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Navigating Changing Waters


Southern-Born Sirop

Food, Culture, + Art

Real Life Stories

From Profile Pieces to Pro Story Tellers

Eat Fit's


Plant-Based Diets A Nutritionist's Point of View

We design with you in mind.

103 Foxtail Trail Featured in Parade of Homes 2019

Parish Architecture provides services in commercial and residential architecture, interior design, branded environments, and urban design. Our innovative design takes into consideration the current technologies and solutions that result in smarter and better-built environments. We create and develop the best possible solutions for your project by working with you every step of the way. We know all these things can be a big job and we are here to walk you through it all. Contact us today!

Letter from the Editor By Abby Meaux Conques

“And suddenly you know: It's time to start something new and trust the magic of beginnings.� Meister Eckhart - 13th Century German theologian, philosopher and mystic. No matter your journey, your view, or your background...there's something to be said of new beginnings. We're each on our own individual adventure that is this incredible, hard, amazing, tough, and wonderful life. You have the freedom to choose a new beginning, maybe out of necessity for your own spirit, or as a result from a situation that is out of your control. Nonetheless, it can be a welcomed experience and a breath of fresh air...new air. But know this, perspective is paramount. We are all walking around carrying stuff. Heavy stuff. Hard stuff. Beautiful stuff. Brilliant stuff. It is in the midst of that stuff that we should go inside ourselves for a little while...step in the center molten magma of it all and really get to the center of things. Modern times hardwired us in a sense to dull our pain for the hard situations, to medicate it, to shield oursleves and our loved ones from things that are uncomfortable. But in all actuality, all of the things we feel are a necessary part of the human experience. We should feel all of the things...not fill all of the things. I challenge you to sit in your feelings...and feel them...really feel them. Explore them and trudge through them; that's where the growth happens, like a lotus flower. The lotus flower is an amazing and gorgeous flower, whose petals open one by one. The caveat is that it will only grow in mud. It's an interesting occurance if you stop and think about it. I invite you in this new season to ask yourself the hard questions: What are my personal trials trying to teach me? What do I want in life? Who am I, really? What do I want to strive to do? What is my reason for being here? How can I be of service to my community? What gifts do I have? When you're in a dark place, the lantern of your soul is inside waiting to guide you through answers to your own questions... because the answers are inside of you the whole time; our minds are just too busy and loud to hear them or we are too afraid to go inside and seek them out because we're worried about what we might find. But what if we find the best versions of ourselves? What if we peel back all of the layers of the onion that is us, and we find our authentic selves? What if what we find is powerful and beautiful? What if we all did this hard inner work? What if we were all honest with each other, and we set healthy boundaries, and we strived everyday to do what is best for our selves, family and our communities? In this season of inevitable newness with the new year, the new decade, and maybe your new (chosen or forced) situation, I invite you to go inside and dig deep. Your version of digging deep may be a spiritual journey and you may find your solace in prayer. You may find it in silence. You may find it in meditation. You may find it in vowing to spend more time with your children and enjoying...really enjoying their deep belly laughs. 4

You may find it in putting your phone down and sitting in nature. You may find it in eating less sugar. You may find it in running. You may find it in sobriety. My hope for you, for all of us, is that we can embrace this new year and decade's inception and promise of a clean slate. My hope for us is to apply that fuel of the new to the lives that we are currently leading, and that the synergy of newness and rebirth gives us the strength and courage to let go of the things that don't serve us and to call in those things that light us up, that make us feel alive, that make us better human beings... because if we do all of this work on a personal level, it bleeds out into the circles that surround us, our community, and our worlds. This January - March issue of 337 Magazine was carefully crafted to find little nuances of the new and bring you snippets of subjects that may just aid you on your personal journey. We approached licensed counselors, certified nutritionists, trained professionals, and specialists in their own rights to offer information for anyone who seeks those little things in our lives that we are willing to try, which just may end up making really big differences. We included personal stories and authentic narratives to reveal slice-of-life experiences with the hope that they might spark something in all of us to explore, or bring something different into our everyday, to add to our amazing experiences as human beings...simply BE-ing human...and all of the stuff that goes along with it. I sincerely hope you enjoy the read, Abby Meaux Conques


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OWNERS/PUBLISHERS 337 Media Editor / Creative Director: Abby Meaux Conques Graphic Designer: Abby Meaux Conques Ad Design: Abby Meaux Conques Digital Media: Abby Meaux Conques, Heidi Roy

337 CORRESPONDENTS Brandon Alleman, Jules Bruchez, Kristina Charles, Adam Chauvin, Abby Meaux Conques, Jared Conques, Renee Ezell, Monica Grizzaffi, Amelie Harding, Renee Ory, Leah Richard, Allison Saltzman, Olivia Savoie, Liz Smith, Yvette Quantz

CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS / ARTISTS Adam Chauvin, Abby Meaux Conques, Denny Culbert, Kelly Russo, Alex Saizon, LeeAnn B. Photography

CONTACT US 337magazine.com Editorial: editor@337magazine.com Advertising: advertise@337magazine.com 

HOME + STYLE 6 Our Area's Own Urban Naturalist 9 Simplicity & the 7 Minute Sweep

FOOD + DRINK 10 Southern-Born Sirop 11 Adam Eats 12 Eat Fit: Alcohol Free for 40 Days 13 Vintage Fork's Friendship Project of 2020 14 Is a Plant-Based Diet Right for Me? 16 Fire in the Belly: When the Affinity for Food + Culture Meets Photographic Art


WELLBEING 18 Navigating Changing Waters 20 How Much Love Do You Have? 22 The Journey That is Health and Wellness 24 Follow the TRAIL 25 4-7-8 Breath Technique 26 Cryo Recovery 28 Passion for Wellness Fuels CBD Business


ARTIST PROFILE 34 The Meditative Act of Creating

HAIR + SKIN HEALTH 36 Mindful Moisturizing 37 Professional Hair Care Picks


LEISURE + EVENTS 38 Krewe De Canailles

SPORTS 40 Youth Flag Football League Brings Neighborhood Sports Back to Acadiana 41 The Benefits of Being Physical with the Body and Mind 42 Artist Image: Denny Culbert

38 All pages within 337 magazine are the property of 337 magazine. No portion of the materials on the pages may be reprinted or republished in any form without the express written permission of 337 magazine ©2020. The content of 337 magazine has been checked for accuracy, but the publishers cannot be held liable for any update or change made by advertisers and/or contributors to the magazine. 337 Media, LLC is not responsible for injuries sustained by the reader while pursuing activities described or illustrated herein, nor failure of equipment depicted or illustrated herein. No liability is, or will be, assumed by 337 magazine, 337 Media or any of its owners, administration, writers or photographers for the magazine or for any of the information contained within the magazine. All rights reserved.

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Our Area's Own Urban Naturalist By Abby Meaux Conques


ne of the things I love about Lafayette are these little pockets of professionals who are doing great things in their niche corners of their prospective markets. The difference between Anytown, USA and our city (in my opinion) is the willingness to take time to speak with you about their craft and the genuine intrigue about your interest in said niche. Marcus Descant, landscape horticulturist and owner of The Urban Naturalist, happens to be one of those very people. I popped over to his lush corner lot at 216 Madison Street, where he has a walk-up self check-out area where you can purchase plants and herbs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week via posted instructions. Follow the area behind the counter and find tables upon tables of flats and trays filled with plants, herbs, vegetables and flowers. Descant got his green-thumb beginning working with his brother performing lawn maintenance before shifting gears and working on farms. In 2006 he bought the home where he and his family reside now and where the land serves as The Urban Naturalist. The land functioned as his personal garden for six years where he experimented with edible plants and herbs, learning as his plants grew. In the midst of opening his garden for business, he ventured into the landscaping world to lend his

knowledge of our prairie to area residents. “I got constant advice from all these wonderful people in the horticulture world...like the ones who started the Sunset Herb and Garden Festival. Many of them were older than me and were very happy to hand down their advice so we could keep growing alive with our generation,” he said. Descant uses his landscaping techniques and pragmatic knowledge of native plants to serve both functional and aesthetic purposes. For example, native prairie plants have the ability to hold a great deal of moisture. You may see up to a foot of a plant, but those roots run very deep and can act like large sponge beds, actually aiding local drainage problems. In addition to implementing an observant, multi-faceted approach to landscaping, Descant is also mindful of the plastic he uses to house his grows. His business is run entirely off of waste plastic that other landscapers gladly drop off to him. “Our exchange is plastic for plants - all those little black plant buckets are used for 3 weeks, but they last 400 years,” Descant said. “We need to take responsibility for our footprint.” Some of his best sellers are ready-togo pots which operate as cut-away profiles of small startup gardens, such as vegetable gardens. “They’re a great place to start for beginners,” he explained. Other popular items are his $30 flats. “People drive in from Baton Rouge and New Orleans for these flats. If you know about certain master plants and their worth, you know some of these flats have expensive plants that come out to $5 a plant.”



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Descant also lends his time and talents to Myrtle Place Elementary where his son attends. He heads the school’s Garden Club. “It really gets the kids interested in gardening by letting them play in the dirt. We even recycle cafeteria waste so it teaches them to reduce and reuse,” he said. When asked what the easiest way to begin a garden was, Descant said cool-season vegetables are an easy start. “You don’t have to wait until springtime to plant...people tend to think January is dormant for planting but you can beat the bugs and invasive weeds by planting early in the year. A pollinator garden or butterfly garden is a good place to start as well,” he mentioned. “Those teach you a lot about plants and eco-systems along the way.” He explained that native plants are fairly easy to grow and are more difficult to kill if you’re just beginning. Many big box stores get their plants shipped in from other states. “You might get something from a big store’s lawn center down the road, but they recieved those plants from somewhere like Maine. Those plants lived a perfect life until they get down here and then they go

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into shock with the different climate. You can learn a lot of tricks of the trade by talking to local gardeners who are experienced with plants in this climate,” he explained. I asked him what a bit of advice was that he’d like to give to others. He said, “Don’t get tied up in plants emotionally...just play. You can take a $50 horticulture class at the Ag Center and get started in you want structured information.” When asked what was the most memorable piece of advice he received from the older generation of horticulturists, he said, “Simple. They’d tell you ‘it ain’t hard...just water your damn plants’.” If you have any interest in herbs or plants, visit the Urban Naturalist. You won't be disappointed.


