Every year, after Thomas’ bodybuilding season ends, we decide to go pescatarian, but it seems like we are more pescatarian than anything almost the entire year now a days. It is a conscious choice that we make together to not only eat healthier, but also help with minimizing our carbon footprint on the earth.
Here is an excerpt from EarthDay.com’s article named About Meatless Monday found here talks about the difference small changes can have on the overall impact on the planet earth and our overall carbon footprint.
“For instance, if over the course of a year you:
Ate one less burger a week, it would be the equivalent of taking your car off the road for 320 miles.
Skip meat and cheese one day a week with your family, it would be the equivalent of taking your car off the road for five weeks – or reducing everyone’s daily showers by 3 minutes.
Skip steak once a week with your family, it would be the equivalent of taking your car off the road for nearly three months.
And if the entire U.S. did not eat meat or cheese for just one day a week, it would be the equivalent of not driving 91 billion miles – or taking 7.6 million cars off the road.”
Can you believe that? I find it fascinating that our diet doesn’t only impact our bodies directly, but the environment that we live in. This is why we decide to go vegetarian/pescatarian for a few months each year, but we may stick it out for the entire year if I can come up with some great recipes to hold us over!
Speaking of great recipes to make you forget about meat, these quinoa and sweet potato bbq no-meatballs are amazing! I like to pair them up with some steamed veggies but if you need a heartier meal you can add cauliflower mash or even on a roll with extra bbq sauce, my favorite is Sweet Baby Rays! You need to stock up because it is the best!
I cook my quinoa in a rice cooker, which lets me cook a large amount fast. I usually do a 1/1.75 ratio quinoa to water in the rice cooker. I like to multitask as well so I steam my sweet potatoes in the rice cooker, cut in half with flesh upwards, while cooking the quinoa. My rice cooker has a steam basket which makes this easy; you can find it HERE. I use it almost weekly for my meal prep and you can do so much with it. When cooking it this way they both come out perfect!
When the sweet potatoes and the quinoa are all cooked, scoop out the cooked sweet potato flesh and mash it in a large bowl. Add the quinoa, all of the seasonings, the Parmesan cheese and set aside to cool, I am impatient so I throw it in the freezer for a couple minutes to cool completely, then add the eggs and mix together completely. It is good to let the mix cool before adding the eggs to ensure they don’t scramble in the hot quinoa. Use a small disher, like this one, and scoop out meatball shapes onto a sheet pan lined with aluminum foil sprayed with coconut oil. Cook in the oven at 350F for 30 minutes until the edges start to brown. Take the quinoa balls out of the oven and toss them GENTLY, and I stress gently, in BBQ sauce (remember the Sweet Baby Rays I mentioned earlier, always a great choice!) then put back in the oven under the broiler until lightly browned on the outside.
Here is where you can top with a little extra Parmesan and eat them right away OR put them in meal containers with steamed veggies or that cauliflower mash as mentioned. Mangia Taci! (Shut up and Eat as my Grandpa always says)
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The overall winner for Men’s Physique category and new WNBF Pro Card winner goes to competitor #7, Thomas Lazier Jr!! And the crowd goes wild, mainly just me, but I can’t help it! We have been waiting all day for this news and me, being Thomas’ number one fan, I am ecstatic. But let’s go back to the beginning and let you know all that went down to prepare for this final moment at the INBF Southern Natural Classic in Macon, GA.
Thomas has been competing for almost 5 years now, so this day of show thing comes almost second nature, but even after all the shows he has done, it is still full of prep, nerves, relaxation, and anticipation. For anyone who competes, they know that this day goes by fast, but it is the big finale of a long and grueling prep full of workouts, morning cardio, carb depletion, consumption of gallons and gallons of water, and saying no to a lot of different temptations that may get in the way of you and that Pro Card.
We started early in the morning, making sure he had everything in his bag, the coolers were packed, and I had all my camera and chargers ready. Let’s first off talk about his bag. Key items for his bag include:
Candy for right before going on stage, (do not forget the candy – happened at one show and I’ll never do it again)
Pre-workout – which we put in a small funnel container which makes it easy to travel with and you don’t need to bring the whole container
Resistance bands for his back stage pump (working his muscles so the blood goes to them and they swell or ‘pump’ to show case that ideal size)
Show Numbers – KEY! they won’t be able to identify you on stage without them
Coconut oil for his body shine – I put his fractionated coconut oil in a small bottle to spray on him which makes it easy and less mess
Peanut butter, rice cakes, and honey for a nice snack while he waits back stage
Next we have to make sure the meals were heated in the meal bag, I use a Fitmark bag which I love and use over and over and over, we usually bring his breakfast, two prepped meals for him and one for me, a cold gatorade for him for after the stage, a water for him and couple waters or teas for me, and we are good to go.
