Happy Earth Day

 

Hello everyone and Happy Earth Day!

This post is serving as celebration for one of my favorite days, Earth Day, along with you weekly Motivation for Monday!

Today, I had the honor to interview the inspiring Elizabeth Tran, founder of Teens Go Green. It is a non-profit which she started when she was twelve years old as a way to educate the youth about excessive waste production and help them get involved in helping and protecting the environment.

Teens go Green works with one of my favorite non-profit organizations; Clean the World. Elizabeth is partnered with Orange County Environmental Protection Division, and Green Works Orlando. Some of the events which she produces include the pageant Miss Miracle which she recycles pageant trophies which would have been discarded otherwise, along with Eco-friendly fashion shows to raise awareness and help get others involved. 

 

 

During our interview, Elizabeth shared some of her advice to help others go green which includes:

  1. Being green is more than a trend, it is a lifestyle choice which influences what you wear, what you eat, how you live and interact with the environment.
  2. Elizabeth recommends Unplug electronics that you do not use all day. In fact, 52% of the energy we use is wasted. She suggests unplugging your toaster when you are not using it.
  3. Be consciousness about what you are wearing. Elizabeth was wearing a garment from Consumer Against Toxic Apparel(CATA), an affiliate with Silver Needle and Thread. They make sure that all their clothes are certified organic or made from natural fibers. It helps the environment and even your own health ensuring that are manmade chemicals and toxic do not go into your skin nor the environment. The fashion industry is one of the largest contributors to toxins in our environment, including Chromium 6 which is in polluted waters everywhere.

Please watch the video below to be inspired by this wonderful woman.

Remember to check out www.teensgogreenglobal.org to learn more about how you can help make a difference in our environment.

Happy Earth Day everyone!

Love,
Char ❤

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Body Positivity For Motivational Monday

Happy Motivational Monday everyone,

Today’s post is all about body positivity and being happy with yourself.

It is important to love your body and truly understand it’s unique needs. In a day where social media reigns supreme, it is easy to understand why body dysmorphia is on the rise. Many social media bloggers will brand themselves according to their type of eating like Vegan or Paleo or cupcake lover. Women need to understand and embrace that every single person is unique and so are their dietary needs. Instead of trying to be like someone else, be yourself and really tune in to what makes you feel good.

Two women the same age can thrive on different lifestyles, diet and exercise. The key is listening to your own inner voice and wisdom and not get distracted on what the internet or a blogger or a movie star says. The other issue with social media is that it embraces the unattainable perfection. It just doesn’t exist.

Love your body inside and out for the incredible machinery and gift it is. Feed it well with love, care and good food that resonates on the inside. Stop comparing yourself to others because you will never be someone else only yourself.

Lady Code is a place to empower women, whether that be to eat healthier, have a positive outlook, inspire makeup and fashion styles, but mostly to LOVE themselves.

Please watch the video below which inspired me for this post.

I am implore everyone reading this to STOP thinking about what they don’t like about themselves or what they wish they could change and START thinking about what they love about themselves.

This theme perfectly ties in with Lisa Opie’s un-retouched campaign for her swimsuit line, Vizcaya Swimwear. In this recent photo shoot, Lisa wanted to promote body love or what she is referring to as #PerfectlyImperfect!

A special “Thank you” to Dr. Elizabeth Trattner for helping with this post.

Happy Monday!

Love Char ❤

Thursday Treats for Someone Sweet with Char

Hi everyone, 

I am currently swamped with homework and  overwhelmed with 8 hours of math alone. However, I wanted to take the time to share a recipe with you. Eating healthy has always been a big part of my life, limiting the number of treats I could eat. But, over the holidays, I made this cake with my mom. Everything in this cake is good for you and is loaded with anti-oxidants and healthy fats.

Image courtesy of Instagram:@dreliztratts
Image courtesy of Instagram:@dreliztratts

 

Lemon Raspberry Cheezecake.

