Sunday, August 16, 2015

Remembering Morgan

Today, I am lighting a candle
to remember Morgan Ingram and her life.
Time cannot erase, the memory of your face. Love, it's all we want. Where is it, is it lost? I wrote a song recently called "I'm Calling For You" which depicts a story about love and remembrance. Today is a day that we celebrate the memory of a beautiful bright light, the life of Morgan Ingram.

 
I can sit here and type a dissertation that consists of a thousand words, but this will not bring Morgan back. They say a broken heart is equivalent to a million tears, as is the laughter that occurred throughout the years. Is it?

 
Morgan spent many years and many days with her mother Toni and her father Steve. They shared a lot of happiness and joy. Although Toni and Steve cannot properly grieve, as there is no closure for the death of their daughter, they can remember those amazing moments and memory breeding experiences they spent with her and lock those safely in their hearts for the rest of their life.

 
A beautiful life may be gone, but it is never lost. Morgan Ingram is that beautiful life. Although she is not here in the physical world, as an entity, she is still around in spirit. We just can't see her. Well, at least most of us. Her soul will forever remain in our hearts. As we remember her life, we can reflect on what she contributes to this world.

 
Morgan Ingram is now the face and the force of stalking and for change. May her spirit light up on this special day, as we celebrate her memory and her birthday. Morgan may be gone, but her love, her light, and her spirit lives on and lasts forever.

 
Today, I chose to light a candle to acknowledge and commemorate the life and the death of Morgan Ingram. Although justice hasn't happened, I will continue to keep hope alive and pray everyday until it does.

 
Morgan with her parents, Toni and Steve Ingram.
 
Morgan Jennifer Ingram
August 16, 1991-December 2, 2011

Monday, August 3, 2015

Jessica Sutta talks 'Feline Resurrection', Pussy Cat Dolls, and Britney Spears


Jessica Sutta's debut solo album 'Feline Resurrection'
is scheduled to be released
early this Fall.
(Photo by: Wikimedia Commons-ToGlenn)
You probably remember her as being a member of the pop girl group Pussy Cat Dolls, but what you don't realize is Jessica Sutta has branched out as an artist of her own. As a singer, song writer, and dancer; she is on the verge of doing good things in the entertainment industry. In fact, her album Feline Resurrection launches this Fall. Recently, I caught up with Jessica. Here is what she had to tell me.


To continue reading, simply click here right now.

Meet BMAD: DJ, artist and producer

BMAD is an internationally known DJ and producer located in the heart of Los Angeles. Creating some of the greatest beats to hit the modern music scene, BMAD is the official DJ of 8ky 6lu aka Sky Blu of LMFAO. Recently, I had the opportunity to speak with BMAD. Here is what he had to say:

Sarah Afshar: Hey BMAD. How are you? First and foremost, I just want to say that you are incredibly talented. I am definitely a fan. I wanted to ask you about this amazing song Shine Your Light featuring Chelsea Korka. Tell me a little more about this...

BMAD: This is the first single that I put out on my upcoming album Madness. It is a song that I really just wanted people to connect to and really take away a message from it. Partying is much more than drinking. To me, partying is a celebration of life and love and all of those great things. The song's message really defines what we are really here for.

SA: That is amazing. That is so true.

BM: Absolutely.

SA: Now, I have to ask you-how did you initially link up with 8ky 6lu aka Sky Blu of LMFAO?

BM: I use to be in a band. We were signed to Columbia Records. We basically did that entire band thing and we did a tour with LMFAO. We developed a friendship with Sky from the tour and we would hang out every single day. After that tour, I moved to LA. At the time, he was starting this company called Big Bad that emphasized on creating music and making music together. He asked me to be apart of it and four years later, I have been DJing everywhere. So, it was pretty much kind of like a "fate" thing that happened in life, for sure.

SA: That is amazing.

BM: Yeah, it's pretty cool. He's taught me so much along the way. He has helped me out a lot and showed me quite a few things.

SA: Speaking of that, how does it feel to be part of the Big Bad University?