Bank of Sunset & Trust Co. Dependability and service since 1906


auling silver coins by horse and wagon in 1906 and assuring nervous customers that deposits were safe during the Great Depression were daunting tasks, but that’s precisely how the Bank of Sunset & Trust Co. built the strong foundation of customer relationships for which they’re known. Since those years, the bank expanded services to offer more than simply your average checking and savings accounts. One of those services is Left to right: Casey Hebert, Eric Chiasson, Ryan Bertsch commercial lending. The Bank of Sunset has three commercial lenders with a combined 65 years of banking experience. We offer all types of commercial loans from revolving lines of credit to loans where the focus is on cash flow or on purchasing and supply needs. We offer term loans for auto, equipment and inventory purchases for most industries. Real estate loan for purchases and/or for renovation loans for business and investment use. Ask us today how we can help with any aspect of your business needs and we will find a way to get you the right type of loan for your business. We proudly service all parishes in the Acadiana area and offer assistance to all types of businesses from real estate investors to the oil and gas service industry. Your business is your passion and our business is seeing that dream of yours come to fruition. Please come by one of our branches today to meet Eric, Casey, or Ryan to hear more about how we can help service your next business need. Meet our 3 Commercial Lenders Number of servicing our branches, all born years of banking and raised in Lafayette. experience Eric Chiasson from Lafayette has been in banking for over 40 years with experience as a Branch Manager, Special Assets, and Commercial Lending. He graduated from National Commercial Lending School at The University of Oklahoma in 1998. Casey Hebert from Lafayette has been in banking for over 15 years with experience in personal banking, investments, and Commercial Lending. He is a graduate of ULL with a degree in finance. He is also currently a Board Member with the Kiwanis Club of Lafayette. Ryan Bertsch from Lafayette has been in banking for over 10 years, all with Bank of Sunset & Trust Company. He is a graduate of ULL with a degree in finance. Eric, Casey, and Ryan can be reached at any one of the Bank of Sunset & Trust Company locations. Real estate loan purchases and renovation loans aren’t the only lending services that the Bank of Sunset offers. For most industries, the Bank of Sunset offers revolving lines of credit for cash flow needs and purchases to term loans for real estate, auto, equipment and inventory purchases. The powerhouse team of Eric Chiasson, Casey Hebert and Ryan Bertsch boast over sixty five years of combined experience and are ready to service their customer needs. Please stop by one of their branches today to meet Eric, Casey, or Ryan to hear more about how they can help service your business needs.



Sunset Branch 337-662-5222 Grand Coteau Branch 337-662-3855 Lafayette Branch 337-234-5220 Home Mortgage Office 337-703-3144 Broussard Branch 337-837-5220

SPECIALIZING IN Commercial Construction and Renovations Purchasing and Refinancing Commercial Buildings and Lots Commercial Lines of Credit Equipment Financing


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H O M E + S T Y L E

Simplicity & the 7 Minute Sweep By Renee Ory


eonardo Da Vinci might have said it best when he said, "Simplicity is the ultimate form of sophistication." Da Vinci also might not have had three kids, all in different sports, a dog, a cat, a full-time career, and a spouse. We have all these things, events, jobs, moving pieces of our lives that overlap, and over-booked calendars which make it hard for us to keep our homes and spaces tidy. We feel like clutter has grown overnight, especially after the holidays. This is the perfect time to get organized. With the new year, we often appreciate the feeling of a clean slate. Take advantage of your revived motivation to get your home or office in order and running at full capacity. Researchers say your space and home are a reflection of your mind. If your home is full of clutter, your mind is full of clutter, and vice versa. How does one do this, though? Start small.

A quick, 7 minute tidy-up can go a long way. Before you leave your home for the day, pick a room to organize. For example, clearing the kitchen counters or emptying the sink of breakfast dishes will free space for you to use later. It doesn't have to be a huge, overwhelming task every time you get to work organizing. Doing 7 minute sweeps of a room helps you to clear a space of unnecessary debris. Putting shoes where they belong or making a pile of things that you come across that belong in other parts of your home helps. Use your weekends or days off when you have more time to tackle bigger projects like organizing your office or the kids' playroom.

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Investing in something like a label maker will go a long way in these types of spaces. Get the kids involved, too. This is where you can use the Christmas card. Have them clear space for their new toys and donate toys they don't play with to children that would love to play with now. In a space like your bedroom closet, utilize the height you're given. Follow a good purge and donation with labeled bins that you can stow things in. Organizing items seasonally is great, especially if you're working with a smaller space. This is also a great time to impart the importance of having a tidy space with your kiddos, as they'll witness you parting with your own things as well. Oftentimes, we are so busy that we feel overwhelmed by trying to organize whole rooms. Starting small and working your way up to the bigger, clutter-filled portions of your spaces help make organizing seem more manageable and less like a never-ending task. Give yourself the month to get organized. Investing in a professional organizer is a great foundation as they can help to create functionality of your space. Then you're able to utilize things like organizing apps and countless tools to help keep you on track. Start your new year off clutter-free!

AMAZING SPACES is an Acadiana-based Professional Organizing Company transforming homes and offices since 2003. Offering a full line of closet and storage systems. Call RenĂŠe Ory (337) 296-5506 for appointments and visit the website at AmazingSpaces.org 9

F O O D + D R I N K

SOUTHERN-BORN SIROP by Abby Meaux Conques


n October of 2017, Lafayette residents Alex and Deanna Saizon thought they’d pop into a New Orleans bar and order a drink on a whim. Little did they know, that whim would turn into a small business within the next two years.

After over a year of perfecting, the first batch of syrup was made. The couple would enjoy their homemade concoction with their different whiskeys from their personal collection which consists of over 100 whiskey brands today.

On a romantic getaway to the Crescent City, the couple sat at a bar off Camp Street and ordered an original bar staple, the Old Fashioned. If you’re not familiar with the cocktail, it’s a bar and restaurant staple with Louisville, Kentucky origins dating back to 1880. It was reportedly invented by bartender James E. Pepper who served cocktails at the private social club, The Pendennis Club. Pepper was a venerated bourbon aristocrat who eventually brought his recipe to the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel bar in New York City. From there, it made its way into bartending recipe books and into the hearts of Americans seeking a sophisticated stiff drink.

“We would make drinks using the syrups for our friends who would come over to visit. That turned into making batches as gifts, and then people started requesting bottles of it,” he explained. “It was always about slowing down and enjoying a sipping cocktail with friends...taking the time to spend with those who enrich your life...that’s what we’re passionate about...as we say, ‘One Ole Fashioned at a time.’” When the requests for the sweet syrup began repeating several times over, they decided to make small batches of the nownamed Sirop de Saizon (“Sirop” pronounced as the French translation “siro”) by the Sirop Trading Co.

At the bar in New Orleans, Alex and Deanna watched their Big Easy bartender craft their drinks. They noticed that she did something a bit different than other bartenders who were serving up Old Fashioneds. She pulled out two clear squeeze bottles; one with a syrupy clear liquid and the other, a thicker brown elixir. With a few squirts of each, and some dashes of bitters, followed by a whiskey pour and signature orange peel, the couple tasted a drink which would send them on a journey to make the perfect Old Fashioned syrup to enjoy at home.

Since its inception, there have been 29 batches produced and over 1,200 bottles sold. Since November 2019, the sirop found a home on shelves at Champagne’s Market in Lafayette’s Oil Center. You can now also find it in store at Nunu’s in Youngsville. Each bottle has a gold wax seal applied the “old fashioned” way with an engraved brass die, indicating which batch it belongs to. The couple’s sirop can also be ordered online for nationwide home delivery from their website www.SiropTradingCo.com. Take my word for it, gather some people you love, share a nice bottle of Bourbon, try an Old Fashioned with Sirop de Saizon, slow down, and spend time with those who enrich your life.

“We spent a year perfecting the recipe,” Alex mentioned when I spoke with him at a recent Sirop de Saizon Whiskey Tasting at The Refinery in Downtown Lafayette. “We wanted to get complimentary amounts of molasses, natural vanilla bean, and nuttiness. We knew amazing ingredients would make an equally amazing syrup,” he explained. SIROP BOTTLES AFTER WAX SEALING




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THE FRENCH PRESS by Adam Chauvin follow @adamceats on Instagram and Facebook


t is relatively simple; first, you make a roux, and then add the holy trinity, perhaps some Cajun seasoning and dried herbs, add stock, simmer, add your protein (or veggies for Gumbo Z’herbes) then serve over rice. Gumbo season is in full swing around the 337 and is showing up on social media feeds for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The basics are generally the same, but oftentimes someone will have their own take on this distinctive Cajun and Creole dish. The French Press on East Vermillion St. in downtown Lafayette, Louisiana is no exception. Start with toasted French bread, add boudin, a slice of American cheese, two poached eggs, then pour some chicken and andouille gumbo on top, and you have their Cajun Benedict. It is available from breakfast through lunchtime and seems to go well with any one of their mimosas or cocktails. The research was painstaking.

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alcohol free for days


By Yvette Quantz, RDN, CSSD, LDN Eat Fit Acadiana / Eat Fit SWLA Registered Dietitian & Eat Fit Operations This year, I’m inviting you to join the Eat Fit Alcohol Free for 40 Challenge.


BEFORE YOU BEGIN Before you begin abstaining, record your baseline metrics. Do this before February 26th, before you stop drinking. To do this, gather the following info: Record your weight Take a close-up photo of your face so that you can see the details of your eyes and skin. Ask your doctor to run the following labs: CBC (Complete Blood Count) CMP (Comprehensive Metabolic Panel; includes liver enzymes AST & ALT, as well as electrolytes and indicators of kidney function) Lipid Panel (includes triglycerides, which can be affected by alcohol) GGT (Gamma glutamyl transferase, a specific liver test that’s most affected by alcohol) Vitamin B12 and Folate Panel hs-CRP (high-sensitivity C-reactive protein; a marker of inflammation) ESR (sedimentation rate; a marker of inflammation)

Give up all alcohol from February 26th (Ash Wednesday) until Easter.



This self-experiment isn’t about cutting out alcohol forever. Nor am I saying that alcohol is inherently a bad thing.

We all know that excessive intake of alcohol is associated with serious health risks, both physically and mentally, as well as to others. However, it can also be easy to justify cocktail hour because "it’s good for our hearts, it helps manage stress, it’s how we celebrate wins, and it’s how we end a rough day." While there has been a lot of hype on the health benefits of moderate alcohol consumption, the truth is that the negative health consequences of alcohol (at any level) likely outweigh any benefit. Alcohol increases risk for certain cancers. For example, just one alcoholic drink a day can increase breast cancer risk in both pre- and post-menopausal women, and as little as a single serving of wine or beer a day increases pre-menopausal breast cancer risk by 5 percent and post-menopausal risk by 9 percent. And, the more you drink, the higher your risk.

There are some reasons giving up alcohol for a dedicated period can benefit us, maybe an evening cocktail has become a habit or a crutch. You may mindlessly participate in a nightly cocktail and not realize how that habit could be negatively impacting your health or day-to-day life. The simple act of surrendering a daily habit and replacing it with healthy alternatives like hot tea, sparkling water, or an evening walk can help instill more mindfulness and self-awareness.


It also interferes with sleep. Sleep deprivation can take a toll on our energy, increase food cravings, alter our mood, and have a negative impact on our hormones and skin. From a mental health perspective, alcohol is linked to depression, anxiety and dementia.

Within a week or so, you’ll likely notice more energy – both when you wake up and in the evening. You will think and sleep better. You’ll probably notice less puffiness, especially in your face and around your eyes. You might even shed a few pounds. You may even surprise yourself at how much more engaged you are with your kids and spouse.

Not to mention the empty calories, which over time can contribute to unwanted weight. With continual over-drinking, our whole-body well-being isn’t as good as it could be. We just get used to it, accepting a less-than-good feeling as “normal.”

The cravings for alcohol will dissipate and you will notice that the habit of your evening cocktail becomes easier to replace with other habits.

I know the thought of going alcohol-free for 40 days may feel a little intimidating or overwhelming. But the truth is, you have nothing to lose, but instead the opportunity to see just how good you could feel. See it as your own self-experiment to experience the impact it has on your mind, body, spirit, relationships, work, etc.

