337 MAGAZINE /// July 2021

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Defined by "Yes" Moments Georgia Crowell's Summit System Creation



SELFIE EXPOSURE Downtown Lafayette Welcomes Selfie Spot




Distillerie Acadian's Lovely Local Liquors


La Bonne Terre Organic Fertilizer


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 Abby Meaux Conques, Vicky Roe, Kimberly Guillot Thibeaux, Holly Leleux-Thubron

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

WELLBEING 6 Disagreeing Gracefully: Is it possible?! 7 Being the Rainbow Through the Storm Clouds 8 Let’s Throw Out the Wagon!


ACADIANA BUSINESS SPOTLIGHTS 10 Hello, All the Things! 14 Defined by "Yes" Moments 18 Creativity Abound - EXPOSURE: A Selfie Experience 20 All That Glitters is Glam 22 All About the Soil: La Bonne Terre Resources Organic Fertilizer 24 Spirit Inspiration


PERSONAL SPOTLIGHT 26 Making Your Own Path


24 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 ©2021. 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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Disagreeing Gracefully: Is it possible?! By Kimberly Guillot Thibeaux

Disagreeing gracefully; reading the words together is music to my ears, but at times can also sound like a foreign language. How do you experience these words together? Pondering this can give insight on how you experience conflict as well. Conflict is essential to human growth. Being able to disagree and still withstand a healthy, intimate bond with those around you is pertinent to evolve towards ultimate peace. So often, we as humans misconstrue peace as this “perfect” order: everyone agreeing on one way...one way of being, living, etc. This is so far from reality that it makes peace seem like a far-fetched dream. There are over 5,000 different species of the frog, we cannot expect the “human” to have one mold. Celebrating our differences is not only refreshing, but freeing. How freeing would it feel if you accepted various family members, friends, or members of your work team just as they are? Acceptance adds a sense of gracefulness to experiencing differences in politics, religion, health choices, etc. Many times, we are slow to accept because there is this misunderstanding that if you accept someone’s opinion, idea, or way of life, then you agree with their choices, behaviors, etc. This is not so. Exploring this life together with loving questioning and curiosity about our differences prevents the egoic battle of who is “right” or “wrong”. Self-aggrandizement can become an unintended goal with this type of destructive conflict. Look around you, what can you lovingly notice that is different between you and your neighbor? How does it feel to move towards acceptance? Happy Healing, Holistic Nurse Kim For individualized support: kurmaholistics.net 337-534-0111

Thibeaux is the owner & founder of Kurma Holistics A Nursing Approach. Thibeaux is a Board Certified Holistic Registered Nurse (registered Nurse of 8 years), Therapeutic Yoga Instructor, and Certified Acupressure Practitioner. Kurma is a Health & Wellness facility with a Holistic Nurse’s twist. The vision is to facilitate your growth to become a wealthier you, by implementing simple soul-utions for the difficulties in life. 6


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Being the Rainbow Through the Storm Clouds By Kimberly Guillot Thibeaux

I first heard of the notion of toxic positivity within the last 5 years. I had to really sit with it for a bit and then I realized that I have experienced it many times. I noticed it when loved ones would say the things to “help” alleviate emotional upset without hearing the situation at hand in its entirety. The way that I understand the concept of toxic positivity is disregarding the feelings that someone is experiencing about a certain life obstacle by saying things like “You will get over this”, “See the good in everything”, and “Everything happens for a reason.” While I believe every one of the previous statements, there truly is a time and place for them to be therapeutic. Saying these statements prematurely to get through the discomfort of someone going through a tough time can be counterproductive for the attempted supportive exchange for both you and that person. Once the person is heard and seen, then these statements can be supportive, but only after allowing the person to express, process the difficulties, and simply feel out the funkiness that comes with certain life obstacles. There is something spiritually imperative for two humans to connect through authentic compassion and support. Recently I saw a vibrant rainbow cut through a bundle of storm clouds. For me, that is a visual of this type of connection. No matter the size of the storm when two people connect therapeutically to heal, a rainbow of goodness is felt. This compassion can be as small as making eye contact and sharing a smile with a stranger having a visibly rough moment to something as great as hugging a loved one tight through a traumatic time. Being mindful of well-intended statements and actions can really magnify their therapeutic benefits. Happy Healing, Holistic Nurse Kim For individualized support: kurmaholistics.net 337-534-0111 Thibeaux is the owner & founder of Kurma Holistics A Nursing Approach. Thibeaux is a Board Certified Holistic Registered Nurse (registered Nurse of 8 years), Therapeutic Yoga Instructor, and Certified Acupressure Practitioner. Kurma is a Health & Wellness facility with a Holistic Nurse’s twist. The vision is to facilitate your growth to become a wealthier you, by implementing simple soul-utions for the difficulties in life. JU LY 2 0 2 1

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Let’s Throw Out the Wagon! By Kimberly Guillot Thibeaux

