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Singer Antoine Dunn Readies New Musical Chapter with BY DESIGN

Recording Artist Antoine Dunn has been enjoying success in his musical career, seeing his music feature fans around the world. His newest...

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Thursday, November 8, 2012

Conversations with Music Magazine Nominated For 1st National Award

Conversations Media Group is pleased to announce that Conversations with Music Magazine has been nominated for Internet/Print Press Group of the Year by the Rhythm of Gospel Awards.

"We are excited and humbled by the nomination," says Mississippi native Cyrus Webb, Editor-In-Chief/Publisher of Conversations with Music Magazine. "This shows that the hard work and dedication that we have given to this bi-monthly publication is paying off."

Conversations with Music Magazine began in early 2012 as a supplement to the monthly publication Conversations Magazine. It's purpose? To give a platform for nationally recognized artists as well as rising stars in music to share their stories and share how they have grown along their journey and what we can all learn from them and where they are going. Since it's debut it has featured the likes of Trey Lorenz, Ruben Studdard, Higher Authority, Israel Houghton, Freda Battle,Travis Malloy, Byron Cage and others. 

 Held in Jacksonville Florida, July 24-28, 2013 the 5th Annual Rhythm Of Gospel Awards (   www.therhythmofgospelawards.com ) is an annual nationally televised awards show filled with a variety of innovative and exciting showcases, choir competitions, pageants and achievement galas, bringing in over 6,500 excited, tourists, church, social and civic groups, families and business professionals throughout the entire USA, Canada, and Bahamas. 
                         
The Rhythm Of Gospel Award Show will spotlight 52 categories of recognition through various Churches and Religious Groups, Business/Community Leaders, and Independent Gospel Music Artist, giving them the opportunity to network formally while congratulating trailblazers from various sectors of the community and music industry.


This award show is an ongoing project and after only 5 years it has already been rated #3 amongst some of the more prestigious awards shows in the nation.  This newly acclaimed show is constantly growing and is said to become one of the nations best premiered events in the country for unfound gospel talent.

Nominees like Conversations with Music Magazine will be voted on by the people. Because of this Webb will be coordinating "Voting Parties" for supporters of Conversations Media Group and Conversations with Music Magazine to help spread the word. Online Voting will start November 1, -March 1, 2013. Log on to http://www.therhythmofgospelawards.com/VOTING.html to count your vote today and for more information. To contact Cyrus Webb, email him at cawebb4@juno.com or call 601.896.5616. You can also visit www.conversationswithmusic.com

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Comedian Benji Brown: Living Life with Laughter and a Purpose

by Cyrus Webb

With all of the problems we are facing there is nothing like a good laugh to keep you going. If you are looking for someone to give you that comic relief and make you think in the process then comedian Benji Brown is someone you should know.

I was introduced to him a little earlier this year, and it was obvious not just from his resume but his outlook on life that he was someone that deserve the spotlight.

"It's been quite a journey," he told me during our conversation. "To me it's more than just comedy. It has enlightened me and through my travels has enlightened others." Benji has been seen on national television as well as traveling the country with his routines that are taken from events of the day. When talking about his audience, he says "they get the feel for some substance that is there because I have really mixed in a message in my comedy. It is my goal to help someone through laughter and life lessons."

What I gleaned from Benji is that he is not only helping others but it is a form of therapy for himself as well. "When I started in this business over a decade ago things were different," he told me. "Comedy has been the outlet for some to get through the day. I have been able to use that to my advantage."

When he reflects on his success Benji thinks that it "reassures and validates" why he does what he does. Real success is in knowing that he is making a difference in the lives of someone else. "You never know what someone is going through," he told me. "Maybe not everyone in the audience will be able to reach out to you. Everytime I do come across that it makes me go the extra mile."

Stay in contact with Benji Brown on Twitter at http://twitter.com/benjibrown1 and his Youtube channel http://www.youtube.com/benjibrownshow.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Recording Artist Ziggy: Pushing Mississippi Music to the Limit

by Cyrus Webb

At the age of seven he was joining his father in listening to Master P and Tupac. Now rapper Ziggy has tens of thousands online and beyond paying attention to him.

I first interviewed this young artist from Mississippi in late 2011, and he seems to be just hitting his stride.The road that led the young man to pursuing music may not have been what some see as the best, but it is a testament of what can happen when we work to make the most out of a bad situation. At the age of 14 Ziggy found himself in trouble and used writing as a way of sharing what he was going through and what he was feeling. This gave him confidence to begin recording himself and dropping his first mixtape while just in the eleventh grade. "I sold it for $3 and the people were loving it," he told me in a phone interview set up by Conversations Magazine assistant music editor Stanley Clark.