THE DETAILS For the 40 days of Lent, give up your cocktails, including beer, wine, and shots (if that’s your thing) and replace with mocktails. Don’t let the term “mocktail” intimidate you - it’s just a fancy word for non-alcoholic beverages and I promise, the Eat Fit team and participating partners will be sharing some of our favorite recipes. Eat Fit Acadiana items meet the nutritional criteria designated by Ochsner Health System, supported by the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation and Lafayette General Health. Download the Eat Fit app to find participating Eat Fit restaurants throughout Louisiana and visit our website EatFitAcadiana.com to learn more. 12

THE BOTTOM LINE This won’t last forever – it’s only 40 or so days. Giving up alcohol may not be something that you choose to continue long-term, but depending on the results of your own personal #AlcoholFreeFor40 challenge, you may decide that it’s worth it to at least dial things back a bit over the long term. Ready to take the challenge? Visit www.eatfitacadiana.com for more details.

Yvette Perrier Quantz is a registered dietitian with a passion for inspiring and empowering people to nourish themselves with foods, words, thoughts, and actions that fuel them for better living. As Ochsner's Eat Fit Acadiana Operations and Marketing Dietitian, Yvette works with local restaurants to bring healthy menu items into the community. 337M A GA ZIN E.C O M

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Is number 2 scaring you? No worries, I’ve got you covered. This is one of my go-to drop off meals and it’s crazy easy. You just need a blender and a slow cooker!

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Tacos VINTAGE FORK'S

FRIENDSHIP PROJECT of 2020 by Liz Smith


t’s a new year and decade, let’s make this one the best yet. This year I am prioritizing the friends in my life and thought I would share my project with you.

According to the dictionary, a friend is "a person whom one has a bond of mutual affection." But did you know that good friends are good for your health? They are there in good times and in bad. They help to encourage you to be your best self, help you cope when times are tough, and can even reduce stress. I don’t know how I would have gotten through 2019 without my friends and I want to pay it forward to them.

TVF's 2020 FRIENDSHIP GOALS 4 Friendship-Centered Gestures a Month (That’s one a week, you got this!)


I had a conversation with the postman a few weeks ago and he said the mail business is on a downward trend. Although, he did say the parcel business is picking up. This got me thinking, I love receiving mail! Not bills or political fliers, but lovely handwritten Thank You notes & Christmas Cards always put a smile on my face. Grab some pretty stationary, write a few sentences (it doesn’t have to be a book), slap a stamp on it, and send it off!


Cooking & delivering meals is my love language. I think this sparks just as much joy in me, than the family I am feeding. Who should you drop off a meal to? A new mom & dad, a grieving friend, someone who has had a really rough time at work, anyone really! Not in your comfort zone to make an entire meal? Drop off a sweet treat or bring a fancy coffee to a work buddy!


Do it during your commute or drive to the grocery store. Nowadays, sending a text is more normal than actually talking on the phone. I am challenging you to actually pick up the phone and give a friend a call. The conversation will take you many more places than a text thread.


Walk in your neighborhood, see a movie, or grab a cup of coffee on a Saturday morning. There is nothing better than face-to-face catching up with your bestie!

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Ingredients 1 boneless pork butt (mine was about 5 lbs and made about 6-8 servings) 1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce 2 tsp fish sauce 1 Gala Apple, chopped 5 garlic cloves 1/4 cup green onions, roughly chopped 1 large handful cilantro 1 tbsp ground ginger 1/4 tsp pepper 1-2 hefty pinches of salt Tortillas or Butter lettuce Toppings: such as cheese, tomatoes, greek yogurt, & avocado Preparation In a blender, blend together soy sauce, fish sauce, apple, garlic, green onions, cilantro, ginger, pepper, salt Pour 1/4 cup of the mixture on the bottom of the slow cooker, add pork butt, then cover with the remaining blended mixture Cook on low for 8 hours Once done, remove meat and shred using 2 forks. I like to skim off the fat at this time. Add it back to the pot with all of the juice Make your tacos & Enjoy! Liz Smith is a board certified Physician Assistant with a passion for food & travel. She loves putting her own healthy-ish spin on new and old recipes. She also enjoys exploring the world with her husband, Petey. You can find them in and out of their kitchen on Instagram @thevintagefork or on her blog www.thevintageforkblog.com 13

is a plantbased diet right for me? By Jules Bruchez

Answer: NO! umm yes? Well... maybe let’s take a closer look.

So naturally, as a trainer, the questions start coming my way: How good is the plant-based diet?

During the past 22 years in the fitness industry I’ve come across every gimmick and fad that has come out. Just like all the workout trends, more diet trends follow.

Will it help me lose weight? Will it lower my cholesterol and help my heart health?

I understand it can be confusing and downright overwhelming when looking at all the different ways to eat. There's so much information out there when it comes to what’s best for losing weight and what’s best for a healthy body or a healthy heart. I can see why people keep jumping from one diet to another looking for that magical answer. If you just do a quick Google search on the amount of different types of eating plans, the amount that comes up is astonishing. There's vegan, Keto, Paleo, Mediterranean, Low-Carb, and LowFat just to name a few. The diet trend that’s making the most headway right now is the plant-based diet thanks to the Netflix documentary, Game Changers. In my opinion, the documentary is how a professional movie producer with hand-picked studies can manipulate the way people think about health and performance. IS A PLANT BASED DIET GOOD FOR ME? The answer to this is dependent on your definition of what is considered "good." Many people live on 1-3 medications per month and that is considered normal and good. Then I see others on 10-15 medications who are bed-ridden, in pain and miserable, but they consider their life to be good because they are alive. So what is your definition of "good?" Is a plant-based diet good because you can eat it and within a week you don’t suffer 14

Is it better than the standard American diet? Is meat even necessary to eat? How can a plant-based diet make me stronger and faster? My goal is not to persuade you into thinking that one diet is better than the other but to give you the facts about our food industry and open your eyes to movie magic. From there you can take a practical and scientific approach towards creating a healthier lifestyle for yourself, regardless of what diet you choose, even if it’s plant-based. I'm here to lend a nutritionist's take on these questions, so let’s get started.

any consequences? What about after a year you improve some health markers but you neglect other health markers? Is that considered good?

Eating a plant-based diet will allow you to get in a lot of good, solid nutrition you were not obtaining before. The issue is that it is not optimal for overall health and performance.

In my opinion, it is not worth it. Is it better than eating fast food, processed food and drinking sodas? Most definitely! If this is the type of diet you live on, then is a plant-based diet good or better for you? My answer is yes.

Think of every possible diet out there...Keto, The Zone, Carnivore, Intermittent Fasting, Veganism, etc. If I researched each one of these diets, I could tailor the facts just right so that I could convince you that that type of diet is good. That is exactly what Game Changers did. 337M A GA ZIN E.C O M

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WILL A PLANT BASED DIET HELP ME LOSE WEIGHT? If you eat a typical standard American diet, the simple answer to this is most likely yes. What most people don’t understand is that almost any diet you choose to eat will cause you to lose weight and the reason is because they are aimed to put you in a calorie deficit. In other words, as long as you are eating less calories than you burn, then you will most likely lose weight. Some people will not lose weight on a plant-based diet because they are consuming more calories than they burn. The point: the only way you will lose weight eating any diet is if you are in a calorie deficit. If you are overeating, you will always gain weight because you are in a calorie surplus. WILL PLANT-BASED DIETS HELP LOWER MY CHOLESTEROL AND HEART HEALTH? Okay, before I expose the movie magic of Game Changers on the cholesterol situation, let’s get straight to the point. The cholesterol myth has been debunked many times over. It is clearly not a marker or indicator of heart disease. In the movie they have one person eat a steak and the other person eat a plant-based diet meal. Afterwords, they test their blood showing that the person who ate the steak had blood that was thicker and darker.

if you choose to exclude meats and eat a plantbased diet you will still be in better health than with the standard American diet. IS EATING MEAT NECESSARY TO LIVE? There are many foods you can avoid and still live, but will your quality of life stay the same? Think about how many people in their mid-late 50’s live on several medications. I wouldn’t call that optimal living or a healthy lifestyle. Some would say the cause of the high cholesterol/heart blockage/etc. is due to their consumption of meat. This statement is partially true. Meat, along with the oils it is cooked in, can indeed be bad for you. It can cause chronic inflammation and disease when of poor quality. The quality and source of the meat is key. Most studies, documentaries, and research on meat-eating doesn't consider the quality or source of the meat. When compared to a plant-based diet, it's not a surprise that those on a plant-based diet have lower cholesterol, weigh less and are healthier in general. What these studies don’t compare a plant-based diet to are those eating quality sources of meats cooked in healthy oils such as tallow, pork lard, duck fat etc. What are quality sources of meat? Free range, grass-fed, organic, wild caught, etc. Eating meat is not necessary to live, but it is necessary to live an optimal lifestyle.

What they don’t tell you is the fact that it doesn’t matter what type of fatty meal you eat, fat doesn’t have to come from meat alone. You would’ve gotten the same response if you would have eaten a high fat meal that was plant-based, such as avocados and nuts. Trust me, if I want to manipulate the findings, I can show you how eating a plantbased diet can cause diabetes versus eating meat.

Diets work different for everyone because we all have different genetics and ethnic backgrounds. Regardless of your background, if you stay away from processed foods and foods cooked in bad quality fats/oils and instead eat whole foods such as fresh fruits, vegetables, and good quality meats and oils, then you will have a healthier diet. Even

Remember that the concepts of veganism being safer for your heart is clearly inconclusive. Before 1920, coronary heart disease was very rare and was often never found. Why is that? In 1910, hydrogenated vegetable oil was invented. Between 1910 and 1970, the consumption of vegetable oil rose 400% while saturated animal fat consumption decreased drastically. Even though we're constantly told that saturated fat from animals is unhealthy, statistical analysis of chronic diseases show that we are worse off today than ever before while eating animal saturated fat and meat as a staple in our diets. Now let’s step back and just take a look at it from the outside looking in. If eating animal meats are so bad, then the human race would’ve died off a long time ago. This is the same rational argument I give people when they try to tell me that the sun causes skin cancer. If the sun causes skin cancer then the human population and race would’ve died off years before we ever invented sunscreen. I hope this helps you understand the plant-based diet a bit more. Let me leave you with this, I am not saying that eating a plant-based diet is unhealthy. I’m only saying it is not optimal for your health and well-being because you’re excluding a certain food group that is necessary for optimal performance.

Fact: the body needs fatty acids for optimal function. The maintenance of the brain and nervous system as well as the production of several vital hormones (including testosterone and estrogen) requires cholesterol. IS THE PLANT-BASED DIET BETTER THAN THE STANDARD AMERICAN DIET? The Standard American Diet is filled with processed foods, fast foods, unhealthy fats, meats sugar, etc. Not many Americans eat a diet filled with fresh fruits and vegetables, grass-fed meats, and healthy fats. So from this perspective, yes, a plant-based diet is most definitely better than the standard American diet.

In conclusion, from my own point of view, one can see that eating a plant-based diet is not necessarily all that bad for you, but it’s also not the best thing for you. In the movie, they cherry pick certain results from certain studies and put together a movie magic story that makes you believe that eating a plant-based diet is more beneficial than eating a balanced diet filled with fresh fruits and vegetables, including animal meats.