Have you ever heard of the cliché saying “falling off the wagon” attached to some sort of positive habit? To me, that exemplifies that it takes a struggle to achieve health and wellness. What if there was no wagon and life was just filled with empowered choice, being conscious and purposeful with each decision. Therefore, if you choose to have ice cream as an evening snack once in a blue moon it can be followed with a, “You damn right” instead of shame. Why? Because at the end of the day, ice cream is just ice cream. It isn’t the enemy knocking you off the wagon. When we attach so much power to a substance, that power has to come from somewhere. It’s simply you giving part of your power to the ice cream, or whatever it is that causes you to “fall off the wagon.” Giving so much of your power to something outside of yourself creates disempowerment. Creating disempowered choices can make you feel like you have no control (i.e. cravings). Breaking the constant in your daily routine is not a “bad” thing and health and wellness doesn’t have to be a struggle or a fight to figuratively “stay on the wagon.” When is the last time that you can recall saying “I fell off the wagon” about something? How did you feel internally after saying that statement? Happy Healing, Holistic Nurse Kim

For individualized support: kurmaholistics.net 337-534-0111 Thibeaux is the owner & founder of Kurma Holistics A Nursing Approach. Thibeaux is a Board Certified Holistic Registered Nurse (registered Nurse of 8 years), Therapeutic Yoga Instructor, and Certified Acupressure Practitioner. Kurma is a Health & Wellness facility with a Holistic Nurse’s twist. The vision is to facilitate your growth to become a wealthier you, by implementing simple soul-utions for the difficulties in life. 8


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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.

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ALL THE THINGS! Unique Dance Studio Joins Forces with Art and Music Program Creating a Hub for FUN By Abby Meaux Conques



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nce in a while, Acadiana is blessed with a business that exists to break norms, change the status quo and become the birthplace of new, creative ways of doing things. These types of establishments can serve as catalysts for entire parts of the city to embrace “different” and breathe inspiration back into a place where it is constantly being molded into the constraints of a box. After visiting Hello Dancer, Hello Imagination and Hello Music in Lafayette recently, I firmly believe that this spot is destined to serve as one of those catalysts. But how does a dance, art and music studio for children break norms, you ask? Think dance studio with an emphasis on fun (sans endof-season dance recital or competition teams), children’s art classes geared towards complete expression, and music classes offering original songwriting that embraces local culture. Let me introduce you to the Hello trifecta; Hello Dancer, Hello Imagination and Hello Music.

THE BEGINNING The original piece of the Hello puzzle was the Hello Dancer studio; the brainchild of April Peters with complete unwavering support from her behind-the-scenes, equally creative husband, Thomas. Born out of an idea via Hello Dancer, Hello Imagination was created, followed by an addition of Hello Music bringing in well-known and loved Acadiana music personality, Melissa Stevenson.


We recently sat with April and Melissa to speak about the motivation behind the studios, the path here, and a look ahead. Both April and Melissa come into the Hello realm with deep undercurrents of experience and passion in their own rights, building the foundation of what embodies all of the Hello businesses. While sitting with us, April recalled her love of dance as a child, her extensive dance instruction and training beginning at age 15, and teaching dance to students out of her Grandmother’s little red barn circa 1999. “First a Mom asked me to teach her child, then friends asked to come... then it was 10 kids, then 20 kids!” she laughed. When April was in college the enthusiasm for dance and her need for a “real” job led to her opening a studio on Main Street in Welsh where she taught over 100 students in the first year. Following 11 years of an impressive list of studio owning and directing, creating complete dance programs for a university and various national dance academies, and choreographing numerous award-winning competition teams, April left the dancing realm for work in the non profit sector. After spending some years with Miles Perret Cancer Services, a year working with the Acadiana Center for the Arts lit her creative pilot light again, and dancing came back to the forefront for April. JU LY 2 0 2 1

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Then one day, passing by a vacant space on Rena Drive in Lafayette changed everything. “It was serendipitous...the right spot at the right time,” April explained. “I recently had these thoughts of opening up a dancing school again...and saw the building… it’s that feeling of just knowing it’s what you’re supposed to do.” Hello Dancer was opened in February of 2018. Walking up to the brightly-painted blue building with its bubble gum pink doors and welcome note on the outdoor chalkboard is instantly inviting. Entering the building and experiencing the magic inside is the icing on the cake. The large bright white dancing space is cheerfully adorned with bright-colored accents, fun decor and wall art. Separate but equally lively areas serve as waiting spaces for siblings or spots where children can finish after-school tasks while waiting for class.


The brightest energies in the room? Hands down, it’s April and Melissa. Their enthusiasm and passion for helping children reach full-fun potential is a force in itself. “We get to be a part of something bigger than ourselves,” April says through a smile. “I wanted to make this place convenient for working moms and an exciting, fun and positive experience for the kids...it’s all about the kids. I wanted to expose them to the arts, give them play-based structure, and let them build their own magical worlds from there. I wanted to give them the tools to explore.” April’s business model of teaching children dance without the stress and pressure of recitals and competition (not to mention the additional fees) is not commonplace around here, but it makes sense. There will always be a space and market for those types of schools, but for parents who are looking for a more exploratory approach to the arts for their children, Hello Dancer is the perfect solution at the perfect time.


“I was using art in dance classes, and the children LOVED it... so we thought we should add something geared specifically to the process and conceptualization of art...giving children the foundation of learning the rules of art, and then breaking them,” April explained. She described the art classes as embracing a curriculum that’s built from the ground up learning basics and branching to a visionary approach where children learn, create and use their imaginations for their own work (as opposed to mimicking an instructor’s art pieces as train12


ing.) It also doesn’t hurt that so many creative minds are behind the business, one of which holds a Fine Arts degree.