BM: Big Bad University is made up of more than just musicians and singers. It is made up of dancers, writers, it's really a big family of talented people. There is producers, photographers, fashion designers, and everything in between. It's kind of like our group of friends like people from LA and people who inspire us and surround ourselves with. We all just create and make music and help others too. It isn't like only four artists in Big Bad. There are a bunch of people.

SA: That is so amazing that everyone is helping everyone out.

BM: A lot of times you can get lost in your own creation. For instance, you can get lost in one certain part of a song. Where you get lost, it takes another person to kind of see the big picture and guide you in the right direction, where you end up where you want to be. A mixture of creative minds that work together is just what makes this so amazing to me.

SA: Absolutely. Now, I have to ask you, BMAD, what are your most memorable gigs you have done? Can you tell me a little more about them?

BM: I would have to say that my most memorable show is with Sky on tour in Brazil. The shows were too long of a set. Everyone was just getting so tired because everything was so cramped up. He asked me if I wanted to DJ before and I was like of course. Then, the next day we had a huge show for like 5,000 people or so and I DJed. It was one of the first times I was ever performed in front of a huge crowd. I just remember breaking down after the show and being so grateful and thankful. It was one of those magic moments that I will remember for the rest of my life.

Just knowing the path I wanted to be on. Sky gave me an amazing opportunity and it is probably one of my most memorable shows ever. But, we have done some really cool shows this past year. We did a show with Pharrell in Dubai. Busta Rhymes was just one of many talented artists there. The set was amazing with Sky. Just being there with the entire Big Bad family was great. I had the opportunity to not only rock out on stage, but close at the end of the night, where I did an hour DJ set. It was a memorable moment that I will never forget. There were thousands and thousands of people.

Another one that I can remember is where we performed on the world's largest floating stage in Thailand. We went on speed boat out to the stage in like the middle of the water. All of the people were about two football fields away on the beach partying. That was also really interesting.

SA: That is so amazing. Sounds so exciting. Now, I have to ask you, who are some of the DJs and producers you look up to in the industry?

BM: I really love all of the melodies from people from Showtech. Beach melodies are just incredible. Ummet Ozcan and Calvin Harris are amazing. The music just makes you feel like you are in space.

SA: That is amazing. That is the way music should be though.

BM: Yeah, for sure. Everyone has a different feeling when they listen to music, including their music. I really believe those guys bring something special to music though. Right in the lane where my soul speaks.

SA: What is your favorite type of music? Other than the amazing music that you do.

BM: If I had to say a favorite, not in terms of the type of music that I make, but in terms of what I listen to. Like in the mornings when I drive. I really love 70s music. I'm a band kid and I come from that. I have always had a connection with 70s music. I really love everyone from CCR to The Beatles to the Steve Miller Band, stuff like that. Rock n' Roll baby!

SA: Is it true that you grew up playing guitar?

BM: Yes. I play the guitar and the bass. I grew up with those instruments as my roots. Sky opened my eyes to realm of the electronic music. I have never been to a nightclub before until I was with Sky.

SA: That is fantastic. Absolutely incredible when you discover new things along the way.

BM: Yes, of course.

SA: You are so creative. Now, I have to ask-what is next for you? Do you have any gigs coming up?

BM: Yes, we are working some amazing projects right now including some amazing shows. Follow me on Facebook. In between finishing up my record, there is a lot going on. A few months ago, I was in Amsterdam working with some amazing people, writing. I have also had the opportunity to work with other DJs which is really great. I'm really excited. I have some really great stuff coming. I am putting out some amazing things that I can connect to and others will too. It is going to be an exciting year, I think.

For more information about BMAD, simply visit You Can't BMAD today.

Tamar Juda of Last Word PR

Tamar Juda is a woman with a voice, a vision, and a message. Born and raised in Bethlehem, PA she is currently living in the what she refers to "the best city in the world" New York. She is not only the founder and president of Last Word PR, but one of the sharpest publicists out there in music PR today. Recently, I had the opportunity to speak with Tamar Juda directly. Here is what she had to tell me...