DOES EATING A PLANT-BASED DIET MAKE ME FASTER OR STRONGER? If you look at the movie Game Changers, one the examples they use are a bunch of gladiators who ate vegan diets. Let's get beyond the movie magic. Did you know most gladiators ate a meat-based diet? Before they were gladiators, (slaves who fought to the death) they were often military prisoners of war. They were eating meats, plants and vegetables before they were caught. Once they were captured and used in the gladiator games, it was considered a waste to feed them meat because they were all expected to die. Sorry to tell you, but as a Certified Strength Coach, eating plants is not the basis for making people faster and stronger.

Many people who begin a plant-based diet or veganism seem to experience positive feelings of well-being and mental clarity in the beginning. This is not because meat is bad for you, but because they are making a conscious effort towards their health. Anytime you increase the fresh fruits and vegetable intake, you’re going to see positive aspects in your life. The bottom line is whether you are living as a meat-eater or plant-based eater, you need to eat quality sources of food.

Jules Bruchez is a graduate of the University of Louisiana of Lafayette holding a Bachelor's Degree in Behavioral Science and a minor in Visual Arts. He has three different Strength Coaching certifications and serves as a Bio-Conditioning coach specializing in Heart Rate Variability Training. He's the creator of the Outperform Training Academy which offers one-to-one personal training and online training with a holistic approach. V OL U M E 6 IS S U E 1



FIRE IN THE BELLY When the Affinity for Food + Culture Meets Photographic Art by Abby Meaux Conques


e all have jobs, we have stuff. We have appointments and meetings and conference calls and deadlines and families and homework and housework. We do what we can with what we have, and sometimes it’s great, but sometimes it’s just what we need to do to get by. But then there are these people, these passionate professionals, peppered throughout society...whose work is one of those things where you can take one look at it and know that they’re not just getting by, and that there’s way more to it than that. It’s that thing that has no words to describe it; like when you eat an amazing meal, and you know that this is no ordinary meal, but something that was made by the chef with passion and love and fire, and that’s the thing that takes it from amazing to outstanding. That thing...that wordless thing, is what Lafayette’s Denny Culbert has with the way in which he captures food and travel imagery. Denny Culbert grew up near Akron, Ohio before Louisiana was able to sink her Cajun hooks into him. He attended Ohio University for photojournalism and traveled to India post-graduation for six months. After spending the allotted time that his visa would allow there, he accepted a photography intern position in Baton Rouge in 2008. 2009 brought him to the Advertiser and Lafayette has been his home base ever since. He embarked on a full-time freelance career in 2011 and is continuing to hone his craft in his Downtown studio today. “My camera afforded me the opportunity to get into the thick of everything this area had to offer. The food...the festivals. The love for Louisiana came easy,” he mentioned. Culbert’s transition from photojournalism to commercial and editorial food photography emerged from his monthly food column, Dishing It Out, in the Daily Advertiser. “I got to spend a lot of time in the kitchens of local restaurants, getting to know the chefs and being immersed in the community. I realized how much I enjoyed spending time in these Southern kitchens with these chefs,” he explained. Culbert became particularly interested in local chefs who grew, raised and prepared food. His photographic freelancing opportunities brought him to the Carolinas to photograph for Southern Foodways Alliance (SFA) where he spent a month living in a BBQ bus documenting pitmasters. A SFA member symposium and foodie experience in Mississippi along with a Blind Pig experience (a charitable monthly dinner in Asheville, N.C.) would play their parts in the eventual creative ebbs and flows that Denny and wife/muse, Katie, would experience over the coming years. In 2013, the couple launched Runaway Dish, a pop-up restaurant with guests holding charitable dinner tickets where local chefs came together to collaborate and passionately feed locals with artful edible creations. The couple’s main focus was to get local chefs to rub elbows and create a sense of community in the culinary sector, connecting the solitary chef gaps with talent and creativity.

Between Runaway Dish pop-ups, the couple released a culinary journal with the same name showcasing all of the magic that occurred during each event with Katie as writer and Denny as photographer. In meeting various people in our area’s culinary community, Runaway Dish inspired other culinary traditions to re-emerge into the area, including full-on Cajun boucheries where smokehouse teams challenged each other using all parts of a hog. The Runaway Dish events and publication ran their prospective courses, but the couple’s interest in all that is art, creativity and food never waivered. Denny’s freelance client list grew and a plethora of his images can be seen in various publications such as Saveur, Imbibe, Garden & Gun, Southern Living, Taste, The Local Palate, Acadiana Profile Magazine and New Orleans Magazine. He’s landed numerous commercial clients like Tabasco, Criollo de Oaxaca, Honey Baked Ham Company, Cane River Pecan Company, Khavyar, Joel's Catering, the Best Stop, Lafayette Convention and Visitors Commission, Savoie's Foods, CC's Coffeehouse, Bombay Sapphire, Condé Nast, Hennessy and more. His imagery is also featured in recent cookbooks in print, Chasing the Gator: Isaac Toups and the New Cajun Cooking (Isaac Toups and Jennifer V. Cole), The New Orleans Kitchen: Classic Recipes and Modern Techniques for an Unrivaled Cuisine (Justin Devillier and Jamie Feldmar), and soon-to-be released (April 2020), Mosquito Supper Club: Cajun Recipes from a Disappearing Bayou (Melissa M. Martin). The couple’s story doesn’t stop there. They recently opened Wild Child Wines, a “tiny neighborhood wine shop” in downtown Lafayette at 210 E Vermilion Street. The name is inspired by the couple’s spunky toddler, Kitt Capri, and is excited to bring organic, natural wines from all over the world to our area. The wine shop will be a place to taste wine by the glass and hang out with fellow wine lovers. It will have a rotating stock of wines in their most natural form; i.e. handcrafted and small batch wines with no taste-altering artificial additives. They are excited to showcase wines from growers and producers who are passionate about the same natural processes that they came to respect deeply in their history with food-growers and chefs. They will carry batches that producers carefully craft and take pride in, lending reverence to the land and vines, and who do not take measures to speed up natural processes which sacrifice the taste and naturality of the wine. “It’ll be serious wine that’s meant to be fun,” Denny explained. I’ll say this, if Wild Child Wines is created with any degree of passion as the couple’s zest for the creative and the culinary, it’s bound to flourish. You can enjoy Denny’s exceptional imagery on instragram @dennyculbert and @louisianawilds. You can see the happenings of Wild Child Wines on instagram @wildchildwines.




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Navigating Changing Waters By Allison Saltzman, LPC

Change is Inevitable Life becomes more manageable when we accept the “truths” of it. One of these “truths” is that life is ever-changing. Like the flow of a river, the waters of our lives are always moving. Some changes are more turbulent than others. The sooner we accept that this is the nature of life, it becomes easier to navigate the water we find ourselves in.



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Practice Non-Resistance

Have a Centering Practice

Step into the Unknown

“Stress only happens when you resist life’s events.” Michael Singer, The Untethered Soul

We all need a teacher, practice, or philosophy that we can go back to for grounding.

Often we resist life because it is leading us into the unknown. We get scared and want to stay with what we know; but consider how limiting that is. Pretend to put everything that you have experienced and seen in your life into a container. Then compare that to everything that is available in the universe. Suddenly, your container that once felt so big is now very small.

The less resistant we are to the flow of life, the easier it is to deal with what we face. Acceptance does not mean that you give up. You just stop having such a problem with the things that bother you, or the things you decided “should not be." If we have decided that something is unacceptable, we try to resist the experience of it. We are trying to avoid the thoughts or feelings the event stirs up within us. This is exhausting, and it takes us out of the present, living moment. Consider how much you resist being affected by events that have already happened. Now, consider how much time and energy you could waste on resisting things that might happen. How much more successful could you be in navigating where you actually are in life, if you stop resisting whatever that is? Resistance blocks our intuition, blinds us from seeing solutions that are right in front of us, and robs us of simple joys throughout the day. When we let go of resistance, we become more pliable, more flexible. Change becomes less difficult. When we quit wasting our precious energy on resisting what we decided was “unacceptable”, life becomes more manageable and solutions appear. Non-resistance is simply the lack of responding to life in a reactionary way. Since resistance cuts us off from our intuition, the practice of non-resistance allows us to remain connected and centered so that we can respond to life in an intelligent way that is in line with our values and goals.

Cling to something that is true for you, something that helps you to remain connected and centered. We all have an innate ability to access inner guidance, a higher intelligence that surpasses the worry of the thinking mind. This inner guidance strengthens and becomes more accessible after quiet time. Once we quiet down, and really achieve inner silence, we often can intuitively sense what we need to know and do. We have more control over our thoughts and our emotions, which allows us to access that inner knowing without so much noise covering it up. Daily meditation does all of this. A regular practice of meditation creates profound changes within, which become evident in outer life too. It becomes much easier to not react, and instead reflect, on how to best respond to the many situations we face in life. There are many apps that offer guided meditations to help you get started on developing a daily practice.

What if the best solution to your problem is not in your tiny container? Don’t you want the best fit? Isn’t that worth some temporary discomfort that comes with not knowing the territory yet? Along a river’s journey, at points the path is clear and open and the flow is unobstructed. At other points, the natural flow turns a corner or moves around an obstruction. No matter what, the flow of water finds the path of least resistance. The water does not worry about what is ahead; it just “goes with the flow." We too can learn the art of going with the flow. This does not mean we are flippant and just do “whatever." We can become flexible and more open to the unknown, utilizing what it has to offer to enhance our lives. Meditation helps us regain control of our thoughts and emotions. Inner discipline brings inner peace and calm. This calmness allows us to strategize and make intelligent moves in life. Without the distraction of turbulent emotions and thoughts, we get very clear on how to navigate even the most difficult changes in life.

Recommended Meditation Apps

Headspace, Insight Timer, and 10% Happier

Allison Saltzman, LPC is a psychotherapist whose passion is rooted in helping her clients cultivate joy and practice the art of being fully present in their lives. She founded Connected Counseling, a group counseling practice in Lafayette, La, which provides services to children, adolescents, adults, couples, and families. Connected Counseling is about living well in all areas of life, offering Cognitive Behavior Therapy, mind-body techniques, Play Therapy, and mindfulness-based interventions. V OL U M E 6 IS S U E 1




My personal definition of health is as follows: an individual can be deemed healthy if s/he is capable of living his/her life according to his/her own truths and principles; as well, one must view his/her life as one with meaning and purpose while optimally integrating the elements of mind, body, and spirit. That is my definition and it may be a far cry from your definition of health.

WHAT DO PEOPLE WANT? Most people in the general population are solely after improving the way they look. Simply put, people want to look better naked. It does not matter what else is going on in life, they simply want to feel great about what they see when they look into a mirror. The issue at hand here is whether or not people know what it really takes to create the body they desire.

WHAT IT REALLY TAKES When I ask audiences that I speak to what they believe the number one contributing factor to successful body transformation is – I typically get one of two responses: (1) Discipline or (2) Consistency. These are great answers, but they only scratch the surface of what it really takes to make a real body transformation permanent and successful. Most feel that in order to create that new body, they have to have a great training routine that they religiously stick to week in and week out. Though this is true, training is only one piece of the puzzle. Along with the training routine, someone requires proper hydration, the correct, customized nutrition and supplementation, adequate rest and recovery, proper stress reduction techniques, and perhaps above all of that – living a lifestyle that is actually conducive to building muscle and losing fat.