WELCOME, HELLO MUSIC The most recent piece of the Hello puzzle was added when Melissa Stevenson joined the Hello family. Melissa brings over 20 years of experience teaching music in a variety of settings. She realized her penchant for early childhood music education and spent years honing her skills in providing exceptional music experiences where she synergistically combines silliness and fun with music, creating an exploratory atmosphere that's exciting in a relaxed learning environment. She also holds professional music certifications, degrees, and experience with music school directing and ownership. 337M A GA ZINE . CO M

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Since she was a child, she was active in choirs and performance groups and knew she wanted to share her love for music one day professionally. She shared her passion for music and teaching children at Ascension Episcopal School in Lafayette for 12 years before opening her own charming music school, The Music Garden. She loves writing, recording and performing her own original children’s songs. To top everything off, she’s also a member of the well-known all-female folk band The Figs. “We absolutely love what we do...and we have an intense passion for teaching kids about the arts,” she said of her partnership with April. The two paired up after COVID had an impact on in-person classes for Melissa at her magical Music Garden which was located in the Saints Streets area of Lafayette. Melissa announced in May 2020 that she’d be closing the school which so many children flourished from in the form of musical classes, workshops and training. In line with the proverbial one door closing, another one opening, the letting go of The Music Garden made space for Melissa to join the Hello family with the addition of Hello Music. Melissa's classes are care-free group music classes, fusing music jams and lively instruction. "I believe in kids learning through play, and at their own individual pace," she explained. She also offers classes where parents and children particpate and learn together.

HELLO UNIVERSE The pair spoke energetically about the possibilities of cultivating creativity in our community’s children. “At these younger ages, there’s really not a lot of places to go and be creative. We offer a space where they can be free and messy and let their imaginations run,” April explained. “You can start them with basic concepts and they can build on all of those initial blocks. It’s more than encouraging them to embrace their creativity...you give them tools to be amazing in leadership roles, community roles and problem solving skills as they get older….they can see different ways of doing things...effective ways,” Melissa added. “Our goal is to be the happiest music, art and dance studio in the universe,” April laughed.


It’s one thing to slap a name on a class and promote it as a theme. April and Melissa methodically tailor their curriculums and class offerings to foster a space where creativity can flow freely. One of the many things that sets this place apart is the amount of energy they pour into making every single day, class and student feel special and as if they walked into a threshold of magic when they enter the space. Making the learning environment magical is definitely their specialty. They’re like magical little fun-inducing fairies, working behind the scenes making every little detail extraordinarily enchanting.

HOW DO I ENROLL MY CHILD(REN)? Currently, all creative Hello offerings are open for enrollment. There’s classes from babies, toddlers, little kids, and big kids up to age 10. There’s Mommy and Me classes and private classes. There’s trial classes, events and parties. An entire splatter paint room has just been finished for a unique party experience where children get to make art and splatter paint all over the walls, ceiling, floors...only painting your friends is off limits! And two words: SUMMER CAMPS. There is a plethora of creative and engaging summer camps available by the half day, day or week for various ages up to age 10 with multiple interests. There are even mash-up camps combining two or more of the creative classes offered. Think Kidz Bop classes, Unicorns Fairies and all things Magical classes, Frozen classes, Mermaid classes, Dreamhouse classes...the list goes on. Honestly, we're just patiently awaiting the addition of Hello Adult classes! JU LY 2 0 2 1

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Defined by



Georgia Crowell's Summit System a "Yes" for Others to Redefine Their Own Health and Wellness by Abby Meaux Conques PHOTOGRAPHY BY STUDIO C323 HEADSHOTS


afayette native Georgia Crowell, founder and creator of The Summit System, got to where she is today via a whole bunch of “yes” moments. We recently sat with Georgia and talked about the Summit System and her journey that sparked it. Georgia recounted a series of events that she believes led her to right where she is, stringing them together as a bunch of intuitive “yeses” which have prepared her to lead Summit today. Even the most unexpected circumstance was a hidden opportunity that, in one way or another, led to the development of a skillset she uses daily. She mentioned that in the past she felt misunderstood by others who perceived her as spontaneous and flaky, but she always knew she was merely motivated by her extreme drive. “In hindsight, I realize that my decisions were never precalculated, but rather purposeful with intuitiveness. I just went with my gut and said ‘yes’ anytime it felt like the right thing to do, and that’s just the way my life has always been,” she explained. Georgia’s yeses led to a move to Columbia College Chicago after high school, where she immersed herself in studying contemporary modern dance.


