Get In The Game|Millennial Entrepreneurship

Once you’ve found that coveted euphoria that good credit bestows upon you, it’s time to set your sights on that dream of business ownership you’ve been having for a while. You know it’s true. If you Google ‘millennial entrepreneurship’, you’ll find countless articles and stats supporting the fact that we are thee most business-minded generation, EVER. We are popping up left and right with innovative ideas and monetizing them to the max. Whether we’re influencers on social media, app developers, bloggers, personal trainers, salon owners, boutique owners or network marketers, many of us have begun to nibble at our piece of the American pie-and for most of us, it’s the beginning of something beautiful.

Here’s why. We’re all-consumed with pursuing our passions, no matter the cost or sacrifice. I personally think that freedom to pursue your passion is a HUGE part of well-being and so do most millennials.  We’re also the first generation with access to technological platforms that make marketing as simple as 1-2-3. We live in a time where simply being your regular, likeable self, can translate into dollars…lots of them. Our beloved smartphones have made it nearly impossible to disconnect from one another so we’re super collaborative and we always jump at the opportunity to “link up”. It’s amazing, exciting, awesome and it makes me all googly-eyed when I think about how dope we are as a generation. The only barriers we face are the illusion of simplicity and the business savvy it takes to sustain our businesses ideas. A small business can easily turn into an expensive hobby if you have no real clue what you’re doing. Yeah, its super cute to say “I’m an entrepreneur” but it’s another thing to actually get into the nitty-gritty of it all.

That brings me to why I decided to write this post. I wanted to share with you all the Small Business Workshop series hosted by Operation Hope’s Baltimore team. Of course, I’m signed up and ready to get it in and I want you guys to have access to this resource. They’re hosting a FREE 12 week Entrepreneurship Training from June 9th to August 25th. They’ll be covering feasibility, market research and development, advertising, capital, financial statements, business plans, suppliers, distribution and credit. I’m so excited I could just pass out! EEEEK! I mean, I’ve researched, and programs like this could easily run you $2,500-$3,000 and this is all FREE! They’ve partnered with several banks and financial institutions to bring us the hard facts that are “need-to-know” for business owners. They also offer free home ownership and credit repair programs. Did I mention that they’re FREE?! Oh.

Sign up with Robin at robin.haynes@operationhope.org or call her at (443) 488-0126

Don’t say I didn’t put you on!

-Jazz

 

Here’s Why Your Stability Ball Is Your Friend

You grabbed it during a one off trip to Marshall’s. It was sitting there…shiny, pink or maybe even purple and the price was within your budget. You thought to yourself, let me be cute and get in shape with this trendy ball thing. It started out wonderfully. You used it to work out here and there, and sometimes you sat in it for good posture. You had every intention of spending more time with your stability ball but over time it grew into new age home decor that got the most attention when your nieces and nephews visited. “Where’s the handle?”, they asked. Every now and then your pet would roll around with it. Well, I’m here to tell you, don’t let that thing collect dust and pet dander in the corner of your living room any longer. It’s probably the cheapest, whole body, at home, workout system. At first glance, it looks like an elementary play thing that could never give you an effective workout. But, if you commit to using it consistently, your stability ball can help snap your whole body into beach-ready condition.

For starters, the stability ball helps to build your pillar strength. What is “pillar strength”, you’re wondering? It includes our hip flexors, our core, anterior (front), posterior (back), obliques (sides) and our shoulders. All body movement flows from this region. You can see the importance of strength training this area, right?! There are many exercises that involve this area. Especially if or when you decide to lift, you’ll need a strong pillar before you even venture to that arena. It’s my educated suggestion that you master your body weight before you add any additional weights (20+ lbs) to your workout. The stability ball is a great option for strengthening your pillar and can be combined with an array of body weight workouts to modify the exercise to your skill level. Here’s a breakdown of what I did today. Sorry, I couldn’t record the entire workout but I put them in terms that are simple to understand.

  • Wall squats with the ball resting between your lower back and the wall
  • Single leg wall squats with ball resting between your lower back and the wall
  • Lunges with one leg suspended laterally on top of your stability ball
  • Single leg lunges with rear leg suspended on top of the stability ball
  • Bridges with feet on top of your stability ball
  • Single leg bridges with feet on top of your stability ball
  • Side planks with stability ball in between feet
  • Leg raises with stability ball in between feet
  • Hamstring curls with feet rested on stability ball
  • Plank with feet rested on top of stability ball
  • Push-up planks with feet rested on top of stability ball
  • Sit-ups with stability ball
  • Bridge hold with neck rested on stability ball
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Oh, Hey. I’m just here tightening up my glutes, hamstrings and core with one piece of equipment! 