(Q) Hey Tamar. How are you? Tell me a little more about Last Word PR...

Hey there – I’m great! Last Word PR is a full service public relations firm, specializing in music and entertainment. I rep all facades of the music business including producers, rappers, DJs, singers, songwriters, etc.

(Q) Let's talk inspiration! What inspired you to create Last Word PR?

I’m really fortunate that my family gave me the encouragement to go out on my own when I wanted to back in 2008. They all said, “You got this! Go ahead and take the leap…” and ya know what, they were right. You need to listen to your gut (and your family in my case for the extra push) and just go for it when it feels right.

I think it’s important for people to do what comes naturally to them, and working in PR/being a publicist came naturally to me from the start. I knew that I would probably want to start my own company one day; I just didn’t realize that day would come as early as it did in my career. It also didn’t hurt that I had loyal clients.

(Q) Why do you love working in the PR industry?

I love being a publicist and the various aspects that come along with the job. I enjoy the fast pace world of PR, pitching, writing, the creativity, thinking on my feet and helping to usher my clients’ projects out there to the fans in both new and classic ways. It’s incredibly gratifying to pitch something for months and finally open up a magazine and see the feature you secured, or turn on the TV and watch your artist perform – it never gets old for me!

This job and industry isn’t for everyone, but I’ve been fortunate to work with so many incredible artists (and their teams), producers and DJs. It’s a constant grind and finding new ways to challenge yourself to always be better than your last placement. I find it to be an honor to have access and work with great writers and editors, print media, websites, blogs, TV shows/production companies as well as huge corporations that want to collaborate with my clients.

There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t remember that there is a younger version of myself just waiting to take my place, and I’ll tell you something, that alone is enough motivation for me to give my clients my very best everyday.

(Q) Who are some of your clients? Currently, what has been happening at the agency?

I rep Lil Jon, SKAM Artist (a DJ booking and management agency), 8ky 6lu (of LMFAO) as well as singer Mahogany LOX. I’m incredibly proud to work with all of my clients…they’re doing big things and making amazing music.

Folks are usually astounded that I’ve worked with Lil Jon since 2005. I’ve learned a great deal from him [and his team] by working on his various projects and business ventures. I’m lucky because he gives me the space and trust to let me do my job and I think that’s why it’s worked so well all these years. People used to ask me “Where is Lil Jon anyway?” and I always responded the same – he never went anywhere, and frankly he’s everywhere! He’s been DJing around the world (including a DJ residency at the Wynn/Encore in Las Vegas), he was a fan-favorite both times he was on NBC’s Celebrity Apprentice and of course has had tremendous success recently with “Turn Down For What” and “Bend Ova.” I’m honored to be on his team and we’ve got some new exciting things in the works!

Sujit Kundu started SKAM Artist and it’s grown a lot with a roster of over 65 DJs & hosts. It’s a powerhouse agency and I’ve had many DJs ask me how to get Sujit’s attention because they want to be a SKAM Artist. I can honestly say I don’t think I know anyone who works harder than Sujit! That man is a machine and very dedicated to every single person on his roster [securing DJ residencies, booking gigs, coordinating, etc.)…he’s a great example of passion being the catalyst to success.

8ky 6lu is a gem and so talented! That man can write, produce, rap/freestyle and I can’t wait for everyone to hear his new music. One of the special things about 8ky is that he truly is a team player…he listens and respects the feedback he gets from everyone [on his team]. He’s an artist who defines success not just by his own accomplishments, but also by his whole team (Big Bad University) reaching new levels together. His sister [singer] Mahogany LOX is on Big Bad and wait until you hear what she has coming out! She’s already a social media star with millions of followers and also opened up for 5th Harmony on tour DJing. Let me tell you, she’s off to a fantastic start.


(Q) What is the Golden Rule of good PR?

I’m not sure there is one “Golden Rule” of PR, but you’re reputation and ‘word’ are everything. Follow through and do what you say you’re going to do for both your client and the media. It also doesn’t hurt to get an internship early on and be persistent!

(Q) Who are some of your favorite music acts right now?