HOW MUCH LOVE DO YOU HAVE? by Brandon Alleman


hat is the definition of health? Webster’s defines health as, “the condition of being sound in body, mind or spirit; especially: freedom from physical disease or pain.” Technically, health, wellness, fitness, etc. are all relative terms and depend solely on an individual’s perception. What is healthy to me may not be healthy to you. Further, health and fitness are not the same by any means. If you are healthy with no health issues or pain of any kind but cannot get up off of the sofa without grabbing your own head to lift it off the pillow – you are not fit. By the same token, if you can dead lift 600 pounds, run a sub-5-minute mile, and perform 50 consecutive wide grip chin ups, but you have cancer – you are fit, but not healthy. 20

Creating a new body is not something you can focus on for a few training sessions in a week, or for a few meals per day. Creating a new body is literally a 24/7 commitment. Why? Because everything you think, say, and do, impacts how your body is going to look. There is literally no aspect of your life that does not have an effect on what you see in the mirror. Therefore, yes – mindset and discipline are important, but we are still on the surface of what it really takes to make real, lasting body transformations.

DISCIPLINE IS OUTDATED Looking below the surface, you will find that there actually is no such thing as discipline. Rather, there is only Love. It all boils down to what you truly love. Either you are in love with your Self and the new body that you desire, or you love cupcakes, donuts, lattes, late-night TV, etc. more. That’s it. It is really not that complicated. What you love is what you are going to be truly willing to work for. In my experience, most people love lots of things that are outside of themselves. They struggle with making decisions for themselves because of that. As an example, how many mothers do you know who have completely lost themselves in their role as mother? Every decision they make is based on the wants and 337M A GA ZIN E.C O M

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perceived needs of others and this has them sacrificing themselves as a result. They want to invest the time and the energy to train and eat properly to create a new body but they “don’t have time because of my kids.” This kind of behavior can lead to an individual who harbors a tremendous amount of resentment towards Self and others. To this I offer the simple truth that you can only be as good to others as you are to yourself. It is a fundamental Law of the Universe that you cannot give what you do not have. How effective of a parent (or person) can one really be if s/he is tired, irritable, angry, resentful, depressed, never invest in themselves, and is generally unhappy all the time?

THE REAL QUESTION What is it that you really love? Ultimately, self-esteem equals changeability. The more self-esteem, or Self Love someone has, the easier they are capable of making changes, particularly when those changes have them doing things that go against “herd” mentality. The less Self Love someone has, the less apt they are to make positive and loving changes for themselves – so they stay in relationships that they hate and keep jobs that make them miserable for years and even decades. That, by any definition, is not healthy. Being honest with who you are and with what YOU really want is what it will take to transform your body. If your desire to create a new body is backed by Love, nothing can stop you from creating it. Love is the most powerful and transformative energy in the Universe and it dissolves any fears or roadblocks to success. It is a lack of Self Love that has so many people running from diet to diet, seeking the next miracle supplement or fitness gadget that does not work. Always ask the question – “What would love do?” If you are trying to create a new body and you go to the gym and are debating whether to do chin ups or lat pulls downs, what would a loving and compassionate expert tell you to do? Chin ups, of course. Front squats or leg extensions? Front squats - without question. Water or wine/beer? For Love, the answers are obvious.

SUCCESS THROUGH SELFISHNESS Caroleen Jones has coined something called the 15% Rule. She states that 15% of the time that you spend awake in any given day should belong to yourself. Therefore, on average, a little over 2 hours in each day needs to be devoted to your Self and doing things that you love and that will bring you joy. These are to be activities that are to be solely for your benefit and no one else’s. Personally, I feel that devoting 85% of your time to others and only 15% of your time to things that make you happy does not even qualify as being selfish, but so few of us adhere to the 15% Rule that when we come across someone who actually does – s/he is labeled as selfish. It is only out of a Love for Self that Love for anything else can really manifest. Sadly, many people feel that making themselves a priority is somehow “wrong.” Nothing could be further from the truth. V OL U M E 6 IS S U E 1


SO HOW DO YOU CHANGE YOUR BODY? If you are looking for a new aesthetic appeal, you will need to feed the cells of your body thoughts of Love and gratitude, in addition to clean, organic food and clean water, along with a properly designed exercise program, the right amount of sleep, and so on. Getting in touch with your Self will also help you find your weight loss solution. You can begin the process of loving your Self in the following ways:

Figuring out what makes you happy. Many of us struggle with

this. An easy way to do this is to sit quietly in a room alone and meditate on this question, “What would you do if you knew you could not fail?” Or, “If money were no object, what would I do?” Do more of the things that would have you reach that goal and you are on what Taoists call “the way.”

Accept the truth that your decisions and actions have created the

body (and Life) that you have today. This is difficult for many because there is nothing more exquisitely pleasant than to place blame on something outside of yourself for the way you look (genetics, thyroid problems, etc.) It all happened for a reason - to teach you a very important lesson and to bring you back into your Self and to help you progress to your next level of development at the appropriate speed. You would be well served not to make decisions based on your past. What is important is what you do with the energy of now.

15% OF THE TIME THAT Next, you must forgive yourself now that you have accepted YOU what has happened. Until you can forgive yourself for your own actions SPEND and reactions, there is still a “thing” in your way of achieving that ideal body that you want. This “thing” has energy; it still attracts consciousAWAKE ness and will continue to create a reality until it is resolved. You must IN ANY decide that your past has no power over you. Today is new, a day for new GIVEN decisions, new thoughts, and new habits. DAY SHOULD Be grateful for the wonderful positive people, circumstances, and in your life today. Every night write a list of 10 things for which BELONG objects you are most grateful. You can call this a Grateful Log. Read this first TO thing when you wake up as a reminder of all that you are grateful for. It YOURSELF is also helpful to find something that you do like about a body part that you desire to change and focus on the love that is there.

Love how you look. Realize first that the body you currently have

is the only vehicle you get to navigate this physical journey we call life. Since it is the only one you get, you would be well served to love it now – in its entirety – exactly as it is. Your physical body does not even belong to the “you” that you know. Try this little exercise: Hold your hand up in front of your face. Now ask yourself, whose hand is this? Meditate on your answer for a while and see where it takes you.


that loving your Self is the most unselfish thing you can do! As you learn to love your Self, you will also serve as a shining example for others to be able to travel that same journey to Self love and release their shame about their own bodies and come to peace within themselves. By having more love for your Self, I have no doubts that you can create whatever kind of Life (and body) you desire. Enjoy the journey! Brandon J. Alleman is a skilled Osteopathic Manual Practitioner, Holistic Health Practitioner, and Level 3 CHEK Practitioner with extensive concentration in human biomechanics and physiology. He owns Innate Movement and Wellness in Lafayette's Oil Center 21


The Journey That Is Health & Wellness by Monica Grizzaffi

When we think of our health and well-being, especially in the presence of disease, chronic pain, or discomfort, the physical body is often the sole focus. It’s easy to overlook how our mental state can impact our physical sensations. However, the relationship between the thoughts in the mind and its effects on the body is very real and very strong, and we have the power to greatly influence the outcome. While the brain certainly isn’t categorized as a muscle, I often compare it to one when I am trying to help others understand the concept of adjusting our thought processes. When we want to increase our physical strength, especially a specific area, we focus on that one place by perhaps adding more weights or increasing repetitions in our routine. If we want to improve a skill, we repeat it until we have learned to smoothly perform the task that we are undertaking. A similar approach can be taken with our thought patterns and how they can influence the health of our bodies. One way to begin is to notice our inner dialogue when going about our daily routines. How critical are we of ourselves and of others? How negative are we in situations that can perhaps be viewed in a more positive light?


How often do we feel offended by others' actions when, in fact, it may not even be about us…and if it is…so what? Without judgement, notice these things. If it is something that you want to change or even just improve upon, realize that with practice, you can actively choose to think differently and that this change could improve your physical well-being as well. Take small moments to reflect on your initial response to situations that pull you into a negative headspace, then take steps to look at other possible ways to view it. One tactic I personally use is that if someone else’s actions upset or offend me, I simply decide that their actions have nothing to do with me. I also decide not to ascribe personality traits or characteristics based on a one-time exposure to someone. Something might be going on in their lives, be it stress, pain, or simply a bad day, and they aren’t their best selves at the moment. I find myself feeling happier as a result of my own choice to give everyone around me a little grace and view everything from a more positive perspective. This general outlook influences how deeply I breathe, how I hold my posture, and even how I sleep at night…all important assets to overall health and well-being


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A much more difficult task is mentally helping our bodies deal with chronic pain. It may seem an impossible feat but it absolutely can be done. As a cancer survivor for over 22 years, I am unfortunately very familiar with managing excruciating, chronic pain both during chemotherapy and in the wake of its lifelong aftermath. But much like building up physical strength in the body, building up the mental strength and focus necessary to deal with chronic pain takes time and routine effort. A good place to begin is with guided imagery. Many types of guided imagery are easily accessible on apps and music platforms, with many areas of focus to choose from…pain, anxiety, trauma, difficulty sleeping, or even just general healing or relaxation. Explore the different options available and if the first one doesn’t fit, keep trying new ones until one works for you. The concept is that if you repeatedly envision a situation, it can become a reality. Doing this is so incredibly difficult when you’re in pain. But if you keep at it, it can work. When my body decides to go sideways and cause a disruption in my life, I go back to the guided imagery, back to the repeated mantras of health, back to envisioning my body functioning properly and doing the things that it can no longer do at the moment but that I know it is capable of. It takes time, sometimes months, but it does heal. Would it have healed on its own, regardless of what I am doing? Maybe, maybe not. I like feeling that I have some power over my body at a time when I otherwise feel so powerless. So even if it only helps ease some of the mental anguish and fear caused by physical pain, most days that’s enough for me. Instead of being stuck in the pain, I look ahead to when it will ease off and that alone helps tremendously. If these types of mental practices are new to you, be patient with yourself. Sit in the journey and allow yourself to feel good just for your effort. It takes time to change thinking patterns… years of responding in a particular way have established strong neural pathways in the brain… but change can be done. Getting rid of negative thought patterns and changing them to more positive, or even neutral ones, can be very liberating and you can actually begin to feel a shift in your physical well-being as a result. And I wish you well on beginning your new adventures in wellness.

