Truly 100 Years Young

You’ve probably seen her. Walking around in a long skirt, colorful cowboy hat and sparkly cowgirl boots, with a beaming smile on her face. Jeanne Tirpak is 100-years-old and still kicking. She has lived in Wickenburg for many years, and brings a smile to everyone she meets.

Tirpak moved to Wickenburg because her husband, a prospector, was ill and wanted to spend his last few years in a small mining town.

 “We covered quite a bit of territory around here. Walking around the desert picking up rocks,” laughed Tirpak.

Living in a small town is nothing new to Tirpak, as she was born on the small island of Monhegan, Maine. She loves the supportive community in Wickenburg and the business owners that have become some of her closest friends.

“I’m amazed at the people,” said Tirpak. “Every Sunday I got to Cowboy Church and then I go to McDonald’s and then I end up at Chaparral. That’s small town.”

Tirpak has many wonderful memories from living in Wickenburg, one of them being the annual Gold Rush Days parade.

“Oh man, there’s so many memories,” smiled Tirpak. “The one thing I remember the most is the Gold Rush Days parade.”

Up until a few years ago, Tirpak walked in the parade, proudly showing off her Southwestern style with her energy and independence. She was given the honor of Grand Marshal in the 2012 Gold Rush Days parade, and it is something Tirpak will never forget.

“I was Grand Marshal!” said Tirpak. “That honored me. I wasn’t expecting that.”

Tirpak is very involved in community activism and creating a western atmosphere everywhere she goes. She has always loved to dress up, and encourages others to do the same, by showing off the real spirit of Wickenburg. Community members will drop off their unused and unworn western apparel at her doorstep, so she can continue to dress to the nines in real cowgirl fashion.

“I ask people to dress southwestern,” said Tirpak. “And help Wickenburg live up to its name.”

Throughout her 100 years of adventures, Tirpak has learned a few life lessons that she takes with her wherever she goes. She knows the importance of church, faith and happiness.

“Believe in people even though they might hurt you. Go to church. Just be happy,” said Tirpak.

The town of Wickenburg will have a free birthday celebration for Jeanne on Saturday, July 15 from noon to 4 p.m. at the Wickenburg Community Center. There will be a bbq, cash bar, karaoke, and a live band, as well as a raffle.

View the article at wickenburgsun.com.

Small town lady working on big dreams

Raised in Wickenburg, fashion blogger and stylist Taylor Tomczyk is chasing her dream of becoming a fashion designer in the big city, but she will always be grateful for the adventures, love and support this small town gave her.

 

“I have experienced a sense of love and community in this quaint town,” said Tomczyk, a 2015 Wickenburg High School graduate. “They say it takes a village to raise a child; Wickenburg, thank you for being my village. Without you I wouldn’t be the woman I am today.”

Tomczyk has had a love for fashion for as long as she can remember. Fashion and beauty were instilled in her at a young age, with the influence of her parents who have an eye for all things beautiful and artistic. She has kept a sketchbook since the age of 7, and had plans to send her designs to Nordstrom, as she was certain they would hire her right away. She may not be a top designer yet, but she is well on her way.

 

“My father, Rick Tomczyk, built our home with his own two hands and curated a beautiful place to grow in,” said Tomczyk. “As a little girl, I would gaze upon my mother, as she would curl her blonde locks and apply her Mary Kay makeup each morning. After her beauty routine, she would dance into her closet trying on outfit after outfit finding the perfect look for the day.”

 

Tomczyk didn’t plan on becoming a blogger, but she found a passion for words and the emotion and message they can present.

 

“Writing is an outlet for me; it makes me feel ultimate freedom,” said Tomczyk. “I was inspired to make a blog with the encouragement of my extremely talented photographer boyfriend, Chad Mooney.”

 

She originally started her blog, Taytime.com, as a hobby and creative outlet, but her first few posts gained so much support, the blog took off and became her world. The goal for her blog is to inspire others and encourage them to be themselves, whether that is instilling confidence or teaching others tips and tricks for looking their best.

 

“I want to inspire people to dress however they want,” said Tomczyk. “Whether that means cowboy boots and Levis, or stilettos and mini skirts. You can be whoever you want to be. Don’t let anyone stop you from being your true self.”

