Conversations Magazine, March/April 2024

Conversations Magazine, March/April 2024

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Conversations' Cyrus Webb teams up w/Fetta to Offer Discounts in 2017

As a new year begins, media personality Cyrus Webb teams up with the company Fetta to offer exciting discounts on quality products that he enjoys and that he is excited to share with others.

“Teaming up with a company like Fetta allows me to introduce products my audience can use in all aspect of their lives at a great price,” says Webb.
The first product the two have partnered with is Fetta’s Bluetooth Wireless Over-ear Stereo Foldable  Headphones.

The retail price for the headphones is $23.99 but they are available for 20% off by following the steps below:
1. Go to
2. At checkout use the promo code CYRUS017.

The second product is Fetta's Solar Power Bank: 15000mAh Portable Solar Panel Charger with LED Light.

The retail price if $25.99 but they are available through Webb for 25% off by following the steps below:
1.      Go to
2.       At checkout use the promo code CYRUSW17
The third produce by Fetta that is available right now is Fetta's Outdoor Solar Flower Fairy String Lights 50 LEDs 21ft Water-proof.

The retail price is only $9.99 but through Webb you get 35% off by following the steps below:
1.        Go to
2.         At checkout use the promo code CYRUS117

Look for more products to be added soon. This offers above, however, are only good through January 15, 2017 so act fast and feel free to share it with a friend.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Conversations Welcomes Its 700th Guest of 2016: Author Richard Cahan

Cyrus Webb, host of Conversations LIVE radio show and Editor-In-Chief of Conversations Magazine, has had the pleasure of interviewing individuals from across the country and around the world---and in 2016 he welcomed 700 guests to the show.

 "It's been an amazing year for myself and Conversations," Webb says, reflecting on the guests he has had the privilege of interviewing and the events he has been able to cover. "Conversations has been able to showcase the work of individuals that are doing amazing things, reminding us all of what is possible."

 That was true at the beginning of 2016 and on Friday, December 30th as Webb welcomed his 700th guest author and publisher Richard Cahan. The two discussed his new book UN-AMERICAN: The Incarceration of Japanese Americans During World War II.

 Listen to the interview below:

Andra Day: Celebrating Success, Using Platform for Good

It's official: The world has fallen in love with Grammy-nominated recording artist Andra Day.
Photo Credit: Myriam Santos

Before she took the stage at the 2016 Grammy Awards to perform her single "Rise Up with Ellie Goulding, the message of the single was brought to life during the commercial for Beats by Dre featuring Serena Williams. On May 9th of this year she released the inspirational official video for the single with over half a million views in less than a month--- at the time of this article in November 2016 it has almost 5 million views---and that isn't all. The lyrics from "Rise Up" have appeared on 40 million Coca Cola cups in select McDonald's restaurants across the nation and include a Shazam-powered portal into a digital experience where they can watch the "I Rise" short film starring Day.

As the year comes to a close the single "Rise Up" has been featured  by the television show BLACKLIST and in the promotion of movies like THE BIRTH OF A NATION as well as performed by Day during the Democratic National Convention and in programs around the world meant to empower young girls. The sought-after artist took out a few moments of her schedule to talk Cyrus Webb about the journey, the success and what it shows all of us about embracing our own inner power.

C.W.: Andra, when you began this musical journey could you have imagined that your ability to tell a story through song would reach individuals around the world the way it has.
A.D.: I wanted my music to reach whoever it was supposed to reach. I didn’t expect my journey would happen like this, so quickly and with people rallied behind. This is what I desired and what I never could have imagined. I’m so grateful.

C.W.:As part of the promotion for your album CHEERS TO THE FALL you have been hitting the road, meeting your fans. What has it been like for you to feel that energy from the audience coming back at you as you perform?
A.D.: It’s amazing because when you’re onstage, you’re being open and vulnerable while still entertaining. It allows them to tear their walls down. We’re able to actually engage and connect. I get to talk to them about their achievements and struggles. It’s very cathartic for me.

C. W.: Congratulations on the official video for your powerful single RISE UP. What has it been like for you to see the way the visual is resonating with your fans?
A.D.: It’s been amazing. It’s rewarding that the visual is resonating with fans because the content in the video is sensitive. A woman came up to me and said she was in a wheelchair for years and that was her life.

C.W.: This year for you began with an amazing performance at the Grammys, followed by lots of appearances and now with the announcement of your partnership with Coke words by you will be all over the place. Is it part of your mission to remind people of the power of words in their own lives?
A.D.: Yes, part of my mission is to remind people that words are powerful. A lot of times we use them in destructive ways, but sometimes you need to remind people that our words can manifest. It’s a duty to ourselves and our community to use them wisely.

C.W.: Thanks for your time, Andra. Last question: Based on your own inspirational journey what do you tell people about the importance of believing in themselves when it comes to pursuing their goals and dreams?
A.D.: First, it’s finding who you truly are and your purpose. Then, you need to understand your personal journey is one that comes with criticism and failures or perceived failures, and to not be afraid of those things. Criticism and failure are not to stop you, but instead help you grow and become stronger.

Stay connected with Andra Day through and on Twitter at

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Actor Frankie Cedano: Motivated By the Struggle, Pursuing His Dreams

It's been quite a year for actor Frankie Cedano, and he has been sharing it all with his fans around the world through social media. Most recently you've seen him on shows like QUEEN SUGAR on the Oprah Winfrey Network, and he's gearing up for a busy 2017.

"I've been doing acting for five years," he told Cyrus Webb recently on Conversations, "but this year has been such a blessing," As to why he shares his experiences online, Frankie says "I like to share my journey online to motivate people to show them there's a way out" of where they might see themselves.

Motivating others is really just a part of who he is. "Motivation is the key," he says. "You have to be passionate, take something you like in life and be persistent in it... If you work hard and are patient it will all work out."