The rest as they say is history.

Ziggy's video for the song "Jumpin' Out" has over 20k hits on Youtube, garnering him attention not just around the state of Mississippi but beyond as well. He is staying focused creating the kind of music that he feels like others will not only enjoy but relate to as well. "I think I have something for the club, the streets or wherever you are," he told me. "I make music for the people."

Not even those who might be seen as naysayers are making an impact on the lyricist. "I feel like if you don't have haters you aren't doing too much," he says. "You have to have haters to keep you going." No matter what comes his way Ziggy is determined to not let anything keep him from pursuing his dreams, and wish both of his parents supporting him the skies seem to be the limit.

Through his mixtape REAL DEAL Ziggy has been introducing himself to not just his home state but individuals around the world. While on his grind he was noticed by recording artist/actor Tray Chaney (known as Poot from HBO's The Wire) and the two did two remixes together: "Make This Money" from Chaney's own mixtape and "Shake It Baby" from Ziggy's project. "It was amazing to work with Tray," Ziggy told me. "I used to watch this guy on The Wire. Now I have a song with him on my mixtape. That's crazy!"

No matter what comes his way, Ziggy is determined to stay focused on his goal of being the best he can be. His advice for others who are looking to go for their dreams? "Keep going. Don't get caught up in anything that can hold you down. Let your haters motivate you to become better."

Look for Ziggy on Facebook at http://tinyurl.com/cmziggy. For booking information contact Stanley Clark at sclarkpickens@aol.com or visit www.realdealent.biz.

REVIEW: "The 12 Principles to Wellness" by Eleanor R.

 From fat, bloated, and on the brink of disaster to healthy, slim, and successful, Eleanor R. tells how The 12 Principles to Wellness can save your life and then your soul. She will take you through a journey of self-discovery both heart-wrenching and humorous. Eleanor writes honestly and vividly about how she has realized her dreamed of life by surrendering that which she thought she could not give up: first alcohol and then flour and sugar. Over her twenty-six-year journey, she shares a host of epiphanies and epic discoveries that transform her from a non-believer to a true believer. One by one, she tackles the issues of life that can often cause a person to go back to addictive behavior. It is a story of hope, joy, and the triumph over self to understand that a joyful life is cultivated with the right thinking, which leads to the healthy behavior. Eleanor's first book, The Disease of More, set the stage. This book continues the chronology of overcoming the devastation of teenage bulimia and alcoholism that continued into young adulthood but was ultimately healed. She tells the story of hitting bottom, self examination, redemption, and self-actualization using the 12 Principles that she sets forth as a formula for success. This story of persistence and reaching for the knowledge of one's own soul in order to grow proves that one must do more than just put down the first drink or the first bite in order to get well. It is written for people seeking a better way of life, in and out of the rooms of the twelve-step programs everywhere

Conversations Book Club's Review of THE 12 PRINCIPLES TO WELLNESS
After reading Eleanor R.'s book THE DISEASE OF MORE, I knew that she would be an individual whose personal journey would inspire and encourage us all to live each day to the fullest. In her book THE 12 PRINCIPLES TO WELLNESS she takes us a little deeper into what it takes to be happy, healthy and the best of ourselves---and it all begins with the choice.

Using her experiences as a backdrop, Eleanor reminds us that we are all not as different as we might at times seem or even believe. Using tips that will not only motivate us but allow us to focus on particular areas that need extra work and attention, we are able to move forward in our relationship with ourselves and others, too.

For many the truth is that as Eleanor realized sometimes we have to be torn down in order to be built the right way. The "right way" doesn't mean we will be perfect, but it does mean that we will be accepting of who we are, what we bring to the world and more importantly what we deserve. Being at peace and being well really starts with the mind and the important decision that we can be the person we most admire. We can have the qualities that we seek, but we have to be willing to do the work.

I finished this book reminded not only of the greatness that is inside of us all, but how much of it is hid by the stuff we put before it. Eleanor came to realize not just that there was a Creator but that He loved her and wanted nothing but the best for her. When she was able to grasp that and believe it, she was able to move forward in a renewed way that helped her in various areas of her life and now thanks to her book can help us as well.

Simply delivered and powerful from chapter to chapter, THE 12 PRINCIPLES TO WELLNESS reminds us that truth healing takes place from the inside out.

Both THE DISEASE OF MORE and THE 12 PRINCIPLES TO WELLNESS are available on Amazon.com. 

REVIEW: "Last Chance Texaco" by Joe Lee

 After running a 10K race in his hometown of Oakdale, Mississippi, Chris Brantley decides to stop at a convenience store for a soft drink before heading home to Rankin County. Doing so turns his life upside down. Loyal to his wife, Angie, but trapped in a loveless marriage, Chris is smitten when he runs into old flame Lisa Crosby. And Lisa has feelings for Chris, too. They begin corresponding almost daily, and he thinks every day about making her part of his life. But Lisa has a rich, possessive, hulking ex-husband named Ed Youngblood who can not let go. Lisa is so frightened of his wrath that when her biological daughter, Dorothy King, contacts her out of the blue and wants to get to know her birth mom, she s willing...as long as Ed never finds out Dorothy is not his child. Dorothy does learn, however, that Chris Brantley is her father, and reaches out to him after Lisa is killed in a car accident. And when Chris and Dorothy (who bond immediately) compare notes on the death of Lisa, it is clear this was more than just a tragic crash. It does not take them long to learn that Ed Youngblood, though not directly responsible, did have a role. And Youngblood, once he learns of Chris and his attempts to get both the Oakdale PD and the local TV station to look closely at him, orders an employee to take Chris off the board. Taken at breakneck speed, Last Chance Texaco is a classic Southern thriller loaded with twists, turns, and unforgettable characters both good and evil which populate the tiny town of seemingly-serene Oakdale. Both bittersweet and heartwarming, it is a story that will get under your skin and stay there.

 Conversations Book Club's Review of LAST CHANCE TEXACO
Ever since I was first introduced to the work of Joe Lee I have been a fan, but one thing that I have come to expect is that the next book will give you a little more than the last one. LAST CHANCE TEXACO is no different.

In the new book Lee allows the reader to get to know not only the complicated life of Chris Brantley but how the events around us have a way of changing everything we think we know about others and even ourselves. When he is reunited with a past love (Lisa Crosby) it brings back some of the joy he seems to have lost in his life, but like his own story things are not as they appear, and he soon finds that life as he knows it is about to change forever.

This is one of those books that if you take out the setting can fit individuals we know regardless of where we live. What a pleasure it is, however,to have not only the story be set in Mississippi but the author of the great read be of the state as well. It shows that when it comes to great storytelling it's not about where you're from what the talent that you have. Joe Lee has that talent and he uses it to create a literary feast consisting of family, social issues and murder that is sure to satisfy any avid reader no matter where they might live. LAST CHANCE TEXACO is another job well done for the author.

Find out more about Joe Lee and Dogwood Press at www.dogwoodpress.com

Recording Artist Ricky J: Staying True to the Music No Matter What

by Cyrus Webb

Chart-topping recording artist Ricky J might be known for many things, but quitting is not one of them. The Canadian native has enjoyed success around the world, yet that is not why he does what he does.  He has shown himself to be not just a lover of music but someone who creates something special every time he steps into the booth or out on stage.

While he was promoting his new single "One Drop" from the album PAINT THE TOWN Ricky J took out time to talk about his journey, why he made a decision to walk away and then what his returns signals for music lovers.

RICKY J ON THE POWER OF MUSIC:
"As a kid music was all round me. I knew early on it was something I wanted to do. As I got older and started going to clubs I knew that was going to be the place for me. Music is power. You just got to feel it. You know what's in you when you see it or hear it."

RICKY J ON THE BUSINESS:

"I'm not going to lie: It's not easy, but nothing that you want is ever easy. It's a business so you are always doing something: writing, finding producers and most importantly learning the business. I've had the chance to work with some great artists. Along the way you see the rights and the wrongs.  You take those lessons and bring them into the artist that you are and the one you wan to be."

RICKY J ON THE FANS:
"I'm a people person. In this business you have to be careful, but you don't want to be so secluded that you shut yourself off. I look at fans as just being different friends."

 RICKY J ON THE GRIND:

"It's not just about music anymore. Things have evolved, and you have to be able to evolve with them. Some people don't have the drive to do it all. To me it's not a phase,  it's entertainment. This is what I know. It's who I am. You pick your path and you stay on it.  I just kept pushing on. By staying true to my word I am able to stay true to myself."

RICKY J'S ADVICE TO YOU:"Whatever you love make sure you stay on it. Everyone has an opinion.  Everybody has their own 2 cents to put in. Make sure you are doing what you love to do and let it speak for itself. Don't look back. Just keep on moving forward. No matter what make sure you are always getting better."

Stay in touch with Ricky J and his upcoming projects at www.rickyj.com. You can also find his Facebook fan page and keep up with him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/officialrickyj. 

Actress Sandra VanNatta: Teaching So Others Can Learn

by Cyrus Webb

For actress Sandra VanNatta her journey in the entertainment industry has been about more than just the glitz and glamour and the privileges from being seen. With roles in movies like Untouched and The Notebook, it is her love for the craft that has really made her someone to watch.

"I feel very blessed," she told me recently in an interview for Conversations LIVE. "To have these opportunities I feel very fortunate to be able to pursue a career. In a lot of ways I feel as though I am just beginning, because I've just inched along slowly in moderation with family as a priority. I feel really fortunate and thankful."

It was interesting with Sandra to talk about how she got to where she is today. At the time when we talked she had just wrapped on a film project called A Cry For Justice (formerly called Georgia Justice) and was preparing for upcoming productions. "For myself being an actress is similar to being a teacher," she explained. "As a little girl I knew I wanted to be a teacher. I worked as a teacher for 10 years and love it tremendously. I see similarities because you help people make new discoveries and provoke change. The realization came to me when I booked my first Screen Acting Guild commercial. I have always been very sensory-driven. That connection is just an innate part of who I am. I have just continued to pursue it from there."

Education has come not just in what Sandra has learned about the craft but what she can impart to others as well. "I still define myself as an educator," she told me, "because I want to have that equal impact. I want to be very much connected in young people's lives and be an encourager." Sandra has come to realize that you don't have to be in a classroom to accomplish this feat. "You can do that through film as well," she says.

When talking about the movie A Cry For Justice, Sandra seems to have the same reaction as everyone else I have talked with who are associated in some form with it. "You're going to love this movie," she says. When talking about working with the cast and those who were bringing the film to life, she says it was an amazing experience for her in many ways. "I have never experienced anything like that before, where there is such a commitment." Sandra says everyone involved embraced her fully.

I asked her what she thought the public will be able to take away from the film, and Sandra told me that she believes that with every chapter of our lives there is a lesson there. "We all come from different perspectives, and we can be so judgmental of others," she explained. "Via the media we hear of a story and we decided where we stand with it. It really isn't until you have intimately known what has taken place that I feel you are in a position to make a decision and determine justice. It's a delicate thing and a frightening thing to go through. It requires the responsibility of everyone. It's about coming together as humans."

In keeping with her mission of imparting knowledge to others, I asked Sandra what she had to say to individuals looking to follow a dream. "Truly work begets work. When you go in and show solid commitment and professionalism, it really does lead to the next thing."

Stay in contact with Sandra on Twitter at http://twitter.com/sandravannatta as well as on Facebook. Stay in contact with A Cry For Justice at www.acryforjusticemovie.com.

Veronika London: Leading By Example

by Cyrus Webb


She is the stunning beauty that Maxim Magazine boldly called "The Megan Fox" of Canada, but from the very moment that I began my conversation with model/actress Veronika London I knew that she was so much more than another pretty face.

You've seen her on shows like Showtime's BODY LANGUAGE and HBO's LINGERIE, but her fans have gotten to know her as a serious businesswoman that is not just following the rules. She making her own.

"It's actually a very surreal feeling," Veronika told me when I asked about the way she is seen and the success she has had. "I try to go with the flow," and for her it has meant not buying into the hype that surrounds her.

When she first thought about entering the world of Hollywood it was about three years ago. "I wanted to be a publicist," she says. That was not the path that she would eventually following, though. After meeting a director and producer and finding out about a project they were shooting Veronika ended up booking a series. "It all just kind of snowballed from there." Films, shorts, modeling opportunities and music videos soon followed.

What keeps her focused on her career and not the hype? "I'm very close to my family and friends outside of the industry," she told me. That is part of what keeps her grounded and not too "Hollywood". She is also intent on making a difference in the lives of others. "Helping those who are starting out (in the business) is also important to me. I want to do all I can to assist in their seeing their dreams coming true."

If there was one thing that really stood out in my time with Veronika it was how much she understood and appreciated the importance of branding. Each project that she is able to be a part of and everything that she lends her name to is just another piece of the profile she is building for herself. "At the end of the day the biggest satisfaction is knowing that I am being appreciated as an individual," she says. "This business is so competitive. You have to come up with creative niches for yourself and take advantage of every opportunity."

When it comes to acting, and in particular her latest project SEARCHING FOR ANGELS with Vivica Fox, she told me that there is a genuine method to her approach "I tend to stick to the darker roles because they come easier for me." Veronika says she immerses herself not just in her character but the overall film. "When you are bringing characters to life it can be easy to get lost in it," she says, but she knows that adds to the realness. "Even for acting you have to be authentic with your choices and who you are for the roles to be unique. You don't have to get caught up in the glitz and glam in order to do that."

The authentic nature is something that her fans appreciate, and she make sure to always let them know how much she appreciate them. "The public is who makes you,"Veronika says. She appreciates the feedback she gets and those who reach out to her for inspiration. "It is so satisfying to motivate someone. Everybody should be grateful for what they have, because you don't know when things can go wrong. I would like to be the light in other people's eyes to push them, leading by example."

Veronika's advice for you? "Follow your instincts at the end of the day. You have to trust your instincts because that is usually what's right. If it's not what you want then you aren't going to be willing to put in the work."

Sage advice indeed! Was a real pleasure to spend some time with Veronika and share some of the highlights of that conversation with you. Visit Veronika's website at http://veronikalondon.ca/. She is also available online through Facebook at www.facebook.com/londonveronika and Twitter at www.twitter.com/veronikalondon.

(Opinion) God’s Purpose and Order for Family


by Jerome Cooper
 
            Webster Dictionary defines family as a basic social unit consisting of parents and their children, considered as a group whether dwelling together or not.  One of the first two institutions that God established on earth was family and marriage.  Of course, marriage was first.  It was between a man and a woman.  It can be referenced in the Old Testament in the book of Genesis 2:18-24.  Out of marriage came the second institution called family.  God instructed the first married couple “to be fruitful and multiply”.  It can’t be done in same-sex marriage will is against the will and word of God.  The purpose of God establishing families is to fill the earth with God-like kingdoms.  Each family should be representing a picture of Christ.

            God is our provider.  When it comes to family, the man of the house is the head of that kingdom.  He is also the provider.  The wife is the sustainer of the house and children.  In the family establishment, God has placed position and order.  God birth out man, man birth out woman, and woman birth out child. God is the ultimate head of the family but physically He place man in charge as the over-seer and provider.  It can even be seen it if you reverse the order.  You put the child back in the woman, the woman back in the man, and the man back in God. It all starts with God and then man.  When you mess with God’s divine order, it is then when things become a mess.  Again, it is why God is and always will be against same sex marriages.

            God designed the family also to be unified.  He is a God of unity Psalm 133:1 says “How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in harmony”.  Harmony represents peace.  It is an attribute of God.  When people see your family living in unity, they should see God.  Your family can have affect on a person just by living according to God’s word and ways. 

            He (God) also designed the family to be an example of love.  The scripture tells us that people will know us by our love.  If you have a problem with your brother or sister, you should be willing to work it out.  The scripture tells us that   God doesn’t want your giving (offering, prayers, worship, etc) if you can’t restore your relationship with your love one.  When you operation in love, you are forgiving what a family member has done to you.  God want the family to be an example in love.  

Jerome Cooper is the author of the books A DUAL BLESSING: Body and Success, Battle with Self: Inner Struggle and  A Spiritual Compilation: Body, Success, and Love. As a contributor to Conversations Magazine the views expressed here are not necessarily those of the magazine, its staff or parent company Conversations Media Group. He can be reached at cjerome31@yahoo.com and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/cjerome31 .                                                                                                                                                                                    

Recording artist Stephen B. Steward: Growing From Greatness

by Cyrus Webb

When you are clear about your purpose and why you are here it's difficult to keep that to yourself. Just ask singer/songwriter Stephen B. Steward. With over over 100 songs of worship written and a new album coming out in early 2013, he has been sharing not only his God-given gift but the message of the Gospel as well.
"It's been a very special experience for me," Steward told me during our conversation. "I find great joy in sharing God's word." It is something that has been with him for some time. "Sharing was gifted to me as a child. Once I realized the gift of writing that God had given me, I began to share it. Right now I just want the world to know that God speaks to me through songs."

Though the source of his gift is known, one thing that I admired about Steward was that he understood the importance of humility in using it. "I think that the gift of humility is a lost art today," he told me. "I come from humble beginnings, and I know where the Lord has brought me from. I believe that just being humble enough to say that these songs do not come from me puts the focus where it belongs. Once we stay humble before God He feeds us more."

Because people are watching and the word is spreading I was curious as to how the singer/songwriter deals with the pressure that comes with being in the public eye. "It's been a process of growing into it," he says. "I'm going from one realm of glory in God to another, maximizing my potential. I am learning in every realm that God leads me into."

As singles from his upcoming album ENTER YOUR GATES are released, Steward wants the listener to hear more than good music. He wants you to get the message, too. "The important thing to remember is that Jesus said that he would never leave us or forsake us," he says. "When these songs speak to you it is the spirit of God speaking to you. I want these songs to be heard so that there will be healing, that deliverance can take place, and to give people hope."

Stephen B. Steward's message to you is this: "We can depend on God to be faithful. If we depend on Him He will definitely bring us through any circumstances that we encounter in our lives. All we have to do is trust in Him."

Keep up with Stephen and his upcoming projects by visiting his website www.stephenbsteward.com

Friday, November 2, 2012

Melanie Calvert Benton: New From the Inside Out

by Cyrus Webb

When I first met author/actress/photographer Melanie Calvert Benton in person not long ago it like being welcomed by a ray of sunshine. She really did light up the room with her smile and magical personality, and her sense of humor won the room over. It would be difficult to imagine her any other way.

Unfortunately, just about three years ago, she wouldn't have been the same playful, vibrant woman that I met. In telling me her story, Melanie showed how she is a living example of our theme of the year: New from the inside out.

"I was very closed off to myself," she related to me during our interview on Conversations LIVE in late October. "No one would pay attention to me." Being overweight at the time Melanie says she felt almost invisible. Not only did it seem as though no one could see her. It was almost as it the world felt like she had nothing to share.

When she began making what she calls "lifestyle changes" it was as if the whole world noticed.

"I started losing the weight," she relayed to me. "At that time people became interested in what I  was doing: the photography, acting, motivating speaking." Melanie used the changes she was making as an example to others as to what was possible for them. "The more I was speaking with people [about it] the more I felt I was healing myself from within."

Because she knows firsthand what it's like to be ignored and to feel less than, Melanie makes sure that no one around her feels that way. "It's as simple as sitting down and sharing a genuine interest in what others are doing," she explains. "Others have to know that we like them and love them for who they are on the inside."

The lessons that Melanie Calvert Benton have learned have definitely aided her as in all areas of her life. Through her website www.fatkat.us she shares her story and that of others and allows them to see what is possible for them as well.

For those who are looking to make serious changes in their lives, Melanie offers these questions for reflection: "Are you where you want to be? Would you like to see yourself in a better place?" By answering these questions honestly and openly you begin the process of changing your life for the better.

As she continues to do what she enjoys the most, Melanie realizes that there is a special assignment for her life. "God has something better for me to do, and I'm walking on that pathway. I'm climbing higher."

May we all learn how to do the same, becoming the person we are truly meant to be.

"Becoming the Best You" with John-Westley Dean

Hello to my new Conversation followers.  I'm John-Westley Dean your Health,Fitness,and Beauty GuRu. Through this feature I will be informing you the reader of the latest Health, Fitness ,and Beauty secrets of Hollywood elite.

Hollywood Ready in 30 workout program consists of a 30 day life changing Health & Fitness Routine. I use the word routine because it requires establishing a daily regimen.  

1st step is to set a realistic goal of being honest with yourself and your body. 

 2nd step is to map out your workout days. Important point to mention about your program is that it will require at least 5 days of commitment for success. Three days a week, 40 minutes of cardio is mandatory and required. The reason for 40 minutes is because the body needs at least 10 minutes to warm up and a additional 5 minutes to reach the fat burning zone. 

 3rd step is to set a time during the day that is most convenient for exercise. In addition to a cardio regimen, is the need for strength training to achieve the Hollywood look. Strength training is important to effectively build lean muscle and lose body fat. At least 2-3 days a week you need strength training. Typical categories for strength training consists of exercising chest with triceps, back with biceps, and legs with shoulders. Important point to mention is strength training maximizes fat burning.  Always keep a fast tempo during your routine with 3 sets of 15-20 reps (minimum) with 30-40 second rest between each set. 