Her world expanded and she fell in love with movement. After graduating with honors in only three years, she knew there was more for her to learn and offer. A lot of life and liberation happened in the years that followed, including a divorce and a move back to Lafayette. “I decided to open up a contemporary dance studio downtown called ‘Breaking Ground’,” she said. "My goal with Breaking Ground was to bring contemporary modern dance and improvisation to our community. This was before the 'So You Think You Can Dance' era so the only form of dance our town knew about was studio dancing." Dealing with her divorce and being involved in an automobile accident changed the trajectory of her professional career. “I was told I couldn’t dance anymore due to my injuries, but my body needed to move. I couldn’t move the way I was accustomed to,” she explained. That's when she invested in her first of three Pilates certifications. Through Pilates, Georgia was able to strengthen and rehabilitate her back. Around this time, Georgia took to the street for a different kind of rehab, an emotional one. 337M A GA ZINE . CO M

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“Running became my safe space...running saved me,” she said emphatically. “There was liberation in it…the street had no expectations...running didn’t care what I looked like, how fast or far I went. All I had to do was show up and the street would meet me halfway. Jesus met me there.” With running, she fell in love with movement again. Georgia seemed to use every trial as a stepping stone to acquiring knowledge in her own wellness journey. As fate would have it, Georgia's pilates certification (a certification which landed her a job teaching multiple group fitness classes at Red Lerille’s Health and Racquet Club) led her to meeting the love of her life in a group class; a military-lifer, and now husband. “So many steps along the way led to where I am today,” she explained. From Red’s to City Club to a move to North Carolina while pregnant with her third child and becoming a stayat-home mom, she obtained knowledge on various fronts regarding physical and mental health and wellness. During her time as a stay-at-home-mom she also obtained a life coach certification. Things really came together for her when she began to study hormonal balances when it came to wellness. “The light bulb went off for me when I learned how stress affects our bodies on a daily basis and how individual that is...especially with everyone’s different physiology, not to mention, getting older! I knew I had clarity around an unspoken conversation that the whole world, especially our own nation, desperately needed to have. I knew I was being called to lead people and that feeling was bigger than myself,” she explained. “Summit is a culmination of my own personal experience, including my own past dysfunctional relationship with food and hateful internal dialogue, along with every purpose-driven ‘yes,’ and all the education I picked up along the way.” In 2018, while 36 weeks pregnant with her fourth child, Georgia and her family relocated to Louisiana where she began researching franchises to buy for weight loss programs. She never found exactly what she was looking for: that niche place where body, mind, and hormonal balance all fit together for wellness. That’s when she began to write her own program. “After 2 weeks of putting pen to paper, I knew something big was being born,” she said. Georgia is not lost on the idea that a great team can make a good product better, so she sought out the knowledge of professionals in their own rights including naturopaths, licensed counselors, dieticians, accountability coaches, JU LY 2 0 2 1

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and physicians to partner with who also wanted to treat the whole-person and improve the quality of life of patients. “Early on I had a vision that Summit would be a global business set right in the heart of our medical industry as an established and dependable resource for physicians. I don’t know how many people believed me that it would actually happen. It was such a grandiose idea at the time. Now, only two-and-a-half years later, we work with many physicians and have built an incredible staff who all have different specialties.” The Summit System officially got its start in January 2019 and has helped over 400 clients since its inception. It’s different from other programs because of its individually-tailored programs, daily accountability coaching, and hormone-balancing focus with insight into the client’s relationship with food. The program is broken up into 3 phases: The Basecamp Phase which is the initial 28 day gateway program that coaches you to lose up to 10% of your body weight, the Integration Phase that is a 4 month program guiding you through the process of integrating foods back into your daily diet while you continue to lose weight, and the highly customizable Re-Focus Phase, which is an extension that aims to prioritize a specific wellness focuses like exercise, gut health, lowered cholesterol, or psychology based goals like intuitive eating or self love. 15

This month, the Summit System introduces a second program for the very first time. The Summit SlimBody Breakthrough is a 21 Day Challenge designed to boost your metabolism and rev up your body's ability to use fat for fuel. This new program is perfect for someone who may already be working out or needing the motivation and accountability to execute results.

“I just want to continue to give people permission to explore and define their own rules for wellness, and walk beside them as they navigate that experience. It's my turn to help others experience a life-changing ‘yes.’ It's one of my greatest joys to watch how their ‘yes’ affects so much more than their scale weight. I just want them to say ‘yes’ to redefining health and wellness for themselves.”

Today, Georgia’s still wearing the hats she loves most: military spouse and now the mother of five children. As Summit’s CEO, she is learning how to manage time, how to motivate and support her staff, and how to build an infrastructure that can support the growth of the business.

You can get more information on the Summit System at www.thesummitsystem.com.

“It’s funny because when I started Summit I was really good at helping people lose weight. Now my company helps people lose weight and my position has shifted to develop and support the company in its role. Today as a wife, mother and CEO, I am, by far, the most uncomfortable and grateful I've ever been in my life. I wouldn’t change one thing.” She’s seen nothing but growth in her wellness community, and hopes to continue to facilitate change in people’s lives when it comes to the whole person. 16


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CREATIVITY ABOUND EXPOSURE: A Selfie Experience by Abby Meaux Conques


hree local creative ladies are bringing a big city idea to Lafayette: Downtown Lafayette's only social media photography gallery called EXPOSURE - A Selfie Experience. Think of it as a multifaceted, interactive selfie studio that’s family friendly, a place that photographers and creatives can express themselves, and a spot that’s set to be a unique event site. In short, it’s slated to be a place where memory-maker meets social creative expression. 337 Magazine recently spoke with the three friends who are the studio’s owners, Sarah Branton, Ali Comeaux, and Carlie Dexter, about the interesting new addition to the Downtown collection of eclectic spaces.