It’s funny, I remember being told about how talented Big Sean is back in 2008, so I’m loving that he’s doing his thing right now and being recognized for it.

I also like that DJs [in general] are getting more of the respect they deserve in the last few years. They have become the new rockstars! A good or bad DJ can really make or break a night in the club or a party, etc.

My iPod is a hodge-podge of new and old; this and that…I can be listening to Rae Sremmurd, Ludacris and Migos one minute and then The Cranberries, Betty Who and Shiny Toy Guns the next.

(Q) Let's talk beauty! What is your beauty regimen? What are some of your favorite beauty products right now?

I’ve used Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Oil-Free Lotion for years. I really like the consistency of it, I find it to be between a lotion and a gel. I’m a huge fan of Mario Badescu and use several of their products.
Recently I started using Fresh’s Rose Hydrating Eye Gel Cream after reading some good things about it. It’s really moisturizing and smells divine! Worth every penny. Cetaphil cleanser is a must - a tried and true face wash.

I am also a big fan of Bliss’ Fabulous Foaming Body Wash, as it has a fresh clean smell. Since I have curly hair, it’s important to have products that are really moisturizing. I like OGX’s Renewing Argan oil of Moracco shampoo and L’Oreal’s Moisture Rush Mask. My favorite hand cream on the planet is In Love by Lollia.

(Q) Do you have a favorite fragrance you love to wear? What is your favorite perfume?

My go-to perfume is J’adore Dior. I often get asked what I have on when I’m wearing that scent. I find it to be a really wonderful balance of being floral, but still bold.

(Q) What are your favorite makeup products?

There are some MAC products I have used for a long time now including the Eye Kohl eyeliners, their eye-shadows have great pigment (Dazzlelight and Contrast are favorites), and their bronzing powder is great (I use Golden). MAC also has really fantastic lipstick and lipgloss colors...I have more than I care to admit!

If I want a heavier look for night, I like Benefit’s Creaseless Cream Shadows (a personal favorite is Birthday Suit). Like most women out there, I have yet to find a better blush than Nars’ Orgasm. It doesn’t matter what season it is or how tan or pale I am, the color is always perfection.

Maybelline’s Rocket Volum’ Express mascara really packs a punch. It is another favorite of mine. I find that the wand really coats my lashes well. Finding a good illuminator can make a big difference in making your cheeks glow in that Jennifer Lopez-way we all want! Smashbox makes one I like a lot (Photo Op Illuminator), it’s just the right amount of shimmer.

(Q) If you could share one beauty secret, what would it be and why?

I’m a firm believer that you should never go to sleep with your makeup on. Every single night I make sure to take off all my makeup, no matter how tired I am. I also think that “less is more,” I don’t pile on or layer oils/creams/serums on my face at the same time.

(Q) What is one beauty product you have always wanted to try, but haven't and why?

To be honest, I’ve never tried a spray tan. I think I’m afraid once I start I won’t be able to stop because I do love a tan! I think for now I’ll stick to other tricks like bronzers, lotions, etc.

(Q) What is your #1 guilty pleasure right now and why?

I can’t resist a Bravo reunion or a Nike Dunk Sky Hi (wedge) sneaker.

(Q) Name 3 guests (living or deceased) you would like to have a dinner party with and why?

I most definitely would want Larry David there because that man would make me laugh the entire time. And frankly, I would love to talk about nothing with him anytime. I would also love Ryan Seacrest to be at that dinner and pick his brain about business, because that man knows what works! He’s mastered the entertainment/TV business and he also has a genuine respect for music artists, which I appreciate. And last but certainly not least, what’s a dinner party without Oprah!? She asks the most poignant questions, she’s thoughtful and isn’t afraid to “go there…” and seems like a ton of fun once she’s had some cocktails! Can you imagine a conversation between her and Larry David? One day, right!


(Q) For all of those entertainment enthusiasts reading this interview, what would you like them to know? What is next for Tamar Juda? What is next for Last World PR?