What led Frankie Cedano to acting? "I started out in the entertainment business as a club promoter," he explained. After that he went into production and became the face of a TV show in Atlanta. That's when he realized what was possible. "I could actually motivate people through this," he realized. "I could use this to bring millions of people together." Fast forward to 2016 he has been able to do just that.

"I get motivated and inspired by other people," Frankie says. There are going to be struggles, but he says you have to work through it. "It motivates me to know that I motivate others. It's an awesome feeling."

Stay connected with Frankie on Twitter and Instagram. Listen to Frankie Cedano's entire conversation with Webb below:

Monday, December 26, 2016

Model Donavon Dalton: Challenging Himself Towards His Own Greatness

As the year is winding down, individuals like model Donavon Dalton are not just reflecting on what they have done but already looking ahead.

"It's been great," he told host Cyrus Webb on #ConversationsLIVE about the journey to doing what he loves as a model. "It's been more than I could have expected. I've received so much love. It's been an awesome experience so far."

For Dalton it's more than just about taking a good picture. "To me modeling is basically a form of art," he told Webb. "It's a form of expression. Through modeling I am able to speak out on a lot of things that I've been through and are going on in world."

He credits his family and support system for keeping him motivated, but he also says that he is his biggest critic, pushing himself with every project. "With every shoot, every different show I'm constantly learning different things,"he says.

Follow Donavon on Instagram at Listen to the entire interview below.

Photo credit: Dannielle Reeh

Martial Artist and Actor Alain Moussi stops by #ConversationsLIVE

Host Cyrus Webb welcomes Alain Moussi to #ConversationsLIVE to discuss his journey to doing what he loves as a stuntman, martial artist and actor---and how in 2016 everything came together in a big way.
Photo by Bobby Quillard
The two discuss how all the hard work has paid off and what it's been like to go from being a stunt double to being one of the stars of KICKBOXER VENGEANCE and the franchise.

Stay connected with Alain at You can also find him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Listen to the interview below:

Conversations Magazine's Top 10 Features of 2016

In 2016 Conversations Magazine celebrated 10 years of feeding the love of life of our readers both in print and online. As the year comes to a close we look back at the 10 most features that caused the biggest buzz on our site

9. Actress/Humanitarian Michelle Morgan talks purpose,passion in work and life, 

7. Rolonda Watts: Using Fiction to Dive Into the Truth of Life,

6. Singer/Songwriter Christine Saade' stops by #ConversationsLIVE, 

5. Actor's Roundtable w/ Lauran de Winter, Jessica Lindsey Gilbert & Katt Balsan, 

4. Brian Cooks: Enjoying the Benefits of Hard Work, Dedication and Faith,

3. Actor Jon Chaffin: Enjoying the Success that Comes From Hard Work, 

2. Actor Philip Boyd: Becoming Better with Every New Chapter of His Journey,

And the most visited post of 2016...
1. Martial Artist and Actor Alain Moussi stops by #ConversationsLIVE, 

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Fashion Designer Dominique Bones-Lark stops by #ConversationsLIVE

Photo Credit: Omar Mariluz
Fashion Designer Dominique Bones-Lark recently came to the attention of Conversations' Cyrus Webb on Instagram. His clothing line Ikaika by Dominique Bones-Lark is definitely getting attention, and Webb talked with the designer on #CoversationsLIVE the radio show about the journey from having an idea and seeing it all come to life.

"I've been blessed," Dominique told Webb during the interview. "I'm not where I want to be, but I'm happy at what I've achieved and accomplished."

Raised by his mother, Dominique says she sacrificed so much for him but also instilled the belief that he could accomplish anything. Since the age of 7 he has had it in his mind that he wanted to be a designer, and that support from his family has helped to encourage him over the years.

The clothing line Ikaika by Dominique Bones-Lark is intended for the strong woman or man who the designer hopes will be empowered to tackle their day with confidence.

Find out more about Ikaika by Dominique Bones-Lark at

Hear the entire interview with the designer below:

Friday, December 23, 2016

Catch Cast Members with The Haves and the Have Nots w/ Conversations here

Only #ConversationsLIVE has brought you interviews with most of the cast of Tyler Perry's hit show THE HAVES AND THE HAVE NOTS.

Find conversations with the cast below:

Actor's Roundtable w/ Lauran de Winter, Jessica Lindsey Gilbert & Katt Balsan

(l-r: actors Lauran de Winter, Jessica Lindsey Gilbert and Katt Balsan)
by Cyrus Webb

We have all heard the saying that there is strength in numbers. When it comes to pursuing your goals and dreams that is so true, regardless what you are passionate about.

During my time in Los Angeles this year I had a chance to sit down with three actors who have not only been able to find success for themselves but have been able to encourage one another and show us all what is possible with hard work and faith. Lauran de Winter, Jessica Lindsey Gilbert and Katt Balsan sat down with me in what was their first interview together to discuss the importance of the work, how they stay true to themselves and why having others in your corner makes the journey even more rewarding.

Katt: It's been a fantastic journey. It's really about not giving up, and then meeting people along your journey with whom you can build your career.

Lauran: Anything you do in life you want to be with people who understand you. You want to surround yourself with good people that are like-minded with similar goals.

Jessica: I feel like sometime the industry can be very stressful, but there are so wonderful things about it a well. I love creating, getting to do something different in every role. It's also great to have really good support. In anything you want to do it helps to have people you really care about supporting you.

Katt: Since we all go through the same issues and obstacles, we have to have a strong faith. When you have a down moment you have others to help you through it. You can then be with them during their down moments. We all go through the exact same things.

Lauran:  Friends and family and doing things for the right reason keep me grounded. I have a strong faith. I know it's not about me.

Katt: (talking about the platform they have) We have the power to change things, especially if you're a public person. You get to have a voice, to serve your purpose. That's what it's all about to show others what they can do in their lives.