The key with each exercise is to take your time. Form is everything. You want to make sure you’re taking time to get into the proper position. You’ll probably fall off balance a few times but it’s important not to rush through.

Remember that everyone starts somewhere!

I hope this read was helpful!

 

 

 

 

 

 

JUNKFIT Baltimore “Sweat Sesh” Sunday May 22nd

Join us for JUNKFIT’s first ever “Sweat Sesh” this Sunday, May 22nd. We’ll be pumping it up just in time for Summer ’16. Meet at the YMCA at 33rd Street Field in Baltimore, MD at 1:00 pm. Don’t forget to bring your mat, water and small weights if you have them. It’s free so tell your girls and get with us!

All fitness levels are welcomed 😉

RSVP at junkfit@gmail.com.

-Jazz

 

The Gym Class Dance Party With DCWKLY + Reebok

My Saturday started out as regular as can be. That was until I scrolled down my Insta timeline and found an awesome event hosted by, the popular lifestyle blog, DCWKLY. The first ever Gym Class DC went down in a super dope space with even more dope giveaways!

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Safe to say I’m now slim-thick…or nah?

This was my first time ever hearing of the artistic space, Blind Whino, so it was kinda cool that my first visit was fitness-motivated. It couldn’t have come at a better time because I was literally suiting-up to head to my gym (the YMCA in Central MD). While I love my normal gym, there are always very old and wrinkled women in the gym and most of the classes are catered to their age group (think aquatic workouts and seated bicep curls with 2 lb weights). I very seldom get to workout alongside young, hot and fun young women like myself. So, of course I hightailed it to Southwest DC to get in on the fun. Needless to say, I had a good ass time.

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With my main, Faviola.

Booty exercises were in abundance, which is consistent with the fact that millennials are obsessed with uplifting the almighty junk in the trunk (hence JUNKFIT). I’m talking bridges, single leg bridges, pulsing squats, jump squats, lunges and pulsing lunges. It was just what the doctor ordered because my legs had long grown tired of the mundane leg press and squat combo I’d been lazily doing for the past 6 weeks. Yesterday was just the wake-up my body needed. Speaking of what my body needed, did I mention the free sneakers from Reebok?! Yess, honey. You missed it! Lol. Reebok literally laced your girl with new Mauve Woven Classic Furylites. They retail for $75 (I had to look it up). I hear the event will be a monthly thing, so stay tuned and next time come get you some!

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Footwork 😉

I’m corny so you know I had to share the fact that Reebok tweeted my yesterday…

Have a blessed week and if you’re in B-more, join me for my first ever Meet-Up at the Y at Waverly, Saturday May 21st @ 10 a.m.! More info to come!

my 10 Tips For Transitioning Vegetarians

The last time I tried to go vegetarian, I did it “cold turkey” – no pun intended. I was really impressed with my cut-off skills. However, I only lasted a measly two months. It’s no small feat for a 30 year old, carnivorous, Jamerican girl from the “Buffalo wing” region. I gave up milk, butter, eggs, meat, fish, cheese…everything! It was such an extreme transition for me that it turned out to be too much at once. The thing I’ve noticed about myself is that I’m either all in or all out. In true gemini fashion, I don’t really have a middle ground. This characteristic is both beneficial and detrimental depending on what I need to get done. In this case, the goal is becoming a vegetarian. This time around, to do it right, I’m setting small goals for myself towards a lasting and successful transition.

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The first phase of my transition was the elimination of poultry, beef and pork. I’m not a huge meat person anyway so my first few meatless days weren’t all that hard. If you’re always checking for the meats with every meal, you might want to eliminate one animal at a time. One week you stop eating cow, the next week you give up chicken etc. However you decide to begin your journey, you’ll need to know what lies ahead. Here are my findings:

1. Avoid settings where the aroma of meat can penetrate your nostrils. Breaking a lifelong habit like eating meat is similar to beating any other addiction. You simply cannot place yourself in environments where meat is being prepared, served or eaten. This is cruical especially if there isn’t a vegan alternative available.