Usually, Thomas isn’t that hungry day of the show. I think it is a mixture of nerves, being water depleted, and trying to conserve every ounce of energy for the stage, but he usually tries to eat his first meal of the day right when he gets to the show venue so he had time to relax and let it digest before he has to start getting ready. His breakfast meal consists of Overnight Oats with cranberries and slivered almonds.
There are three key things to do when prepping to jump up on that stage the morning of the show.
Tan or Oil up – In Thomas’ situation, he only uses a light spraying of coconut oil, but in other people’s situation they will do a spray or roll on tan.
Consume your sugar/pre-workout – Thomas likes to eat gummies or Swedish fish and a scoop of pre-workout about 10-15 minutes before the show. I have seen some people drink red wine, or consume other types of quick digesting calories that will help aid in the vascularity and overall look of your muscles. When you deprive your body of those sugars/carbs, it gets excited when it finally gets them and your body uses them for good by making your veins pop and your muscle ‘pump’ larger.
Pump – which is a weird word, but all it really means is go through some resistance band exercises, body weight exercises, or even some light weight exercises to move your blood to some key muscles. Thomas does a cycle of body weight and resistance band exercises and his body really reacts well with these.
Now after he is rubbed down with oil, had his candy, and starts to do his pump exercises, I run out to the audience and get ready to be the ‘photographer’. I usually hold a lot of hats during the day of the show: bag packer, food heater, oil rubber, candy patrol, photographer, cheerleader, and driver. But I love them all! Anything for him on his day.
It all depends on the type of show to know what kind of schedule or flow will be if the actual show. Today it will be two parts, a morning show – Pre-Judging – and an afternoon show – Presentation and Awards. In the morning half of the show, each class of competitors, in Thomas’ Men’s Physique Tall, will come out to center stage together and they will go through different phases of judging. Usually involves a lot of quarter turns and a few changes from one side of the stage to the other. In this class there are four gentleman, all of which will be judge on muscle size, muscle symmetry (how each side of the body is shaped compared to the other and is your upper body symmetrical to the size of your biceps and chest) and presentation (their T-walks – which come at the second half of the show). Once they go through about 50 quarter turns to look at front, side, back, and other side, they exit stage left and go back to their waiting rooms. Usually, if it is a large show, we will watch some of the other competitors, but this show was fairly small, so we headed back to the hotel to rest up for the second half of the show.
This is supposed to be a time for rest for Thomas, but I am ALWAYS the one who ends up passed out on the bed. I told you I hold a lot of hats, give me a break! But he does get some time to just sit and watch tv, eat a meal, drink a little bit of water, and re-group for what is next to come.
After heading back to the venue, we go through the same three step process on getting him ready for the awards ceremony. Oil, Candy, and Pump. Then I run back to the audience to get ready for show time! This time is a little different, they put a bigger effort in letting the competitors show off their hard work and present them to the audience with house music and a bio as they walk their “T-Walk” on stage. This is just a walk to get them from the back of the stage to stage left, center stage, stage right, and back to the back of the stage. Thomas has a specific posing routine he prepped for his show, and he always uses his kiss with both hands as his sign off.
When all of the competitors in his class finish their T-Walk they all come back onto center stage and go through a shorter round of side by side comparisons and then shuffle off stage. When all of the competitors in each of their classes finalize their T-Walks and comparisons it is awards time, the moment we have all been waiting for!
The Men’s Physique Short class came out and they presented their 1st through 4th place winners and then the Men’s Physique Tall class came out, which is Thomas’ class, and they presented the winners for that, and thankfully Thomas took the first place! Then both him and the other 1st place winner for the short class came back up on stage and did their side by side comparisons. This is the moment he worked so hard for, the moment we have been waiting all day for, and they announced the overall winner for Men’s Physique category and new WNBF Pro Card winner goes to competitor #7, Thomas Lazier Jr! Why this is so important, is because not only did he win 1st place bragging rights for this show, he also won overall for the entire Men’s Physique class, and BEST YET, he received his Pro-Card for the Pro Level of this league which means his next show will be a professional show for money earnings. God is Great I tell you! Thomas’ hard work and consistency truly paid off this show!