No matter what we find joy in this conversation with Lauran, Jessica and Katt remind us all that life is about the things you are able to do to help others and less about what others can do for us. We're all in this thing together. Stay connected with them through the following means:

Katt Balsan:

Jessica Lindsey Gilbert:  www.twitter.ocm/jlingilbert

Lauran de Winter:

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Actress Sonia Rockwell: Enjoying Every Moment of Life & Success

by Cyrus Webb

'Happiness is living in every moment.' That is just one of the quotes that actress Sonia Rockwell enjoys, and she is applying it in her life each and every day.

I recently had the opportunity to talk with Sonia on Conversations LIVE the radio show about the journey she has had, and the appreciation she feels for doing work that she loves.

"I pride myself in living a life of passion," she told me. "I gotta feel it with every fiber of my being. That's the thing that I enjoy about being an actor. You can be a voice. I love encouraging others to go for their dreams." Sonia is also an acting teaching, helping individuals of all ages to become better in their craft. "That's something I want to instill in them: If they have a desire for something to go after it."

For Sonia this is isn't just a career. "When you find pleasure and fun in what you're doing it's not work," she told me. "I feel like I'm playing every day. It's just fun."

Even with all she has been able to do in television and movies, she says there are still those moments that blow her mind. When she is doing an interview or walking the red carpet she says she still has to remind herself of this: "This is my life. I created this with all the choices I've made in my life. I've brought myself here." She then adds, "I feel so blessed."
Stay connected with Sonia on Instagram and Twitter. Listen to the full interview with Sonia below:

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

#InstagramChat Recap: Emmy-Nominated Producer/Director Jon Ross

Photo from
by Cyrus Webb

The social media platform of choice for so many, Instagram's features like Instagram Stories and Instagram Live have become regular addition to how we keep up with some of our favorite stars and public figures. What we end of seeing ranges from behind-the-scenes on their new projects to allowing us to attend events with them or even just a Q&A session with their fans.

On Tuesday, December 20th Emmy-Nominated Producer/Director Jon Ross took to Instagram to answer questions about breaking into the industry and networking. I was able to hop on to the chat as Join not only shouted out the locations of his supporters that joined the conversation but answer some questions as well.

I was able to get two questions answered during the back and forth with Jon. The first I asked him was what has it been like for him to reflect on all that he has done this year? "It's been amazing to reflect on it," he replied. "You don't realize how much you have accomplished until you look back." He went on to talk about getting ready for shooting a movie in the Philippines among other projects for 2017. The second question I asked him was able who he would like to work with in the future. He said among others he wanted to work with Don Cheadle.

Below is a recap of other questions Jon Ross responded to during the online chat with fans: 

  • When asked about breaking into the industry Jon responded by saying "The industry has changed a lot. A lot of what you have to do is be proactive. You don't have to wait on Hollywood. You can do it yourself. You got to be not just a consumer but a producer. A producer creates the opportunity.  You have to connect with people who have the same mindset as you have."

  • One individual in the chat asked what they should do if they were from a smaller city. Join replied that you have to "Make that travel to cities that are doing more than in your state. It's a risk," he added, "but you have to take a chance."

  • So many during the chat commented on how approachable and humble Jon was. He told the group that he "liked to connect with people". He went on to say he was a "by-product of people who inspired" him like Will Smith and Devon Franklin. "They took the time out to teach me," he said. "I give them all the thanks for that."

  • When asked about advice for those looking to break into acting, Jon encouraged them to find a one-act play or a story in a script that they love and begin there. finding a one-act play or a story in a script that you love.  "Stage and theatre help you get your feet wet," he said. He also encouraged us all to make sure that whatever we were doing that we love it first. "If you love it everthing else will come together." Jon also stressed the importance of staying "childlike", saying that "the ore fun you try to have the better it is for you."

Jon shared an acronym that he uses when it comes to networking: B.L.E.S.S. which stands for Be prepared, Listen, Eat, Serve & Share. He went into how each letter can help you  in not just showing how you can meet the needs of those you want to work for but how you can serve them, making it more than just about what you can get from it.

Towards the end of the chat that lasted about 30 minutes Join shared part of his own story of how he got to where he his today. He shared that he started off when he was 16 years old with his own stage plays. "Everything hasn't gone great in my career," he said, "but I haven't stopped. When you are a dream like I am and go for your dreams like I do, it's not a matter of if it's going to happen. It's a matter of when."

Stay connected with Jon Ross on Instagram and through his website

Monday, December 19, 2016

Author David Nolan talks Ed Sheeran and more in new interview

by Cyrus Webb

It all began with the reading of a book.

I had a chance to read ED SHEERAN A+ by award-winning author David Nolan and is my regular custom headed over to to post a review followed by sharing it on social media. After finding the author and publisher Lesser Gods Books on Twitter I shared the review---and my photo holding the book---with them, and invited the Nolan to join me in discussing the book on Conversations LIVE the radio show. He graciously said yes, and what followed was an amazing 20 minute conversation that originated in Mississippi and reached into England where Nolan join me by phone.

In the conversation we discussed not just what I enjoyed so much about the book and the chronicling of Ed Sheeran's journey to success but Nolan's own journey to doing what he loved as well.

Listen to the entire interview below and stay connected with David Nolan yourself on Twitter here.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

True Model Mgmt's Dale Noelle: Enjoying Success While Helping Others Succeed

Photo by Nick Finochio
Dale Noelle is a perfect example of someone who has been able to recognize what they want to do and share with others how they can accomplish their goals and dreams as well.