I used a silicone heart shaped pan from IKEA. Whatever you choose as your mold, make sure it is silicone as your dessert will slide right out. I have quadrupled the recipe because the mold was so huge, but it served about 25 people.

Coconut Layer:

  • 4 cup raw cashews, soaked and rinsed
  • 1 cup cold pressed coconut oil
  • 1 cup desiccated coconut
  • 2 and 2/3 cup coconut cream
  • 1 cup organic rice malt syrup
  • juice of 1 whole lemon
  • 1 cup frozen or fresh raspberries

Raspberry Cream Layer

  • 4 cup frozen or fresh raspberries
  • 1 cup extra virgin cold pressed coconut oil
  • 4 cup raw cashews, soaked and rinsed
  • 4 cup coconut cream
  • 2 cups organic rice malt syrup
  • 2 packets of thawed pitaya for color

Coconut Layer

1. Using your food processor, blend the cashews until completely smooth. As smooth as possible.

2. Add the coconut oil, desiccated coconut, coconut cream, rice malt syrup, and lemon juice. Blend until smooth and creamy. If it isn’t sweet enough add more rice syrup or a touch of stevia.

3. Fold in the raspberries and pour mixture into your silicone mold. Freeze for a few hours or, until set. Raspberry Cream Layer –

1. Using your food processor, blend the cashews until completely smooth.

2. Add the coconut oil, desiccated coconut, coconut cream, rice malt syrup, thawed pitaya and raspberries.

3.Blend until smooth and creamy.

4. Pour mixture over the top of the coconut cream layer, and freeze until set. When ready to serve, flip it over, and top with extra raspberries.

Chocolate Syrup

  • 1 and 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 cup brown rice syrup

Mix all ingredients with a whisk and carefully pour over chilled cake. It should set up immediately from the cold. Put in freezer to solidify the chocolate sauce.

Note: Please remember that this recipe was quadrupled for size. The mold I used was huge and needed a lot of volume. You can safely cut this in half and make two separate 8×8 silicone mold cakes. Extra silicone cupcake holders are excellent for surplus ingredients. Don’t forget to freeze on a level surface for a straight line otherwise the cake will freeze lopsided. Also, make sure you leave the cake out at surface temperature for about an hour from the freezer. Use a knife in hot water to cut.

Please follow me @Charvontratt for more healthy treats and motivation.

Enjoy this special Thursday treat.

 

Lots of love and sweetness,

Char ❤

 

Meet Miss Pakistan World 2017: Ramina Ashfaque

Ramina Ashfaque is a recent Broadcast Communications graduate of Florida International University. After being crowned Miss Pakistan World 2017 in November, Ramina will be going on to compete in several international pageants including Miss Earth 2017, where she will be representing Pakistan. Ramina has held several pageant titles prior to her current title, including Miss Florida World. She is committed to the March of Dimes Organization in Florida in which she is an active advocate and volunteer. Ramina is on the path to fulfilling her lifelong dream of becoming an actress. She also wants to be an advocate for changing the way people think, by showing her supporters what it is to be a modern woman, and appreciate the Pakistani culture while still becoming successful in the world of film, fashion, and modeling. Ramina is striving to open the minds of people with conservative backgrounds, such as her heritage, and she appreciates her platform because it gives her the ability to spread her message! 

ramina-ashfaque

Quick facts…
Hometown: Karachi, Pakistan
Current City: Sunrise, Florida
Hobbies: Traveling, exercising, modeling
Favorite food: all food 😀
Favorite movie: Bridesmaids
Three words that sum you up: Goofy, Ambitious, Loving
Song you have on repeat right now: Koshish- Teddi Pagg
Dream job: Actress
Beauty product you can’t live without: Concealer
 
Favorite quote: “Dream big, work hard, and stay humble”

 

ramina-ashfaque-ladycode

 

Being Miss Pakistan must keep you pretty busy! What is a typical day like for you?  I just got a job as the Media Director for Cricket Council USA, so I will be delivering coverage from cricket games, making documentaries, etc. This was a job I was hoping for since I started college and getting into sports broadcasting. After my day at work, I am usually running errands for the upcoming international pageant I am competing in, in Taiwan next month. Then I go to the gym and work out, and then this weekend I am flying to Philadelphia for a music video with a Pakistani artist. There is always something going on!

