Dove Real Beauty Workshop with BWV

A workshop teaching women to have beauty,worth, and value from the Inside Out. Held by the Beauty, Worth, and Value non profit organization in Memphis, Tenn.

Becca Marino

Becca Marino speaking at the workshop

MEMPHIS, TENN. – On a chilly Saturday morning in December, the CHOICES Memphis Center for Reproductive Health was warm and buzzing with four women setting up snacks, fruit and tables to prepare for the Dove Real Beauty Workshop for girls.

Becca Marino, the founder of the nonprofit organization for beauty, worth, and value from the inside out (BWV), holds a Dove workshop each month. These workshops are fun, educational and interactive sessions for young girls and their mentors – and also anyone interested in learning about and promoting self-esteem and inner beauty to others.

At least 15 females were in attendance at the workshop on Dec. 10. The girls’ ages ranged from 6 years old to 60 years old, but it was evident that every one learned something new about inner beauty and body image. Marino led several activities during the workshop which included writing positive things about a partner and drawing a self-esteem bubble.

Girls at the Dove Real Beauty Workshop

Girls at the Dove Real Beauty workshop

Self Esteem Bubble Power

Self Esteem Bubble Power

“Self-esteem is based on confidence and knowing and using our unique talents and strengths. No one else in the world is like you”, said Becca.

Grace Dimento colored her self-esteem bubble and she said needs to always “be myself, and try again”.

Sometimes women need to have those small but simple reminders to always stay positive and smile!

Becca said that, “Only 5 percent of what you see in the media is actually legit and not altered.”

The Dove Evolution video was then shown and all the women were shocked to see how much a picture can be transformed before broadcasting it to the media.

See video below.


Dove December 2011 Workshop

Dove Real Beauty Workshop Dec. 2011 Bottom Row L to R: Becca Marino, Nurah, Kirsten, Grace. 2nd row L to R: Billie, Annie, Sabrina, Malika, Sara, Karen, Kaia, Kim, Lisa, Lauren. Photo Credit: Billie McKeehan

The Dove Real Beauty workshops are free to anyone who signs up in advance.

To get involved: visit the BWV website here.

Also, get involved with the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty as well.

View the story “Dove Health and Beauty Campaign” on Storify

College Students and Eating Healthy

What are some of the struggles students face trying to eat healthy on campus?

MEMPHIS, TENN. – A late night of studying or partying followed by a drive thru run for some cheap dollar-menu food at McDonald’s sounds like a typical routine for a college student.

Dan Langfield

Dan Langfield with Domino’s Pizza

According to University of Memphis junior baseball star – Dan Langfield, “it is much easier to go through the drive thru instead of taking the time to cook a whole meal.”

At the University of Memphis, a new all-you-care-to-eat lunch location, Just 4 U, has been opened in Richardson Towers to fulfill more nutritional needs for college students. There are a wide variety of healthy options, from a salad bar – to steamed veggies. But one problem with this buffet is the location and also the hours. Just 4 U is only open for lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Although this is the prime lunch break for college students, some students have class during this time period. It is also located in Richardson Towers, in an area many students are most unlikely to go unless they live there.

University of Memphis student – Natalie Smith, did not know about the new food location.  When asked if she would visit Just 4 U, Natalie replied, “I would definitely go there for lunch if it was closer to the center of campus; I am a very busy girl!”

Burger King

Burger King at the University of Memphis

However, Chuck Wigington, the senior service food director of Tiger Dining at the University of Memphis, said the campus is making strides in offering more healthy choices at every food location.

“We have increased our vegetable offerings and expanded the salad bar at the Fresh Food Company, and also increasing healthier prepared items,” he said. “For the spring semester we are adding grilled chicken pitas to the Tigers Restaurant menu. We are working on having a recommended lunch ranging from 300 to 600 calories at Just4U and Fresh Food Company. Our goal is to increase information to our guests, such as nutritional information and healthy options through increased marketing and employee training. Over the break, we will be researching new recipes that are both healthy and taste good.”