As a model, health coach and motivational speaker she has been able to not just find success for herself but through her company True Model Management she has been able to work with people around the world.  "Since True started as my dream and now that I can work through True as a vehicle to help others bring their dreams to life it has been so fulfilling and rewarding in every aspect of my personal life and my business," Dale told media personality Cyrus Webb during their recent chat on Conversations LIVE radio show. "For me being able to do everything that I wanted to do has been a lot of work and I get the satisfaction of... helping others."

Finding success by helping others succeed? That is not the way most people think when it comes to business---but that is what sets Dale Noelle and True Model Management apart. When asked by Webb how she came to a place where she realized that helping people benefited everyone she told him this: "What led me down that path is me allowing myself to be myself. My innate nature is to be enthusiastic and to help others and I never planned on being a model or thinking I'm going to own a model management company that is worldwide. I realized as the company was growing that this is part of what I need to do. Now I can help people on a larger scale."

For Dale it is all about bringing your personal best to everything you do. She has discovered that it creates a ripple effect that benefits others. "If you are seeking the best for yourself you can create a whole new world," she says. "It's all your perspective." Like everyone else she went through her own challenges and struggles. It has been a real process for sure. "I had self-doubt and things that were holding me back," she admits, but adds, "I feel like by helping others you learn so much about yourself. Everyone benefits when you're helping someone."

Listen to Dale Noelle entire interview with Cyrus Webb on #ConversationsLIVE below as well as find tips from True Model Management for those thinking modeling is for them.

Tips & Tricks courtesy of True Model Management
If you’re feeling inspired and hope to someday work for a modeling managing company like True Model Management, these three helpful tips should give you an idea of what it takes.

1. Be Healthy
Getting your 8 hours in, maintaining a balanced diet and exercise do wonders not only for your heath but your appearance.  Bask in the beautiful healthy glow from all the above and you won’t be able to help but ooze confidence.

2. Maintain your appearance
Modeling can mean upkeeping a high-maintenance beauty regime. You’ll want to focus on hair, skin,  teeth, etc. As a model, you act as a canvas for the brand you’re working with so it’s important to uphold a polished look.  

3. Match your modeling goals to your body type

  • A Plus-Sized Model: If your body is full and curvaceous, you may be able to be a plus size model.
  • A Runway Model: Most women on the catwalk are at least 5'8 and commonly small-breasted. Men are mostly between 5'11 and 6'2.
  • A Print Model: Most editorial female models are at least 5'7, but a beautiful face with great personality are the most important features for print models.
  • An Underwear Model: For women, this requires large breasts but small hips. For men, this requires broad shoulders but slim waists.
  • An Alternative Model: Some agencies hire alternative models: models who do not conform to the industry “standards” of beauty, height, and weight. Additionally, having a specific passion or cause that you’re working towards can help open doors that may be closed due based on a body feature that does not “fit industry standards”.
  • Other Types of Modeling: If you don't fit any of the face or body descriptions, perhaps you can be a foot, hair, or hand model.”
    Bullet points courtesy of:
Stay connected with all things True Model at

Friday, December 16, 2016

[From Me, To You] Do You Believe In YOU?

I do believe it's one of the most important questions you can ask yourself today: Do you believe in yourself?

The simple truth is that belief or faith is essential for everything that you do, especially when it comes to your goals and dreams. Through this year I have found that the moment when my faith or belief increases I am more energized to accomplish what I have set out for myself. Such is true of those profiled in this issue of Conversations Magazine. I'm calling this our "Confidence" issue, because it really boils down to the fact that no matter what your interest or where you might see yourself, you have to get to a place where you can have confidence that you can do the things you say you want to do.

In this issue you will read about authors, recording artists, models and others who have identified what their passion and purpose is and then do the things necessary to make them a reality. Are all of their lives perfect? No. Have their accomplishments come without challenges or disappointments? No. Did their difficulties and trials stop them? Absolutely NOT! That is why their stories are so powerful. They have been where you might be, but they resolved not to stay there.

That is my hope for you. I want you to not just believe that it worked for others but know that it can work for you as well. Believe in that thing that burns within you, and most importantly believe that you were created with something that was meant to be shared. How far you are able to go with it is completely up to you.

Happy reading!

Cyrus Webb, Editor-In-Chief
Conversations Magazine

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Top 5 Tips for Caregiving

by Iris Waichler, MSW, LCSW

The National Center for Caregiving reports there are “approximately 43.5 million caregivers that have provided unpaid care to an adult or child in the last 12 months.” Being a caregiver can be challenging, rewarding, humbling, and stressful. People in the U.S. continue to live longer thanks to improved medications and medical treatment. These numbers will likely grow. Below are some important tips to keep in mind if you find yourself in a caregiver role:

1. Put Together a Caregiver Team: Caregivers must balance their role as a caregiver with family, work, school, and other relationships and commitments. There may be times when you cannot always do it alone. You also may need breaks because you are physically tired, you have health issues, or you need to emotionally recharge. Consider what tasks will need to be done and how frequently they are necessary?  Identify possible candidates to help. Consider family, friends, neighbors, and people from your local religious institutions. You can also hire professional help. Your local Area on Aging office can refer you. You can also find a local geriatric care specialist in your area who can help you assess and arrange what will be needed @

2.   You Bring Your Previous Relationship to Your Role as a Caregiver: If you are taking care of a loved one your previous relationship may influence how smoothly your new role as caregiver goes. For example, if you are a  caregiver for a parent, and suddenly you are parenting your parent this may be a difficult adjustment for you both. Was it a positive relationship or one filled with conflict? Were those conflicts resolved to everyone’s satisfaction? This influences why you are taking on the role of caregiver. Is it because you want to help? Do you feel obligated and really don’t want to do it? If your relationship was one of  mutual love and trust your caree is more apt to work with you rather than against you in your new role as caregiver. If you assume this role out of obligation you need to consider if your are the best person to do it. Sometimes a non-family member may be more successful in this role especially doing personal care tasks like bathing and dressing.