4th step is to put together a structured nutritional meal plan. There are several meal plans to devise, but I suggest a plan with lots of water, high protein, low fat,and good clean carbohydrate foods. Specifically, protein will come from fish ,chicken, and lean cuts of meats. Low fat foods consist of steamed or fresh vegetables,fruits,& nuts. Good carbohydrates consist of brown rice,baked/sweet potatoe. Important point to mention are foods to avoid sweets, ice cream, cheese, fried foods, breads (white) If you ever cheat, never eat before bed

 5th and final step is to set an alarm clock to go off every 2 - 3 hours. Why? This alarm means feed the Machine a.k.a your Body! 

All 5 steps provide a basic start to a Lifestyle change. If you stay consistent with the program,then you should see a change in your body structure every 7 days. Remember Stay focused & Stay motivated.

Congratulations on changing your Lifestyle for a Healthier you. Keep me informed with your progress by sending your before and after photos to jdeanonline@yahoo.com. Stay in touch with me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/jdeanonline and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/johnwestleyd.

Author Sherria Elliott: Sharing Why Bullying Is Not Fair


by Cyrus Webb

In 2012 diversity is something that should be applauded, not denigrated, yet we still find individuals who are not just misunderstood but bullied because they are different.

When Sherria Elliott realized that her daughter Heaven (who was born with the genetic condition called Albinism) was having problems with friends accepting her for who she is, she decided to do something about it. The result was the book BUT MOMMY IT'S NOT FAIR where Sherria was able to not only share her daughter's challenges but put a face to the condition and the actions of others.

The hard work in publishing the book has definitely paid off. Today she is the founder of 4 Elliott Publishing, a publishing house that is introducing not just the series she has created but other's work as well. Elliott's message and determination is also affecting the laws in the state of Florida. Recognizing the stand she has taken against bullying, Florida House Representative Dwight Bullard, District 118 has elected to use the books main character "Heaven" as the face behind the "Anti-Bullying Act" Amendment to Florida Statute 1006.147. House Bill 627 2012. What an amazing accomplishment for a family that just wanted to make sure that people understood the seriousness of bullying and the importance of working together instead of apart.

If you ever doubted the power of one or the impact that just one person can make then what Sherria Elliott has done and continues to do should inspire you.




You can expect to hear more of Heaven's story as the series continues. For more information visit www.4elliottpublishing.com. You can also follow the story online at www.twitter.com/4elliottpub and https://www.facebook.com/sherria.elliott.7.




Quick & Easy Cooking w/Bruce Tretter: Pasta w/Sausage & Fig Sauce

Pasta with Sausage & Fig Sauce

The sausage and fig sauce described here can be made in the time it takes to boil water and cook spaghetti, especially if you use packaged precooked sausage. I know fresh figs are seasonal and are sometimes tough to find. No problem. You can make this sauce using just about any fruit - apples, pears, peaches or plums will work just fine.

Preparation Time: 10-15 minutes
Cooking Time: 10-15 minutes

Ingredients
(for 2-3)

½ Box or 8 Ounces Pasta
Salt
2 Handfuls Fresh Figs
3-4 Precooked Sausages (I like using sweet Italian or sun dried tomato chicken sausages for this sauce, but your favorite sausage will work fine)Italian Seasoning
Sun Dried Tomatoes
Olive or Vegetable Oil (I’m using the oil from the sun dried tomatoes)
2-3 Garlic Cloves
1 Bell Pepper (red, yellow or orange bell peppers are more flavorful and sweeter than green
bell peppers)
Grated Parmesan Cheese
Crushed Red Pepper
Balsamic Vinegar (optional)

Equipment

10-12 Inch Frying Pan
Spatula
Medium Sized Pot
Large Knife
Cutting Board
Large Spoon
Colander
Tongs (to serve pasta - can also use a fork)
Timer

1. Fill a medium sized pot about half full with cold tap water. Put the pot on the stove, and turn on the burner to HIGH heat.

2. While the water warms, pull 2-3 garlic cloves from a fresh garlic bulb. Put 1 garlic clove at a time under the flat side of wide bladed (chef’s) knife, and use the heel of your hand to press down on the top flat side of the knife with enough pressure to break the garlic clove open to make peeling the garlic skin much easier. Peel the garlic skin. Then slice and chop the garlic into small pieces.

3. Prepare the fresh figs by first removing the stems. Then cut the figs in half lengthwise and cut them again in cross section into bite sized pieces.