The idea started with a “Why not? Let’s do it!” moment. As a professional photographer, Carlie knew immediately upon seeing a blogger’s posts about their own space that it was possible to do here with the right team. The sharing of the idea with Sarah and Ali was immediately followed by “What better time than now?!” The idea came to fruition quickly and the trio secured the Downtown location, a prime spot for being able to offer themed events and special experiences centered around the opportunities Downtown has to offer such as festivals and Downtown Alive! The business partners have their root connection through a long friendship between Carlie and Sarah. “She (Carlie) helped me grow my mindset as a woman, a serial entrepreneur, and as a human. We've worked together off and on through the years on different ventures like writing for The Lafayette Mom Blog. She's the 'golden retriever' friend, always caring for everyone,” Sarah explained.


Sarah and Ali connected serving the homeless community downtown where friendship grew into business ventures. Sarah told us, “After CV19 shut down our non-profit, we desired to continue working together and we eventually 337M A GA ZINE . CO M

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started Love and Luster, LLC - a business that sells crystals, minerals, and gemstones. I imagine they'll be found in our merch area at Exposure & probably throughout some of our installations as well.” A creative connection was made between all three and now they spend their time together dreaming up possibilities for the studio that will house photo “walls” which will change every 90 days. The group is keeping in mind “Mardi Gras Krewes, Families, Graduating Seniors, social media content creators, product photography for local storefronts, photographers who want to offer mini sessions without the worry of weather, girls' night out, and anyone who is downtown and wants to remember their visit in a super fun way,” Sarah mentions. Each member of the team finds their creative inspiration in different places, which should make for interesting backdrops through all of the seasonal changes and special events. Carlie said she gets her inspiration from being attentive to others, following various artists, photographers and content creators on different social media platforms. “Anything I see that sparks my interest, I make a note and think about how to reinvent it or bring it to life in a different way. I also listen closely when people have an idea for a photo shoot or a wall. If I can make it come to life I will,” she said. Ali says her creativity comes mostly from travel and people watching. “I am fortunate to see so much of the world, where the culture and perspective is so different from my own. I try to take in every minute of it and bring it back to my tiny corner of the world!” Sarah’s creative insight lies in the practical use of the space; questions like “How will they use this space?”, “How can we bring Pinterest to life?" and “How can we make it more fun?” She said, “The girls and I all bring different perspectives to the table and, ultimately, when we go back and forth with ideas we end up creating a wonderful blend that will appeal to many.” Creative artist collaborations and art center sponsorships will also lend a wide array of options for visitors. Exposure: A Selfie Experience will have general admission sessions where tickets grant patrons access to their 5,000 square foot air-conditioned space for a specified 60 minute self-guided session at 806 Jefferson Street. There will be 25+ “walls” with seemingly endless photo ops, to be updated seasonally. They also have dressing rooms and a large bathroom to incorporate different looks with various walls, upping the creative factor. The group is curating a 750+sq ft VIP party space and will offer hosting corporate or social events such as holiday/ birthday parties, family gatherings, bachelorette parties, Mardi Gras Krewe events, and partnerships with other businesses downtown for workshops. JU LY 2 0 2 1

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The group expresses a simple vision: to invoke joy and creativity in others and provide a space where people can take themselves less seriously and really enjoy themselves. “I hope visitors bring their friends and families and just love it. Make silly faces, encourage each other, feel good about themselves, laugh out loud, dance if you like the music, spark creativity and make all the memories. Life can be too serious and short if you allow it so let’s have fun and have pictures to prove it,” Carlie mentioned. “I am personally really looking forward to interacting with people again: cheering them on, being awed & inspired by their creativity, and celebrating joy with them,” Sarah added. The concept will definitely be able to provide our area rich in culture and celebration another dimension of creative immersion and expression. The opening gives our area something else to look forward to following a year of event postponements and lowered capacities; it's planned to open shortly after Labor Day. After the year we’ve been through as a collective, we think we all deserve some fun... especially in the form of some self”ie” care ;) 19





ocal entrepreneur, Victoria Glam (Victoria Racca), runs her business on expertise, certifications, authenticity, hilarious instagram reels, and a rare objective for sisterhood in the sometimes rigid beauty business.

IN THE BEGINNING Victoria left her career working for a non-profit, received her esthetician license and graduated from Aveda before she realized that our area had no place to train in permanent makeup. That’s when her insatiable entrepreneurial drive kicked in and she told herself, “Give me four years.” In four years, she accomplished her goal and opened The Microblading Institute. Victoria’s business momentum stems from the urge to do her part in legitimizing the industry and offering others the tools, fundamental building blocks and hands-on training to be able to build a successful business in microblading.


“I feel like everyone should have their own options on places to go, concerning artist style down to the feel that their space offers,” she explained. She intends on offering relatable cosmetic tattoo training to those with a business-owning spirit from the crucial components of sanitation practices and critical aftercare methods to protect the integrity of the skin to color theory to prevent brows from changing color over time. 337M A GA ZINE . CO M

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So far, her institute has churned out several classes where all of the graduates have opened shops. She’s also Platinum Certified by the American Academy of Pigmentation. When asked about her goals, she answered “To help women begin 6-figure careers in permanent makeup and scale to 7-figures.”