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Monica Grizzaffi is a registered nurse also educated in psychology and fine arts. She is a twenty-two year cancer survivor of stage IV Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and is passionate about educating others on healthy living and disease prevention, especially through diet. 23

FOLLOW THE TRAIL By Abby Meaux Conques


ur area is lucky to have grass-roots organizations made up of people who aim to commit to the betterment of the community and the people in it. One of those groups that we’re fortunate to have on our side is TRAIL (Transportation Recreation Alternatives in Louisiana). Their dedication lies in the construction and maintenance of outdoor recreation opportunities and infrastructure in South Louisiana, making Acadiana a more enticing place to live, work, and visit. They focus on the enhancement of parks, paths, and trails for hiking, walking, biking, kayaking, and canoeing to promote positive lifestyles. The organization is a non-profit which works alongside government agencies, individuals, and developers to help build and maintain the area’s recreational facilities. Why? Because they recognize the need for the improvement of the general / casual recreation areas in our beautiful spaces. Louisiana has an advantage over other parts of the nation in that the weather lends ease to year-round running, hiking, and biking activities. TRAIL acknowledges that there needs to be more apparent passages to thoroughly appreciate the opportunities in which South Louisiana outdoor activities have to offer. TRAIL’s Board of Directors and Advisors work tirelessly on events and projects that the community can benefit from. Their mission is broad in terms of coverage and activities. Because of this, they partner with organizations which have overlapping interests. Some of TRAIL’s projects include purchased property which added to Acadiana Park & Nature Station and the construction of the longest nature trail South of Chicot State Park, 4 bike rack-bench-kiosk structure installations in Lafayette with the aid of the Rotary Club, partnering with the TECHE Project, St. Martin Tourism, and the Acadiana Area MPO winning a grant funding a trail head in Parc Pont Breaux on the Bayou Teche (including shower facilities), aiding funding and directing of the rebuilding of bridges in the Eunice walking park, and working with Eagle Scouts to install map kiosks and benches at Acadiana Park Nature Station...just to name a few. Their projects and contributions are funded by area events, many that have become part of local culture. Be sure to catch one of those upcoming events! For more information, visit their website, www.latrail.org or their Facebook page.


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4-7-8 Breath Technique by Abby Meaux Conques

Need a simple technique that you can use to decrease anxiety, stress, and help downshift to ease into a restful sleep at nighttime? Try Dr. Weil’s 4-7-8 Breathing Technique. You may have heard of Dr. Andrew Weil M.D., a renowned leader in the field of integrative and botanical medicine and founder of the University of Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine, now age 77. Upon receiving his PhD from Harvard University, he traveled to research holistic, plant-based wellness. He’s the author of multiple New York Times best-sellers including The Natural Mind, 8 Weeks to Optimum Health, and Healthy Aging: A Lifelong Guide to Your Well-Being. He also teaches the 4-7-8 Breathing Technique that he postulates can aid anxiety, sleep, cravings and anger. Dr. Weil describes the technique as a “natural tranquilizer for the nervous system.” From the lungs out, the 4-7-8 method can give your organs and tissues a oxygen boost. It can help the body to regulate that pesky fight-or-flight response we feel when we’re anxious or stressed. The innate response was meant to aid us in fleeing predators; but in modern times where life is much easier, it surfaces as anxiety and bodily stress and many people suffer from daily stress, anxiety and sleeplessness.

*note* Always consult your doctor in any new regular practice, and do seek out a specialist if you suffer from chronic sleeplessness, anxiety, and the like.

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How You Do It Begin by finding a spot to sit or lie down comfortably. Be sure you pay attention to good posture if seated, the degree of your hips above the degree of your knees, or if you’re using the technique for a restful sleep, lay down comfortably. Rest the tip of your tongue against the roof of your mouth, right behind your top front teeth. You’ll need to keep your tongue in place throughout the technique, as it takes practice to keep from moving your tongue during exhalation. Exhaling during 4-7-8 breathing can be tricky, so be sure to purse your lips during the exhalation portion.

The following steps should all be done in the cycle of one breath: First, let your lips part. Make a whooshing sound, exhaling completely through your mouth. Next, close your lips, inhaling silently through your nose as you count to four silently. Hold your breath for seven seconds. Make a whooshing exhale from your mouth for eight seconds. When you inhale again, a new cycle of breath will be initiated. Practice this pattern for up to four full breath cycles. You may start out with just a couple of cycles and eventually work your way up. You can gradually work your way all the way up to eight full breaths if you choose to practice this technique regularly. 25



The Many Benefits of Cryotherapy By Kristina Charles

There’s a cooler way to recover from injuries and sore muscles. Higginbotham Chiropractic Plus is the Cryotherapy & Rapid Recovery Center, serving UL and LSU athletics. Higginbotham Chiropractic is locally owned and operated by Dr. William “Bill” S. Higginbotham, B.S., D.C., and has served the Acadiana area for over 16 years and he has practiced chiropathy for over 20 years. “Cryotherapy is the best anti-inflammatory there is, great for workout soreness and injuries,” said Higginbotham. Cryotherapy is an increasingly popular trend for athletics, injured patients, and anyone with tissue damage or joint pain. The process exposes the body to extremely cold air for a short period of time (maximum of 3 minutes), causing blood to be shunned to the core, where it saturates the organs. The long-standing chiropractor worked in massage therapy for quite a while but found Cryotherapy has been the most effective. “For 3-minutes, nothing’s better!” said Higginbotham. There are plenty of perks of Cryotherapy. The sessions increase the metabolism to overcome cold exposure, which leads to weight loss and the reduction of cellulite. Per 3-minute session it can burn 400-800 calories, increase energy, increase collagen for tighter skin and build stronger, fuller hair and nails. The sessions are recommended for those who suffer from dermatitis, psoriasis and eczema as it decreases skin blemishes and scars. Other positive effects of Cryotherapy is that it can help treat depression and mood disorders as it floods the brain with fresh oxygen. “A cold pack and 58 degree water cause constriction and there’s certainly a benefit to that. This is a whole different animal,” says Dr. Higginbotham. Cryotherapy decreases muscle soreness, pain, inflammation and fatigue. It increases energy, improves muscle strength, and joint function, accelerates muscle recovery while decreasing injury recovery time and boosts lymph draining and blood circulations. All things any athlete wants to hear! Athletes could be treated before or after games and practices. Owner of Chi Fitness of Baton Rouge, Coach Chi, refers to Dr. Higginbotham as “one of the best in the world...I bring out all of my athletes; like (former LSU football players to current NFL players) Leonard Fournette, Derrius Guice, Nick Brossette and half the LSU team or (those) who play sports. Many athletes I train attended ULL. Jonathan Stove (former Ragin Cajuns Basketball), Frank Bartley (former Ragin Cajuns Basketball) come here for not only what Dr. Higginbotham does psychically, and how he adjusts them but for the cryo.” said Chi. 26

Cryotherapy has helped recover those who aren’t collegiate or professional athletes, but your everyday sufferer of arthritis, osteoporosis, chronic pain syndrome or those who have a weakened immune system. I actually bit the proverbial bullet and tried the cryotherapy chamber. My experience is as follows: I had been a tad under the weather for a few days prior, with a bit of congestion. I changed into a robe, long socks, gloves and slippers. I entered the Cryosauna, removed my robe, and stood in the ice-cold machine for 3-minutes! The temperature began to drop. For the first minute, it dropped to approximately -151 degrees. It felt as if I walked into a freezer without any clothes on. As the temperature dropped to a chilling -252 degrees, I began to feel the blood in my legs begin to shun to my core. It felt as though my legs went to sleep, but the minute it was completed, my body felt warm and refreshed. I noticed my nose congestion eased, my legs appeared more toned and honestly, my skin has been glowing ever since. I would recommend anyone to visit the “coolest” spot in town!

Kristina Charles is a student at Loyola University of New Orleans studying Mass Communications and Journalism. She's small town girl from Baldwin, La residing in Lafayette, La and aspires to live out her dream in New York City. She's been a fashion enthusiast since she made Barbie Doll clothes out of $.99 stockings. She enjoys fashion, lifestyle writing, adventure and cheesecake. 337M A GA ZIN E.C O M

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Sterling Automotive now has an exciting new way to shop for a vehicle and have it delivered right to your door!








48 *Vehicle eligible for return within 48 hours after purchase to the Automotive Group, Inc. (Sterling) location, where the vehicle was purchased: the subject vehicle mileage shall not exceed 200 miles from the odometer reading on the date of purchase from Sterling. Customer is responsible for return of vehicle to Sterling location it was purchased and must return the vehicle in the exact condition purchased.



Passion for Wellness Fuels CBD Business Lawyer Turned Wellness Business Owner Driven by Late Father's Legacy By Abby Meaux Conques


hen you walk into the Green Time Wellness shop off Pinhook in Broussard, La, you’ll find what most wellness shops carry: CBD oils, tinctures, infused salves, soaps, lip balms, etc. What you may not find in other CBD stores is a female former lawyer turned wellness shop owner with the knowledge, fire and vigor to help others with deficient bodies and endocannabinoid systems. Enter Tara Elwell, owner of the newly opened Green Time Wellness at 3711 W Pinhook Road. Tara and her fiance, Jeff Guidry, are the managing duo of the wellness business that was built out of what Elwell saw as sheer necessity. “I had my career established; I owned my own law firm specializing in Succession & Probate, Wills & Trusts, and Estate Planning. But after my father got sick, everything changed,” Elwell said. Elwell’s father, Robert Elwell, was diagnosed with a very aggressive and advanced cancer in November of 2018. His diagnosis would create waves that would carry Elwell in a very different direction than she ever dreamed of. “I became his primary caregiver. He was my best friend. We knew the ultimate outcome of his diagnosis and I was going to do whatever it took to make him as comfortable as possible during his transition,” she explained.

She started her father on a daily schedule of CBD capsules and infused salve. Elwell began to take stock of her own ailments that could benefit from a daily CBD regimen. She began taking CBD for the anxiety that came with her emotional situation and sleeplessness due to the enormous stress she was encountering. “I was still working a bit, but dwindling my workload to be there for him as much as I possibly could,” she explained. “The stress became too much, and I knew with his passing, it would be very difficult for me to work with others who are grieving and needed wills, successions and such - something like the loss of parent makes you see the world with different lenses and I wanted to do something else that I could manage with passion and be able to help others,” she continued. After many discussions with her father, Elwell decided to close her law firm. CBD became such a big part of her life, helping her father to be more comfortable and in aiding her own symptoms. She began further research on CBD and the laws surrounding it. “Although Louisiana law had not yet caught up with the Federal law at the time, I started getting involved in advocating with a great hemp group who were encouraging our legislators for hemp and hemp-derived CBD to become legal here in Louisiana,” Elwell said.



Elwell is a long-time advocate of natural, holistic and alternative health options. When it came to research and documentation, Elwell’s tenacity was a by-product of her twelve year law career. “I began to research CBD and its effects - I wanted to get him to agree to try it daily,” Elwell explained.

“My father was an extremely intelligent man and I completely trusted his business advice. When we started talking about me opening a wellness store carrying CBD products, he was fully supportive and encouraged me to do it with full force and passion,” she explained. Elwell began her new business venture and never looked back.

The timing was right because the Federal Farm Bill of 2018 was passed that December, which took hemp and hemp-derived CBD off of the Federal controlled substance list. Luckily, her father also agreed to add it to his treatment plan and they began a daily CBD regimen to aid the massive discomfort of his disease and the aggressive medical care that came along with it.

The only time she was away from her father was when she would make trips to Colorado to seek out the best CBD manufacturer she could find. “If I was going to do this, I was going to do it with the best quality products from extremely trusted sources so I could be the best service to people here who needed CBD for themselves or their loved ones,” she said.