 

Aside from planning photo shoots, writing for her blog and building her own fashion empire, Tomczyk is working as a full time stylist for the iconic Belgian-American designer Diane Von Furstenberg.

 

“Being a stylist is so rewarding,” said Tomczyk. “I get to transform a woman’s wardrobe and bestow confidence in her.”

 

She is currently a part of the new fashion program at Arizona State University, and couldn’t be happier. In the future, Tomczyk’s ultimate goal is to have her own line of clothing in New York City or Los Angeles.

 

“I believe that if you love what you do, there is no way you won’t be successful,” said Tomczyk. “And you can do anything you want in this world. Never forget that.”

 

Tomczyk’s personal blog can be found at taytimefashion.com.

View the article at wickenburgsun.com.

Wickham Lovin’ Baseball

Wickenburg will always be home to college baseball player and Little League coach Tanner Wickham, who is proud of his small town roots and grateful for the opportunities and support he received in following his dreams of becoming a college athlete.

“I loved growing up in a small town because everyone knows everyone,” said Wickham. “Wickenburg is a family town. We are all here for each other. Growing up here definitely shaped me into the man I have become.”

 Wickham began playing baseball at the tender age of 5, in hopes to follow in the footsteps of his father, Jim Wickham, who was a great ball player himself. He credits his inspiration to his parents, Sam and Jim Wickham, who gave him love and support, and helped instill in him the passion for the game. Baseball has given Wickham opportunities, life lessons and experiences he only dreamed of.

“I’ve met so many new people and friends from this little game, and I’m thankful for it to be such a huge aspect of my life,” said Wickham.

Since the days of Little League and four years of varsity ball at Wickenburg High School, Wickham has moved to California to play at Barstow Community College. He felt he wanted to go experience someplace new, while continuing to play the game he loves. It was a decision he made that would be positive and meaningful, although it meant leaving his family and this small town behind.

“I felt I needed to get out of town and experience life somewhere else for a change. Even though it was very tough for me to be away from my family and friends all the time, it created this fire in me to push harder,” said Wickham. “I felt as if I should do it for my town or my family and even my state. It was the best feeling ever. It was very tough, but I wouldn’t change it for the world.”

Although Wickham enjoyed his time in a small town and the memories it gave him, learning to play on a bigger scale has been an adjustment, but the experience has been positive. Not only has he grown as an athlete, he’s learned that hard work is the key to success.

“This experience made me realize that nothing is handed to you. That you have to earn everything,” said Wickham. “For the first time I had to start from the bottom and work my way up, but once you get to the top, it’s the best feeling in the world.”

After a year in California playing college baseball, Wickham has come back home to instill the same work ethic, skill and passion he has for the game into up-and-coming players through coaching Little League. Playing Little League helped get him to where he is today, and he is grateful to be giving back to his community by inspiring the next generation of players.

“I’m so proud of my kids and so thankful to have this opportunity not only to pass on everything I know to these young players, but to remember the starting point of all great players are the fundamentals,” said Wickham. “This game has created special bonds for me as a coach and for my players to hopefully grow into great athletes alongside their friends like I did.”

Not only do the young athletes benefit from his experience and coaching, but Wickham gains the respect of the players and gets to be a the role model, like his dad was for him.

“The biggest benefit for me coaching younger kids is being a role model,” said Wickham. “I know I would do anything for these kids in a heart beat, and for them to look up to me makes me the happiest young man in the world.”

Beyond coaching and playing, Wickham is unsure of his future, but knows one thing for sure: “As long as I have baseball, nothing can go wrong.”

View the article at wickenburgsun.com.

Demeter Credits small town roots for success

Caleb Demeter was only 8-years-old when he and his family moved from Turlock, Calif., to Wickenburg. His dad is a pastor and had an opportunity to preach at Calvary Baptist Church. Caleb has grown up here, and wouldn’t want it any other way.

“I’m very glad that a small town was the bulk of my growing up,” said Demeter, who is now 19-years old. “I was really glad that I lived in bigger places as a younger kid, but then I was very glad to live in Wickenburg for 10 years. I like the variety.”