3. Understand Finances and Insurance: In order to develop a caregiving plan you need to know what financial options are available. Take a close look at insurance coverage to make sure you understand what is covered in terms of home care like physical, occupational, and speech therapy, home health aides, and nursing. Also review coverage for nursing home care. Assisted living is generally not covered by insurance. If your loved one is a veteran there may be benefits available. Also if you have limited finances, medicaid may be an option. Eligibility is determined by financial assets and varies between states. Go to  Medicare can cover skilled nursing home stays after a hospitalization and short term home help like physical, occupational, speech therapies and a home health aide depending on your diagnosis. Go to to learn what is covered.

   4.      Seek Emotional Support-One of the most common mistakes that we make as
            caregivers is to ignore our own needs. Burnout is often the result. When you become
            a caregiver it can be emotionally and physically demanding. You may find yourself
            grieving over the loss of the person your loved one once was. This can be very
            painful and take an emotional toll. You need to allow time for yourself to physically recharge. It is also very important to have someone you can trust and rely on to talk
            to at times that feel overwhelming. It may be a family member, friend, or clergy. It may be useful to find a healthcare professional with expertise in aging to offer counseling.
            On line caregiver chat sites can offer comfort, resources, and support.

   5.     Identify Warning Signs-Your loved ones may not be able to self assess when their
           physical or mental condition begins to decline. Identify warning signs which are mutually       agreed upon indicators that additional help is warranted. Watch for things like falling,
            memory loss, mobility decline, lack of attention to personal hygiene, sudden weight
            loss or gain, sudden unexplained  damage to car. These are potential indicators there may
            be functional problems your loved one is experiencing.

Iris Waichler, MSW, LCSW has been a patient advocate and medical social worker for
            40 years. She has done individual, group, and family counseling. She is the award winning author of the Best Self Help:Relationships Book of 2016 Role Reversal How to Take Care of Yourself and Your Aging Parents. She also does freelance writing on health related topics. Find out more about Iris at

"Kitchen Conversation Pieces" from Chef Blakely Trettenero

Conversations is always looking for ways to feed your love of life, and sometimes that means physically as well. For those that are looking for easy recipes that they can enjoy with their family we are excited to share these two from Chef Blakely Trettenero, host of Everyday Gourmet with Blakely. 

Braised Short Ribs

1. 4 pounds bone in beef short ribs
2. Salt
3. Pepper
4. Garlic powder
5. Olive oil
6. 2 onions, diced
7. 3 carrots, diced
8. 5 cloves garlic, minced
9. 2 tablespoons tomato paste
10. 1 cup red wine
11. 4 cups beef broth
12. 4 sprigs fresh rosemary
13. 10 sprigs fresh thyme
14. 2 bay leaves
1. In a heavy bottomed pan (or Dutch oven) heat a few tablespoons of olive oil over medium high heat and preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Completely pat dry all of the short ribs. Put them on a paper towel to soak up any moisture
3. Heavily season the short ribs with salt, pepper, and garlic powder
4. Working in batches, sear ribs until a beautiful brown on every side. Put the browned short ribs on a plate while you work on the next batch
5. Once all short ribs have been browned, add the onions, carrots, and garlic to the pan letting it cook for a few minutes
6. To the vegetables, add the tomato paste, stirring to coat everything, and let it cook another 5 minutes to cook out that raw tomato paste flavor.
7. Add the red wine and stir everything, scraping up all of the browned bits on the bottom for flavor.
8. Add back in the short ribs, add the beef broth, rosemary and thyme on the top, and the bay leaves
9. Put the lid on and put the pot into the oven. Let cook for 2 1/2 hours.


Homemade Gingersnap Cookies

1. 2 sticks butter, softened
2. 1/2 cup brown sugar
3. 1/2 cup granulated sugar
4. 1 teaspoon fresh-grated ginger
5. 1 egg
6. 1/3 cup molasses
7. 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
8. 2 teaspoons baking soda
9. 1/4 teaspoon salt
10. 3 teaspoons ground ginger
11. 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
12. 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
13. Extra sugar for coating
In a bowl with an electric mixer, cream together the softened butter and sugars until smooth. To that add the grated fresh ginger, egg, and molasses. Give it another mix to incorporate everything. To the wet ingredients add the flour, baking soda, salt, ground ginger, allspice, and cinnamon. Mix until well blended. The dough will be loose, but don’t worry. Put the dough in plastic wrap and put it in the refrigerator to let chill and set up for 1 to 2 hours. Once the dough has set up and chilled completely, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Take the dough and form about 1 inch balls. Roll them in sugar, and put on a parchment-paper-lined sheet tray. Leave at least 1 inch between each ball. Bake for 10-15 minutes. For chewier gingersnaps, bake 10-13 minutes and for crisper gingersnaps, bake for 14-15 minutes. Let cool and set up on the counter for about 1-2 minutes before serving.

About Blakely Trettenero
Blakely Trettenero, host of the Everyday Gourmet with Blakely ( and Hungry for Travels ( websites, is a graduate of the Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Orlando, Fla. She is a world traveler, having visited more than 30 countries, and is becoming a frequent guest on TV.

*    Photo Credit: Blakely Trettenero 

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Mar'Ques Woolford: Walking In His Purpose with Confidence

by Cyrus Webb

Confidence is something that doesn't come easily for everyone. I know, because for years I was one of those individuals who did not recognize my value or see my worth. Because of that I lived a life feeling inferior to others, unable to see my own light.

When I was able to recognize that my life mattered and that I had been given something that was meant to be shared as an example for others, my whole life changed. When I was thinking about the "confidence" side of this issue there was one person who came to my mind that would be the perfect subject to discuss the top: model/actor Mar'Ques Woolford. I reached out to his manager, Celebrity Photographer Curtis Reynolds, and was able to not just get a conversation with Woolford but him as well. 