2. Meal prep is life. Realistically, none of us can avoid the temptation of meat all the time. You can have way more control over your cravings when you’re PREPARED with your own meatless goodies. This saved me a few times. Whether it’s work or a friend’s house, bring your meals and snacks to avoid eating whatever’s around.

3. Give your circle a heads up. One mistake I made this time around was keeping my transition on the low. Because last time was a bust, I was apprehensive about sharing my goals with anyone. So when I went to my sister’s house and she placed mashed potatoes, green beans, rice and a juicy chicken breast in front of me, it took all of my willpower to kindly and sadly reject the meal. Instead, I ate mashed potatoes, rice and green beans when she could’ve made me the salmon that was in the fridge. Share your lifestyle change with others so they won’t inadvertently sabotage your goals.

4. Never let your stomach hit rock bottom. Meaning, don’t allow yourself to get so hungry that you’ll “eat anything”. In those moments of brief starvation, your fatigue will compel you to eat whatever is at hand.

5. Try meat alternatives. Nowadays, there are grocery isles full of tofu chicken tenders, eggplant breakfast sausage, veggie burgers and much more. The possibilities are super exciting. I had fun experimenting with a tofu stir fry. Although it wasn’t quite the same texture as meat, the flavor was very similar.

6. Check your existing diet and swap the old for new. If you normally eat eggs and sausage for breakfast, you might want to swap your animal  sausage for a vegan sausage and later swapping out your 1 egg for 2 cups of oatmeal (same amount of protein). This way you match not only your taste bud’s desires, you’re also keeping up nutritionally.

7. Create a list of likeable, plant based proteins. Most of us don’t keep track of our daily protein intake but many of us get way more than we actually need. The average person needs 45-65 grams of protein every day (fluctuates based on gender and age). We can easily meet the recommended daily amount using plant based foods. My list includes various nuts, oatmeal, legumes and for now, yogurt and fish.

8. Look for the “V” stamp. Lots of the hassle of “what’s safe to eat” is simplified by a teeny, tiny V for vegan label on packaged foods. Right now, advertisers are eager to please the quickly growing number of vegan consumers. If it has the “V”, it’s good to eat. There’s soups, microwave dinners, sauces and much more that are entirely plant based. Good for your tummy and time!

9. Do not attempt to convert others. As opposed to forcing your new ideology onto your friends and family (which normally backfires), just tell them YOUR story. Normally, your peeps will want to know what’s new with you anyway and the argument for vegetarianism ends up speaking for itself.

10. Do it for the right reasons. In a day where folks without celiac disease are bragging about eating gluten free, it’s easy to get wrapped up in food fads. There are two things that are the true driving forces of going vegetarian (for me). My health and for the poor animals. When you care enough and are passionate enough about either of these issues you can be successful and achieving  vegetarian, and maybe down the line, vegan nirvana.

Good luck!

P.s.- Do you have any tips for those of us who want to go vegan? Do share!

XO

Jazz

Required Reading | “By Any Greens Necessary” Author Tracye McQuirter, MPH

When I peeled back the wrapping paper on what felt like another token Christmas gift (yes, I’m childish), I had no idea that my brother was gifting me something that would alter my perception of the American food industry forevaaa (Cardi B voice). I’ve seen plenty of vegan and animal rights films but the deeper impact of a good ole paperback just cannot be debated. “By Any Greens Necessary” by Tracye Lynn McQuirter is a must read for all African Americans–especially black women. You can hear this same message from a gazillion different sources, but hearing it from a sista just makes the message so much more personal and tailored to our needs and interests.

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Tracye Lynn McQuirter, MPH

We have the highest rates of many chronic diseases, most of which can be prevented by adopting a plant based diet and eliminating animal foods. It’s common knowledge that animal products are packed with cholesterol, saturated fats, antibiotics, fecal matter, mucus and many other substances that these poor animals encounter during their filthy stay at the barn house. Regardless of all that we’ve read about the American meat industry we are still so reluctant to adopt a vegan lifestyle because we think animal flesh is an essential component to our diets. What most of us don’t know is that our bodies do not need animal products to lead a healthy lifestyle.

