of even the worst situations and trust that everything will work itself out? Because it always does. 🙂

In Hiding

Somehow you have caught up to me

yet again.

I had shrouded myself in everlasting sunshine

thinking that perhaps you would be warded off,

but we all know that you lurk in the shaded areas,

under tall oaks and twisted brambles,

waiting for a cloud to pass through the rays

to make your entrance.

 

You are not welcome here, but I accept your presence

as I know you come bearing seeds

which will sprout into magnificent creations

that will burst with light

once the sun peers out from behind the clouds.

And it always does.

ART

You gripped the brush

with an unsteady hand,

without much care,

and dipped it into each color of my rainbow.

Lazily, you brandished this brush like a sharp shard of glass

across my canvas

and bloodied it with the once vibrant colors,

saturating the material with brown splotches

of would-be happiness

until it dripped

and drowned.

 

Even when the lungs of the thing

were filled to the brim with water and paint,

it would not suffocate.

 

The black, muddy mixture

seeped out of my canvas

and took you along,

making it impossible for you to

ever

have access to my colors again

or to ever dream of looking upon my art.

For you can no longer project onto me

what you hoped I would be,

what you wished I would be,

for I am art once more

and that is something you will never see.

 

 

 

My 25 at 25

So I was recently looking over the past couple of months in my journal and right before my birthday in August, I made a list of the top 25 things that I have really learned in my 25 years that I thought I would share! So here we go!

  1. Do it and it’s done.

2.”Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail bigger.”

3. Change is inevitable, good and bad.

4. Not everything is as black and white as it seems.

5. Even when you just want to give up, don’t. You can never give up hope or belief in              yourself.

6. The universe is a friendly place that wants to see you succeed.

7. Do what you want to do. (But not at the expense of someone else’s well being or                feelings)

8. Worrying is useless and only causes stress.

9. WHO CARES WHAT OTHER PEOPLE THINK?

10. Stay in your own lane. Success is yours.

11. Always get up, even when it hurts most.

12. Always be kind.

13. Don’t take things personally.

14. Enjoy the journey, even if it sucks.

15. Travel as much as possible.

16. Take risks and be a yes-man for a while. (Use your best judgment).

17. People see things the way they want to and that’s not your business.

18. Always take time out for family and friends.

19. Experience as much as possible.

20. Let go of things that no longer serve you.

21. Always trust that things will fall into place. (Because they always do).

22. Take care of yourself. (Mentally, physically, emotionally).

23. Face problems head on.

24. You are more valuable than your headshot/resume, job, position, etc.

25. Trust yourself; your heart, your drive, your mind. Beat out the thoughts that turn               you against yourself. Remember, our brains are wired to stop us in uncomfortable             situations. Fight for yourself. You will succeed greatly.

 

True Fear

This past week I went away to an island off of Canada in the middle of Charleston Lake and it was like a quiet, wooded wonderland. There were no other houses or people on the island besides my friends family, and it was so eerily silent that it was almost alarming, besides the constant humming of “Despacito”. It was a nice change of pace from the city, to say the very least.

On our trip we did a lot of swimming, canoeing (and getting lost), hiking, water skiing, tubing, camping, you name it. It was my summer dream come true. I probably could do with a whole summer away in nature. Something about it just fills me with unlimited joy and excitement, especially given the fact that I was feeling very weird about not being in the middle of a production. That immediately left my brain and I just enjoyed my time without feeling any sort of pressure, anxiety, or nervousness.

The only time I felt pure terror was not when we were camping and there was clearly an animal next to our tent, not when we saw fresh bear claw prints and mountain lion tracks on our trail letting us know that they had to be close by, not when we went on the canoe in pitch black darkness, not body slamming into the water after being tossed into the air off of the tube. None of that. It was when I got ready to jump off of the 4th and biggest cliff that I had encountered on the trip.

The days before, I had been jumping off of cliffs that were anywhere between 15 ft and 25 ft without any qualms. I wouldn’t even think about it. I just ran and flew through the air, knowing that I would safely hit the water and swim back so that I could do it all again. On this particular day, we decided to go around sunset to a 40 ft cliff. It looked small from the boat and I wasn’t remotely shaken, thinking that it would be a piece of cake.