If you are doubting your purpose or not sure about what you can contribute to the world around you, I think this will help you change the way you see yourself and others.

Mar'Ques, how did you get so comfortable in your own skin?
Mar'Ques Woolford (M.W.): If you don't look in the mirror and love what you see nothing nobody else says will fill that void. You'll always feel as though something is missing. It also helps to have great people around you who love and value you for you.

Curtis, thank you for your time and for setting up this conversion with Mar'Ques. First question I have for you is what has it been like for you to see the way your work has been recognized by others?
Curtis Reynolds (C.R.):  It's been very rewarding. When you are going through the process you have no idea where this journey is going to take you. I've won awards, been able to shoot celebrities and help in building careers. When I look back it's unbelievable. It's only God that could have done this. If I did it based on what I didn't know when I first started out I wouldn't have succeeded.

What about you, Mar'Ques? When did you realize the hard work and faith were paying off?
M.W.: It was my first trip to New York. Curtis had always told me what was possible and what he saw. When you go to New York and you get a 'Yes', and you have the opportunity to turn things down that's when I found my worth inside myself. I didn't have to measure myself by anybody else. I realized everything that I was and everything that I could be.

Curtis, this is the first time I have had the opportunity to chat with you for Conversations, so let's go back to the beginning. What was it about photography that first spoke to you?
C.R. I was diagnosed with ADD, and growing up it was challenging for me to focus. I always saw myself doing multiple things at one time in order for my brain to slow down. It was something I really didn't talk about it until I was an adult. My Therapist said you need to find something you're passionate about and go after it. I always had an eye for seeing things. I loved putting together fashion and seeing how excited people got. That's when I got into photography. It's been 10 years now and I always remember capturing moments. Photography is truly an art. You have to capture that one moment that everybody who sees that image can feel and that tells the story. That has driven me from the start. It was one thing to have a gift. It was another thing to develop that gift. The reason why I'm here is because I've always had a passion for capturing that one moment and stuck to that.

For you, Mar'Ques, did everything just seem to make sense when you were in front of the camera or on stage?
M.W.: Yes it does. Storytelling is a way of being able to really share people's lives,  to really understand what people have been through. You have more compassion for their mindset, understanding their back-story. Storytelling is the opportunity to tell someone else's life story. That's really important.

That's a great segway, Mar'Ques, into how you use social media, namely Instagram. You share not just images but you share a story. Is that just a part of who you are, to not just share your work but things that are on your mind and heart?
M.W.: I've just learned to get a message across you have to couple it with an image. I don't want people to see me as just a sex symbol. I want to inspire people. That is one of the most powerful things that we can do as a human being. To really inspire someone in a positive way is a powerful thing. Once I realized that I had the opportunity to do so that's where my focus was.  It's not about likes. It's only about inspiring people.

You also have a popular social media presence, Curtis. What is it like for you to see how others recognize your gift?
C.R.: I really don't think about it, because it's never been my focus. With social media it allows me to have connections with people and to inspire others to do better. It helps me to continue doing what I'm supposed to do: pour into others so they can do better.

Stay connected with Mar'Ques on Instagram at and Curtis at

Actor Bruno Gunn: Connecting with His Passion & His Fans Through Acting

by Cyrus Webb

At the suggestion of a friend Bruno Gunn decided to take an acting class, and almost 2 decades later he has never looked back.

He's appeared on acclaimed television shows over the years like Sons of Anarchy and Westworld as well as movies like Hunger Games and this year's talked-about film Officer Downe. Life has been good to him, but it has not come without hard work, dedication, sacrifices and faith. I connected with him via social media and invited him to chat with me about his journey. He graciously accepted, and the conversation that followed was nothing short of inspiring.

"It's an exciting time," Gunn told me, referring to his career and the projects he's been able to do. "I'm blessed and fortunate to be a part of it. "

I was curious how he had been able to balance the work he's done and the success that has come his way. "So many times you get caught up in it," he told me. "You want to be present for all of it. Some times things are up, some times things are down. You [can] forget to take the time to look back and see how far you've come and what you've accomplished." Realizing the importance of it, though, he added: "It's always great to reflect on where you've been and the work you've done. It gives you the confidence in your gut you know this is what you're supposed to do."

If individuals are looking at the entertainment industry and life in front of the cameras as a get rich quick opportunity, Gunn says that is not what you're going to get. "You don't become an actor because it's a good financial decision," he says. "You become an actor because you are passionate about the work. You love the work. I always let that motivation push me. I'm not going to quit."

Gunn is convinced that the perspective he has is what helps him to stay grounded. "You can't get caught up in what's happening," he says. "You just have to focus on the work. I've got faith and confidence in the work. I've turned it over to something bigger than me. I'm a storyteller. Telling stories is what we do."

Part of the fun he told is is being able to slip into the skin of various characters across his career and see the way others respond. "Fans have embraced me," he says. "How wonderful it is to have such a group rooting for you." A large part of that group comes from social media. "I'm a big fan of social media," he told me, which again is how we initially connected. "It's an amazing tool to connect with people across the world in real time. That's some power. I've made some great friends via social media. "

Part of the connection that Bruno Gunn believes his fans feel is his desire to get to know each character that he portrays. "Every character has pain," he told me. Even in the greatest moment there's still pain. I'm always striving to find what is my character's pain. I let that be the moral compass as to where he [the character] goes."

Knowing that he is giving his best is one thing, but realizing that others are inspired by him takes Gunn's appreciation to another level. "You're doing more than collecting a paycheck. You're moving people's lives. You're helping them find some direction or giving them hope. We all need hope. Hope is what keeps us going. If someone can gather a little hope from something I did that's a beautiful thing. "

Stay connected with Bruno at the links below:

*   Photo credit: Byron Ashley Bryson

Sarah Centrella's #HUSTLEBELIEVERECEIVE Shares Tools to Get What You Want

by Cyrus Webb

When it comes to saying what you want and then going for it, Sarah Centrella is a perfect example of what is possible.