 Demeter began performing when he moved and was involved in Camp Imagination and Wickenburg High School Exousia Voce, an advanced mixed ensemble, as well as the annual play and musical. Involvement in those activities gave him so many opportunities to act, sing and perform, along with experiences he will never forget.

“Singing – I’ve been doing for as long as I can remember,” said Demeter.

He credits Tara Cleveland, former Wickenburg High School Choir and Exousia Voce director, for encouraging him to audition for Voce his freshman year while rehearsing for the spring musical Anything Goes.

“Mrs. Cleveland came to me during musical rehearsal and said, ‘Hey, you’re a guy and you can sing. We need those,’” said Demeter. “So then I was in Voce for three and a half years.”

Along with Voce, Demeter was an active participant of Camp Imagination. His first performance was Honk, where he played an ugly duckling.

“It’s still one of my favorite musicals ever,” said Demeter.

Being a part of Camp Imagination is something that Caleb will always remember, as it gave him lifelong friends and so many memories.

“My favorite memories from Camp all center around the people. I love music, I love drama, I love performing, but the people in Camp were so unique,” said Demeter. “I loved getting to know them all. It just opened up a lot of opportunities for me.”

Camp Imagination not only gave Caleb great memories and opportunities, but experience and skill that he will never take for granted.

“It’s helped a lot with life skills like public speaking, confidence and improvisations,” said Demeter. “It’s really Camp Imagination that has gotten me where I am now.”

Demeter recently finished his first year at The Master’s University in Santa Clarita, Calif., where he is double majoring in music education and vocal performance. He is also an active member of The Master’s University Chorale, that travels around the world and sings various arrangements of classic hymns. One of his favorite memories from the Chorale’s recent concert tour to Israel and Italy, was singing Joshua Fought the Battle of Jericho, in the city of Jericho.

“We would just sing in random places,” said Demeter. “It’s awesome.”

After traveling the world with the Chorale, Demeter is back in his favorite small town, working at Camp Imagination and preparing for his career as a high school music teacher. Demeter is grateful for his time at Camp growing up and all that it prepared him for, so now he is coming back to prepare the next generation of performers.

In the fall, Demeter will go back to California to pursue his degrees and continue performing. He is grateful for all his experiences in Wickenburg with Camp Imagination and Voce, and for all the people that helped guide him and mentor him. He looks forward to the future, but knows that a lot can change.

“It’s been a good year and things are moving forward,” said Demeter. “A lot can happen, but I’m keeping myself open to God’s plan.”

View the article at wickenburgsun.com. 

The Workout Motivation We All Need

Whether you’re a marathon runner or a crunches-in-between-Netflix-episodes kinda person, we all lose motivation to work out. Who wants to go and sweat in a smelly gym with intimidating equipment when you could curl up on the couch with Oreos and Disney?

Yeah… no one.

So, when the thought of your gym crush can’t even get you out the door, here are my tried-and-true tips to staying in tip-top shape.

I started working out first thing in the morning about a year ago, and it has worked so well. I don’t have time to procrastinate or become too busy with homework to make it to the gym. Some days it’s harder to get out of bed than others, but once I’m at the gym and being productive, it feels so good. And then no matter what happens the rest of the day, at least you got in a workout!

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I cannot work out without music. Music keeps me going and gives me something to focus on when I’m dying on my third mile. I made a workout playlist on Spotify and I’m constantly revamping it with new songs that keep me going.

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Discovering new music and then adding it to the playlist gives me something to look forward to when I go to the gym. Here are some of the songs I currently have on repeat:

Cake – Flo Rida

Call on Me – Starley (Ryan Riback Remix)

Feels Right – Jocelyn Alice (Galloway Remix)

Only One – Sigala (Brookes Brothers Remix)

The Mack -Nevada

Everyone says it’s a sin to put effort into your workout look…but, I disagree. Looking cute is my favorite way to stay motivated while hitting the mat. When I’m wearing a matching outfit and my hair isn’t just thrown up in a ponytail, I feel better about my workout.

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You don’t have to spend all your savings at Lululemon to do so either. Just simply take the items you already have and make them work! Take an over-sized t-shirt and cut it into a crop top and pair with leggings and a colorful headband and you’re set. And definitely treat yourself for staying motivated with something new!