What has been the highlight of being Miss Pakistan so farIt was such an incredible feeling to be able to accomplish ONE of biggest goals, to be able to represent a country and I am truly humbled by the opportunity. I competed in this pageant last year but placed second runner up, but I came back harder and stronger because I believe persistence is the key to tackling any of your goals. Knowing that I am going to be competing in Miss Earth 2017 was definitely the highlight after winning Miss Pakistan World.

What are some of your best beauty secrets to looking flawless all the time? I never used to drink water, but ever since I started to I have noticed a HUGE difference in my skin hydration.

Growing up, who was your inspiration? My inspiration has always been my mother. She is the strongest, smartest, most supportive woman I know. She came to America with nothing and went to the University of Nebraska and got her Masters in Chemistry. I admire her for how hard she has worked to get to where she is and how much work she puts into our family. She can handle anything thrown at her and she inspires me to be the best person I can be.

ramina-ashfaque-pakistan

Lady Code has a focus on anti-bullying and women empowerment. Do you have any advice for our readers who may be victims of bullying? I think a lot of us have been victims of bullying. Bullying is something that the bully him/herself probably have gone through themselves and is a coping mechanism going through tough times. Just remember, YOU are not the problem. We all have to stick together and you shouldn’t go through it in silence, you should always speak to someone about it. I am a believer in women empowerment, and as women we also have to stick together and only then we can can kick butt!

Tell us about your platform: I have been committed to the March of Dimes organization in Florida in which I am an active advocate and volunteer. The March of Dimes is an organization that began the premature research initiative which funds research for the causes of prematurity. I decided to team up with this organization because I had once lost a sibling to prematurity, so I wanted to contribute in any way I can to raise awareness for this cause.

What can Lady Code readers do in their communities to get involved? There are many ways to get involved because we have many charity events that you can volunteer at. We have annual runs and charity auctions for the organization.

In your free time, what do you enjoy doing? I don’t get much free time but when I do, I love to spend time with my nieces and nephew, they are everything to me. But if I am not spending that free time with friends or family, I schedule photoshoots because it is something I really do enjoy.

What is your go-to makeup look? I have tried so many name brand foundations and I can’t seem to find one that I love, so I keep going back to my Loreal infallible Pro-Matte. Then I use my go-to concealer which is the Maybelline dark circle eraser (I swear by this one even though its drug store brand). Next I take my Anastasia contour kit and do a quick contour, use my Makeup forever eyeliner, and end it with MAC whirl lipstick. It only takes my 10 minutes.

What is one thing you can’t live without? My family. EveryTHING else can be managed!

What is the hardest part about competing in pageants? The hardest part is trying not to compare yourself to the other smart and beautiful women, but I do not do that anymore because I put out the best version of myself, and pray for the best.

What is the best part about competing in pageants? The best part is meeting so many goal-oriented women and being surrounded by positive energy, that we can relate to. I always make wonderful friends at every single pageant. I love these girls.

What is the best advice you have ever received? This might sound cliché, but it is that if there is something that you are truly passionate about that makes you happy, the best decision for you will always be to pursue it. In our lives, we tend to consider outside factors like what people will think and whether it will stick or not, but at the end of the day your happiness should be your main priority. It is never too late to pursue your dreams. Learn to be comfortable and confident in your own skin and success will follow.

 

ramina-ashfaque

 

Keep up with Ramina: 

Instagram: @Ramina_ash

Facebook Fan Page: Ramina Ashfaque

 

Motivational Monday: Holiday Travel Wellness

 

Happy Motivational Monday everyone,

I am currently in the middle of studying for all of my finals, so in my place, my mom is contributing  this article about staying healthy while traveling during the holidays.