Since this league is an all natural league, anyone earning their pro card has to take a urinalysis to make sure they don’t have any illegal substances in their system. T said it felt like signing day, but really it is just signing off that you are an all Natural Competitor!
Now time to eat! Mostly all Thomas’ thinks about after a show is water and drinks, but today he had a margarita in mind. So we went to a local Mexican restaurant and he ordered the largest mango margarita they had! Cheers to you T!
It seems like throughout the years eyebrows have changed a lot with the trends. They went from skinny lines to big and bushy to well defined to now, microbladed. But what is this somewhat new trend? Microblading by definition “is a form of tattoo artistry where pigment is implanted under your skin with a manual handheld tool instead of a machine,” by elle.com. It is a tattoo of ‘hair like’ sweeps of color that are directly under your natural brow line, or around your brow line to enhance what you have to give you the effect of full, beautiful, ‘I woke up like this’ brows.
I worked with Chachy Dee, owner of Geek the Brow located in Kennesaw, GA in the Phenix Salon Suites, to give you a deeper look into the process and outcome of microblading your eyebrows. The client who we are spotlighting, who actually happens to be Chachy’s mother, and my boyfriend’s sister, today had a tattoo (with an actual tattoo gun) already done in the past and thought that microblading would be a better option to enhance what she already has, but give a more natural look to her eyebrows with the strokes instead of flat pigment.
With microblading there are 7 steps to the process, the first of which is a consultation. Every person has different needs and wants when it comes to your brows. You may have an empty space in your brow that you always have to fill in, or your brows don’t really grow, so this is the time to talk with your microblading specialist (MS) to see what is the best overall application for you. This also give the MS the chance to identify which color will best suit your natural eyebrow color and give you a chance to fill out your paperwork. Remember, this is treated like a tattoo, so you need to be 18 to get it done.
Next will be the numbing, Chachy Dee uses a 5% lidocaine cream applied directly onto the area where she will be microblading and then uses a plastic ‘saran wrap’ like material to lay over the brows. This helps heat up the area and makes the lidocaine cream more effective and work quickly. The lidocaine ensures that the pain is very minimal throughout the entire process.
Here you can see all the items necessary for the microblading process. You see the two different colors of pigment, in this situation she mixed two to match the client’s brows, you see the sanitary microblading tool in yellow, the lidocaine, her tattooing gloves, and other items to help with the process.
Now for the actual blading portion of the process. Chachy Dee uses the microblading tool that is dipped in the ink in the little ring bowl on her finger, and starts to create natural looking hair like pigment streaks on the eyebrows. In this situation, she is using the already great shape of her brow, but building a more pronounced shape by increasing the size of the main portion of the brow and then extending the tail of the brow into a more point. Think about when you are using a brow pencil to fill in your brows, this is the same though process, but instead of adding color, she is adding strokes to mimic the look of real hairs there.
Once she has finished her strokes to build a flawless brow shape, she applies a heavy dose of pigment over the strokes and leaves it to dry. This helps ensure that the storkes absorb the pigment into the skin which then will last for a year plus after it heals properly. Once it dries, she will wipe away the pigment and reveal a beautiful shape. At first it will look very dark, since the pigment is directly revealed and not under healed skin. As the brows heal, the pigment will lighten and blend in naturally with the real brows.
If needed, after the initial reveal, Chachy Dee will look at the brows and see if there are any areas that need to be touched up, or if she needs to build the shape more. This is where an experienced Microblading Specialist is important. You want them to make sure that they are perfect since this lasts a year plus. Chachy Dee takes care with all of her clients and ensures they 100% love their brows when they leave her studio.
After the microblading is complete, and you go home you need to make sure that you take care of your brows! read the instructions given to you after your appointment and stick to them. Chachy Dee and I have started to sell a Microblading Aftercare Roll On which is available below. It is a roller ball with a formula of moisturizing oils and essentials oils to help with healing.