Also, get creative with ways to keep your hair out of your face by looking up some ideas on Pinterest. Here are some of my go-tos:

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/1477812359258912/

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https://www.pinterest.com/pin/AQ_hdldzlD24Jh6fUghEHhMePHUdZMaruO3uvefheeBdxA36a_GDVLw/

workout motivation picture 5

Instead of sitting on the couch and watching TV, walk on the treadmill and watch your favorite show. This is probably the easiest way to get motivated. At the end of a long day if you normally rewind by watching Netflix and snacking, try going to the gym and you’ll feel so much better about your day and you’ll get a better night’s sleep. I know that I feel so much more accomplished when I take the time to work out. It’s also a great stress relief and we could all use that!

Take a walk and catch up with a friend or go explore a new neighborhood; who knows, you may find a new study spot! Walking is the easiest way to stay in shape with minimal effort. You don’t even have to break a sweat.

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It can be relaxing to listen to music or walk with a friend and vent about your stresses. (Also vital to good health.) Try walking outside if you can because it’s a lot more exciting than a treadmill and you can work on that beach bod and that summer glow.

Try taking a class that you’ve never done before. Working out with other people is great because it keeps everyone accountable and you don’t feel so alone breaking a sweat! I recently took a boxing class and ended up loving it; you never know, you might find a new passion along the way.

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Working out shouldn’t feel like a chore. There are many tips and tricks to staying motivated, but these are the ones that work best for me and are realistic for anyone!

 

article for The Chic Daily

How to Style Ankle Boots

Every girl has her go-to pair of shoes that takes any outfit from a 7 to a 10. My go-to shoe is definitely the ankle boot. I love how versatile they can be.

Boots with a subtle heel are my favorite because they add an element of dressy without being too overdone. Ankle boots will never go out of style and are the easiest way to pull together an outfit. So if you’re anything like me, keep reading for some ankle boot outfit inspiration!

With winter still upon us, boots are the perfect shoe for any occasion. When it’s cooler, I like to wear a sweater dress with ankle boots. If it’s really chilly, I’ll add a pair of tights. This look is great for meetings or going to class. Add a scarf for extra warmth and style!

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Dressing up when it’s cold can be a challenge. For a night out, I like to pair my ankle boots with a mini skirt and tights. It’s fancy, but warm! To elevate the look with an edgier flair, add a leather jacket and consider a taller heel.

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Next up, I’ve chosen rolled skinnies with ankle boots. If I’m in a hurry or just don’t have any outfit ideas, I’ll throw on a pair of jeans and grab my boots. They’re called my go-to shoes for a reason! This combination is perfect for class or running errands.

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The last combination I’ve put together is a sundress with ankle boots. It’s a great winter to spring transition outfit and adds a unique style element to what is usually a hot weather outfit. This ensemble is perfect for brunch or the farmers market.

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Ankle boots are the perfect shoe for every and any season or occasion. I hope this article sparked some fashion inspiration and cured any shoe blues!

article for The Chic Daily

The Heart behind Hart: Profile

It was a scene straight out of The Devil Wears Prada: I was running down the streets of Mill Avenue in my non-designer wedges, talking on the phone while dodging traffic, and grasping my life in my hands. Well, not actually my life, but my reporter’s notebook. And to a journalist, that is about as sacred as life itself. I was heading to Starbucks to interview a young journalist, who also runs her own business, models in Phoenix Fashion Week, and volunteers to save dogs; all while studying for her master’s degree at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism — I was intimidated, to say the least.

I slipped into Starbucks and stole a table with a clear site to the door. I anxiously watched with disappointment each time an average person walked in. I was expecting a walking Marc Jacobs advertisement with an entourage of beauties that stood feet above my modest frame.

Photo Courtesy of Tajji Sharp

Hi I’m Lexi.

Instead, I was met with a simple: “Hi, I’m Lexi. Nice to meet you.” (So, this is the girl I was worried about?) She sat down, an enthusiastic woman with a warm smile and an undeniable air of confidence, and began her story.