College campuses cannot always be the only ones to blame; often fast food places like McDonald’s or Taco Bell are located near the campus.

Taco Bell

Taco Bell at the University of Memphis

“If I’m stressed out, I’m more likely to go to a restaurant for a meal, instead of cooking at home,” Bobby DeMuro, a public health and broadcast journalism professional and current graduate student at the University of North Carolina and University of Memphis said.

Photo by: Bobby DeMuro

Bobby DeMuro Photo by: Bobby DeMuro

“But that comes back to goals – when I remember not only my motivation for eating healthy, but my financial and educational goals, it gets me on track to stay away from unnecessary purchases – like restaurant food – that won’t help me in the long run,” he added.

Eating out always seems to have something to do with convenience, the situation, mood, and timing.

“It has a lot to do with my budget. Eating out (fast food included) just adds up to be way too much money for me to be spending as a current (broke) graduate student. So, I guess my answer is it depends on the situation. However, if I did go out to eat fast food, it’d be at a more “slow-food” restaurant like Subway or Chipotle,” Allison Rice said, who completed her undergraduate degree at Furman University and is on her way to finishing a Master of Public Health in Public Health Leadership at UNC as well.

Part 2 Fitness Q&A with Erica Hill

This is part 2 of my interview with Erica Hill. This part is focused on Fitness & Fusion.

Photo Credit: Memphis Health and Fitness Magazine

1)      What are some things that are really important in a workout?

“Working out is exactly like nutrition in that it has to be comprehensive. You need cardiovascular (which has to do with obviously your vascular system and your blood flow), you need cardio respiratory (obviously with your respiratory system, lung function, etc.), both types of cardio. Both high intensity, moderate and low. You need to challenge both systems. You can keep it moderate, [but] once a week challenge that vascular and respiratory with a higher intensity work out. Cycling – pump up a hill fast once a week. Jogger – [do] a day of sprint intervals. You can’t neglect strength to keep your skeletal and muscular systems healthy. Your fitness plan needs to be well rounded.”

2)      How often do you think exercise is needed during the week? Is it possible to overwork your body?

“Rest is very important, even for top athletes. A day of rest is vital. Our bodies function best if we allow our muscles to recover. A lot of people are interested in weight loss.Five days a week of working out is best for weight loss and three days a week is for maintaining a weight. Unless you have a very physically active day of your life, you need at least those 3 days a week for maintenance. If you want the fat to go down, five days a week. Three days a week cardio, two days a week strength. So once you hit maintenance, you can drop down three days a week. If you drop to three, you might notice the pounds coming back.“

3)      What made you interested in working out? And, how did you develop Fusion?

“I’ve always been a dancer and a runner. Those two things have been with me since the ages of 3 and 5. I started dancing at 3 and running track at age 5. The love for movement has always been there. When I was a senior in high school, I started teaching dance. I taught dance for 10 years, and 7 years into that 10 was when I made the transition from dance to fitness. I continued to teach dance, and knew that people loved to dance and knew there was a way to cross the two. Of course it had already been done, with Zumba, but being a trained dancer I saw that idea in a different way. I have two children, my first born in 2005 and second born in 2007, but with only 21 months between them. The toll it took on my body was a little bit more. Getting myself back into shape was of course one of the hardest things I’d ever done. And with my knowledge I knew that I could help other people do it.

“…” I knew the type of person I am, I needed to do something that was accommodating to my family life and something I loved. I’ve always only done what I loved, and I knew that merging fitness and dance would be the ultimate way. I’ve been certified since 2008; my youngest was one when I got my first fitness certification. The first certification I got was in a group setting. I carried that a year, and added a certification in 1on1, which is the personal training certification. I’ve continued to carry both. I do 1 on 1 clients and teach both a boot camp style workout and fusion workout in group settings. They are very different in how you instruct, so I was interested in broadening my range of that.”

4)      What is the difference in your Fusion and Bootcamp group classes?