4. Prepare the bell pepper by cutting the pepper in half lengthwise without cutting into the seed cluster in the middle of the pepper. Pull the pepper halves apart at the stem and remove the seed cluster. Cut each pepper half lengthwise into strips 1/4 - 1/2 inch (6-12 mm) wide, and then cut those strips in cross section into pieces also 1/4 - 1/2 inch (6-12 mm) wide.

5. Cut about a handful of sun dried tomatoes (estimate - you don’t have to measure them in your hand) into strips about 1/4 inch (6 mm) wide, and then cut those strips in cross section into pieces also about 1/4 inch (6 mm) wide.

6. Cut 3-4 precooked sausages in cross section into slices 1/4 - 1/2 inch (6-12 mm) wide.

7. Let the water come to a big bubble, rapid boil not just a small bubble, fizzy boil to help ensure the pasta cooks properly to desired doneness. When the water comes to a full boil, add a good shake of salt (optional but adds flavor to pasta) and ½ box or 8 ounces of pasta to the boiling water and stir until all the pasta is submerged in the boiling water.

8. Put the frying pan on the stove, and turn on the burner to MEDIUM heat.

9. Let the water in the pasta pot come back to a full boil. Then turn down the burner heat to MEDIUM to prevent the pot from boiling over, and cook until the timer sounds.

10. Put a colander in the sink, and check the frying pan for the proper cooking temperature by wetting your fingers with tap water and flicking the water onto the pan surface. The pan is warmed to the proper cooking temperature when the water sizzles on contact with the pan surface and quickly evaporates.

11. When the frying pan is properly warmed, add just enough olive or vegetable oil to coat the pan surface evenly (Here’s a quick tip. Instead of using a separate bottle of olive oil, I used a shot of oil from the sun dried tomato jar for a little added flavor). Then, right away, add the chopped garlic, bell pepper and sausage. Stir occasionally and cook for just a few minutes until the garlic becomes fragrant. Then add the chopped figs and sun dried tomatoes along with a good shake of Italian seasoning and shot of balsamic vinegar (optional but adds a rich sweet and sour flavor to the sauce).

12. When the timer for the pasta sounds, pour the pasta and hot water into the colander in the sink.

13. Stir the sauce occasionally until the bell peppers just start to soften but are still firm, not mushy, and the sauce looks about as shown in the picture below on the right.

14. Use tongs or a fork to put the freshly cooked pasta in a bowl (or onto a plate) and top with sauce.

15. Either have the pasta with sausage and fresh fig sauce as is or topped with your choice or combination of grated Parmesan cheese and/or crushed red pepper to taste.


For complete easy to follow step-by-step picture book directions, just go to the Gotta’ Eat, Can’t Cook website at www.gotta-eat.com. 

Quick & Easy Cooking w/Bruce Tretter: Sweet & Savory Salad

Sweet & Savory Salad


Like a full orchestra – or rock or jazz band – exploding with a richly balanced symphony of sound, a sweet and savory salad brings out the best in complimentary flavors. The sweet enhances the savory, and the savory does the same to the sweet. You bet!

Preparation Time: 5-10 minutes

Needed
(for 2)

1 Handful of Lettuce Per Person
Favorite Fresh Fruit
1/4 Red (or any) Onion
Favorite Dried Fruit
Favorite Nuts (I used walnuts, but again, any kind of nut will work)
Favorite Salad Dressing
Feta (or any) Cheese
Ground Black Pepper
Bowls
Sharp Knife
Cutting Board


1. Rinse and shake dry a handful of lettuce and fresh fruit.

2. Tear the lettuce into bite sized pieces.

3. Prepare the fresh fruit by removing the stems and seeds as necessary and cutting the fruit into bite sized pieces.

4. Cut a red (or any) onion in half, and cut one of the onion halves in half again. Cut off the tough onion stem and root ends and peel the onion skin. Cut slices about 1/4 - 1/2 inch (6-12 mm) wide, making sure not to cut through the back of the onion to keep the slices bound together, and chop those slices into pieces also 1/4 - 1/2 inch (6-12 mm) wide.

5. Put all the chopped ingredients into a bowl, top with a shot of salad dressing, and either have the salad as is or add your choice or a combination of a crunch of ground black pepper, feta cheese, nuts and/or dried fruit and serve.

For complete easy to follow step-by-step picture book directions, just go to the Gotta’ Eat, Can’t Cook website at www.gotta-eat.com.  Click the “salad and salad dressings” tab from the banner in the middle of the homepage. Then click the picture of “Sweet & Savory Salad” to download the step-by-step picture book recipe all entirely for free.