Staying Healthy Travelling During the Holidays

By Dr. Elizabeth Trattner

“As both a physician and a germaphobe, flying can strike fear into my heart. Needless to say, I have come up with several strategies that help me not to get sick when travelling. I share these tips with my patients who travel for a living or for leisure.

First and foremost: if you are a female get several scarves and put them in a plastic Ziploc bag in your purse. I always travel with a several scarves so I don’t have to touch dirty door handles. Also, scarves are great for keeping your neck warm on an airplane and even to loosely wrap around your nose and mouth while flying. Not only do you look chic when flying, but you keep yourself clear of germs. They are also great to roll up behind your back for lumbar support in uncomfortable airplane seats.

Several days before  you fly, begin to take vitamin c. Try and take this the entire duration of your trip. Take elderberry chews with you and take them every 4 hrs while travelling to keep viruses at bay. Keeping hydrated is a plus and hot tea that is decaffeinated not only keeps you hydrated but the warm steam keeps nasal passages open. Try and avoid coffee or colas as they can actually dehydrate you and make you more susceptible to disease.

foods-with-vitamin-c

For jet lag, have some tea when you land and most importantly, expose yourself to daylight to assist in adjusting your circadian rhythm to your new time zone. If necessary, you can always take a small dose of melatonin the first night you arrive and the same upon your return. Also, take a brisk walk outside to adjust your body to the climate and time zone.

green-tea

For circulation issues, do not wear tight clothing on the plane and allow yourself legroom under your chair instead of stuffing items in front of you. Try and stretch every 20 minutes in your chair and if possible walk around the airplane.

Finally, take some ginger candies with you to avoid airsickness. I always travel with ginger candies. They help with dry throat, bad breath and airsickness. Nothing is worse than throwing up on an airplane, so be conscious of what you are eating and drinking the night before to avoid any adventures with a barf bag on an airplane. You can also pinch acupuncture point p6 on your wrist. Take 3 fingers on your wrist crease on the inner side of your arm. Squeeze your hand and 2 tendons will appear. If you push between the tendons, it will help with nausea!!  If you regularly get airsick, try buying sea bands from the drugstore and put them on before you get on an airplane. These bands utilize the acupuncture point  p6 incorporated into soft wristband.”

ginger

 

Happy Motivational Monday everyone!

~Char ❤

 

Happy Motivational Monday: Spark Joy

Happy Motivational Monday everyone,

This weekend, I went home for the Thanksgiving holiday. During Thanksgiving dinner my mom was talking to relatives about this book she had read called “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo. Marie is the creator of the Kanmarie method and teaches the Japanese art of de-cluttering and organizing. What could possibly be so interesting about cleaning out your closet? Most of us, me included tend to hold on to things for many different reasons. Kondo explains and teaching people that if something doesn’t “spark joy” you should give it away or throw it out. It wasn’t until I saw a video of her explaining this feeling did I truly understand the concept.

books

Instead of going shopping on Black Friday, I decided to try this at home and purge my closets out. I had to hold each item and if I didn’t feel good, I put it in a pile to either give away or to donate it. The concept of “spark joy” isn’t just about cleaning out your closets. It’s about how we live our lives. I have included a link at the end of my video so you can see exactly how  the process works. This season find out what brings you joy and let it spark something inside of you.

spark-joy

Here is Marie Kondo explaining her process.

Check out the video below!

Happy Motivational Monday

Char ❤

 

Motivational Monday: A Time for a Fresh Start

Happy Motivational Monday everyone, 

monday-fresh-start

With all the events that transpired last week that caused so much undue friction, I felt the need to do something good for the betterment of our community. I returned to one of my favorite volunteering spots, Clean the World, which is an organization that recycles soap donated from hotels to make hygiene kits for people in need across the United States and around the world.

It felt so great to do something which benefits the lives of others. I also got to meet a kind soul named Holly, who also has a passion for service and making a difference. This is one of the best examples of how service brings people together. 