“Bootcamp is no dance cardio. It is moderate to high intensity cardio, meaning agility type workouts – running stairs, just a true bootcamp style cardio. For the strength, we do full body strength, we don’t leave out a muscle group. Between the two days of boot camp, we hit every major muscle group. And that is in the group setting, we have a large space for that. And that’s both cardio and strength.

The Fusion classes are just cardio. It’s one hour of nonstop dance, and the choreography is ready for the beginner. I wear the headset microphone and I cue you verbally and visually, so [that] all the types of learners can learn while nonstop moving is the goal, and to have fun! With Fusion it’s just to keep moving for the whole hour.Bootcamp and fusion are quite different. I also teach Core classes once a week on Saturday mornings, and it’s just strength. Only focusing on the core, and your core meaning your entire mid-section including the back, from the top of your trunk in your hip flexor area, all the way through your upper abdominals and your back. With a little bit of chest involved.

Core is my biggest passion. Coming from having two kids and everyone always saying – you’ll never get your core strength back. And being the determined person that I am, I said, no if you do it correctly and enough you can get it back. I am a stickler on form – I never do anything that’s not effective. I feel like why waste your time if it’s not going to work. Core is one of my favorites and it’s only the once a week 30 minute class. I wish there was more room for more core. If you work your core really well once a week and do other types of activity during the week — the core is a secondary area —  then a good strong core workout once a week is plenty. I’m very passionate about abs!”

Nutrition Q&A with Erica Hill

I interviewed Erica Hill and am going to use her interview for a two part blog post. The first post will be all about nutrition and your diet. The second blog post will be focused on exercising and Fusion fitness.

Erica was born and raised here in Memphis Tennessee. Knowing that dance and instruction was her passion, in 2001 Erica began instructing Ballet, Tap, Jazz, and Hip Hop classes, as well as choreographing.In 2009, Erica found a way to bring her love of dance, movement, music, and fitness all together. She developed the Fusion Fitness classes that use dance as the base for a cardiovascular workout. She became an American Council on Exercise Fitness Instructor leading all types of fitness classes , such as bootcamp, in local gyms before offering her own schedule of dynamic classes held at Beth Cross Centre of Dance and Voice.

1)      Erica, what is your diet on a daily basis?

“Varies from day to day, obviously.  The main point to the philosophy that I have on nutrition is [to be] all inclusive. Not leaving any holes. Remember what you learned in kindergarten [about] the food pyramid (obviously changed over the years), you have to think about the bulk of your nutrition coming from whole grains, then dairy, then fruits & vegetables.  I try to stick to that for me and my family. It’s a lot easier than you think it is. Anything that is real is going to be your best option. The less processed the better. Not leaving anything out, just a well-balanced plan. Keeping variety so you don’t get bored. Think about all the things you need to have and can have versus all the things you can’t.”

2)      So you were talking about not leaving anything out of your diet; what is one really important thing that you need to have in your diet?

“Three food groups in a meal. Brown rice, broccoli, grilled tuna. Your afternoon snack – fruit (for instance, an apple) and a small cup of yogurt. Between the snack and meal you hit all the food groups.  No one food group is most important. If you’re working out – no low carb diets, which becomes popular. [It’s] about not leaving anything out versus one certain thing you have to have.”

3)      What are some of your top nutrition tips?

“Listen to your body; eat when you’re hungry. Never deprive yourself. [This is] an analogy I tell my clients: If you were short on money and having trouble paying your bills, What would you do with your money? You would hang on to every penny, and not waste it on silly things. [That is the] same with your body. If your body is deprived of something, it is hanging onto everything. So if you decide not to have breakfast, then you are depriving your body for several hours and it’s just going to hang onto that dinner you had the night before. “…” Filling your body up with the good stuff it leaves very little room for the bad stuff.”

4)      If you’re in a rush, and you don’t have time to make a meal, what is a good “on the go” snack?