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There were a lot of hoops to jump through and professional relationships to nurture, but with Elwell’s background and attention to meticulous detail, she eventually secured a connection with one of the largest and most accredited manufacturers and extractors of CBD in the world. She decided to become one of their distributors, and the Green Time Wellness brand was born. Shortly after, in April 2019, Elwell’s father passed away. “My CBD business is dedicated to my late father and is his legacy,” she said. Even though the pain from losing a parent was still raw, she used her emotions as fuel to ramp up operations and get quality CBD into the hands of people who needed it. Green Time Wellness opened its doors on November 5, 2019 and has an online store for ordering and shipping all over the country. Elwell’s advice on beginning a CBD regimen is comprised of 2 parts: find quality CBD and take the time to find the right dosage for your body. “It does take research to find a trusted, quality CBD brand since this industry is brand new and strict regulations aren’t in place yet,” Elwell said. A quality CBD product starts with the seedlings and the growth process. You’ll want to find a reputable company that gets their product from growers who don’t use harsh pesticides and don’t add any fillers post-extraction. You want a product that has the least amount of steps between the seed to seal process. Credible companies have their lab results available so the consumer can double check product quality. Green Time Wellness has the lab results of all of their product categories listed directly on their website. Elwell immerses herself in all of the details of the changing regulations and being in compliance with law. She also serves as a board member of the Louisiana Cannabis Retailers Association. “A lot of times, the first question people ask when they walk V OL U M E 6 IS S U E 1


in is ‘Will your product cause me to fail a drug test?’” she explained. “People worry and rightfully so. There are people who could lose their jobs or their pain management plan, and there are CBD products out there that don’t comply and could get people fired.” In Elwell and Guidry’s experience since the shop opened, when customers receive the information that Elwell has a law background, they feel like they’re in good hands since they have an understanding of her attention to detail and knowledge of law. When asked if she had any other CBD tips or advice for consumers, she said to give CBD a few weeks to a few months to do its work. “Finding the right dosage for you is key, and that can take some time,” she said. Elwell also mentioned that a multiple-form strategy of CBD use yields the best results. “Take people with arthritis for instance, they could benefit better from a salve for the physical, external pain, and couple that with a CBD ingestion of a tincture to work internally where the ailment originates from and hit the pain from the inside and the outside,” she explained. Green Time Wellness currently offers CBD tinctures mixed with MCT oil or hemp oil, CBD gel capsules, salves, pet treats, and face care. There are multiple strengths of the tinctures and capsules to suit anyone’s needs from mild anxiety or pains to chronic ailments. You can stop in at the store Mondays-Fridays between 10am and 6pm and on Saturdays between 10am-2pm. All Green Time Wellness products can be purchased online and shipped at www.greentimewellness.com.




Let’s Go by Olivia Savoie


loria Landry Wiggins was born in 1927 and raised in Delcambre, Louisiana. After graduating from high school in 1944, she attended and graduated from SLI (presently the University of Louisiana at Lafayette). There, she met her husband, Pervis Wiggins, just after he returned from serving in World War II. They wed in 1949.

“First I went to different states, then on cruises,” she says. Over the years, she has been on about 20 cruises and has visited 44 states—many on multiple occasions in order to visit different sites. She has also found herself in 18 European countries, eight providences of Canada, and numerous islands.

The small-town girl left home for a while, living in Covington, Paradis, and Rayville, Louisiana. After several years passed and four children came onto the scene, she and her husband hoped to return to her hometown.

Most often, Gloria traveled with friends. One great travel companion was her friend Grace Guidry, among many others. When asked if she ever dreamed she would possibly visit so many places, Gloria laughs and says, “It just happened! When someone would call and say, ‘Let’s go,’ I was ready.”

There, Gloria welcomed a fifth child, taught home economics, and faced the greatest challenge of her life—raising her children alone, after her husband passed away in 1970. From an early age, Gloria had the itch to travel. But, having a big family and a teaching career kept her firmly planted in Acadiana for many years. That is, until she retired in 1983. Beginning in her 50s, she began to travel and travel extensively. Even in her 90s, she has yet to slow down altogether. According to Gloria, “I don’t think it is ever too late to travel. Travel as long as you are able.”


Gloria can’t choose a very favorite trip but feels that she especially loved mountain or beach views. She says, “All of my trips were memorable and educational. I particularly loved the Mediterranean and Scandinavian cruises.” During the Mediterranean cruise, she visited France, Greece, Italy, Morocco, and Portugal. During the Scandinavian Cruise, she visited Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Norway, Russia, and Sweden. She says, “I was surprised to go to Russia. I just never thought I’d go.”

Ever since retirement, Gloria has been off to see the world. She started with daytrips to nearby towns, which she enjoyed, saying, “There are so many wonderful places not far from home to travel to.”

Other exceptionally memorable experiences occurred in France. Gloria fell in love with the French people and has returned after her initial visit. When the town of Sunset, Louisiana participated in a sister-city program with a small town in France, she journeyed with some friends from Sunset to enjoy the cultural exchange.

She also orchestrated family trips at beach-front condos in both Mississippi and Florida, inviting her children and their family along. Soon, she ventured farther and farther.

There, they all stayed in the homes of locals, which Gloria loved. “You got to know the people, and they were so good and did so much for us.” 337M A GA ZIN E.C O M

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I don’t think it is ever too late to travel. Travel as long as you are able.


Another time, Gloria headed to France again with a friend from Acadiana who had family in France. Again, she stayed in the homes of French people. Gloria recommends staying with locals whenever you have an opportunity to do so. Surprisingly, this world-traveler can’t recall a single bad experience abroad. She says, “Everywhere I went, the people were good. I found people all over were very kind.” Gloria believes that traveling taught her one critical lesson: that people everywhere are wonderful— despite pre-conceived notions or what one might hear otherwise. “People are people all over the world,” she says. “Traveling opened up my eyes to different peoples, cultures, and beliefs.”

Gloria finds great joy in sharing her travel tales, reminiscing over photographs, or reviewing a litany of her travels in her life story book, which she completed in 2018 with the help of Raconteur Story Writing Services. Gloria says, “Looking back at my book helps me remember the years I went somewhere and who came with me.” Gloria is joyful, vibrant, and adventurous as ever. If a small-town girl like her can make it around the globe, anyone courageous and willing can. She advises that everyone get out and “travel as much as you can.”

Acadiana native, Olivia Spallino Savoie, interviews locals in their homes, writes their life stories, and works with her team to create lasting family heirlooms in the form of published life story books. The books Raconteur produce typically range from 50 to 150 pages and contain precious memories from early years to the present day. Olivia loves to walk down memory lane with each storyteller and create a keepsake that will be cherished for generations to come. V OL U M E 6 IS S U E 1



Classical & Distinctly Christian Education

We are excited to offer a part-time enrollment option for homeschool students in the Acadiana area (7th & 8th grade).Spots are limited.


Local Artist Creates Art with Passion and Poise by Abby Meaux Conques


or Kelly Russo, a local artist in many facets, there wasn't a time that she can recall when some type of artform didn’t serve a major role in her life. ”My meditative space since childhood has been drawing,“ she said as we sat for a cup of coffee. Previously, I noticed a woman painting the huge storefront windows of the French Press restaurant in Downtown Lafayette. The artwork was beautiful and grand. I loved how she used the negative space of the imagery creating room for these large beautiful wintry birds. I felt as though it was a nod to a Cajun Christmas and that resonated with me. Upon approaching her I learned she was a sought-out local artist and we exchanged information. I looked at her other works on instagram and fell in love with her style and portrayal of bayou creatures and scapes with her interpretive use of color. I'm a sucker for those times that life gives you pieces that simply fall into place and you meet interesting people in interesting ways. While having coffee, we talked about how supportive her family has been in her pursuit of a life where she creates art daily. “My parents always encouraged art as a creative outlet, and my Mom was always crafty,” she mentioned. She vividly remembers getting art supplies for every gifting occasion, and especially remembers receiving her first drafting board. “I’d enter all these different types of contests for children and young adults, and I’d end being a finalist in many of them; that’s when I started seeing what I could do as a gift...because it was someone telling you that you had these talents and they weren’t just your parents,“ she explained. When asked where her inspiration for creating art concerning the outdoors (birds, flowers, and other flora and fauna) originated from, she recalled specific experiences she had while walking in nature as a young teen. “I was

raised Catholic and went on retreats in remote areas. They were always in beautiful natural environments. I felt intense respect and spirituality when experiencing and discovering nature - and it felt loving and familiar...I’d venture to say from sharing fishing and hunting trips with my Dad and working in the yard with my mom,” she explained. After high school, Russo decided to lend her artistry to the major of Architecture. “Art and nature both played parts in architecture for me. I felt as though my concepts of design were made from the inside out, to bridge the gaps and break the edges and hard lines of structures...breaching them as elegantly and gently as possible,” she revealed. Russo’s love for the artistry of architecture can be found in the way she frames spaces and lets the walls fall away, having them serve as places for art installations. She delicately connects the divide between the exterior and the interior. Russo went on to receive her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Architecture. To date, she’s worked for various design firms and currently serves as an adjunct architecture instructor at LSU while running her own residential remodeling practice. 34


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or and ink, and dip pens,” she said. “Those mediums are very meditative for me because there’s these moments when you simply have to take a breath before making a line with your quill with a dip pen or watercolor paint stroke. They’re very delicate mediums, and force me to pause. Art is not only a physical act, but a meditative one.” Russo grew with her healing process of creativity and followed her Geometric Flowers series with what she calls “Free Flowers,” moving from hard-lined flowers donned with a geometric shape in the background to more whimsical and free-flowing lines with watercolor daubs depicting fruit branches, irises and her familiar magnolias. Her series depicted “Birds” transpired from Free Flowers and led her to her current workings today. Sometime during all of her growth, she married artist and husband, James Van Way III, and is now in the thick of motherhood with their toddler, Ella Cricket. Russo’s grandmother was also a source of encouragement creatively in many ways, including in cooking and more specifically, the arts. They formed a special bond through their intertwined creativity. When Russo’s grandmother passed away, she returned to pencils and paint out of a sheer need to channel her intense grief. “That’s when the Geometric Flowers pieces came to fruition. It’s how I dealt with my grief. I tapped into painting, watercolV OL U M E 6 IS S U E 1


She’s now beginning to emerge into the art exhibition scene and is participating in the Biedenharn Adam and Eve – The Garden and Beyond exhibit in Monroe opening March 12. You can also find her works in Lafayette’s The Big Easel (Saturday, March 7). You can follow her artistic journey and view her beautiful works on Instagram (@kelly_renee_russo_works) and the Kelly Reneé Russo Works page on Facebook. 35

H A I R + S K I N H E A LT H


A Louisiana "winter" is upon us, and with the cooler temperatures this time of year can come not-so-cool skin annoyances. Dry skin (xerosis) is skin that lacks moisture in its outer layer. When severely dry skin is untreated, it can crack and become painful and bothersome. Staying on top of dry skin and properly preventing it from worsening can really make your life much easier. We’ve all tried the usual lotions, balms, and ointments in an attempt to tackle our dry, flaky skin, but remedying this common issue isn’t just about what you put on it, but rather how you can avoid it. So let’s discuss a few things you can do to prevent it from ever reaching that point. Apply ointments, creams, and lotions immediately after bathing. These products work by trapping existing moisture in your skin and in order for this to happen, you need to apply a moisturizer as soon as your skin has dried after cleansing. Use gentle, unscented body care products and avoid synthetic fragrances and harsh ingredients. These can really worsen dry, irritated, sensitive skin. Try to avoid deodorized soaps and cleansers that contain alcohol, fragrance, retinoids, or alpha-hydroxy acids. It's best to use cleansing creams, gentle skin cleansers, and bath products that contain added oils and fats.

