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30 Apr - Natural Cocktails with Julia of ITSBLITZZZ

New York

If you’re on social media, you know about ASMR (Autonomous sensory meridian response, for
the uninitiated), the craze that’s sweeping the Internet. The idea is that certain auditory or visual
stimuli create specific responses in our body. No one knows this better than Julia of @itsblitzzz,
who has built an entire brand off of linking ASMR and wellness through video. Julia partnered
with us for Earth Day weekend to curate a set of bright, blissful cocktails. We sat down with her
after the event to talk about how she became a YouTube sensation, and what, exactly, it is about
ASMR that has people so excited.

 

Freehand: Can you talk a little bit about how your interest in wellness and past work
experiences developed into honing your talents in cooking, mixology, knitting, and being on
camera? How did you build a career out of that?

Julia: I’ve always had hobbies, and I think my mom got me into cooking as a kid (although I
didn’t start cooking at home regularly until my early twenties!). I also worked in restaurants for a
large part of my life, which probably helped with the culinary parts. As for my career, I’ve had a
YouTube channel for ten years now! I have shifted my content a lot over the years as my
interests have changed. Some of my subscribers have been around since the beginning, which is
a really great feeling. Last July, it officially became my career.

 

FHNY: What is your chosen medium to share your message?

J: I am active on Instagram and YouTube and my username is the same on both — itsblitzzz. I
never got into Twitter, and I don’t use Facebook.

 

FHNY: Can you think of a favorite YouTube or Instagram video that we can share with
readers?

J: I actually shot a video when I was visiting New York and staying at the Freehand last week!
You can find it here.

 

FHNY: What is ASMR?

J: ASMR stands for autonomous sensory meridian response. A lot of people describe it as a
tingling sensation or feeling of euphoria that occurs when watching or listening to content that
evokes relaxation.

 

FHNY: What makes an ASMR massage more appealing than what we consider standard
massage or standard facial massage? What does speaking in a whisper do for the receiver?

J: I find touch very relaxing, which is why most of my ASMR videos are focused around it.
Often, when I film a massage, you can physically see the person who is receiving the massage
enter a state of relaxation. The fact that it is observable creates a sense of relaxation for viewers
as well. I speak in a whisper frequently because many people prefer it for ASMR videos.
Personally, my favorite videos are “soft spoken” — that’s ASMR terminology and it’s basically
when someone slightly lowers the volume of their natural voice (above a whisper) to create a
more relaxing atmosphere.

 

FHNY: Can you explain what the flittering finger motions and hand movements do for a
person’s senses?

J: ASMR is very subjective and everyone has different “triggers.” Some people really enjoy
hand movements and sounds associated with hands (nail tapping, finger flutters, etc.). I really
enjoy both, which is why I include them in a lot of my videos. I always encourage other people
to explore different types of ASMR content if it’s new to them or they are just getting into it. It
can take a while to figure out what types of sounds and/or visuals are relaxing to you
specifically, but once you figure it out, you’re hooked.

 

FHNY: You have a natural ability to open up the discussion on leading an eco- conscious
life in way that is not rigid. You are learning and changing your mind as you go. When
creating your videos and posts, is this something that you are conscious of?

J: For sure. A lot of us weren’t raised with the knowledge we have now about sustainability and
the environment. As we increase our awareness globally, I think making small changes is the
best places to start. Anything else can feel intimidating or overwhelming at first. When you are
continually making small changes, things add up and really make a difference. Our society isn’t
structured for sustainability, so it takes work and effort and I try to be supportive of everyone’s
efforts, small or large. We are all just doing the best that we can do.

 

FHNY: Your cocktails for our Earth Day event “Possible Worlds” tasted incredible. Can
you share the recipes here with us?

J: Sure! The spicy margarita is actually based on a drink from one of the bars I used to work at
in L.A. so I can’t take credit for it. The other one is my own. Here are the specs for both:
Spicy Margarita
2-3 small slices of Serrano pepper (muddled)
A few stems of fresh cilantro (tops only)
1 oz fresh lime juice
1/2 oz raw agave
2 oz blanco tequila
Orange Ginger Margarita AKA Orange You Glad You Weren’t at Coachella
1/4-1/2 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
3/4 oz ounce fresh orange juice
1 oz fresh lime juice
dash raw agave
2 oz blanco tequila
For both drinks, just add the ingredients to a cocktail tin, shake well with ice, and strain over ice
into a rocks glass. A salted rim and a garnish make it a proper cocktail!

 

FHNY: Where did you go to get the natural ingredients for the workshop in NYC? What
are some of your favorite places in New York and L.A. to go for organic groceries and
ingredients?

J: Originally, we went to the Union Square Farmers’ market but couldn’t find the ingredients we
needed. We did, however, see Paul Dano buying produce, which made the trip worth it because
Prisoners is one of my favorite movies. Luckily, Whole Foods is across the street, so we could
pick up the rest of the ingredients over there. In L.A., I usually stick to farmers’ markets and
natural food stores that stock local produce. You can find a farmers’ market in L.A. almost every
day of the week in a different neighborhood, which makes it easy. Other than that, I usually go to
Erewhon, Lassens, or Whole Foods.

 

FHNY: Do you have favorite places to eat or go for a cocktail in NYC? How about LA?

J: There are so many great places in New York and L.A. it’s hard to choose. In New York I love
Cafe Mogador and Roberta’s. In LA, my #1 spot is Asanebo — it’s this amazing Japanese
restaurant in the valley. I’m not that picky when it comes to bars, but if I’m drinking wine I do
prefer places with natural wine options.

 

FHNY: What are your favorite books?

J: I’m a huge Harry Potter fan and have read all of the books and even listened to them all on
audio recently. They never get old to me and I’ll probably reread them again at some point.
Other than that, Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier, Jane Eyre, The Importance of Being Earnest by
Oscar Wilde, and all of Edgar Allan Poe’s shorts.

 

FHNY: What are your favorite cookbooks?

J: Honestly, I have tons of cookbooks and hardly use any of them. I appreciate the tangibility of
having books but I tend to get a lot more recipes from YouTube or the Internet. I really love
The Minimalist Baker on Instagram, Chef John on Youtube, and
Maangchi.

 

FHNY: What do you pack when you travel now vs. pre minimalist living? How can we get
there too?!?

J: I’m honestly still working on this! Ideally, I like to pack just a carry-on for trips but it really
depends on the length of my trip and whether or not I’ll have access to a washing machine. I try
to bring just the essentials though: a few outfits, basic skincare, and a couple warm weather
pieces in case I get cold. I don’t need a lot of clothes, but shoes and socks are still a challenge for
me — I always seems to pack too many of both. Aside from the basics, I always pack a couple
reusable cotton bags, a refillable water/beverage container, and a set of bamboo cutlery. All of
these items are lightweight and help cut down on a lot of unnecessary waste while traveling. I
would definitely encourage others to invest in items like this and do the same!

 

FHNY: What was your favorite thing about staying at Freehand NY?

J: I loved the hanging fruit baskets in each room and especially liked that they came fully
stocked with fresh apples! The refillable glass bottles of water in the room were great too — I
wish more hotels were doing this, as it would eliminate a lot of plastic water bottles. Other than
that, the rooms were really clean and everyone at the hotel was super nice and accommodating.
It’s centrally located which made getting around really easy as well — there’s a train about 2
blocks away. I spent 10 nights there and would definitely come back!