Microbladin FAQ from Chachy Dee
What is the purpose of microblading? – To either enhance of create eyebrows for a client with thin, unshaped, or non-existent brows
Does it hurt? – A numbing agent is used (lidocaine) to provide the best level of comfort possible. Pain is minimal
How long does it last? – Up to 1 year, but in some cases it can last up to three
Who is it for? – Everyone can benefit from microblading. Whether you’re just wanting to fill on sparce area or would like a whole brow created, for example: patients undergoing chemotherapy or battling alopecia
How much is it? – $325
What is included? – A consultation, your initial session, and a 4 week touch up to fine tune the shape
I currently work in an all-natural spa on the weekends and the other day this woman came in and asked me about a lavender pillow spray. We didn’t have any in stock, so I did some research and found a bunch of people have made it with the same formula so I wrote it down for her, gave her a bottle of our lavender essential oil, and sent her on her way to make it.
Later that day when I got home I decided I needed that lavender pillow spray and I was going to make it, so here is a quick how to on a universal linen/couch spray, that you can use with any combos of essential oils that you prefer.
What you will need:
Lavender essential oil – we make individual sized ones from large bottles of the oils at the spa, but you can easily use this one.
Witch Hazel – Or you can use alcohol, a combination of both, or vodka, but I prefer the witch hazel since it is less harsh than alcohol and when used on your pillow, I feel like it will be better for your face and complexion.
Water – I used a bottle of water, the Atlanta water seems to have a lot of red clay sediments, and I want this to last a long time if I don’t use it right away.
Finger pump spray bottle – this was NOT easy to find at a store, I went to Dollar Tree and CVS and they didn’t have them, and then went to Walmart as a last resort and they only had one! So I had to take a cheap perfume and clean off the label so I could make two.
Funnel – this is only necessary if you don’t think you will be able to pour out of your container into the small bottle.
Witch hazel is a natural astringent used for many, many years. I like to use the Witch Hazel that doesn’t contain any alcohol in it on my face because you can use it around your eyes, the one picture above, is acceptable for your face but make sure you do not use it around your eyes. I also have the lavender witch hazel spray that I like to use on my face before bed. You can use it on your body, like your back or booty, as well if you have any breakouts.
Pour in 6 tablespoons of water and 2 tablespoons of witch hazel into a container, mine has a corner to make it easier to pour into the spray bottle, but you can always use a funnel if you don’t have something with a pour spot or you don’t feel like you have a steady hand to pour with out spilling.
I would put 8-12 drops of essential oils, lavender in this case, directly into the small spray bottle, because the water/witch hazel mixture makes enough for two bottles. I also put 6 drops of eucalyptus and 6 drops lemon grass in the other bottle to make a couch spray. Pour in the water/witch hazel mixture to fill up the bottles. With my couch spray, I added more water to top it off just so I would have a full bottle. Shake and start spraying!
The lavender essential oil is great on your linens because it is a relaxing/calming scent that helps with restful sleep. I like to use the eucalyptus/lemon grass mixture on my couch to cover up the lingering dog smells in the home and I just love it smelling like a spa when I walk in.
Let me know if you try any of these! I’d love to know your favorite essential oil combos that you use in your home.
Did you know today, October 1st, means there are only 90 days left in 2018? That means only 52 days until Thanksgiving and only 85 days until Christmas! What are you going to do with the rest of your year?
Studies have shown that it only takes 21 days to create a habit, so essentially by the end of the year you could have 3 different positive habits instilled into your daily life. You could start waking up an hour earlier to enjoy a cup of coffee in peace before work, wake up early and do 30 minutes of cardio, start reading a book before bed, or set up a daily cleaning schedule for your home. The sky is the limit as to which kind of habits you want to start, but all you have to do is start!
My goal for the rest of the year is to start reading more, specifically when I wake up earlier (that is also part of the goal – turn myself into a morning person). Here are a few that I recently purchased.
Reality Check: The Irreverent Guide to Outsmarting, Outmanaging, and Outmarketing Your Competition by Kawasaki, Guy
The 10X Rule: The Only Difference Between Success and Failure by Cardone, Grant
If you have read any of these books, please leave a comment and let me know your thoughts! Make the rest of 2018 great, it will go by faster than ever. Make sure you take the time to write down a few goals, create a few positive habits to change, maybe even a negative one to break, and put all your effort into making your life better!
If you are going to achieve excellence in big things, you develop the habit in little matters. Excellence is not an exception, it is a prevailing attitude.