She was able to turn what was a devastating situation in her personal life into a brand where she is able to encourage people to #HBR (Hustle Believe and Receive) what they want in life, and in her book HUSTLE BELIEVE RECEIVE she shares not just the struggle but examples of how you can do the same thing.

"It's really emotional to get to the moment when you are living your dream," Sarah told me during our conversation together this year. She calls it the "intersection between what I knew would happen eventually and when it actually does." HUSTLE BELIEVE RECEIVE is not just one of my must-reads for 2016. It is a book that shares the importance of knowing what you want and then going for it, realizing that is the only way to ensure your dreams become a reality.

We're able to take the journey with Sarah through the book as well as that of others who we are introduced to. "I have not felt at any point that this was my book," Sarah says. "This is a movement that has organically grown with people who have been by my side when I wanted to quit." She has gathered an international tribe through social media who have taken up the message of #HustleBelieveReceive and made it their own. "The support has saved me in so many ways," she admits. That support was there even before the book was published, following her blog and taking the ride along with her through her documentary that she made about the experience.  "I knew I wanted to chronicle it all," she told me. "I really set out as my own case study. You can see it all and decide for yourself" if what she talks about works.

I resonated with this book in a big way, because I know what it's like to wonder what you're going to do with your life and if you are capable of turning a big idea into a reality. For Sarah it all began by embracing who she was and the unique perspective she had and sharing all that she was with the world. Beginning with a blog and then spiraling into a phenomena, she has been able to inspire men and women when it comes to going for what they want, speaking life into themselves and their vision and then doing the work necessary.

We can't forget the work. That's why #HBR begins with #Hustle. If you aren't going to do what is necessary, then what you #Believe will not be received. Only by doing your part can you expect to #Receive, and for Sarah that led her to places that others just dream about.

This can be your time, but you have to use the tools in order to make it so. This book is the beginning of that journey, and can be a constant reminder as to how difficult things might get there is nothing that can stand in your way if you choose to HUSTLE BELIEVE RECEIVE.

Stay connected with Sarah and the journey of #HustleBelieveReceive at the links below:

Ashley J: 'Daring Ya' to Be Yourself & Follow Your Dreams

by Cyrus Webb

"One day all my dreams will come true." That message posted by recording artist Ashley J online earlier in 2016 says so much about her belief in herself and dreams---and it seems as though it is becoming a reality.

Ashley was gracious enough to chat with me about the experience of seeing the response to her single DARE YA and the video that accompanied it, as well as how it feels to do something you have love for so long.

"It's been absolutely incredible," she says. "To have people sending me messages telling me how much my song (DARE YA) has inspired has been the most remarkable thing. I could not be more blessed and grateful."

Ashley knew quite early that music was going to be a part of her life. At the age of 12 she realized "deep down it is something that I always wanted to do. It's something that has never stopped for me. It's always been there." Though there was some changes that she made over the years, the important thing for her was doing what she wanted to do.

The single DARE YA pushes the listener to go for whatever that thing might be for them in their lives that maybe they weren't pursuing. This isn't just something AshleyJ is singing about. She live it, too. "I need to take chances, take risks," she says. "My dad always gave me a wonderful piece of advice: 'The worst thing anyone could tell you is no, but you never know if you don't ask, and it's an automatic no if you don't.' " Keeping that in mind has helped her to know allow challenges or difficulties to stop her.

As her talent is receiving the attention it deserves, Ashley J says it is all just another part of the journey. "It's a relief," she says. "I feel like so many of my family members and friends have been watching the process since I was a kid. Finally I feel like I have a paper trail. It's paying off in this moment," and she says she is more confident in herself and her music. "I'm so thankful that everything I've done so far has been this work of art that is being showcased and displayed for everyone to see and enjoy."

The creative process can be a lonely one, but the response that has been coming in has definitely made this artist appreciative. "Artists put out their content in hopes that someone will like it," Ashley J told me. "Just to have the response has been remarkable, so uplifting. I feel so thankful." And this is only the beginning. "I keep reminding myself that I am who I am," she says, "Being proud of what I've done keeps me going. It's everything that I've always wanted. I refuse to do wrong by me."

Stay connected with what's next for Ashley J at the links below:

Jason Pure: Using His Music to Live Life Authentically

by Cyrus Webb

Anyone who was staying connected with recording artist Jason Pure* during 2016 saw him using the hashtag #flyhigh. It was not just part of his promotional campaign for the single ICARUS but a larger reminder for all of us.

If you haven't heard the single I definitely encourage you to give it a listen. It shares the reminder to go as high as you can when it comes to your goals and dreams. That is something that Jason has been living and sharing with others. "It's been amazing," he told me when discussing the response to the single. "As with most musicians I put in a lot of work into this song." He added "It's definitely a message I was hoping would connect with people. That's all you want."

Making an impact is part of what drives him. "My goal as an artist is to leave something that is long-lasting," he says. It goes back to his personal connection with music as a listener. As an artist Jason "wanted to be able to do the same for other people." That includes being able to "relay messages that would help other people."

At a time when everyone has an opinion about everything that is not always easy to accomplish. I asked Jason where did the confidence he has come from? "That is a constant battle to get to that point," he admitted. "It's a journey, like life in general." The key for him, however, is to "trust your own inner voice." That keeps him from being distracted from the noise of the world. "It's so personal," he says, which is why feels it is so important to "stay true to your inner voice and give people what is coming from your heart." Applying that to the single ICARUS he says "I really honed in on what I wanted to say and what I wanted it to sound like. I knew that if I stayed true to what I was trying to say and do that somebody would relate to it."