In “By Any Greens Necessary”, you’ll learn that contrary to what the USDA nutrition guidelines advise, 70% of African Americans cannot safely digest lactose (big shocker there).  I can’t even look at milk without shuddering. As a child, I digested milk like a champ. As an adult? Not so much. I, like many other black men and women, developed a lactose intolerance with age. Milk simply hurts these days. Hurts my stomach and gives me painful cramps that last for hours if I’m lucky. Sometimes the pain has side affects like constipation and nausea. So why on earth does the USDA recommend 2-3 servings of dairy per day? They essentially ignore the fact that we cannot safely digest it. In fact, many Asian, Native American and Latinos have a hard time digesting lactose as well. The only group that can digest lactose with ease is Caucasians. Yet, it is required that cafeteria workers place a carton of milk on each school lunch tray–whether the child wants the milk or not. It begs the question WHY? How on earth does dairy merit inclusion on the USDA’s 5 food groups? Why, when meat has been linked to heart disease, high cholesterol and many outbreaks of deadly viruses, does the government continue to allow excessive marketing, cheap and unhealthy production, despicable conditions and deceptive labeling to lead the masses to literally eat themselves to death? The recommendation of animal products on our guidelines is a sad and villainous representation of all that is wrong with our country.

If that little tidbit of information wasn’t compelling enough to make you go out and grab the book, maybe this will. My eyes nearly rolled out of my head when I read that dairy had been linked to the dreaded uterine fibroid. That’s plural for most of us. Two summers ago my 3 little fibroids landed me a stay in Brooklyn Hospital for a week on an ice and water diet. I was so miserable. That’s when I learned that a whopping 90% of Black women will develop uterine fibroids between ages 20 and 50. In numerous studies, the growth of fibroids have been linked to dairy, ham and beef consumption. Complications with fibroids can lead to hysterectomy which means no little chocolate babies for you and hubby.

Ladies, please, please, please do yourself a favor and grab this book. It is in fact a matter of life and death. Sista to sista and with love, you owe it to yourself to go out and get all of this knowledge!

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xo,

Jazz

 

 

Operation Babyface: Turn Back The Clock With Proper Hydration

While it might not be the most tasty beverage available, water is undefeated in not only quenching thirst but it also does wonders to quench those thirsty little skin cells of yours. Most of us think of water in terms of digestion and organ function but we often dismiss our epidermis (our skin is an organ, remember that from grade school?). As we age, our bodies retain less and less water. This can leave our skin cells, shriveled up if we don’t hydrate properly. Skin is often the first indicator of dehydration so it figures that when we are properly hydrated, our skin takes on a youthful appearance.

My water intake used to fluctuate on a daily basis and it took me a while to figure out why on some days I had the face of a newborn and on others I looked like a dried out baseball mitt. It was really bothering me. The first thing I did was cancel out coffee. I did some Google research and found lots of articles pointing to coffee as an acne trigger. If you know me, you know coffee is bae. But, it had to go if I was going to figure out what was haunting my skin. Next I began eating hella carrots. I always noticed that my complexion would brighten after eating carrots with rabbit-like fervor. In the midst of all this no coffee  and baby carrot torture, I figured I’d take that extra step and guzzle some water. The next day I noticed a HUGE difference in the texture of my skin. It was very moist and supple whereas the day before, both my skin and lips were super dry. I will admit to faltering on my water intake a few days in and what do you know, my skin began to get dry again. My lips began to peel. Most of us think that our lips are dry because we haven’t used chap stick or lip balm. But what about the ancient humans who didn’t have these things. How did they hydrate their lips? They drank water! How’d they manage to do all that back-breaking farming, hunting and pyramid building? They went to the Nile and sipped! Ha!

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In all seriousness, drinking the proper amounts of water can assist in digestion, organ function and not to mention our muscle function. You don’t know dehydration until you’ve worked yourself into a quad cramp, which usually comes from overworking the muscle in the absence of proper hydration. Did you know that water makes up a whopping 75% of your muscles? Imagine what you’re doing to your muscles when you don’t hydrate before your workouts! Check the image below to see more ways water impacts your overall health.

yesiknowthatIf you’re struggling with drinking your daily water, try creating a water alarm/reminder in your phone. Or you could try carrying a bigger water bottle instead of a smaller one. Many people opt for fruit infused, homemade water as a tasty alternative. There are plenty of ways to get this done! As always, sharing is caring. Drop some feedback or share some water drinking tips below!

xo,

Jazz