Sexy Power Duos: Torrey Peak and Greg Woerdeman


A real-life couple shares how they became internet sensations…and their secret for being “Vegas-ready” every day.

Over the past few months I’ve shared some self-improvement experiences I’ve found in Las Vegas. Spa treatments, a weight loss center, a custom straight-razor shave and more. Then I was lucky enough to make the acquaintance of a charming couple who share their awesome knowledge and advice on skin care. And no matter what your age or gender, you can always learn from people in the know.

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Greg Woerdeman may not be a household name, but you’ve probably heard about this overnight sensation. The handsome blue-collar hunk rose to fame in the most inauspicious of ways. Stepping in front of news cameras this January to alert drivers about impending weather and road conditions, the District Operations Supervisor for Tennessee Department of Transportation set the airwaves on fire. In no time at all, #TDOTHottie was born!

What happened next is the kind of story you read about in magazines….the new viral sensation was doing talk shows, personal appearances, photo shoots and romance novel covers. A bit of a private person up to this point, Woerdeman had no previous social media accounts or activity. Luckily for him, lady love Torrey Peak stepped up to guide and promote her beau’s new-found fame.

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                           Torrey (far left) at the 2013 NPC Flex Lewis Classic…

Torrey is no stranger to the spotlight. A Certified Surgical Assistant and gifted photographer with her own successful business, the Emporia, Kansas native was once a competitor in the NPC Flex Lewis Classic. If you’ve watched that sport, you know how important it is to be meticulously groomed and looking your best every hour of the day.

Recently the professional photographer found herself on the other side of the lens when Torrey joined Greg for a series of Furious Fotog photo shoots together. They’re featured in a stunning collection of romance novel covers that bring their healthy lifestyle and passion for each other into focus. So now more than ever, the handsome couple is working their hardest to look their best in the safest possible way…today and for the future.

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Greg joked during an on-camera interview that his secret to looking hot is a cup of coffee, eating “somewhat okay” and going to the gym a lot. Of course we’re only as good as the things that we put into and on our bodies, which is why Torrey got involved with a line of carefully-created body and skin-care products named BEAUTYCOUNTER.

Influenced by her work in the medical field and frustrated that the FDA considers thousands of chemicals to be safe when they’re actually harmful, Torrey did research to find a smarter choice in skin care. “I believe that a lot of diseases like MS are misdiagnosed. It has to do with toxicity in the body. It’s so frustrating to me. We have one body, and everything we pile onto it is unbalancing our system and derailing it. What you wear on your body is literally affecting the next generation”.

Torrey used the ingredients in conventional chemical sunscreens as an example of this gene-altering situation. “Parabens (compounds used as preservatives in cosmetics and pharmaceuticals) mimic hormones in your body. They disrupt your endocrine system and cause things like erectile dysfunction. The increase in sunscreen usage has actually led to a rise in melanoma. It’s just crazy”.

That’s why Torrey and Greg have entrusted their health and appearance to BEAUTYCOUNTER, a line of skin care, make-up, bath/body and sunscreens created by a company with a social mission:

One by one, we are leading a movement to a future where all beauty is clean beauty. We are powered by people, and our collective mission is to get safer products into the hands of everyone. Formulate, advocate, & educate—that’s our motto for creating products that truly perform while holding ourselves to unparalleled standards of safety. Why? It’s really this simple: beauty should be good for you.

Since our first product launched in 2013, we’ve created our own high standards in pursuit of clean beauty. Over 1,500 questionable ingredients are never used in our formulations. We advocate for stricter guidelines and regulations to shift the personal-care industry away from using harmful and questionable ingredients.

We’re proud to be a part of a global movement of brands using business as a force for positive change. We support nonprofits we feel aligned with, and invest in new forms of giving by partnering with leading scientists to find safer ingredients that will create the better products of tomorrow. We work to minimize the environmental impacts of our products, packaging and footprint through our sustainable ingredient sourcing and our recyclable product packaging.

Having been on my own journey of self-improvement, I was intrigued by this approach to personal care. So I got with Torrey and she provided a series of questions to determine my skin type, unique problems and long-term concerns. Then she sent samples of the products designed to safely address those needs.

Being the macho guy that I am (lol) , I leaned heavily towards COUNTERMAN, the guy’s line of BEAUTYCOUNTER products. Having just recently gained a new appreciation for the art of shaving (read about that here) I wanted to try COUNTERMAN’s take on concentrated shave creams. A fragrance-free blend of shea butter, aloe and a unique Sequoia Stem Cell Complex, Smoothing Shave Cream leaves my face feeling soft, smooth and wonderfully hydrated.

Another new favorite in my daily routine is COUNTERMAN Energizing Charcoal Body Wash. I’ve been attracted to the detoxifying properties of activated charcoal and keep a bottle of capsules on hand for if/when I overindulge in Vegas nightlife. My personal care regime has also grown to include charcoal toothpaste, body lotion and wash.