I jumped off of the boat into the clear, fresh water and swam over to the rocks and got ready to climb. The climb seemed like it was really taking a while, but I didn’t think anything of it; I was ready. I got to the top of the cliff and immediately fear struck my heart. It wasn’t like the others where I ran and had a great time and jumped. We were above all of the trees, looking out into the distance at numerous islands. Some people were on boats enjoying a mellow evening ride. It was beautiful. I looked down at the water and felt my palms begin to clam up. That never happens. My heart raced with pure insanity, and it was my first time being afraid of heights or anything thrilling. I am an adrenaline freak, or so I thought. I looked down at the calm water waiting beneath me. My friends dad was yelling from the boat, but I was zoning out. I was terrified.

I thought about other times that I had felt extremely nervous and the silliest things came to mind like walking into an audition or having to deal with confrontation. It was the same feeling I felt as I teetered on the edge, scared of what could happen. It really put things into perspective for me and I realized how much confidence it takes to do things in life that might sometimes seem terrifying, but when put in an actual scary situation, it sure makes it seem easier. I waited for so long before jumping, psyching myself out. I noticed that that was another thing that people seem to do when they are scared: they wait. I took a deep breath. I saw 3 other people do the jump. Why was I so scared? I needed to do it to prove to myself that I could overcome my fear and live to tell the tale. Not only that but in my eyes, if I could do this, I could do anything.

I finally took the chance and leaped over the edge of the cliff, plummeting from 40 feet in the air into the water. My ass hit the water so hard that I have bruises to show for it, but it was the greatest decision I ever made. I had so much fun once I stopped thinking about it and relaxed. Anything great that happens in life does not happen from a tense place. talented singers, dancers, actors, athletes, doctors, etc. all have to work from a place of relaxation, otherwise they would be all over the place and would mess up without a doubt because they were psyching themselves out.

I have a bit of a new lease on life now after facing that fear. I have let so many things scare me, and for what? It does no good to worry and hide away and tense up. You are only hurting yourself by doing that and not allowing yourself to open up and be brave. It’s hard. And it’s a process. It’s something I have been learning over the years, it didn’t just happen because I jumped off of a cliff. But I will say, that it is a worthy process and at first it may seem scary, but you will love yourself and the choices that you make more because you will live without the regret of what could have been.

Turbulence

The threat is there;

It looms ominously

Just waiting for you to let up.

But you won’t.

You are not easily shaken.

You do not allow your dreams to diminish

On a whim.

The pressure, the anxiety, the doubt

Is all overshadowed by

The diligence, the joy, and the sureness.

No turbulence can steal that,

So continue to trek forward

without looking back.

Ramblings of a (newly struggling) actor

It’s amazing what one day surrounded by nature can do for you. Whether it’s a forest or a sunshiny meadow or the beach…anything. ANYthing but New York City can make you feel at ease.

Don’t get me wrong, I love New York. Truly, madly, deeply. But this place can really make you question your sanity. I sincerely am grateful to live here for so many reasons, but also appreciate getting away whenever I can.

I have been trying not to get caught up in the fact that I am not currently on stage and performing in a show. I am, however, directing which is very exciting and rewarding, so to still be apart of the theater in some way is very satisfying. But I can’t shake this feeling of worry, this feeling of being held to the highest of standards. Most of the time I can keep it pretty hushed these days, but some days my mind runs wild and I panic over the fact that I am not “where I am supposed to be”, whatever that means.

I recently talked to some friends in the acting world who say that I inspire them and make them want to do their best, and while I really am very touched and excited by that, I always feel like I am somehow letting them down if I am not in the middle of working on a role. I have to rid myself of that idea. I got too used to things coming easily, to booking things quickly and being on the move. I got too comfortable in “success” that when I hit this little lull in my acting career, I started to freak the F out. I think that is only natural, as an artist and as a person, to be honest. But it eats me alive when I allow it too. Even if I have gone on a bunch of auditions, even if I tell myself I am doing super well, even if I inspire people around me and am always on the move, it eats me alive if I am not booking, even if it doesn’t remotely show.

Today I went to Cupsogue Beach in The Hamptons. One day away with my sister and brother-in-law getting tossed around in the waves and soaking up some rays was really cleansing. I took some time to just reflect (corny sounding but true) and I realized that what we feel is failure is an opportunity for growth and for experience. How you react to your perceived failure is what will make or break you. The other day I spoke to my friend who is also an actor and she said something that was pretty simple but also profound to me since I have been dealing with these sudden bursts of panic; she said that if you aren’t enjoying the journey, what is the point? Why do we do what we do? If everything came easily, would there be any growth for you as an actor or as a person?