Social media has definitely helped artists like Jason Pure reach the masses. He says "It is a great tool that enables you to touch people that you can't necessary reach. I really have been trying to use it to connect with new audiences while continuing to maintain my current audience." Since the world is moving so fast he adds: "You don't want to leave anyone behind."

What has worked for his career is something that Jason realizes can be a source of inspiration for others. "If you continue to put in the work, that work will show for itself eventually. Enjoy the process. Sometimes it can take the enjoyment out of it when you're almost too aware of your audience. That takes away from your creative authenticity."

His goal moving forward? "Focus on what I'm trying to say and make sure it is quality work." For all of us that is a great reminder that quality over quantity should always be our goal.

Stay connected with Jason on social media:

* Photo Credit: Nathan Pearcy Photography

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Playwright and Actress Tina Alexis Allen: Taking Risks, Pursuing Her Dreams

by Cyrus Webb

All of us have the ability to make a difference, and Tina Alexis Allen* is using her platform in the public to do just that. As a playwright and actress she is using her public profile to raise awareness for causes that matter to her and having fun along the way.

This year she was seen on the hit show on WGN called Outsiders---and that is only one part of what has made 2016 a year to remember.

At the beginning of the year Allen tweeted this: "Stop looking around for permission to do or be anything. Just act into it." Those words seem to be guiding her path, too.

I asked her how she was able to gain the boldness and courage it takes to do what you love and stay consistent with it. "I think I've always been a risk-taker," she told me. "I'm a big believer of doing whatever you want at any age. I just feel like we are so capable as human beings... Most of us don't know how much energy and ability is within us."

Talking about her home life and the optimism she has, Allen added: "I come from a place of everything is possible, you just have to get up and do it and not look for permission."

Being in an industry where there is so much competition, Allen says that she feels like a "blessed gal" to be a part of a cast and show like Outsiders. She told me that "Getting a job where I can work with people who are fantastic human beings and actors" is an amazing feeling. "There is something about the work that has always been at the core of what I love. It's the intimacy of interacting with other human beings on such high stakes and creating this magical world."

Outsiders has definitely been one of the shows this year that has taken social media and the world by storm. I asked her was it a surprise to see how people have taken to it. "I knew it was a great show," Allen says, adding "One can never tell how the public perception will be." Part of what she feels as though is driving the success is the fact that it is "touching on some important messages like what it means to be an outsider." While filming the show she told me that she thought "there's going to be a big group of people that will relate."

Outside of television and plays Allen is also building a brand that includes a jewelry line, taking something that can be deadly---an actual bullet---and transforming it into something beautiful. She says that she hopes others are able to realize that no matter where they are in their lives or what their profession, they can make a difference, too.

"I think the key that I've learned through this process is that we can start at any time," she told me. "We're here to help each other and love each other. That's really what feels the most satisfying."

Stay connected with Tina Alexis Allen all over social media:

*     Photos by Bobby Vuillard

Actor Philip Boyd: Becoming Better with Every New Chapter of His Journey

by Cyrus Webb

When I was headed to Los Angeles in February of this year to cover events around the Grammys, I knew I wanted to try and catch up with some of the great individuals I had spoken with on Conversations LIVE the radio show and see if they would join me for a segment of Cyrus Webb Presents on camera. One of the first people I reached out to was actor Philip Boyd, and I was excited when he immediately said yes!

Ever since he was 5 years old Philip knew he wanted to entertain. Now as an actor,writer and director he is able to do just that, and the world is able to come along for the ride. For 20 years he has been working hard, honing his craft and seeing it all come together over time in the television shows and movies he's been able to be a part of. Recently, though, millions around the world were introduced to his character Oscar on the hit show written, directed and produced by Tyler Perry called THE HAVES AND THE HAVE NOTS.

Though he stays constantly on the go, Boyd says about his career: "I look back on it and say I have been able to live my dream and do things I wanted to do in my life." What a great thing to reflect on! When it comes to acting he says "Being able to create anything in life is what it's all about. Being an actor and being able to be different characters is very fulfilling for me."

At a young age he knew he wanted to "be a lot of different things" in his life. He says that influenced him to "create different personalities and characters", and set the stage for where he is today.

The career as a working actor is not something that Boyd takes lightly. "It creates a level of responsibility that you have to own," he says. "When you're creating characters you want to give the fans what they want." That sense of responsibility is also part of the gratitude that he has. "Anytime I get a phone call that I've booked a job it makes you want to work harder and be better than you were before. I'm still climbing up the ladder. It's about constantly working, constantly creating and trying to be better and make it to the next level."

Being a part of the successful series The Haves and the Have Nots is definitely part of that next level. "Tyler Perry is a very special person," Boyd says. "He is a great storyteller. He has an energy about him that is infectious. The people that are surrounded by him make it their own personal journey to be better. I feel honored and blessed to be a part of this show and to be around the amount of talent that is on it."

For fans of the show part of the fun of Oscar's character was trying to figure out what was his motive towards Candace (played by Tika Sumpter). Though we now know who he really is and who was responsible for his being in Candace's life, his character continues to evolve. "I kinda had an idea of where the character was going throughout the show," he told me. For those waiting on the next season of #HAHN you can breathe a sigh of relief. One thing Philip told me during my trip to Los Angeles is that Oscar will be returning.

Outside of The Haves and the Have Nots, Boyd says he just wants to be able to use his life and path as an example for others. "If I can inspire one person in the world to chase their dream, then I feel as though my job is done.." He also adds that when it comes to the future "One of the greatest things about being an actor is that you really don't know what's next. It might change from day to day. It's really exciting,"

At the end of the day he says he just wants to be the best Philip Boyd that he can be, wherever that might take him, and fans of his work are invited to stay along for the ride.

Tweet along with Philip at @PhilipKBoyd. For more information about his upcoming projects visit his website