SOCIAL MEDIA MAGNETISM In a time when being authentic is craved when it comes to social media, her authenticity and humor lends to her proficiency and magnetism. Her “you can sit with us” mentality makes it effortless to imagine yourself as a student in her company. Join her 10k+ followers on Instagram @victoria. glam for all things microblading training peppered with social media-relieving wit. Her Instagram alone is like a lax business course in how to market yourself effectively with being real at the root. She has a team who works with her and helps her keep all the proverbial balls in the air, and you feel like you get to know them too through her social media presence. The whole thing feels like a sisterhood in itself... like a club you certainly want to be in.

THE TRAINING The small class sizes (4 is her sweet spot), hands-on training, supportive community, Facebook groups, student kit and immersive course paves the way for anyone in the permanent makeup beauty realm who has their sights set on taking charge of their own schedules and investing in themselves. The course seems quite empowering, with someone at the helm of the ship who has the student’s best interest in mind, which then ripples out to the greater professional community.

ON THE HORIZON Victoria has another huge project in the works, her summer site release www.BrowSister.com, launched to promote her own manufactured and wholesale PMU products made by women for women with branding and marketing particularly in mind. Her key product right now is her Pink Gel, a safe, fast-acting gel that reduces sensitivity to pain and swelling during tattooing and other cosmetic procedures. The gel works in literal seconds.They ship internationally and are already getting amazing feedback from some very big industry names. It’s already been featured by the American Academy of Micropigmentation. You can find all of the training and product information you need at www.victoriaglam.com and even take a gander at a chart that breaks down how soon you can see your return on investment after completing her courses. JU LY 2 0 2 1

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All About the Soil:

La Bonne Terre Resources Organic Fertilizer by Abby Meaux Conques


ou may recognize the name Patrick Deshotels since he’s contributed to Louisiana Hemp Magazine, sharing his experience of surviving a first year hemp harvest with everything that the universe and mother nature threw at our state last year. It may have been his first year growing hemp, but his expertise and experience in land management with an emphasis on wildlife management runs as deep as Louisiana bayous. “I have been managing marsh, bottomland hardwoods, Long Leaf Habitat for game species, endangered species and diversity for over 25 years. I have vast experience and connection to NGO such as Wildlife Turkey Federation, Ducks Unlimited, and Whitetail Deer Association. I also seek funding through NRCS, USFW, LDWF and other government agencies,” Deshotels explained to us in a recent interview. Now, we’re here to speak about a passion for all things organic and nurturing when it comes to soil. Let us tell you the story behind a unique mix curated by the best in the field, for use as an all-around organic fertilizer, La Bonne Terre Resources. When we say “all-around” we really mean it. It’s a versatile, truly organic fertilizer that can be utilized by the everyday gardener, bonsai enthusiast, hemp grower, plant heads, and more. Deshotels used his contacts and knack for finding just the right people doing the perfect thing when he was first introduced to this unique fertilizer mix. He had a chance meeting with some


individuals in the solar panel industry while he was engaged with some land management clients. At the time, he was put in charge of an organic garden, and the solar panel crew had family which was deep into organic farming and all of the intricacies connected to it. After reaching out to the organic farming specialists, he sent soil samples to them in hopes that they could help him. Upon receiving the results, he had a full prescription of what the professionals suggested he needed and an organic mix made to fill that prescription. The mix worked beautifully to the delight of Deshotels and to his clients. “They’re really amazing people in the realm of organic materials and the man I worked with was a genius,” he said of his contacts. “They took my soil samples and prescribed specific minerals for my soil. We were able to provide remarkable results with this fertilizer. I continued to use these products for over 10 years,” Deshotels explained. The family had a passion for creating perfect mixtures. After years of prescribing soil minerals for farms, households, enthusiasts and businesses all over the country, they began to realize patterns of mineral needs in all areas. After carefully combining different formulations, they came up with a blend that was a “one-sizefits-most” kind of mix, where amazing results were being noted in various parts of the country. “I was always an advocate for this mix and I’d use it for clients all the time. I even tried using other fertilizers and kept going back to the mix because 337M A GA ZINE . CO M

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the others just wouldn’t yield the same results,” Deshotels explained. “I can talk fertilizer all day long and was always comfortable standing by this product. You can basically mix it in a bucket of soil, and the soil becomes high octane, that’s how amazing it is.” Deshotels believed in it and recommended it when anyone had a question about what could help their land thrive. “We’d often work together on projects, trying to solve problems, and spoke often of possible partnerships,” he mentioned. Last year’s hurricanes and pandemic problems created some lag time in land care. Deshotels reached out to the group in 2021 to get projects rolling again, but received some unfortunate news about his business contacts who became friends. Due to unforeseen circumstances, the group was no longer able to offer their services. A few weeks later, they posed the idea to Deshotels for his take over of the making of the fertilizer. They entrusted him with the recipe if he agreed to keep the integrity of the product. “It was an easy decision for me,” Deshotels said. In the spring of this year, Deshotels labeled the organic fertilizer that continues to be fueled by the passion for helping land and plants to thrive: La Bonne Terre Resources.