As I lay in the sun earlier today, allowing the beams to heat my smiling face, I felt this so deeply within me. I know that this time in my life, this “lull”, is for experience. It’s for growth. It’s to propel me to the next level so that I can be learning constantly and defying the possibilities of what I thought I was capable of doing. I have time. TIME! I have time where I can travel, where I can learn new things and see new theater, where I can direct and spend time with friends and family. I’m young! How awesome is that?

This was a rant, yes. And maybe you aren’t a struggling artist, but every human struggles with something whether their lives seem perfect or not. They aren’t. And that’s what makes people interesting. Their journey, their triumphs, their low points, their passions and how they pursue them. You are always growing and learning and once you accept “failure” into your life, you can laugh it off and move forward towards your goals without getting too stuck on things.

 

Wonder

Sometimes you feel the rumblings of war,

or perhaps a symphony, the fullness of its score.

Other times, all falls silent

where you calm all vibration from turning

ultra-violent.

 

I wonder how your heart beats,

how it dances or smiles,

how it would create tidal waves

in my own heart for a while.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sick Day :(

SO. I have been fairly sick for the past 5 days or so. I have just kind of accepted the fact that since I work with kids when I am not performing, there is a good chance I will be exposed to some…sickly situations. Kids are like little teeny carriers for viruses so that plus living in NYC and getting on and off of the subway, dealing with the insane weather patterns, and overall just making sure to remember to eat healthy, drink water, etc. can sometimes catch up with ya and hit ya hard. Like a solid punch.

That being said, I wanted to list some things that have helped me to feel better quickly when I am feeling gross and groggy! (Particularly when it comes to colds and sore throats)

  1. REST.  It’s hard for me to relax at times, especially when it is forced upon me. I like to be active. I am not someone who ever binge watches netflix or enjoys laying in bed. There’s nothin, wrong with that, but it is just not what makes me thrive! So I do my best to keep that stuff as a bit of a reward at the end of a long day once in a while. However, when I am sick, despite how much I think and believe I will be fine, I know I won’t be. Rest is key. Even if it’s just laying down while you do some work on the computer, watching a show, reading, texting friends, etc. Frequent napping is also top notch. But the point here is, listen to your body. Only you know how much you can take. Don’t dismiss if you are feeling horrible because it will only get worse if you don’t just take that one day to rejuvenate. Trust me. I learned the hard way by partying all weekend while I was sick and it made it about ten times worse.
  2. MY TOP DRINK,  I am always drinking water. Therefore, I almost always am peeing. So this only gets worse when I am sick. HOWEVER, another number one favorite drink to have when I am not feeling well is hot water, lemon, cayenne pepper, and ginger (honey is optional). This little easy drink packs a big punch and has proven to help me more than regular tea has. I love spice, so I know for some this is not ideal. But damn it will get the job done! And even when you aren’t sick, it’s a great way to start the day! Two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar in a cup of water is also great, as it helps to kill bacteria and helps to relieve inflammation. ALSO, if I am really not feeling too great, I love to go to this awesome ramen shop by 125th street. The ramen bowls are massive and jam packed with spices and nutrients. Always helps to fight off a little cold while also enjoying a mind nummingly delicious meal.
  3. TOP THROAT LOZENGES.  Ricola. I love Ricola. Just the original flavored honey lozenges do wonders to soothe my throat. Also, Olba’s Pastilles are awesome. It’s like icy cold vapor rub, but edible. These are great to really power through a terrible cold because it helps to open everything up a bit, especially the nasal passages.
  4. SELF CARE. This might seem obvious, but sometimes this falls to the wayside a bit. Take a nice long warm shower or bath, light some candles, eat healthy, check in with yourself. I personally love solitude just as much, if not more sometimes, than being social! Enjoy this time with yourself and figure out what you need while you rest. Also maybe even make some plans for the future while you have the time!
  5. FIGHT OFF FUTURE ILLNESS. Sometimes, you can’t help it. You are just going to get sick and nothing can change that. But other times you definitely have control over it to some degree. Maybe the seasons are out of wack and you are not prepared when you are out and about. Take this into consideration and maybe pack an extra sweater or t-shirt to have handy for some major switch-ups. Maybe you know for a fact that you have not been eating very well or maybe not enough. Take that into account because what you eat is what fuels you and helps your immune system to fight shit off. Wash your hands, drink your water, exercise (even if its just for 5 minutes a day at home), and stay healthy ya’ll. 🙂