For this week’s Motivational Monday Message, be proactive not reactive. 

Check out the video below:

Raise your vibration everyone!

be-the-change 

Peace and light!

~Char ❤

Be Grateful, Be Thankful

Happy Motivational Monday everyone,

grateful

With so much hate and controversy going on in the world today, it is easy to get wrapped up in negativity. Today’s Motivational Monday is all about seeing the glass half full.

This weekend, I got to go back home to spend time with my family, despite some sad events that prompted the visit, I still managed to keep a positive mindset. Instead of being consumed by grief, I stayed in the moment and was truly grateful for all the goodness around me.

grateful-heart

I encourage everyone to take a step back and consider the great things that are happening in their life. See the glass half full!

Check out the video below!

Happy Motivational Monday everyone!

~Char

Motivational Monday: The Wonders of Volunteering

Happy Motivational Monday,

Volunteering has always been one of my biggest passions. I have always enjoyed dedicating my time to help others.

A few weeks ago, I went to an organization called Clean the World, an organization that recycles and donates soap world-wide. Part of my school program is based on community service and leadership. I went to Clean the World and spent my entire day there. They even gave me a tour of their faculty and explained more of their mission to me. What was started in a man’s garage, has now turned into an organization that dispensed 8,500 tons of soap. You can check out their website and learn how to get involved at https://cleantheworld.org

 

clean-the-worls
The summer before I started high school, I started a community service program called Just Like Me 2 (www.justlikeme2.org). My mission is to inspire children with learning disabilities and speech impediments to break down the barriers that stand in their way of achieving their goals. By meeting with students in my community with similar disabilities I help them to look beyond their difficulties and convey a sense of hope and promise. Over the past four years, I have gone to schools to speak to children, talked parents through the process of seeking alternative methods for studying and shared tips for being more supportive.

just-like-me-2-screen-shot

Throughout my time of volunteering, I have learned that giving ones time to others is the best gift of all as well as being personally fulfilling. For Motivational Monday, I want to motivate everyone to dedicate their time towards making a difference in someone else’s life.

Check out the video below:

Happy Motivational Monday.

Love,

Char ❤

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff: My Week in San Pedro de Atacama, Chile

Hi everyone,

I want to begin this Motivational Monday by apologizing for my absence. I spent the past week in Chile, disconnecting from technology and getting in touch with the world around me. Today’s Motivational Monday is all about learning not to sweat the small stuff.

My family and I at Cejar Lagoon. We could see the reflection of the Andes Mountain Range in the water.
My family and I at Cejar Lagoon. We could see the reflection of the Andes Mountain Range in the water.

During my trip in San Pedro de Atacama is went on multiple hikes and participated in many Star Watching excursions. I was able to stand on top of Valle de La Muerte and look down to see a beautiful valley. After going star gazing and seeing another galaxy, I learned that our Earth, although important to protect, it is just a small part of our galaxy which is just a small part of the universe.

My family and I standing at the top of Villa de La Mertalla
My family and I standing at the top of Valle de La Muerte

Throughout my trip I met many wonderful people, all whom were extremely happy to be out in nature, enjoying the beautiful desert. They were not concerned with what clothes they were wearing, how they looked or what the latest trends were. What mattered most was showcasing the beautiful world around them.

My family with our guide, Paz. She is such an amazing person with a beautiful soul.
My family with our guide, Paz. She is such an amazing person with a beautiful soul.

Next time you are thinking about your shoes matching with your outfit, or whether your makeup is perfect, take time to remember to focus on those things that truly matter such as your health, being kind to others, caring for our environment and inspiring people to be the best version of themselves.

Here I am, standing in the Devil's Gorge. It is made up of layers of clay and gypsum.
Here I am, standing in the Devil’s Gorge. It is made up of layers of clay and gypsum. 

Check out the video below:

Happy Motivational Monday!

Love,

Char ❤