When we asked Deshotels if he uses the fertilizer on his hemp crop, he answered with a resounding “of course!” “Last harvest I used it with hemp seeds, but this year I’ll incorporate it in every stage I can so I can research to make a special blend beneficial for hemp farmers in particular. I want to use my knowledge to help other farmers. I anticipate there will eventually be a growth stage fertilizer and a flowering stage fertilizer,” he explained. Deshotels explained to us that there’s a lot of overlap in his professional life. He exudes enthusiasm when it comes to all things land: land management, expansion, technical advice and service, and now the organic fertilizer created from years of expertise. Deshotels believes his zeal for helping land to thrive and helping others goes hand in hand. “I enjoy dealing with landowners...those who have land but don’t know the potential of their land. I can study land and set up stages and teams to manage their land and breathe vitality back into it. I know what it takes on the nurturing side and I have the knowledge of securing the funding and technical advice from government agencies.” Deshotels can be an extremely effective middle man between landowners and the government, knowing many are weary about government hoops, but also knowing that the funding is there to help and how to decipher government lingo for farmers. Having a nourishing, organic fertilizer with a personal connection to it is just another tool in Deshotels’ toolkit to aid land owners. JU LY 2 0 2 1

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Personally, we’re rooting hard for his business to grow (see what we did there). All in all, we’re firm believers in the notion that wonderful products, fueled by passion for the field, is the formula for success. La Bonne Terre Organic Fertilizer is currently available in their online store at www.bonneterreresources.com, and in store at Chastant Brothers Inc. in Lafayette at 214 E Pinhook Rd. with the anticipation of being in other retail stores soon. In fact, if you’re interested in carrying this product, feel free to contact Deshotels. 23

Spirit Inspiration Some of the state’s loveliest liquors are coming out of Distillerie Acadian in Iberia Parish By Holly Leleux-Thubron


here’s one distillery in Louisiana that rises above the rest—offering something fitting for everyone’s glass—and it’s Distillerie Acadian in Iberia Parish. The family behind the operation launched the enterprise in 2017 and they’ve been going fult-tilt since. Philip Mestayer is at the helm of the still as the company’s head distiller. Family patriarch, Steve Mestayer, a lawyer by trade, brings his legal knowledge and know-how to the day-to-day operations. Big brother, Jeep Mestayer, delivers decades of business acumen and killer instinct to the table. All three are critical ingredients to make the Distillerie the successful endeavor it’s become, and the trio shows no signs of slowing down. It all started a few years back when the family’s interest in making whiskey grew, as did their confidence in a business model that developed over time. They began


learning as much as they could about the liquor-making process, the licensing and permitting requirements, testing potential recipes and acquiring equipment, and navigating the world of spirits in a very complicated legal landscape...and they prevailed. First out of a homemade still (welded by Philip Mestayer’s own hands) was Cajun’s Cut. With this experiment, the Mestayers wanted to create a true aged bourbon. They also wanted to prove that Cajuns could make a bourbon just as good as any of the bottles coming out of Kentucky—where 98% of the world’s bourbons are made. Small batches of Cajun’s Cut have been distilled every few months since with each aged for two years or more in charred, white oak barrels. Bottles hit store shelves in quick bursts as aging comes to an end, and in some 337M A GA ZINE . CO M

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stores they disappear just as quickly. Its flavor profile is unique and reminiscent of honeysuckle, caramel, and barley, and it delivers tasting notes of florals, vanilla, red pepper corn, and leather. Bourbon connoisseurs throughout the region love it. While the Mestayers were waiting for Cajun’s Cut, they thought up another spirit recipe and christened it T-Moon. It remains a fan favorite and one of the Distillerie’s most mixable products. The family describes it as somewhere between a rum and a whiskey, enjoyed over rocks or with a refreshing mixer like lemonade or iced tea. Voila vodka was released in early 2020 and is charming vodka lovers throughout South Louisiana. Each batch is triple filtered over six days, creating something that stands alone perfectly and mixes just as well. Great vodka doesn’t produce tasting notes because it should be odorless and practically tasteless; Voila is great vodka. The Mestayers' newest release, SoLou gin, is just finding its way to stores throughout the region. Gin is a harder sell with consumers than bourbon or vodka, but the family wasn’t deterred. In fact, they’re convinced they’ve found something so special with the SoLou recipe that it’s likely to create a whole new congregation of gin lovers with it. It’s concocted with eight botanicals, including Louisiana honeysuckle, and offers a floral forward with a back end of citrus and spice. You can find Distillerie Acadian’s products on store shelves and bar menus throughout South Louisiana. You can also search the Distillerie’s website for a location nearest you. And if you’d like to see their products on shelves where they aren’t yet, let the company’s distributor—Select Wines—know.