Lexi isn’t afraid to tell the truth. She expresses vulnerability — which takes courage in today’s society — but she hopes that quality can have a positive impact. She begins by telling the turning points in her life that drove her to pursue fashion and journalism. “Sorry if I get emotional,” she began, “I visited the World Trade Center when I was a senior in high school and I met two people there that were so incredible to me.” The stories of forgiveness and understanding from a man and woman affected by the terrible events of 9/11, stuck with Lexi, creating a connection driving her into her career path as she listened. September 11, 2001, was a crisis for our country. There was chaos and confusion as we kept living our lives with fear. “There was so much uncertainty after that in the world…I wanted to be that voice of reason; that voice of truth, but on the other realm too, I wanted to be able to connect to people like that every single day of my life, and I have.”

“I wanted to be that voice of reason; that voice of truth”

Aside from her passion for change and natural talent for writing, fashion was always a part of Lexi’s life. “I wasn’t always, honestly, a creative person,” she said. “I knew that I loved fashion in the simplest form of the word, and I knew that I loved beautiful clothing and showy style.” But it wasn’t until 19 years old that she began seeing fashion, art and culture in everyday life. “Fashion has so many different influences and that began to influence my own life.” She began her boutique clothing line, Gypsy Love Couture, out of her bedroom as a side job and a way of giving back. The clothing line is “bathing suit aesthetic”. The style is provocative with revealing designs that cause furrowed brows in suburban mothers, but she continues to churn out new styles regardless of society’s perspective on that type of dress. “I’m still going to create and put content out there.” While her clothing line has grabbed attention, so has her modeling.

After two tried attempts as a model in Phoenix Fashion Week, Lexi walked in the show beginning her freshman year of college at Arizona State University.

The last few months of high school, her self-confidence took a hit. “I was fat shamed an incredible amount. Every part of my body got picked apart head to toe on social media where everyone could see. And that just really haunted and plagued me for a while.” But instead of letting that experience get the best of her, she rose to the top — like the Phoenix bird rising from the ashes — as a model in Phoenix Fashion Week. Freshman year of college, after two attempts to earn a spot on the catwalk, she was accepted into the emerging model program, an incubator to develop local talent. And from that grew so many positive experiences, such as becoming a role model for young girls in the valley and seeing her face on freeway billboards.

Lexi has had mothers of little girls reach out, telling her how inspirational it was seeing a model on the runway who is more than just skin and bones. “I get moms commenting ‘I’ve shown your pictures to my daughter and it makes them feel beautiful about their bodies because they realize they can be normal.’ If that’s all I get out of this — showing little girls they’re perfect the way they are, I’ll do this for one thousand years.” Little did she know, she was on the brink of what has been a shift in runway fashion: models that show athleticism and strength, instead of promoting eating disorders with stick thin women. The influence that Lexi made in her circle of life, has created a change in the bigger world of fashion, and that is something that not many 21-year-olds can say.

Spending time with dogs is one of Lexi’s favorite pastimes, and if she had a whole week to herself it would be “a week full of animals”.

Lexi has, without a doubt, impacted people emotionally and inspired many, but now she wanted to make a literal, immediate impact she could see develop in front of her own eyes, outside of fashion and people. To go above and beyond in typical Lexi fashion, she volunteers at Maricopa County Care and Control. She uses her journalism skills to feature dogs that are up for adoption. She loves dogs and that is apparent in her every day life with her volunteering and vegan lifestyle. She is committed to helping our furry friends, as well as being committed to all other aspects of her life and exceeding in all of it. Her love for others is inspiring and she goes beyond to help anyone or anything in need.

Leaving the interview I felt so inspired to do what I love every single day and not worry about the criticism or adversity, unavoidable from the “haters” . No longer will I fear my non- designer shoes aren’t good enough or that I can’t make a difference because I don’t have the resources. I do have the resources and I do slay. My outfit may not be Valentino approved, but it’s me approved — unique and confident, which are characteristics even the most famous designer can’t create. My makeup might not look like Kylie Jenner; my body not like Gigi. But thats okay. I don’t attend the London College of Fashion or have an “in” with the hot designers, but I do attend a school that will help me pursue my dream of writing and impacting others through fashion and media. I can do anything that I want to. As Lexi says, “You can do anything you want to do, if you want to.”

article for hymnmag.com