Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do?
I am proud to be born and raised a Jersey girl. I think the tri-state area has so much to offer in regards to entertainment, culture, nature, and cuisine. I come from a loving Italian family, so you know I enjoy a good meal or two. I’m extremely passionate about animals and believe strongly in adopting pets that need homes. My friends and I use SnapChat to hold full conversations, I am a dedicated Bravo fanatic, and I tend to watch movies over and over again until I know every line.
As far as my education and work experience, in 2010, I received a BA in Mass Communication with a minor in Journalism from the University of Delaware (Go Blue Hens!). After graduation, I worked for a pop culture web site where I interviewed celebrities for feature stories. My most memorable moments come from doing Red Carpet interviews for the TV Land and Comedy Award shows. I’d say my favorite interactions were with Robin Williams, Ty Burrell, Ralph Macchio, Pee-Wee Herman, Regis Philbin, Tim Gunn, Carrie Ann Inaba, and several Real Housewives of New York. I still work part-time for PopCultureMadness but am now also a full-time Instructional Designer in the online learning department at Stevens Institute of Technology. This past year I also decided to start taking graduate courses part-time at Stevens to complete my MS in Management.
How did you find WiO and what motivates you to get to the studio?
I heard about this studio from my good friend and now Work it Out ride instructor, Michelle Falcone. She didn’t approach me with this because she knows I am a workout buff; I wish I could say that about myself. Michelle knows I am extremely passionate about dancing and she recommended Kelly Wadler’s Zumba Love class to me. She explained the dance-like atmosphere of Zumba Love as compared to a more aerobics-based workout, so I gave it a shot. I went to my first class in May…and I have gone almost every Monday since. The best way to describe it is a boot camp that you never want to end. What keeps me going every single week is the amazing head to toe workout that feels like a cleanse for my entire body. I also get to learn different styles of dance. My boyfriend and his family are amazing salsa dancers, so this class really helps me keep up. Plus, I now know how to move to some merengue classics and just learned how to samba.
What are your favorite places to have a good time in Hoboken/ favorite restaurants or places to go on a date?
My boyfriend (Lenny) and I are actually NY City fans, and we look for any opportunity we can to think of fun date things to do while we are there. The same goes for my friends and me; we have a girl’s night coming up where we will be indulging in some Becco’s pasta and hopefully enjoying a new lounge or rooftop bar. I think the greatest part of Hoboken is getting that warm neighborhood feel while being able to access one of the greatest cities in the world in the matter of minutes.
Of course, I have to give Hoboken credit for having mouthwatering fresh “mutz.” Lenny and I like to spend our Saturday afternoons waiting on Fiore’s deli line to get their famous roast beef and mutz sandwich that they dip entirely in gravy. Another favorite of ours is Green Rock, as we are obsessed with their buffalo wings. Speaking of buffalo, Hudson Pizza Kitchen has the best specialty pizzas and is perfect for an after-bar late night visit.
Our favorite dinner spots are actually outside of Hoboken. North Bergen is home to the most unbelievable Italian pizza (Trattoria la Sorrentina), tastiest Cuban cuisine (Rumba Cubana), and best Colombian restaurant (Noches de Colombia.)
You commute to Hoboken, how is that commute for you? What do you do with your time on the train or bus in?
I actually don’t mind commuting; I think that’s the magic of making a daily trip like that – once you have surpassed that hurdle you get used to it. I live at home in North Jersey with my roommates (aka parents.) I think it’s a great gig… my mother cooks the most delicious meals every night, my father and I laugh hard at the silliest comedies, and my yellow Labrador Summer is quite the snuggler. At this point in time, I get to work in Hoboken and enjoy the nighttime activities as Lenny lives in town. So I feel I do get the full experience without actually living in the area. As soon as I pay off my college loans, I do look forward to moving out either into Hoboken, Jersey City, Weehawken, or the surrounding areas.
As far as the commute itself, I pass the time reading for grad school. When I don’t feel like hitting the books, I let Pandora entertain me with some of my favorite stations: Zumba Fitness, Pitch Perfect, Backstreet Boys, and 80s Throwback. If I have my work iPad handy, I also treat myself to countless episodes of Modern Family. It’s obviously a wide range between acting like a responsible student and mindlessly soaking up entertainment.
A goal you have set for yourself in the next five years?
There are two goals I want to achieve in the near future; I want to complete my Masters degree and I want to become a Zumba instructor. I started graduate classes with some apprehension, but I have to say I am extremely grateful for this opportunity and would encourage anyone to continue his or her education if possible. Working towards my degree has not only helped to keep my mind alert but has also allowed me to meet some wonderful people along the way. In regards to Zumba instruction, I’d like to get my certification and eventually teach.
When looking at the more distant five-year future, I would hope to expand my talents in the educational technology field and enhance my video editing skills, which hopefully leads to more advancement in my field. Then there is, of course, the more personal route to that question, which involves starting a family.
Motto you live by/ any advice you have for fellow Working Gals!
The advice I try to follow is three-fold: have a workout buddy, forgive myself for those late night pizza binges, and don’t let my body stay at rest! It has been hard for me to stick with a certain workout routine, but when I think about all the times I’ve been dedicated to exercising whether that was back in my high school sports days, carpooling with my friends to the gym, or going to classes with someone each week – those partnerships motivate. There have been many rainy Monday nights when I wanted to hit “Cancel” on my Work it Out reservation, but I couldn’t let down the one or two people who were coming with me. And for that, I am grateful. So having a workout partner is a good idea.
I have to forgive myself a lot for my (as Kelly would put it) “naughty” eating moments. I have a site dedicated to pictures of tasty food that have “That Yum Factor.” If it is fried, cheesy, chocolaty, or creamy – it makes it onto my site; and I want to share these finds with everyone. What I have discovered is I can still enjoy these sinfully delicious treats as long as I practice portion control and continue to work out. I do believe in the saying, “Life’s too short to eat bad food,” so I forgive myself for loving a good meal. I tell myself that it’s not all about the weight; it’s more about being able to wake up in the morning with a clear mind, healthy body, and positive spirit.
A final piece of advice comes from a Stevens mentor of mine. He said to me one day, “Listen Kiddo, a body in motion tends to stay in motion and a body at rest tends to stay at rest, so keep moving.” Ever since then, I have been keeping myself busy as often as I can. Whether that is mentally by studying, drawing, writing poetry or physically by taking the stairs at work or joining Zumba Love each week. As you might have gotten from this feature, I love to rest… but I don’t want to STAY at rest.