For your face, consider a cleanser that contains ceramides, which are fatty molecules that make up the outer barrier of your skin and help skin hold moisture. Look for treatments and products that contain hyaluronic acid. This magical ingredient helps attract and retain moisture, which leaves our skin with an overall healthier appearance. Try using a thicker moisturizer at night so it can work it’s magic while you sleep. You can also look for cosmetics that contain moisturizers. If your skin is extremely dry, you may want to apply an oil such as Vitamin E or Argan oil. (Personally, I don’t recommend using coconut oil on the face as it can really clog pores and cause congestion and blemishes.) Don’t forget your kisser! Keep your lips exfoliated and hydrated with a good sugar scrub followed by a hydrating ointment. Drinking lots of water every day will also help to prevent your lips from drying out and feeling rough and dry. Peace and Healthy Skin, y'all!

Amelie Harding is a medical aesthetician, owning and operating Amelie Aesthetics Studio in Youngsville, LA where she offers a wide variety of customized facial treatments, along with threading, waxing, and eyelash services. Amelie was born and raised in Lafayette and is a proud single mother to two children, Zoe (16) and Henry (8). 36


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Professional Hair Care Picks By Renee Ezell

During and after the drier winter months make sure to keep your hair and scalp hydrated for healthier, shinier and a more manageable mane. To do just that, Renee recommends Aveda's newly launched nutri plenish line. There are 2 formulas to choose from based on your hair type, light or deep moisture. These products are packed with a superfood complex for some serious hydration without the undesired weight.

Renee and husband Zach opened Refinery Downtown and focused the business, product offerings and atmosphere to men. The business has transformed and adapted over the past 10 years to cater to clients' needs and requests. Refinery is now a full service men's and women's salon and even has some pint-sized regulars. Refinery Downtown is located behind Tsunami on Buchanan Street and is open 6 days/week.

Also, coming highly recommended is the Aveda nutri plenish no rinse, leavein conditioner which replenishes hair for 72 hours, detangles and protects for heat styling.

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L E I S U R E + E V E N T S


Eco-Friendly Walking Parade Embraces Old Mardi Gras Traditions and Adds a New Spin on the Revelry By Leah Richard “It felt to us like there wasn’t as much excitement around Lafayette Mardi Gras like there used to be. More and more people are going out of town, experiencing Mardi Gras in Nola or just staying home.” Blaze Petersen and his krewe weren’t about to let Lafayette Mardi Gras fade into oblivion. After assembling a likeminded group of friends, Krewe de Canailles was born. In 2017, a few friends had similar ideas about doing something different in the Lafayette Mardi Gras scene. “We were all in a similar age group and we all looked back at how Mardi Gras used to be,” explains Petersen. “Attendance, with the exception of Rio, was down at parades. We saw an opportunity to make something fun and interesting.” Fun and interesting is exactly what the only walking parade in Lafayette was going for. They put together a krewe dedicated to Lafayette’s immense local artistic community and combined that with their shared love of Lafayette and its culture. They also saw an opportunity to bring people to downtown. “Krewe de Canailles is committed to showing love for the city of Lafayette, promoting and providing an outlet of creative expression in the community, and reverence to the historic tradition of walking parades in Louisiana Mardi Gras,” Petersen says. “We do this in in an open, inclusive, and earth-conscious manner.” 38

Krewe de Canailles believes that by doing things this way they will enrich the local Mardi Gras experience for the entire community. It’s been a resounding success. This year the Krewe and fans of the all things canailles will gather on Valentine's Day to parade through downtown Lafayette and end with a part at Warehouse 535. The theme, “Louisiana Festivals.” “We want anyone who wants to be a part of a Mardi Gras krewe to be able to without paying a hefty membership fee and spending a lot on costumes.”

Their inclusive nature isn’t the only thing unique about Krewe de Canailles. Petersen says they are proud of their eco-friendly nature of the walking parade as well. “The eco-friendly aspect of our mission was super important from the beginning. Mardi Gras produces literally tons of non-recyclable trash each year, and we did not want to be a part of that.” The aftermath of Mardi Gras can be seen all over the streets of Lafayette. Street after street lined with plastic beads; Petersen explains that throwing beads is part of the tradition for other krewes, but it wasn’t quite right for the Krewe de Canailles. 337M A GA ZIN E.C O M

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“We do love the idea that a lot of New Orleans krewes have of making special, handmade throws to be given to people, items that people will keep as mementos from year to year. Our krewes hand out wooden doubloons that are made locally and whatever handmade throws they want.” People in the krewe have given out everything from loaves of bread to sleeping masks to sweet cards with positive messages for kids. They also didn’t want any motorized vehicles or large floats burning fuel, so all floats have to be

pulled with man or woman-power only. The vehicle-free aspect also has another plus for people walking in the parade and the parade goers. “We don’t have barricades along the parade route, except at points where required by police, so krewe members can really interact with the crowd since we’re on their level instead of up above throwing things down from floats. That’s really important to us, that people feel like they’re part of the experience, not just watching it go by.”

A new idea that builds off of the old traditions of a good old-fashioned Mardi Gras. If you want to follow the shenanigans of the Krewe de Canailles, give their Facebook page a like and join them in 2020 on February 14 as they take over downtown. “We don’t take ourselves too seriously. We don’t have kings or queens and anything goes in terms of costumes and floats, as long as it’s not offensive. It is Mardi Gras after all! We like the old traditions of being a little mischievous, so we try to stay true to our name.”


Leah Richard is a native of Vermilion Parish and works as a freelance writer covering everything from culture and politics to health and wellness throughout Acadiana. V OL U M E 6 IS S U E 1






ootball “N” America (FNA), a national, co-ed youth flag football league, is the new neighborhood sport across Acadiana. Two years ago, UL Graduate and former Athletic Director, Head Coach and Defensive Coordinator of local high schools, Bentley Turner, flew to San Diego, California to partner with Saints Quarterback Drew Brees and Chis Stewart to bring FNA to Acadiana.

Turner’s priority is for the kids to have fun while learning and remaining safe playing flag football. He wants to ensure practicality for parents, allowing it to be as least time-consuming as possible. The teams meet once a week for voluntary practice and one 40-minute game each week, making it doable for kids that play other sports.

“A lot of people are gravitating towards the elect sports and we’re losing out on our neighborhood sports, where our kids can play with their friends and neighbors,” said Turner. The flag football league does not require a draft. Turner encourages everyone between K-8th grade to register on the Football “N” America facebook page. The sport is 10% female dominated as they do not separate the girls from boys on teams. “They can have an entire team of girls or a mixed coed team but they will still go against other teams no matter how they are designed,” he said. “We had approximately 120 kids sign up the first season and our second season we got up to 180 (kids). We wanted to expand out to the Youngsville area and then my Acadiana team grew to a little over 1100 kids last season,” Turner said. This expansion has made the Acadiana area one of the largest in the nation of FNA.




“Our first and foremost (goal) is to teach these kids the skills of football, then what happens is they learn life skills within there. We know families are super busy, people are juggling different kids with different activities, not just in the sports world. And we take that into consideration. They receive a lot of passion and love from our coaches,” he said.

The family-oriented game days are filled with music ranging from Rock n Roll to Baby Shark from start to finish, making it an entertainment and family atmosphere. FNA provides uniforms, championship rings and a signing bonus. During the season, team members get free smoothies from Smoothie King and when wearing their jersey at Walk On’s Restaurant and Bar, they receive ‘on the house' kids meals. This season FNA is adding Surge Entertainment Center by Drew Brees to their athletic perks with letting the team members play for free when wearing their jerseys. Each year, Turner says, Drew Brees goes out to an FNA function to speak to the kids about life, football, and being apart of something, then allows each kid to take a picture with him and autographs the picture for them. Turner expressed gratitude to his partner Drew Brees, describing him as humble. “Drew is one of the most graciously humble men I’ve ever met and I can’t tell you how great it is to be partnered with Chris and Drew.” Turner’s FNA Acadiana league has made a good impact on the community and his life. “I have a passion for working with kids and football. So, being out there and being apart of them is why I do this. Everyday it keeps me younger, motivated and going. My main and biggest thing is the smiles.”


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THE BENEFITS OF BEING PHYSICAL WITH THE BODY AND MIND Benefits of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu from the Perspective of a Black Belt

By Jared Conques “New year, new me!” It is a phrase we hear ad nauseam every year around the New Year holiday. And every year, after a couple of weeks or months, the zest of those resolutions begin to fade along with our goals that we were so excitedly sharing with everyone who cared to listen on any and every social media platform and daily life alike. I believe one of the reasons that people fall short when it comes to their goals is that while they are whipping their body into shape, they are not doing as much to strengthen their mental game. When you think of getting into shape, what is the first thing that comes to your mind? Maybe it's a vision of you strapping on a new pair of running shoes and hitting the pavement or treadmill? Or is it the sound of weights clanging in a weight room after finishing your set on the bench press or squat rack? You may have even pictured yourself eating cleaner and drinking more water. While all of these are great ways to get the body in better shape, these activities can still leave out a major piece of our body’s overall wellness puzzle, the mind. Having actively practiced Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for 15 years, as well as owning a martial arts gym for 4 of those years, I have heard my fair share of resolutions. I've found that more people have had success sticking with Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (and martial arts in general) long-term as opposed to other workouts. I believe the overall wellness aspect of the ancient art of martial arts and exercising the mind are what sets the practice apart. While the argument can be made that hitting the pavement for a couple miles or pushing yourself in the weight room can help clear the mind, I find that martial arts does this better than anything listed above. One of the first things I teach my students is that in order to be able to control another human being, we must first learn to control ourselves. While Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a physically intense workout on its own, its real magic can be seen through how it empowV OL U M E 6 IS S U E 1


ers its practitioners with the ability to remain calm under duress and cultivate active problem-solving skills under said duress. When you are wrestling, and someone is trying to submit you, you must remain calm and gather your mental faculties in order to plan your escape and advance the position. This can be rather difficult, especially when you consider you may be training with someone of a higher skill level or someone who may outweigh you substantially. Jiu-Jitsu forces the mind and body to begin to work as one cohesive unit as it rarely rewards strength-based explosive movements. Over time, these benefits begin to manifest themselves in the practitioners’ daily lives. It is easier to figure out solutions to problems at the office and at home. The stress of daily life does not seem so burdensome when you have the confidence in yourself to actively "figure things out” and this is all on top of the physical benefits and changes you begin to see as you push yourself on the mats. Imagine being a kid and having that same confidence to problem solve. Fortunately I see this sport of overall wellness gaining even more traction as more parents are introduced to the physical and mental benefits of our niche little sport. While cleaning up the diet, knocking out a couple miles a week and hitting the weights regularly is great (I can be found at Red’s 3-4 times a week), the mental and physical benefits of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu have proven to me, and countless others on our mats, that it is, bar none, one of the best body AND mind workouts available to you. Always be sure to check with your doctor or family physician to see if a Jiu-Jitsu or martial arts routine is right for you and your body. I'm sure you'll get a resounding "yes" as we have doctors training with us on our mats weekly! I sincerely hope to see you on the mats! 41


Tlacolula Market, Oaxaca, Mexico Denny Culbert www.dennyculbert.com 42


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337 Magazine Volume 6 Issue 1