Sassy Actress, with a Side of Quirk

Life Musings by a Real Drama Queen

Let the Sun Shine!


What a week. I’ve had some great stuff happen this past week! Firstly, I am happily employed by a catering company and a babysitting network. I start work next week and I have an interview with the babysitting network for family placement tomorrow. Woohoo! I also may have a prospective family but that is still a maybe so fingers crossed! Now that audition season has wound down a bit, I need to focus on making a nice little nest egg of cash so that when auditions pick up again, I can take time off if need be. I am pretty lucky though because all of my side jobs leave me with time in the morning for auditions, which is nice. I might become a full-time babysitter or nanny this summer (hello, Hamptons!) but we will see. I really wouldn’t mind sticking around the city this summer, taking some classes and maybe working on a few smaller gigs here while babysitting.

My friend Andrew introduced me to a new company called the Musical Theater Factory, so I am really excited to get involved with them. The Musical Theater Factory is all about bringing new musicals to life through workshops and showcases. I think it is a great company and I can’t wait to volunteer for them. It is also going to be a great way for me to fill up my time before my side jobs start up. They love people who are multi-faceted and can help out in other areas of expertise so I will be definitely be offering up my box office/marketing/PR/administrative skills in the near future. They actually have a salon (chic, right?) this Thursday that I hope to attend- if anyone in the city wants to tag along, let me know!

SO yeah. Good things brewing. Ya know what else is great? This weather!!!! Well, not necessarily today, which is kind of gloomy and overcast but this past weekend was beautiful. I was soaking up the sun as if I were Vitamin D deficient. I also was smiling all weekend because I got to visit my amazing boyfriend in Philadelphia. I haven’t been to Philadelphia pretty much since I left in August so it was a bit surreal to be back. Even though I can’t imagine myself living there again any time soon, it was comforting to be back in a familiar place where I was an expert! I knew where we could have dinner, where the best place to get coffee was, all that fun stuff. I also loved it because I got to see my best friend Angie who I haven’t seen since I visited her at the PA Renaissance Faire this summer. My boyfriend and I brunched with her and then saw her quirky Irish show that evening. I wish I could’ve seen more people (I’m sorry Calvin!) but I really wanted to spend the majority of time with my boyfriend since I was there for such a short time.

My boyfriend and I had SO MUCH FUN. I always feel so refreshed after seeing him. I can only imagine how good I will feel once we are living in the same city together. I am absolutely smitten. We love just being with each other and walks are our THING. I mean, we are kind of old people. We love walking through the city, talking and browsing in shops, just enjoying the weather and each other’s company. He also cooked for me and it was phenomenal as per usual. He made me fried veal cutlets with a light roasted red pepper and lemon butter sauce, roasted cauliflower, and sautéed mushrooms. He has changed my feelings about mushrooms. I used to hate them. Now I love them. Yep.

Another reason I wanted to spend the majority of my weekend with my boyfriend is because I wanted to hang out with his family. I absolutely love them! His little cousins are amazing and adorable and crazy and the adults are equally hilarious. It’s just a really nice, inviting family and I really enjoying spending time with them. His uncle also made a kick-ass brunch before I left, which is reason enough to keep me coming back to their house. Let’s be real, we all know food is the way to my heart!

So it was a loverly weekend. A good reset for this month. I feel like I can conquer anything! That also might be because I just took an amazing yoga class at the UWS Yoga to the People studio. What would I do without Yoga to the People? I am not sure. I mean, it’s donation based, and I usually try to donate every time I go, but I love it because there is no pressure if you can’t donate. And honestly, sometimes I can’t, because NYC is expensive and theater isn’t always the most financially stable career. So even if I can’t afford a gym membership or group exercise classes (what I love) then I can at least recharge with some Power Vinyasa Flow. THANK YOU YOGA TO THE PEOPLE!

Another reason why I am just in a lovely mood? It’s free cone day at Ben and Jerry’s. Yup. And guess who’s yoga studio is right next to a Ben&Jerry’s? This chick’s! After I finish this post, you best believe I will be visiting my good friends Ben and Jerry for a little indulgence. Good thoughts, good things, good day.

I also have some more cool recipes and money-saving tips that I want to share but I am not really sure if people care about them? I mean, I have looked at my stats and most people prefer when I talk about things like auditioning and living in NYC. So, I will consider to share those because I like to and I find it interesting to write about but if you don’t dig it, all 5 of my readers, then just let me know :P.

In the land of auditioning, not much happened in the past week…I went to one audition in Brooklyn for an awesome company called Theater 20/20. They are doing a funny parody version of the Merry Wives of Windsor. I auditioned in a Catholic Church on the altar which brought me back to my days of performing with the Presby Players. Holla if you hear me! It was a lot of fun- I mean who doesn’t want to perform a Shakespeare monologue on an altar? Talk about epic. No word about a callback but either way it was a fun time.

So yep. That’s it. I am rushing the end of this post because I really want some free ice cream…And because I should probably go home and eat a real meal after eating said cone. Is dessert before lunch such a bad thing? I think not! Thanks for reading and I will catch you on the flip side. Pretend I never said that.



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Amazing Dark Chocolate Chunk Baked Oatmeal

So, I love food. I think that is apparent by now. One thing I hate is recipes. I love to cook but it is a RARE occasion that you will find me following a recipe. When I cook, 98% of the time I just use recipes for inspiration and then I riff off of them with whatever ingredients I have on hand. That being said, I do occasionally follow recipes, especially those written by my FAVORITE food blogger Jessica Merchant, from How Sweet Eats. She is awesome and her recipes are exceptional.

I was never a huge fan of oatmeal but it’s really affordable so I kept trying to find a recipe that I liked. I am not the biggest fan of it in just as a hot breakfast cereal, so I was looking for a recipe that was different, could be made ahead of time, and was portable. Well, howsweeteats did not disappoint! She has this awesome Dark Chocolate Chunk Cheesecake Baked Oatmeal that is INCREDIBLE. It is one of the only recipes I follow exactly as is and have made multiple times. It is just THAT GOOD. Like, so good that you should make it now…and then make mine 🙂

So, as I have stated, I love this recipe and make it as is a lot…but in true Dionna style, I can’t just always make this recipe the same way! Plus, I tried making this yesterday and I didn’t have any coconut milk or mascarpone, so I did what I do best in the kitchen- I improvised! I improvised so damn well that I decided to write down exactly what I did because it was FANTASTIC. Plus, my version is dairy-free and is not as sweet, so it can really be eaten as breakfast, a snack, or as dessert. Hell, I might have eaten a few slices right out of the pie plate…but who’s counting, am I right?

Dark Chocolate Chunk Baked Oatmeal (Dairy-Free) adapted from How Sweet Eats

2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1/4 cup raw sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 individual packages Justin’s Chocolate Hazelnut Butter (approx 2-3 ounces)*
3 ounces 72% dark chocolate, chopped into chunks

  • Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F and spray a pie plate (9×9) with non-stick spray. I like to use coconut oil spray since it adds a nice flavor and can withstand high temps.
  • Mix together the oats, sugar, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.
  • Whisk together the almond milk, egg, vanilla extract, and chocolate hazelnut butter.
  • Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix to combine. Fold in chopped dark chocolate.
  • Pour mixture into the pie plate and bake in the oven for about 23 minutes, or just until set.

This baked oatmeal is great right out of the oven, gooey and hot, but I actually like it better after it has cooled, at room temperature. It tastes like a nutty, chocolately, soft oatmeal cookie, plus it is full of protein and fiber. I cut it into slices and take it with me when I go to auditions but it is also great reheated, with a splash of almond milk. It’s dairy-free and if you use certified gluten free oats, it is also gluten free! Try it out and let me know what you think!

The finished product!

The finished product!

*This is the only chocolate hazelnut butter I use. It has the best consistency because it has hazelnuts AND almonds. I also love it because it is low in sugar, dairy-free, and very chocolatey. They also use great ingredients and I find that it is worth the price tag! You could obviously substitute another chocolate hazelnut butter but the level of sweetness and the consistency will differ.*



(None of these links are sponsored)

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