I would love for those enthusiasts to know a few things: first and foremost the entertainment business isn’t all glitz and glamour. It’s a lot of work and hard work at that. At the end of the day it’s a business and everyone had to do his or her part to keep it moving along (and successful). This industry is also incredibly fast-paced which I find helpful because it weeds-out the people who aren’t cut out for this.

Additionally, I also want young people wanting to get into the industry to know that you can do it. I had numerous friends or people in my life growing up [for which I remember every single one of them] who would roll their eyes or think I’m crazy for wanting to get into the music/entertainment industry – well, look at me now! I did it all on my own starting with internships, making connections and doing the work.

A long time ago I learned that when you think you have all your “ducks in a row” something else pops-up and you just need to roll with it. I’m not sure what’s next for Last Word PR, perhaps I’ll expand my company even more, but for right now I’m happy where it is and the extent to which it’s grown steadily since 2008.

This will sound absolutely corny (and I acknowledge this), but the success for me personally is that I get to wake up everyday loving what I do. That’s the truth…I get to be creative, I work with amazing talent/music and I get to be my own boss. Nobody handed me anything, I did the work and it paid off.

Catch up with Tamar on Twitter @LastWordPR

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Rachel Kessler of Kessler Communications

Today we talk to Rachel Kessler, founder of Kessler Communications, LLC, a beauty, health and wellness public relations firm in New York City, about her health and wellness tips. Rachel has healed herself and came back strong from chronic autoimmune illnesses through these various health tips and lessons. She still maintains a gluten-free, grain-free, sugar-free, dairy-free diet for optimal wellness.

Throughout her healthcare public relations career she has worked on behalf of clients such as Pfizer, Bayer, Medtronic and Amgen, worked on celebrity campaigns with Angelica Houston, Bart Conner and Joe Montana, and launched products such as Listerine Pocketpaks, Cialis, and Celebrex. She has worked in pretty much every therapeutic area from dermatology, plastic surgery, men's health, urology, diabetes to cardiology, gastroenterology and psychiatry.

(Q) What is the greatest tip you can give someone for health and wellness?

I think that connecting mind, body and spirit is the most important way to radiant health. If the spirit is unwell, the body will follow. If the emotions are holding a secret deep inside the gut, cells, mind or heart, the body will most likely become sick.

Do what makes your soul sing, what makes your spirit soar. Dancing? Drawing? Swimming? Do it. Take care to meditate and do a digital detox when you can. If there are any wounds, confront them so healing can begin. Be grateful for every day and every small moment and memory. I keep a gratitude journal and every night write down all that I am grateful for from the day. Usually, for me, I find myself writing down that I'm grateful for something that has to do with food. But oftentimes it's things like beautiful connections. My family, my magical nephew. My brother, friends and clients.

My point is to make sure your spirit is happy and healthy and eventually the body will follow. I also think when it comes to diagnosing and healing that thinking in a creative, out-of-the box kind of way can be really helpful. Bringing an entrepreneurial and creative spirit into the practice of medicine and science can only lead to greater discoveries and more treatment options. My client ZO Skin Health, Inc. has done this well and created some incredibly innovative skin care products as a result. That has been my experience. Pray in a way that is meaningful to you, be grateful, connect, think with a wide and open mind.

(Q) Anything else

If you have any addictions-whether that means being a workaholic, being addicted to your phone and technology, being a maniac exerciser or something else, tackle it. The key to vibrant health is balance in all ways. Be mindful about balance. If your'e drinking champagne, drink green juice. If you're hooked up to your computer and phone for days, hook up with your friends or spouse at night. If you work non-stop, rest. If you're channel surfing, go surfing. Everything in moderation.

(Q) What do you do to care for your skin? It looks amazing.

One of our very favorite clients of all time is ZO Skin Health. The company is thriving and filled with integrity, incredible products, amazing people and a pioneering spirit. The skin care products are science-backed, luxurious and results-driven. I use only ZO Skin Health, Inc. products. My medicine cabinet is all ZO Skin Health products. Since I started using these products, my skin has become so much healthier and more radiant. The other day a dermatologist thought I was ten years younger than I am. I said no, it's my client's products! I am very proud of them and could not be more thrilled to represent them professionally and personally. I recommend ZO Skin Health products to anyone and everyone who will listen. I'm passionate about them. I also make sure to indulge in a facial with Ashley Witte at Parlour De Witte. She's a very gifted aesthetician in New York City. She lifts the cheekbones up, as well as the spirit.