Of course, products that boast one beneficial ingredient like activated charcoal can also contain a myriad of harmful ones. Torrey looked into my choices, pointed out the harmful chemicals they contain and made it clear that spending more than for typical Bath and Bodyworks-type brands is worth it when crucial benefits matter.

Living in a desert climate with mature skin has its own challenges, so Torrey recommended that I try the Rejuvenating Regime, a collection of cleanser, toner, radiance serum and day cream. Used together, this line firms and nourishes my face while fighting the effects of time and environment. To amplify the benefits, I added Resurfacing Overnight Peel, a twice-weekly treatment that reduces pores, lines and dark spots to make my rugged mug glow like a young guy’s once again. It may never make me look like #TDOTHottie, but perhaps a little less like Charlie Brown’s grandfather.

Now that Torrey and Greg are enjoying their newfound popularity, they’ve decided to share the benefits of COUNTERMAN and BEAUTYCOUNTER products by officially endorsing and being consultants for them. I’m pleased to be one of their customers and you can, too.

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Don’t wait until an anniversary, family gathering or trip to Vegas motivates you to jump start your personal-care regime. Make COUNTERMAN and BEAUTYCOUNTER a part of your daily life and enjoy looking and feeling your healthy best right now. Follow this link to take the survey. Then contact Torrey Peak by clicking here to get started.

Note: this is an non-endorsed article. I really do use these products, appreciate their effectiveness and support what they stand for. 
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SkinnyFATS – Fun, Hip and Healthy Dining


 Vegas-born restaurants will change your ideas of “Good-For-You” food…

The fitness culture of Sin City is big….and growing. Of course we’ve got hundreds (if not thousands) of models, athletes, acrobats, dancers and other performers who call Las Vegas “home”.  If you think these fine physical specimens get by on a boring diet of broccoli and smoothies, you’d be wrong. For exciting meals that fit their demanding lifestyle, the hip and health-conscious have embraced SkinnyFATS. Now this locally-born collection of exciting restaurants is going national.

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The slogan for SkinnyFATS is “Live healthy. Live happy”. That second phrase is what sets SkinnyFATS apart from stodgy “clean eating” establishments. You’ll know you’re in for fun the moment you walk in the door and are greeted with a chorus of “hello!” and “welcome!”. That positive attitude is enhanced with colorful decor, carefully-selected music and a relaxing, inviting design. The restaurants are counter-service style but you’ll still feel pampered from the ordering process to your final bite.

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Everything at SkinnyFATS represents their business philosophy….especially the very affordable menu. Certain choices are considered to be indulgent, so the menu is divided between a “Healthy Side”  (selections under 600 calories) and a “Happy Side”, i.e. those that aren’t. Yet even those supposedly naughty choices are whipped up with beneficial twists.

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SkinnyFATS starts each day with luscious breakfasts. The ScramBowl ($8.95) is an egg-white scramble made with turkey bacon, zucchini, mushrooms, carmelized onion and cherry tomatoes. Packed with flavor and protein, this hearty bowl has only 295 calories. Healthy Side choices include Cluck Moo, an egg white omelette with shaved NY steak, carmelized onion and avo pico ($11.95) and Berry Strong, a protein waffle topped with berries, strawberry chia jam, orange agave and turkey bacon ($8.95).

Happy Side breakfasts include S’motherload, a burrito filled with filet mignon, sausage, fajita peppers, potato and eggs, then smothered with cajun cheddar sauce and pico ($11.95). Perhaps the meat-lover in you catches a glimpse of Steak Eyes 2.0, an intriguing plate of country-fried filet medallions and two eggs served with jalapeno cornbread and gravy ($12.95).

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For lunch, you’ve gotta try TOMato Cruise ($3.95), an amazing soup that’s the freshest and richest you’ll ever slide your spoon into. This vegan delight is topped with 9-grain croutons and boasts a calorie count of only 230. You can add a Grilled Cheese Sandwich for $4.20 more.

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If you’d like to whet your appetite with crunch and heat, try CauliFIRE, a spicy vegan/gluten-free shareable of cauliflower, buffalo sauce, pico and cilantro ($5.95). Gobballs ($5.95) are turkey meatballs flavored with spicy arrabiata sauce, pesto and roasted tomatoes. Seafood lovers will adore Pimp Shrimp ($9.95) a cucumber boat filled with tempura shrimp, cilantro slaw and avo pico.

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Once you’re ready for the main course, dive into dozens of sandwiches, burgers, tacos and “Things In Bowls”. Remember….nothing here is ever ordinary. Turnip Tacos ($7.95) serve an insane combination of filet mignon, jicima, pico and habanero lime crema inside two wheat tortillas. Gluten-free Smoke In A Bowl ($9.95) piles agave barbecued chicken, peppers, onions, black bean salsa, pineapple and cilantro yo over a bowl of jasmine rice. T.A.T.S. ($9.95) reimagines the BLT as a low-cal winner with turkey bacon, avocado, tomato, spinach and spicy yo on 9-grain bread.

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If you’re on the way to the gym or just need a kick, fresh juices like Liquid Defense, Hangover Remedy and Green Mile will have you at your best in no time. Of course, naughty grab-and-go cookies like Chocolate Chunk, Salted Caramel and Lemon Blueberry (all $2.95) are also ready for your eager hands.

Click HERE to continue reading…

 

 

Therma-Slim Med Spa Turns Up The Heat


Locally-owned body-contouring center will help you get sexier for pool season and beyond…

When I moved from my rural Pacific Northwest home last fall to the excitement of Las Vegas, I was frequently reminded of that line from The Wizard of Oz… “Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.”

Indeed, life in Sin City exists on another plane. Packed with models, dancers, strippers, acrobats, athletes and great-looking members of the service industry, the residents of Vegas go out of their way to stay fit, youthful and great-looking. After all, it’s their bread and butter in a very competitive field.

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                                              Yours truly, then and now…

Having reached the heart of middle age, this writer has done plenty to fight the inevitable affects of aging. Regular workouts, elevated skin care, a cleaner diet, improved grooming and gallons of water have helped to fight the ravages of the years. But sometimes your self-improvement plans could use a little nudge.

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After doing a substantial amount of online research, I decided to visit Sean R. Baughman‘s Therma-Slim Med Spa on West Russel Road. After our initial consultation, I was convinced that Baughman was the right man to trust with my self-improvement goals:

I have clients who are in their suggested BMI (body mass index) range and want to lose that last inch they just can’t seem to get rid of. There are clients who are clinically obese and looking to kick-start their weight loss journey. Not all clients are candidates for my elective procedures. Unlike many clinics and med spas, I don’t see clients as dollar signs. I see them as people…people who are looking for help to better themselves both physically and emotionally.

A statement like that immediately suggested that Sean could be the right person to entrust with my goals. So I asked him about the types of clients he sees most frequently and what they’re most often looking to achieve:

My demographic ranges all over the spectrum from young adults that are looking for a little extra advantage to clients in their 60’s and 70’s that want to age gracefully. I will say that the women to men ratio though is about 80/20. Most of these people are already living a healthy lifestyle. They’re happy with their overall appearance and just need that extra boost to target one or two problem areas.

That was all I needed to convince me to move forward with Therma-Slim to get “some work done”. Med-spa treatments aren’t a quick fix for people unable or unwilling to be proactive with their health and appearance.  But for a guy like me who’s already making a valiant effort, stepping things up a notch with a little assistance can make a big difference in results.

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                      As a fitness trainer, Sean practices what he preaches…

The fact that Sean comes from a background in nutrition counseling and fitness training with a degree in biology naturally lends itself to a venture like Therma-Slim. Knowing that Baughman attended UNLV’s pre-med program and is certified through the National Academy of Sports Medicine assured me that my body and health would be in good hands.

My degree in biology from UNLV was originally to prepare for medical school. I wasn’t sure what direction to go in so took a break, which led me into personal training to fill the time. That in turn put me on the road towards becoming a nutritionist. I’d found a happy medium with a real interest in helping shape people’s bodies as well as their minds.

I decided to open Therma-Slim after coming across a clinic that was hiring a nutritionist. They needed someone to help with nutritional guidance for their patients, the majority of whom were there for elective procedures like Laser Lipolysis (or Laser Lipo). The clinic introduced me to the more aesthetic side of the medical community and happened to work out great with my education.

My personal training clients are much more likely to listen to recommendations because of my educational background in kinesiology, biology and fitness nutrition. I’m able to identify in each individual a specific plan of workouts and nutritional guidance, mixed with weight-loss procedures, to maximize their results.

With that said, not every client is a candidate for a few of the procedures I perform and I’ll be the first one to tell new patients that. My number one goal is for each client to receive sound advice and be given realistic and obtainable goals. I want them to succeed.

Upon meeting Sean, you might be surprised by his relatively young age. But this ambitious businessman has paid his dues to establish himself in the community. He’s worked the Vegas service industry for many years, often a difficult and thankless profession. This no doubt gave him a distinct edge when preparing to launch his own business.

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I was a bartender for many years while putting myself through school. I’d come to an age where I needed to do something more substantial with my time. Not that tending bar isn’t respectable… I was just at a stage where I needed to feel a sense of accomplishment.

I opened Therma-Slim med-spa in July of 2018. I’d learned a lot from the previous clinic and decided it was time to go on my own. One thing I never studied was business, yet I decided to throw caution to the wind and give it a shot. Soon after opening I realized that I actually understood business operations and surprisingly, really enjoyed it!

Being a business owner can be taxing both mentally and physically. Those who work within the professions of health and aesthetics have it even harder. They’re expected to “talk the talk and walk the walk”. That means looking your best 24/7. Luckily, Sean excels at burning the candle at both ends…and sometimes even lighting a few extra when needed .

I’ve built a reputation of honesty and integrity. My clients know it’s not about money for me…it’s about results.  That being said, my work days can be long. Most are twelve or thirteen hours. I’m normally up at 3:30 am and off to the gym to train clients by 4:30. I typically train until around 9, then head to the clinic to start seeing clients from 10 until 5.

Even though my business is relatively new, I’m normally busy the entire day. I enjoy it, though, so the day doesn’t drag. It’s very important to still find the time to work out at least one hour a day. That definitely keeps me mentally focused and physically healthy.

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So what exactly is a med spa? Simply speaking, they’re hybrid clinics that combine the atmosphere of a traditional day spa with the advanced care of a medical office. These unique facilities perform health and beauty techniques which require the expertise of a medical professional.

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Therma-Slim specializes in procedures to aid in weight loss, body contouring and skin tightening. All treatments are non-invasive/non-surgical and offer minimal to no “down time”. This means you can improve your face and body without missing work and usually without anyone knowing….that is, until they start commenting on how great you look.

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One Therma-Slim treatment is Strawberry Lipo, named for its bright red lasers that irradiate fat cells under the skin. Those cells release water, glycerol and fatty acids that are processed by the kidneys and liver, then exit the body through your urine. To make that process work properly, clients are required to drink plenty of water before and after a treatment, along with performing physical activities like strength training or cardio to keep the lymphatic system flowing properly.

Ultrasonic Cavitation is another non–invasive treatment that attacks stubborn fat deposits. It uses sound waves and suction directly to the tissues to turn fat cells into free fatty acids, which once again get flushed away…literally. This body-contouring technique is safe to use on the midsection. arms, legs, love handles and even the chin.

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I’ve always had a jowly round face and gravity hasn’t helped that. The body naturally produces less collagen as a person ages, causing the skin to lose elasticity. I originally sought out Thema-Slim to undergo RF Skin Tightening, a simple way to help “send things back where they came from”.

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A series of short, painless visits will soon induce tissue remodeling on my cheeks and jawline by stimulating natural collagen and elastin production. With my 56th birthday taking place this weekend, that doesn’t sound like such a bad thing. And it’s quite affordable.

I asked Sean if there were any techniques that he particularly enjoyed administering:

I Just recently started performing Cryolipolysis or “Fat Freezing” at my clinic. I really enjoy this procedure because of what it does to the fat cells. The biological reaction of it is fascinating…and it’s just fun to do.

Like any entrepreneur with ambition, Sean has already expanded from his original location to a larger, more modern facility in the same office complex.

Therma-Slim is not a part of a corporation. I am happy owning and operating solo. The prospect of expanding is definitely an option down the road, but for right now I like doing what I do. I get enjoyment out of making people look and feel better about themselves. I like that I can be that solution for them.

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Therma-Slim Body-Contouring and Laser Lipo Center is located at 4815 W. Russell Rd. Suite 16P, Las Vegas, NV 89118. Hours are 10 am to 5 pm Monday through Friday, 10 am to 2 pm on Saturday (closed Sunday). Call 702) 366-6574 to schedule an appointment. For a list of treatment options and current specials, visit the Therma-Slim Facebook Page

 

 

Teresa Van – Trainer to the Stars


Dynamic inspiration keeps Sin City’s top performers in peak condition…

Reno NV is called “The Biggest Little City In The World”. But once you get to know the locals of Las Vegas, that slogan could just as easily apply here. It’s a tight-knit community of people who live and work amid the glitz and flashing lights, yet are extremely supportive of one another in everyday life.

Recently I did a profile of Alejandro and Sarah Le Clear Domingo, the husband-and-wife team that tore a roof through the Palazzo Theater in BAZ. These amazing dancers are also stunning physical specimens. Sarah credits much of her success to her friend, trainer Teresa Van.

Teresa McAuliffe Van is a fitness and lifestyle coach as well as owner of ENVY TRAINING. This hard-working wife and mother of two is an inspiration for many stars and featured performers in the Las Vegas Valley. With over 18 years of experience, Teresa knows how to get the most out of their bodies. Being that Teresa is a seasoned choreographer and a former professional dancer herself, it’s no surprise that today’s crop of athletes and dancers depend on her to maximize the primary tool of their craft.

Teresa’s impact has been felt in many gyms throughout the area. Before starting her own business in conjunction with Tim Soder Physical Therapy, she trained clients at the former Edge Fitness (this writer’s personal retreat), EOS Fitness and David Barton Gym. Onstage, eagle-eyed show-goers may recognizer her as one of Matt Goss‘s “Gossy Girls” and her stint in iCandy Burlesque.

Teresa says “I truly have a passion for helping people feel their best”. One of her favorite sessions meets regularly on Saturday mornings. These boot camps gather performers from a variety of shows like Legends In Concert, Zombie Burlesque, Vegas! The Show and even Chippendales.

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Teresa (left) and Sarah Le Clear-Domingo after a performance of Palazzo’s BAZ…

Sarah is a regular member of that weekly class…and couldn’t be more please with the results.

We are all “seasoned” performers and in the same upper age bracket. We still put in the work to maintain our tool and do what we are passionate about. Teresa has devoted her life to fitness and keeping us current performers in shape. She’s such a wonderful person who gives so much to us.

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       Teresa (far left) and the cast of iCandy Burlesque at Planet Hollywood…

Teresa’s personal evolution is uniquely “Sin City”. She’s gone from sharing the spotlight with SEXXY‘s Jennifer Romas to building a family with her handsome husband (loan officer Brenton Van). Teresa understands the changes that hard-working bodies go through as life progresses. She’s now using her own experiences to guide those facing similar challenges.

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I have struggled in regards to keeping a tight, toned body for both my career and postpartum. I know that accountability is a key factor in maintaining a fitness regimen. Adopting new fitness habits is difficult and often times frustrating. My goal is to change your view on fitness, so that it becomes a part of who you are and your overall lifestyle.

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To that end, Teresa’s ENVY TRAINING offers personalized courses, written and audio plans along with online support. Whether you come to her facility or she designs an in-home course for you, Teresa promises to be there every step of the way:

I am capable of analyzing your body and creating an in-home or on-location fitness plan that will help you achieve your highest potential. Most plans include healthy eating and exercise to ensure the best results. I will always be in contact with you to keep you on track and motivated on your fitness journey. I am also available for personal training sessions in both Las Vegas and Henderson. If you’ve never worked with a personal trainer, get ready to WORK and SEE RESULTS!

Perhaps that’s why so many Strip stars entrust their health, fitness and longevity to the UNLV graduate and certified personal trainer. Sarah Domingo is very grateful for the time they spend together.

Each session is different, fun, hard and always a full body work out. So thrilled to have her training me! Thank you so much for always keeping my injuries in check and pushing me so I can do this nightly.

As for Teresa, she couldn’t be happier to make a difference she makes in the lives of her clients, friends and colleagues. “It feels awesome to be strong, and that’s why I love training around this city…helping everyone feel healthier and more AWESOME!”.

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   Teresa and her family count their blessings during a recent holiday season…

You can contact Teresa Van for a personalized workout by calling 520-820-9258 or visiting EnvyTraining.com. Envy Training is located at 6440 Medical Center St #100, Las Vegas, Nevada 89148. Gift cards are available by clicking here

Photos: Teresa Van, Sarah Le Clear-Domingo

 

 

 

Find Your Inner Ariel at MERMAID SCHOOL


Weekend childrens’ classes are Westgate’s latest “outside the box”…

Going through my daily round of press release emails is a lot like attacking the pile of presents under the Christmas tree. Some of them I can’t wait to open up (“Chippendales Announces Latest Guest Host”). Others feel obligatory…like a Visa gift card from the mother-in-law (“Hash House A Go Go Introduces New Cocktail, Extends Happy Hour).

Then there are the ones that stink like rotten fish and get tossed into the garbage without opening (“Chris Brown Returns to Drai’s Nightclub”, “Mariah Carey Announces Christmas Show at Caesars Palace”). But my favorite emails are the ones that have you scratching your head in wonder. Things like “Learn To Be A Mermaid at Westgate Las Vegas”. Seriously?

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Regular readers know that bringing the children to Vegas is one of my biggest pet peeves. But Westgate is a different kind of resort. A privately-held timeshare company, their twenty-eight locations cater to families around the country. Of them, only the Vegas location on Paradise Road has a casino (and a topless revue).

Naturally there is crossover of timeshare owners with kids, so Westgate Las Vegas offers a limited selection of entertainment and activities that appeal to the little ones. Shows like Magic of Jen Kramer…and Dirk Arthur before her. Dining at the glorious gardens of Benihana Village. And yes, weekend mermaid classes.

I’ll admit to initially being tempted to toss this press release into the trash folder. But “only in Vegas” experiences should be treasured. So after a long night of partying with the guys, I donned my shades and took the elevator down to Westgate’s expansive third-floor pool deck to meet Mermaid Farasha and the little ones who had lined up for that morning’s class.

Mermaid Farasha DesertSiren goes by the name of Farasha Millner when in human form. A professional belly dancer and mermaid performer, Ms. Farasha travels with her mobile tank and seashell to entertain, educate and promote the “Mermaid Code of Ethics”. In other words, she’s a positive role model for youngsters…and anyone in need of a little course correction through the sea of life.

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I was able to briefly meet Mermaid Farasha before the morning’s class and she was indeed glowing with compliments and positive vibes. “Oooh, you give off a great energy” she cooed in my ear. “You’d make a great mer-man”. Yes, I really was blushing.

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Although the Desert Siren was eager to begin, one fledgling mermaid had already been waiting long before anyone else arrived. Nine year old Carson Parker of Florida was up at the crack of dawn…and ready to slip into her fin.

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Accompanied by great aunt Becky Knowles (left) and aunt Kelli Wilkin, Carson was staying at Westgate while mother Melissa Parker, the reigning Mrs. Florida America, was competing in the Mrs. America Pageant. That event was being held the same weekend at the off-Strip resort.

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With her mother in rehearsal for the evening’s show, Carson was eager to learn some new tricks in the water. As fortunes would have it, Carson was already an avid mermaid-er. Adept at doing front flips, she regularly practices at the family’s pool in Melbourne.

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Word had gotten out to Vegas locals about the new classes, too. Seven-year-old Dionni signed up after her mother Tavia heard about Mermaid School from a Facebook friend…who in turn saw a piece on local station KTNV. She proudly posed with her new mermaid fin and couldn’t wait to begin.

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          Seven year old Dionni was eager to go “Under The Sea” in Mermaid School…

Also attending that weekend was Abbie Losch, aka “Mermaid Coral”. You may remember Abbie as the adventurous daughter of Westgate’s own superstar Chef Aaron Losch, whom I profiled earlier this year.

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                   Abbie Losch makes a striking mermaid at Westgate’s pool…

Inside the pool’s merchandise shop, other youngsters were lining up to buy or rent their fins. Some were singing from Disney’s “The Little Mermaid”, whose soundtrack would soon be playing over and over (and over) on speakers during the morning’s lessons.

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The class began with a preliminary introduction and explanation of basics for the newbies. The students were assisted in learning to don and stand in their fins. Then came introductions all around. The young ladies were asked to choose a personal mermaid name, then the real fun began.

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Mermaid Farasha School Westgate

After a brief absence, the Desert Siren returned to the pool in full mermaid regalia and shimmied into the pool. Along with showing her students new maneuvers, Farasha emphasized the importance of support, encouragement and respect for each other and one’s own self.

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“You’re in control. You are beautiful. In the mermaid’s world we support one another” she told them. The students learned how to tread water, give a “tail salute” and speak seafaring lingo like “Shello!”. But most of all, they learned how to be feminine, graceful and kind. “There’s so much you can do with this. You are a Mer!”.

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As the class wound down, curious onlookers came over to see what Mermaid School was all about and pose for pictures. Then a young boy swam over to chat to Mermaid Farasha about being a mer-man. “I love your British accent, handsome!”. Yes, the classes are open to boys as well.

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If interest continues to grow, there’s a possibility of adding adult groups into the mix. And why not? Apparently this is a new social movement. Mermaid Schools are popping up all over the country. And they’re a nice fit to Westgate’s other poolside offerings like sunrise yoga classes (Friday-Sunday from 7 am to 8 am, weather permitting) and the Silent Savana sunset sessions I told you about here.

Despite Farasha‘s suggestion that I try on the fins myself, I’ll leave that kind of fun to the younger guests. I’ll be content just to sip a fireball mojito and watch the activities from The Playground, Westgate’s 21-and-up dayclub that I told you about here.

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      Kate’s Island Shop at Westgate’s retail corridor has gotten into the mermaid spirit…

That’s what’s so great about Sin City. There’s something for every taste. And just when you think you’ve seen and done it all, another WTF press release will appear in your in-box. Let’s hope the next one isn’t “Mariah Carey Extends Latest Residency”. There’s got to be a limit to the madness!

Mermaid Farasha School Westgate

All participants agreed to being interviewed and their guardians signed waivers for press coverage…

Tickets for Mermaid Class are available at Serenity Spa at Westgate’s 3rd floor pool deck. Call 702-732-5648 to purchase tickets by phone. Classes are capped at 15 students.

  • Ages: 7-12. [Participants must know how to swim/parent or guardian must be present during the duration of the class and sign Mermaid School waiver.]

  • Price: $25.00 per class

  • Dates/Time: Saturdays & Sundays from 9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. 

Photos: Sammasseur, Jamie Losch

Mr. Olympia Fitness Expo Will Leave You Breathless


Two-day event at the Las Vegas Convention Center is a jackpot of thrills…

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Earlier this week I introduced you to the annual Mr. Olympia events in Las Vegas, and today I’ll be exploring the most fun a fit guy or gal can have in Sin City. By that I mean the Olympia Fitness Expo at Las Vegas Convention Center. So bring an empty gym bag and get ready to fill it with swag.

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Friday and Saturday from 10 am through 5 pm is where you’ll find the world’s biggest collection of fitness fans. The Olympia Fitness Expo draws thousands from around the globe. For a $30 admission price (or $50 for a two-day pass), visitors can completely envelop themselves in every aspect of physical fitness culture.

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Dozens of booths and exhibitors line two levels of the Convention Center floor and it’s anything but a static business presentation. Both sides of the space have areas for physical competitions such as power lifting, martial arts, Tae Kwan Do, kickboxing, wrestling, karate, Olympic weightlifting and wheelchair championships.

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On the stage are contests for Men’s and Bikini Modeling, judging and awards for Men’s and Women’s Physique and the very “Vegas-y” pole competition. But the masses gravitate towards the vendor exhibits, where true paydirt awaits.

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Upon entry, attendees are given an enormous shopping bag which quickly becomes filled with giveaways. We’re talking protein powders, energy drinks, pre-workout mixes and pills, skin products, snack bars, weight-loss stimulants, shakers, t-shirts and more.

Those who purchase VIP packages get to enter an hour before the general public and are able to snag the best goodies on both days (I even got a zippered hoodie and five workout shirts). Better freebies go to those who take on physical challenges like chin-ups, arm curl contests, high jumps…and giant bowling?

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The photo below is just a sampling of what I collected while making my rounds and meeting the vendors. Most merchants require an email or Facebook registration to collect a sample bag and those lines are usually the longest…because they give away the best stuff.

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For those who find it hard to stay on their fitness plan when visiting Vegas, consider planning a trip around the Olympia weekend this year. It takes place every September, is a lot more fun than you’d think, and you’ll come home a winner. Just remember to bring an extra suitcase for all those freebies.

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                            Myself looking small next to the big boys…

Olympia Fitness Expo 2018 will be held September 14th and 15th at the Las Vegas Convention Center. No strollers are allowed at the venue. For a schedule of events and tickets, click here

Photos: Sammasseur

From Mormon to Male Revue: One Man’s Evolution, Vegas-style


Chippendales performer Ryan Worley’s solitary road to redemption…

Sin City’s adult production shows have been around for decades. In other cities, sexy performers might be viewed with a certain disdain, but here they are regarded with a unique reverence.

The showgirls of Jubilee! and Folies Bergere will always be iconic. The men of Aussie Heat are genuine bonafide trained dancers of impressive skill. The ladies of SEXXY and FANTASY work hard for the money. And then there are the Chippendales…a macho, muscular troupe whose name is synonymous with classy male entertainment.

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       Ryan and fellow Chipp James Davis don purple to support LGBTQ youth…

In a recent article I called the men of ChippendalesShirtless Angels of Charity“. They do indeed spend plenty of time contributing wonderful work for the Las Vegas community. But first and foremost, they’re a hunky bunch of guys who grind out sets in the gym before bumping and grinding onstage.

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Twenty-seven year old Ryan Worley never imagined that one day he’d be taking off his clothes for a paying audience. Raised within the strict guidelines and culture of the Church of Latter Day Saints, Worley was as far from Chippendales stock as one could imagine.

Yet we don’t always know what’s around the corner or lies over the horizon. And Ryan’s life so far has been anything but predictable.

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                         Ryan (far left) in a family photo with his siblings…

I was born in California on August 6th, 1990 and am the second oldest of four kids. We were raised in the Mormon religion and devoted to the church. After high school I was dating a girl who was not a Mormon…and being with her made me not want to serve my two-year mission.

Not volunteering for missionary work is very frowned upon within the culture. People will go as far as to shunning you for it…and that was the case for me.

Instead, I went to college at Brigham Young University in Idaho. This is a Mormon school and they have three campuses (Provo, Utah is the largest and most popular). I completed three semesters there and eventually transferred to Utah Valley University.

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While attending Utah Valley University, Ryan lived with a friend whose father was a Mormon Bishop. It was clear that, despite avoiding missionary service and not being very active any longer, his exposure to the Latter Day Saints Movement was deeply entrenched in every aspect of his life.

At the age of twenty, Worley was attracted to a fellow employee at the pizza parlor where he moonlighted. This young lady was active in the Mormon church and got Ryan to attend again. After dating for two years the couple got married…but their romance was short-lived.

Someone once told me when we first married that the number one cause of divorce is unmet expectations…a sentence which resonated inside me. That’s when I got into fitness. The gym became my sanctuary and a place where I could let go.

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Throwing himself into the lifestyle of intense fitness was very therapeutic. While building his body, Ryan acquired a new level of self-esteem which was critical in this period. The change to his physique was astounding. Still, it wasn’t enough to mend the difficulties with his bride.

I told her that I wanted a divorce and she didn’t put up much of a fight. We sold our house and she went back to southern California…I moved north to the Salt Lake City area.

Hot Guys of Vegas Eye of the Beholder

Ryan dove head-first into the fitness industry, serving as a Fitness Nutrition Specialist for a company called Complete Nutrition. While adjusting to a newly-single life in his small apartment, he was helping others get their own lives back on track. Knowing how to design customized meal plans for clients was invaluable when Worley planned to enter his first bodybuilding competition.

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Spending hours at home on his stationary bike, Ryan discovered the documentary The Perfect Physique on Netflix (readers may recall that I covered the red-carpet premiere of this film at Palms Casino during the 2015 Mr. Olympia).

Ever since I got into fitness I’d wanted to do modeling and end up on a cover of a magazine. TJ Hoban, who is a well-known fitness model, was talking in the film about the difficulties he’d faced, like when he had a serious onstage accident during a Chippendales performance back in the 90’s.

I’d heard about Chippendales before but didn’t know exactly what it was or what it entailed. What I did know was that if my idol TJ Hoban was part of it, then it must be something great.

I went online and immediately filled out an application, submitted a few pictures and told a little about myself…but I never actually expected to hear back from them.

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                                        Actor/model/fitness star TJ Hoban…

Even though his own performance experience was limited to a small Mormon singing/dancing group, Ryan was bursting with excitement…and hope. After applying, he joked with his Complete Nutrition employer that if Chippendales hired him he’d need to give notice.

Two weeks later, an email arrived from the show’s General Manager for an invitation-only audition:

I needed to rent a car for the drive from Utah to Vegas because my own was so crappy. Nobody knew about the audition. When I arrived early in the day, it was straight to the gym to pump up and look my best.

I was one of about fifteen guys there…and they all looked incredible. Kristen Makhathini (the show’s General Manager at the time) led the audition and had us take our shirts off for head shots.

We got on stage and began learning choreography. This was all very new to me. After about ten minutes, they split us into groups and mine was first. We ran through the routine a couple of times, then Kristen said “Alright guys, we are going to start cutting people so if you hear your name we don’t need you anymore and thank you for coming out”. The next sentence made my stomach drop: “Everyone in the first group except for Ryan can go home. Thank you”.

These other guys had flown in from all over the world and it was over for them in less than twenty minutes! My heart was beating out of my chest! They narrowed us down to four of us and said we’d know in a week. There were two spots, one for touring and another for the Vegas show. The tour manager came up to me and asked if I was able to get a passport. “I think I want to steal you for the tour” she said.

My mind went crazy…why did she just say “steal”? Did that mean I got the Vegas spot? That evening I watched the show for the first time, drove back to Utah overnight and never told anyone about it.

When the call came that he’d be a part of the Vegas production, it was time to shock his boss with the news of what he’d done…and to give that resignation notice they’d kidded about.

Along with this sudden change in his life’s course was the realization that he’d be stirring up controversy with his conservative friends and family.

Hot Guys of Vegas Eye of the Beholder

When I asked him what kind of reactions he received after telling people about Chippendales, Ryan sighed and took a moment to collect his thoughts. He was reluctant to slam the culture he’d been a part of for so long, but felt that he’d somehow broken free of someone else’s control and was ready to speak out about it.

My family has had a rough time with my new career but I knew they probably would. They don’t fully understand it or know what it is.

I’m no longer a member of the Mormon church but my friends and loved ones are and I want to respect that. I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, but the truth is that they teach you to be close-minded. I remember how my siblings and I were treated after our parents divorced. We sat in the back of the church, alone, like outcasts among our own people.

Mormons have their own stance on issues and you have to accept them as yours. When I grew up, I found myself asking “Are these values mine because I’m naturally a good person or were they were taught to me by the church?. Even now I’m not sure, but my mom did bring me up to be a respectful man.

Worley went on to discuss things about the Mormon culture that still concern him. Matters like their unequal treatment of minorities and the LGBTQ community. He feels that’s why a lot of Americans are now leaving the church…and why it currently targets impressionable third-world countries.

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But now that he’s found a new “family” with his Chippendales brothers and their socially-positive work, Ryan Worley is ready to move forward and continue making things better for himself…and others.

I’ve been a Chippendale for almost a year now and love everything it has to offer. I get to do charity work in the community and appear on numerous TV shows. It feels like my years of struggle are over. This is my big break…I go to work and people cheer for me!

I reached out to TJ Hoban and Kandice King (directer of The Perfect Physique), told them my story and how much that documentary changed my life. They seemed very happy to have helped make my life a little better.

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After interviewing Ryan for this piece, I attended a performance of Chippendales at the Rio. Sitting in front of me, right up against the stage, was a group of his buddies. They’d come to Vegas to see for themselves what their longtime friend was now a part of. And they cheered just as wildly as everyone else in the audience.

Watching Ryan’s friends gather around him in the lounge after the show was a thrill to witness and experience. This young man had finally gained confidence and acceptance from his peers. And he’d done it on his own terms.

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“I’ve always felt like I was meant for big things and want to influence people in a positive way. Maybe my story can do the same for others”.

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You can read more about Ryan and his current projects in my column “Hot Guys of Vegas – Eye of the Beholder“.

Chippendales performs nightly at Rio Las Vegas. Click here for showtimes and tickets via our friend at VegasFool.com.

Photos: Sammasseur, Ryan Worley, The Perfect Physique, Chippendales via Facebook