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MAKING YOUR OWN PATH How Harvard Became the New Homefront for One Louisiana Scholar By Vicky Roe


ith graduation season coming to an end, most high school seniors are looking toward their next step, and Ashley Johnson is no different. What does make her unique is the fact that she was a part of the mere 3% of applicants accepted to Harvard University, a record low acceptance for the Ivy League institution. So how does one go from being a senior at Zachary High School to being accepted into Harvard? Well, it didn’t come without some lessons from the school of life. It’s a journey that started with a young Johnson, who says she’s always been the type of person to get good grades almost without even trying. So, it should come as no surprise that she accomplished as much as she did in her senior year of high school. Not only did Johnson maintain a full load with seven AP classes, but she was also a Drum Major, Student of the Year, and Valedictorian to name a few. While college was always in the plan, Johnson thought she would be taking her talents to LSU to play in the Tiger Band. But once the time came to apply for schools, Johnson ended up casting her net a little wider. “I applied to as many schools as possible. I ended up applying to 18 schools.” Johnson said. What about all of the application fees? Well, Johnson says she worked over the summer to save money for them and also applied for application fee waivers. While Johnson 26

was able to apply to all of these schools, she wasn’t able to partake in a normal part of the pre-college process of campus visits. A lot of incoming college freshmen faced this same obstacle due to the ongoing pandemic. “There were a lot of emails sent, there were a lot of zoom calls. I was doing my very best to get a feel of what each school had to offer,” Johnson explained. Even with all of Johnson’s accolades, applying to Harvard was still something she did without thinking there was a real chance of her getting in. “When I initially applied, it was one of those things where I was like, I don’t know if that’s even a possibility, but I was like, ‘I’m just going to shoot my shot, we’re just going to see what could happen.’ The more interviews I had, the more research I did, the more I talked to the admissions office, the more I realized this could be an opportunity for me...this is an option, but it seemed so far off but it truly wasn’t. It was well within my reach, and I didn’t even know.” Then, Ivy Day came. The day that Johnson would find out if she got accepted into Harvard. While this was a huge moment for Johnson and her family, she laughs recalling the fact that she and her mom needed space that day. “My mom is the type of person that gets overly excited, so I planned it out. If I get in or if I don’t get in, my mom is going to be full of emotion so I’m just going to leave the house,” Johnson said. After going for a swim at a friend’s house, Johnson stepped 337M A GA ZINE . CO M

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out of the pool to get ready to dive into what could be the beginning of the rest of her life. “I checked the decision on my phone and the first word that I saw was ‘congratulations’. I paused for two seconds and then I just started crying. It literally felt so unreal.” Soon after, Johnson called her mom to give her the news they’d all been waiting on. Johnson’s mom said she was so nervous about answering the phone, that she simply didn’t. After calling her mom three times, Johnson finally sent her mom a loaded, one line text, simply saying, “I got into Harvard.” The shock and excitement hadn’t even worn off by the time Johnson realized one very important detail she had missed. “I definitely had the attitude of ‘it’s Harvard, I’m going’ but I hadn’t finished my financial aid application because I was like, this is a waste of time, I’m not even going to get in. So, once I got in, I was like yay but wait, financial aid.” To put things into perspective, it costs an estimated $85,000 a year to attend Harvard. After getting into contact with financial aid, Johnson said she got an email with even more shocking news than getting into the Ivy League. “I was looking at it and it said parent contribution $0.00, student contribution $0.00, so I essentially received a full-ride scholarship and then I also had a startup grant that’s going to help me with plane tickets and getting all of my stuff out there.”

It’ll be late August by the time Johnson has to step foot on campus, but she already has her goals in mind. Johnson plans on majoring in Government and Public Policies with a minor in African American Studies; she’s also looking at possibly getting a second minor in Women Gender Sexuality. Johnson hopes that she can encourage students who may not typically see themselves in institutions like Harvard, to actually go for those types of opportunities before counting themselves out. “For African American students, for women...I understand that representation is important, but you don’t have to see someone else that looks just like you to do something that you want to do. You don’t have to follow in someone else’s footsteps, you can walk that path on your own, you can make your own path. That’s something a lot of people don’t realize; you don’t have to look up to someone else for inspiration, you can be your own inspiration,” said Johnson.

While the realization of getting into an institution like Harvard comes with an extreme amount of happiness, it also could not have come without sacrifice. “It was really a validating experience for me because I’ve been called crazy and stupid and all of these other things for so long because people were like, ‘you could be getting out of school at 12 o’clock every day, why did you decide to take 7 classes and you have an online class, you’re crazy for doing that, you’re crazy for taking all of these AP classes, you’re crazy for not going to this party’ but all of this hard work meant something. Focus was definitely the key: focus and discipline. It’s so easy to be distracted, especially being a teenager in this world. There were moments when I was off track. Just because I reached some type of success doesn’t mean it was a straight shot. There were definitely some zig zags in there,” Johnson said. In addition to sacrifices, Johnson knows the road to Harvard was also paved with a few other bricks she couldn’t have laid herself. “I recognize that I didn’t solely do this by myself. Without my teachers, without my parents, my family, it wouldn’t have happened.”

With Vicky Roe, you’re getting the best of both worlds - born and raised in New York City but growing up in Charlotte, North Carolina gives her the Concrete Jungle hustle with a solid serving of Southern Hospitality! After numerous opportunities, including working for “American Idol” during their stint in Charlotte, to interning for the “Rachael Ray Show”, to becoming a Television News Reporter in Alabama, she ultimately made her way back to Charlotte where she worked as the Executive Producer for a Morning Radio Show. The experience both behind the scenes and on the mic, set her up to be the next powerhouse on Q95.5 in Lafayette, Louisiana, and now contributing writer for 337 Magazine. JU LY 2 0 2 1

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