(Q) What are some unusual things that you do to maintain radiant health?

A few years ago, I met Tracy Piper of the Piper Center She is very knowledgeable about gut health and diet, among other things and has now become a friend. Getting acupuncture and colonics with her is always very beneficial in all ways. She recently wrote a book called The Piper Protocol which outlines all of her secret insider tips that she shares with her celebrity clients. I go to the Russian Turkish Baths in the East Village and sweat.

I think sweating is a great way to detox, heal, and prevent illness and inflammation. In fact, that was the theory behind the Lakota Sweat Lodges. The term for sweat lodge is Inipi, which means "to live again." I'm also a fan of making homemade fish broths with ginger and drinking warm lemon water in morning. I like to drink a chlorophyll water called Night Water from Sakara Life at the end of the day. I also love doing Bikram Yoga. In fact a hospital client had a study on yoga and how it reduces inflammation for breast cancer survivors and I think it can benefit everyone who is prone to inflammation, has autoimmune issues.

Here is the study Native Americans used activated charcoal as a toothpaste and I'm a big fan of what I like to call "charcoal for sparkle." My doctor, Dr. Patrick Fratellone, is an integrative medicine doctor and always filled with interesting, innovative ways to heal and treat. I have learned a lot from him.

(Q) That is fantastic. What other tips do you have?

Even if you're a city girl like I am, you really need to take time out and connect with nature. I live and work in the East Village of New York City, but make time to go running on Sundays along the river, dip my toes in the beach at Coney Island, and sit under a tree in Thompkins Square Park. After that, you come back even more energized for your work and with more passion and focus. I'm also constantly going outside of my comfort zone. I was recently asked to give a speech. I abhor public speaking. And so I said yes.

That's also why I did the New York City Triathlon. The thought of swimming in the Hudson River seemed so wild, I had to say yes. And constantly learning and being curious about the world is healthy too. I also really do believe in the edict that you are what you eat. This mean I am one human-sized vegetable, obviously.

(Q) What have you learned recently that you want to share?

I recently read "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up." It's a New York Times bestseller by Marie Kondo. It talks about clearing away any clutter and removing any possessions that don't "strike joy." I was already very organized but after that exercise, things have opened up even more. A clutter-free space spawns a clutter-free and healthy mind. And that's always welcome!
(Q) What people have most influenced your choice to be in health and wellness field?

My paternal grandfather, Dr. Ernest Borek, was a Hungarian scientist, pioneer in nucleic acid methylation, and microbiologist. His pioneering activities in cancer research led to significant scientific discoveries. His story is quite remarkable. As a boy, he could not attend college in Hungary because he was Jewish. He could not speak English when he came to this country at the age of 14 and the family was so poor they rubbed sausage on bread to make them think they were eating meat for dinner. Yet he worked hard, both at learning English and earning money, and he rose to become a college professor at Columbia who taught others. His research penetrated some of the mysteries of cancer, made the front page of the New York Times, and won him a nomination for the Nobel Prize. He was the author of four popular books and over 125 scientific publications.

My father, Ronald Kessler, is an investigative reporter, author of 20 books, and a New York Times bestselling author. So basically when you take someone who has a brain for pioneering science and health and mix them with someone who has a talent for communicating and writing then --boom--a passionate health public relations person is born. My grandfather Ernest said something quite powerful in his book, and I think it applies to all we have talked about here. Observing things from all different sides, including science, healing, and health.

"Great contributions in science come from two sources. There are those who, by keen observation, see something never seen before by the eyes of man. And then there are those, the more gifted ones I think, who take something seen by all but see it differently and give it new meaning."—Ernest Borek in Of Microbes and Life, edited by Jacques Monod and Ernest Borek, 1971.

Catch up with Rachel at Kessler Communications.