“On the go snacks: [Have these on a] DAILY BASIS. You can’t be afraid of looking like a dork with your lunch box. I load up either a small or large cooler bag literally every day for me and my family. I never want them to be so thirsty or hungry that we stop for something crazy like a Sonic drink. Just always having things in your car – when you’re walking out the door, grab an apple and string cheese. Nuts/almonds are also good to keep in your console. It is a lot better to wait until you get home to have a meal than stopping through the drive thru where you will make a quick and fast decision. Going from snacks to a quick meal, so many things are quick. You can put lean chicken breast tenderloins completely frozen in the skillet and throw some Mrs. Dash lemon pepper seasoning on it. It takes maybe three more minutes than a microwaveable meal would, and healthy does not mean time consuming.”

What Style Fits Your Body Type?


MEMPHIS, Nov. 3 — Have you ever tried on clothes that were cute on the hanger, but repulsive when you try it on? When it comes to fashion there are a lot of different styles and sizes, but it’s up to you to decide what style fits your body.

When it comes to fashion everyone wants to look a certain way in clothes. Whenever someone doesn’t look the way they want in their clothing it can become very depressing. When you try on clothes in the dressing room at a clothing store, do you find yourself often cursing your trouble zones and wondering if there is any way you can make the most of “what your momma gave you?” Instead of cursing those trouble zones, finding what your body type is will help you in many ways. When shopping, you should decide what clothes accentuate the highlights of your body and ways to hide the parts you don’t want to show off.

However, there are ways one can look great in clothes without feeling ugly in them. When you go shopping you shouldn’t look for what’s in style, but what style fits your body. For instance, a girl with a small waist should wear things that accentuate her waist like a tie up shirt, or a fitted top. However, a girl with a wide waist should wear something that doesn’t draw attention to her waist such as a cute baby doll top or an off the shoulder top. This is not to say someone with a small waist can’t wear a crop top. If you can make it work then wear it.

Maybe you believe it’s not the clothing. The best way to get the body you want is to learn what your body type is, and embrace it! Knowing what your body type is can help you make the most of your diet and how to exercise. “For about a year, I’ve been able to work out and stay in shape,” University of Memphis student Russell Born said about exercising for his body type.

Every cute style that comes out isn’t meant for everyone to wear. However, when clothes feel comfortable, cute, and accentuate the greatest part of your body all at once it can make you feel so beautiful.

No one is perfect and not everyone can wear the same style of clothing. In order to look good, one must also feel good.

This piece is also published on the UPIU website and can be found here:

Kara Crimmins Shares her Love for Broccoli

Being a full-time college student, having a job, and a personal life is a very hard task. Kara Crimmins is someone who is happy to have support from her family.

Her father is the owner of Foozi, a Memphis deli with the slogan “Fun food fast.” Kara has lived in four different cities following her father’s job, but always seems to find her way back to the Mid South.

In January 2010, Kara began working out with a trainer from Forever Fit. The trainer was a friend of her parents’ so it was easy for her to feel comfortable while training. Going to the gym became a large part of her weekly routine.

As far as her diet, Kara would buy frozen chicken breast from Costco and bake them in the oven with oil and dry seasoning or salt and pepper. She also added some steamed broccoli with garlic. “I would literally eat it like every day,” she said.

To make her work outs successful, Kara was very picky about everything she ate. A main priority of hers was to fit in some cardio every week.

Health/Fitness Updates

Happy Halloween!

Here are updates on some of my favorite fitness and health websites. Check them out!

1)Candy Coded: What You Need to Know About Your Favorite Sweets

This article goes through 13 different popular candies. It tells all – serving size, and how to stick to mini-size candy bars.

2)14 Tips for Getting (and Staying) Motivated to Eat Healthy

Great write up on how to stay motivated and jumping on the healthy eating bandwagon. The tips are very realistic as well!

3)Happy Halloween: Your Thriller and Spooky Workouts

Fun workouts to go along with the Halloween Spirit. Karena and Katrina always have something fun on their page. Tone It Up is one of my favorite blogs!

Cooper Young Festival 2011

My reporting class at the University of Memphis recently partnered with Micro Memphis to cover the Cooper Young Festival this past weekend. It included an Art Invitational on Thursday, The Cooper Young 4Miler, and the Festival actually occurs on Saturday.

Here is some footage I put together from the 20th annual CY 4Miler: