Tiana Star's Music and Thoughts

Tiana Star's Music and Thoughts

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The Vegetarian vs. Meat Health Debate

August 7, 2011

“To Eat Meat, or Not Eat Meat, That Is The Question.”

Living in the Los Angeles, California area and “The Bubble” of the entertainment business, food and diet is constantly on everyone’s lips. A controversial health issue that’s been up for debate for a long time is whether or not Vegetarianism is healthier than those who choose to keep meat in their diet. So, with this controversial health topic on my mind, I decided to do some research to see what both sides had to say about the issue.

Vegetarian Food Pyramid Copyright 2002 Department of Nutrition, Arizona State University Art by Nick Rickert

I found a really informative website during my research, called ProCon.org that was very useful in finding great arguments from Pro Vegetarianism and Con Vegetarianism. On the list of Pro’s, they used the following facts concerning health, including the rumor that you couldn’t get enough iron as a Vegetarian: “The Vegetarian diet provides a more healthful form of iron than a meat-based diet. Studies have linked heme iron in red meat with an increased risk of colon and rectal cancer. Vegetarian sources of iron like leafy greens and beans contain non-heme iron.”

In rebuttal to that fact, however, the Con list from ProCon.org shared the following information: “Meat is the best source of vitamin B12 – a vitamin necessary to nervous and digestive system health. Although it is also found in eggs and dairy, a peer-reviewed July 2003 study showed 2 in 3 vegetarians were vitamin B12 deficient compared to 1 in 20 meat eaters.

While on the hunt for more articles that included scientific fact and research, I found some more great information on Vegetarian Times explaining that Vegetarians ward off disease because they’re filling up on high fiber and anti-oxidant rich fruits and veggies and aren’t consuming any animal fat. The article also explained that Vegetarianism could help with Weight Control, which directly affects our overall health. “According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and a division of the CDC, the National Center for Health Statistics, 64 percent of adults and 15 percent of children aged 6 to 19 are overweight and are at risk of weight-related ailments including heart disease, stroke and diabetes. A study conducted from 1986 to 1992 by Dean Ornish, MD, president and director of the Preventive Medicine Research Institute in Sausalito, California, found that overweight people who followed a low-fat, vegetarian diet lost an average of 24 pounds in the first year and kept off that weight 5 years later.”

USDA 2011 Food Pyramid

On the meat side of weight loss, however, the Con list from ProCon.org cited:  “A meat-centered diet can help with weight loss. It takes fewer calories to get protein from lean meat than it does from vegetarian options. One serving of lean beef (3 oz.) contains as much protein as one serving of beans (1½ cups) or a veggie burger. However, the lean beef has half the calories of beans (180 vs. 374), and 50%-75% fewer calories than the veggie burger.”

As part of my research, I did find some disturbing information and videos of animal cruelty that goes on in some of our large animal farms. I found this short film produced by The Humane Society, and wanted to attach it because I feel it’s important to make our selves aware of how animals are treated on some of these farms. However, I also found a very nice video on free-range chickens, that I wanted to attach, that shows there are farms that treat their animals properly. (Videos Below)

Since there are legitimate facts and findings from both sides of the Vegetarianism argument, I found a really nice quote from ProCon.org to end the article with. “The right to eat what we want, including meat, is a fundamental liberty that we must defend. What people eat should be their own choice.“

When choosing to eat meat or not, perhaps we should all make the commitment to be more aware of what kind of meats and foods we’re choosing. May we all live long, healthy, and happy lives.

Warning: Video below contains graphic and potentially emotionally disturbing footage. Viewer discretion is advised


End Human Trafficking

July 31, 2011

From Sea To Shining Sea

With many great charities and organizations trying to bring awareness to ending Modern Day Human Slavery and Trafficking, you would think “The Land of the Free” would be the leaders of this Freedom Train. However, after profiling the President of the U.S. Branch of the Global Organization ECPAT (End Child Prostitution and Trafficking) Carol Smolenski, she revealed some shocking details into the reality of how hard it is to combat this issue in America.  Even with the depressing nature of Human Trafficking in our own country and worldwide, Carol still offered insight, hope, and clear direction as to how each person can make a difference.

Carol didn’t start her career with eyes on trying to end Human Trafficking globally. Carol’s story began when she was a PhD student at Urban Planning and a friend of hers asked her to become the U.N. representative for the Christian Children’s fund. Carol said, “No, I don’t want to, I like my housing policy work.” But she needed a job, so she agreed to six months.

Carol shares the rest of her journey in her own words: “Well, six months came and went. I learned all the terrible things that happened to children in the world, and I just couldn’t walk away. I mean, once you know those things are going on, how do you not do something about it? At least that’s how I felt.  Then ECPAT came to town twenty years ago, and said to me, ‘your men are coming to Asia to exploit our kids, and you need to do something about it. ‘ So I stepped up with some others and said, “We’re going to do something about this!”

In Carol’s words, “ECPAT is as an international charity trying to move governments forward in doing the right thing. In the policy world and child rights world, everyone knows ECPAT and we’re in the lead.” One of their biggest pushes right now is to change laws to help bring more support to victims of sexual exploitation. Carol explains that “the system”, as it is now, has to change.  Carols breaks it down: “So we have in the system, kids abused their whole lives, then taken by a pimp, forced to sleep with men night after night, not given any money, locked up, and are sex slaves. Then, our system arrests them and they’re given a jail cell cause ‘they’re a bad kid.’ That’s how they’ve been operating. “

Carol went on to explain that recently states have begun to pass laws to protect these kids from arrest, and instead, help them. Five states have currently passed the law (NY, IL, CT, WA, VT) Minnesota and New Jersey are in the works, but that’s it! That leaves 43 states that Carol says we should all be calling our senators and writing letters insisting that the law changes for victims of sexual trafficking.

Carol says another one of ECPAT USA’s big pushes is what they call “The Code of Conduct.” Carol explains: “There’s this big project that we’re trying to get the travel industry to do what they need to do to stop this [Human Trafficking] from happening on their premises. Every brand name of hotel that you’ve heard of has child prostitution happening on their premise. I can prove this by reading you the transcripts from arrested pimps on the stand, and they name all the places they have their “services” and it’s every single brand [of hotels] in the States.”

Carol Smolenski with Tiana Star at "I Am My Own" Video Release Party L to R Jasmine (Video Director), Helen (Video Producer), Carol Smolenski (ECPATusa.org President), Eeefy (Int'l TV Star), Tiana Star

Carol continues to explain the Code of Conduct, and the battle she’s faced to have American Travel Companies (Airlines and Hotels) sign this Code. To put it in perspective, Carol says, “Outside the U.S. 1,000 companies have signed this Code of Conduct. In the U.S., however, only 1 company had signed by 2011 after 6 years of work. In the last 3 months, Delta Airlines and Hilton Hotels signed the code.” When Carol told me those numbers, I couldn’t believe my ears. Our so-called “Land of the Free” nation and companies, who could make a difference, are at the back of the pack for actually doing something about ending human trafficking.

Although my heart dropped to hear these figures, Carol was still upbeat and positive that we could all make a difference by talking to people that work for these travel industry companies. Carol offered some tips on what we can do to make a difference. “There’s a postcard that you can fill out and ask them [Airlines and Hotels] to sign this postcard when you’re traveling. You can just sign the postcard and mail it, give it in, or ask to speak to a manager.” (Link to PRINT POSTCARD HERE)

Although the battle seems dim and drear, no battle that is worth winning is easy.  Carol Smolenski has given her life to help bring a voice to those who don’t have one. We’ve learned that we can all make a difference, whether that’s calling our Senators, giving out the “Code of Conduct” postcard, or telling others about the cause.  There are a lot of ways we can help, and we should all ask ourselves the question that Carol asked herself, “Once you know these things are going on, how do you not do something about it?”

Carol Smolenski is an inspiring human, woman, mother, and true advocate of freedom for all people no matter their age, race, gender, or situation. Meeting Carol proved what I already knew to be true, that her life’s passion is using her life to help others.

Learn More and Donate:

If interested in learning more and donating, please check out ECPATUSA.org

You can buy my song “I Am My Own” that I wrote inspired by ECPAT, and proceeds from the song go to ECPAT directly. (BUY SONG HERE)

The Body Shop also sells a lotion that donates 100% net proceeds of every sale to ECPAT.  You can BUY The Lotion HERE as well as sign their petition to End Human Slavery.

Watch Carol’s Speech to my fans at my Video Release Party Below:

The Official “I Am My Own” Music Video by Tiana Star


Link to Previous Post “Changing Our Minds to Change Our Lives”


Changing Our Minds to Change Our Lives

July 23, 2011 3 Comments

“Come On Get Happy!”

by Tiana Star

The Partridge Family’s theme song, “Come On Get Happy!” should be something we should sing and strive for. Happiness, though a beautiful state of being, seems to be so hard to attain at times. According to the infographic by TypCut below, If you are happy, keep doing what you’re doing, but if you’re not, you need to change something, and quick!  And perhaps, if we would change our minds and attitudes, being (and staying) happy wouldn’t seem so hard. Is there a way of changing our mindset to help us be more joyful and happy on a daily basis? I believe there is.

Let’s start with looking at children. Children seem to exude happiness no matter what life brings. Perhaps it is because they’re still excited to go for a walk, play at the park, eat an ice-cream cone, and just laugh and giggle about anything silly. They appreciate all the little things in life, and take great joy in those things.

Perhaps if we learned from these sweet children, and took the time to literally smell the roses, lie down and look up at the sky to watch the clouds, appreciate the fact that we’re alive, our minds would start to change and we could be happy.

"Are you Happy?" infographic by TypCut

I found an interesting article on “getting happy” and a list of things to do to change your mindset. Coach Emrick ((Life Coach Emric’s Blog) listed the following as a Recipe for Happiness :
Every day, wake up with a smile and be grateful for:
1. What you have, your health, your body, your spouse, your family, etc
2. What you did: vacation, parties, restaurant, entertainment, etc
3. What you are: healthy, richer than average, good work, appreciated, etc .
Make a list of all these in 3 columns. You will be amazed.
Too many of us are taking our possessions, our state, and our gifts in general for granted. Avoid thinking readily of what you don’t have. This is a reflex too many people have.” )

I’d like to continue on with what Mr. Emric said, and that that we should AVOID thinking about we don’t have, and that we should think about and be thankful for what we do have! These statements are simple, but not always easy. I think this is a great place to start and can really help us change our thinking from negative to positive- which is truly a recipe for more happiness in our lives!

Let’s add some more flavors to this recipe of happiness, yes? ☺

There’s a really cool article on Positive Thinking, (Positive Thinking Checklist) and one of their tricks is to replace negative thoughts with positive ones.

For instance, Have you ever said, “I’m getting sick.” Instead, try replacing that statement with, “I’m fighting this off.” Our minds are so powerful. We need to stop allowing negative statements with our mouths and our minds to continue. Here’s another example. “I’m so stupid, I can’t believe I did that.” That’s very negative self -talk, and especially since most people say those things to other people as well. Try replacing that statement with, “Oh, I made a mistake, but let me see how I can fix that for the future.”

If you have a moment, perhaps think about any negative self- talk (or negativity towards others) and think about how you can replace that negativity with positive and happy thoughts! Your life will truly begin to change the day you start this! I mean, come on, who likes people that are mean to them? So don’t be mean to yourself or others! Start with YOU!

Now that we’ve talked about all the exciting ways we can change our lives to be more happy, let’s end with “letting go.” The truth is, we can only control ourselves, and although that is a lot,  there will be situations, and people, that we have no control over. We can use these new tips and advice to help us focus on the good, but that doesn’t mean we won’t go through hard times. It just means perhaps we can appreciate our favorite ice-cream while crying. (ha).

But I think it is important to learn to control what we can (like ourselves and our attitudes) and then let go of what we can’t.

I’d like to end with an excerpt from The Serenity Prayer by Reinhold Niebuhr
“Grant me the serenity 
to accept the things I cannot change; 
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.”


July 19, 2011 1 Comment

07 Hold Me

Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake to attend Marine’s Ball in November

July 17, 2011

There’s an old saying, “If you never ask, then you’ll never know.” This month two marines summoned a different kind of courage to ask two celebrities on a date, following the advice, if you never ask, then you’ll never know.

It all started when Sgt. Scott Moore, of the 3rd Battalion 2nd Marines in Musa Qala, Afghanistan, posted a video asking the celebrity Mila Kunis (That 70’s Show, Black Swan),  to join him at the Marine Corps. Ball on November 18th in Greenville, North Carolina. He even has a YouTube user page set up, dedicated to the cause. (First Invite Link)

Watch his invitation below:

Following media pressure, and words from her co-star Justin Timberlake who said, “You have to do it for your country. “ Mila Kunis accepted Sgt. Moore’s invite, and will be accompanying him to the Marine Corps Ball in November. So, it’s true- you just never know…

A couple weeks later, a female Marine in Afghanistan decided that she might as well ask Mila’s co-star, Justin Timberlake, the same question.  “According to E! News, Corporal Kelsey De Santis posted a YouTube video of her own this week asking Timberlake to accompany her to a Washington, D.C. Marine Corps gala in November. De Santis is currently the only woman serving at the Martial Arts Center for Excellence at Marine Corps Base Quantico in Virginia. “(Full Huffington Post Article HERE)

De Santis says in her video (below) “Well, I’m gonna call you out and ask you to come to the Marine Corps ball with me on Nov. 12. And if you can’t go, all I have to say is, cry me a river. Hit me up.”

With Mila committed to go, and the world watching, Justin Timberlake accepted her invitation “during a press event (Watch Below) with his co-star Mila Kunis, according to PEOPLE. ‘I’ll tell you what: I accept,’Timberlake said, adding that he loved that De Santis referenced his song, ‘Cry Me A River,’ in her YouTube proposal. ‘If my schedule works out to do it, I’d love to do it. It’s an honor,’ he said.” (Full Story HERE)


(Link To Last Week’s Post: “NBC’s The Voice”)

NBC’s The Voice

July 3, 2011 5 Comments

The Voice is a new reality singing competition that just wrapped up its first season on NBC.  Although not the first reality vocal series, The Voice offers some very new and interesting characteristics that have made it a breakout hit show.

To start with, the season starts out with contestants auditioning in front of four celebrity coaches including Christina Aguilera, Blake Shelton, Cee Lo Green, and Adam Levine from Maroon 5.  This very talented line-up of proven hit makers in the music industry set The Voice apart from the start.

LtR: Dia Frampton (2nd place), Beverly, Vicki Martinez, Javiar Colon (winner)

For the first round, though, the coaches had their backs to the contestants, making this first round a “Blind Audition” so the coaches (judges) would only be able to focus on the voice, hence the name of the show.

Once through the first round, the coaches narrowed their teams down to four each before the show went live and the audience could vote. “Like other reality shows, The Voice lets viewers vote for their favorite contestants by phone, through the NBC Live app, and online at NBC.com. A new twist in the rules will also let people vote with their wallet by counting a vote every time someone buys the artist’s song on iTunes.”   (NBC’s The Voice will use iTunes purchases as votesby Kelly Hodgkins, Jun 8th 2011)

Singer/songwriter Dia Frampton, who made it down to Top 2 in the competition, shot to #1 on iTunes with several of her songs performed on The Voice including her cover of “Heartless” by Kanye West.  “After being declared a front runner from Day 1 of the competition, Javier Colon finally achieved the big break in his career that he’s been waiting for when he was named the first winner of NBC‘s The Voice. (Javier Colon on Winning ‘The Voice’ & What’s Next for His Career, July 01, 2011 by Shayla Perry)  (Watch Javier Singing “Landslide” with  Stevie Nicks HERE)

“The coaches were clearly thrilled that the audience connected with ‘The Voice’ so enthusiastically, but Adam was quick to point out that ratings aren’t everything. ‘I feel like the success of the show should be based on the way we feel when we’re doing it,” he mused (The Voice’ Finale: Coach and Winner Interviews and What You Didn’t See on TV by Laura Prudom, posted Jun 30th 2011)

From the blind auditions, to the crowning of a new star, NBC’s The Voice is a show to check out!

For a Special Behind the Scenes Look at The Voice Auditions Pre-TV:

If you’ve ever wondered what the auditions look like before the contestants get on TV, here’s my audition for The Voice during 1st round auditions in Los Angeles. No, these auditions weren’t “Blind”, there was a crew of 8 or so videoing and running sound, as well as a casting director and other crew. They’re the ones who then help choose finalists to then take to the head producers before the final cut of contestants even make it onto TV for “Blind Auditions”.

Finding Balance

June 21, 2011 2 Comments

Lately I’ve been having a hard time finding balance. I have the most amazing husband and sweetest child I could ever dream of. Sure there’s the ups and downs in life, but I am seriously so blessed and thankful.

But I have this dream. This dream to “make it” as a singer/songwriter. Making it is different to lots of people. To me it means getting to work with amazing musicians, producers, and getting the chance to share my music with the world on a large scale.

I would love to one day have a full orchestra play my music, perform on national television, work with a dream producer and musicians. Be a part of the “elite” musician circle.

So I try to balance this amazing family I have with all the day to day stuff like cooking, cleaning, raising my favorite person in the world, and then finding time to email, blog, write, record, and teach music.

On top of all that, I’m now enrolled in an online master’s program, to hopefully have a “back-up plan” to pay my student loans for my bachelor’s degree from the prestigious, and VERY expensive, Berklee College of Music.

I feel like I’m going crazy!

I want to enjoy each day with my beautiful child, and husband, and family. But I also dream and strive so hard to get in the studio, create, and record more music. Not just alone on my own pro-tools studio, but to collaborate with other amazing musicians. I yearn for it. I don’t always know why. I’ve prayed that the desire be removed from my heart even.

I am constantly emailing and calling, and do feel a little bit out of control at the moment. I don’t know if it’s the fact of turning 30 and truly feeling how short life really is.

I feel torn. Life is short. But I want to pursue my dreams. But I also want to appreciate each day even if my dreams don’t come true. Because, my biggest dreams have come true, like a loving husband and precious child.

I guess I’m confused and conflicted. Why do I feel like I need this music? Why do I feel like I’m not there? Why ask why? AH!

Well, I really don’t know those answers. So, I’ll go to sleep and try to enjoy the sunshine shining on my beautiful son, the flowers, and riding my bike by the ocean tomorrow. I’ll then send off some more emails. Teach a music lesson, get my homework done, and maybe write or practice a new song. And so on, and so on.

Money, Money, MONEY!

June 15, 2011

It does seem like it’s all about money sometimes (or all the time). I KNOW that money can’t buy you love (as The Beatles so aptly sang), and that money is no replacement for anything that really matters and fills our hearts. However, we do need money for necessities like food, water, clothes, shelter, gas, cars, and so on and so forth.   Let’s not even go there about things we don’t need!

In these times of economic hardship, it seems that money and saving money is on everyone’s minds. Some try to cut expenses out of necessity, and others to be wise and frugal. My family and I are no different. I’ve been learning to coupon (www.TheKrazyCouponLady.com) and cut out a lot of things like memberships, cable, and whatever else we can so that we can get by and pay our necessity bills.

I also know that being an American, and having enough food, water, clothing and a place to live, not even counting my bicycle, a car, a cell phone and my other non-essentials that I’m blessed to have, make me one of the richest people in the world.

I found this amazing and informative article on Yahoo! Finance by Laura Rowley titled “You Might Be Richer than You Think.” I was shocked to hear some of these findings she cited.


Here are some excerpts from the article:

1. Are you planning a sumptuous dinner today? More than 1 billion people — nearly a sixth of the world’s population — are faced with chronic hunger.

2. Did you spend more than $2.50 on the ingredients for your Thanksgiving menu?  More than three billion people — almost half the world’s population — live on less than $2.50 a day, according to the World Bank.

3. Can you turn on the faucet to fill the water glasses for dinner, and be confident that clean water comes out of the tap? According to the World Bank, 1.2 billion people lack access to a reliable water source that is reasonably protected from contamination.

4. Are the kids relishing a little time off from school? More than 70 million children of primary school age in the developing world were not enrolled in school in 2005, according to a United Nations Report.

5. Will someone in the family read a holiday poem or blessing before you dive into the feast? Nearly a billion people entered the 21st century unable to read a book or sign their names, according to a UNICEF report.

After reading the above article, I hope it changed your perspective, as it changed mine. We focus so many times on what we don’t have, or even let the fear of losing it all ruin our lives.  But life is so unsure anyway, we should be thankful to have another day of life and for all we do have.

Linnea and orphans in Tanzania

(My sister Linnea volunteering at an Orphans’ home during her time as an Art Teacher in Tanzania, Africa)

Thank you for reading, and as always, please feel free to comment and perhaps share how blessed you are and any ideas on how we can help others, or even a story about how someone helped you when you needed it!

To Give, Or Not To Give…Up

June 7, 2011

My Son under a beautiful rainbow

A Rainbow over my son during the rain

Sometimes I feel like giving up, on so many things. On my friends that never call me first, I always have to call them first and hope they’ll call me back or write me.


I feel like giving up on always trying to lose weight. Am I not good enough the way I am? When will it be good enough? Don’t I need to love myself? I mean it’s one thing to eat healthy and exercise on a consistent basis. But am I not allowed to have a chocolate bar once or twice a week? COME ON!


But then, I remember and think about so many people in the world who don’t have enough to eat. Who don’t even have any family or friends to lean on when they’ve lost everything? People are being sold into slavery.  1.2 Million children are trafficked every year throughout the world. (Source: Various, Noted by UNICEF)

I then think. I CAN’T GIVE UP! I may have my problems, we all do, but the truth is that living in this country, and with a loving family as I have, my lowest points of life may never even be compared to some people’s daily lives. When faced with the way that most people live, these things I often worry about don’t seem as important.

I look at my sleeping 2-year-old son and my amazing husband who loves me very much. I think of my mother, father and sister 70 miles away who just drove to visit us today.

I realize even if my friends don’t call me back. Even if I gain 10 lbs., stay the same, or lose weight. Even if I lose my health and all my looks, I do have people who love me and would do anything for me. So many people on this earth have never had that, and may never have that.

So. I WILL GIVE UP my selfishness and my pride that thinks I know why my loved ones aren’t calling me- perhaps they’re going through a harder time than me and I need to keep reaching out.

I WILL GIVE UP feeling bad about myself if I don’t lose a pound this week, or even if I gain one. Because I am exercising and eating healthy, and that’s supposed to be the point, right? And more importantly, I’m trying to be a good person!

I WONT GIVE UP trying to give a voice to those who don’t have one.

I WONT GIVE UP loving even when I don’t feel loved, because our feelings often betray the truth.

AND I WON’T GIVE UP on me. I will remember “every day is new with no mistakes in it yet” as said by one of my favorite fictional characters ever- Anne of Green Gables. (Books by L.M. Montgomery)

I WON’T GIVE UP trying to right any wrong that I can be a part of righting!

I WILL GIVE UP all things that keep me from being a light in this world.  Look for a rainbow through the rain!

I’d love to hear what you will give up and won’t give up. Please leave a comment and say hi! I write this blog and these articles to connect with others, and I love hearing what you have to say! Thanks!

Hello world!

June 3, 2011

Hello World! I’m trying out my brand new page on here and super excited! While I’m getting this together, feel free to check out my current site at http://www.TianaStar.com. Thanks and please come back soon and say hi!