As most people know, the United States uses the month of June to put a special emphasis, celebration, and recognition of the LGTBQ+ community. Over the years, this movement has spread throughout most of the world and in special and creative ways. When considering how we, at iTrackBites, wanted to celebrate Pride month, there was one specific word that just kept coming to mind: community.
The people around you, both virtually and tangibly, have such an incredible significance on our lives. Our story, our experiences, how we view the world, and how the world views us- can all be so heavily influenced by our community. The people that we give time and attention to can really affect how you feel appreciated, seen, known, heard, included, celebrated, etc. In honor of Pride month, we wanted to take a special intentional moment to celebrate the LGTBQ+ community. At iTrackBites we stand for encouragement, health, wellness, inclusion, and celebration of all people! When considering this mission and these ideas, there was one person who came to mind immediately. This guy is encouraging and inclusive in every sense of the word. Not only does he cultivate a positive, uplifting environment; but he’s also constantly advocating for more inclusion, and more positivity!
We’d like to introduce (and celebrate!!) our good friend and brand ambassador, Jake Parshall!
Who or what comes to mind when you hear the word “community”?
Family, both blood and chosen. Your community is made of the people you surround yourself with. You uplift each other and lean on each other for help, acceptance and encouragement.
How have you seen community form/ shape your life?
My community is my inner circle who are there for me, from my tight-knit family and friends to the community I’ve grown on Instagram. It’s all about surrounding yourself with people who will let you be unapologetically my authentic self and support you along the way.
In regards to the LGTBQ+ Community- what makes you feel most supported by people both in and surrounding that community?
The LGBTQ+ community is so broad and diverse and that’s what makes it so great. In general the community uplifts and supports one another.
Give us a snapshot into your ordinary life that brings you true joy?
Trips to Greenfield Village bring me joy. Greenfield Village is an outdoor museum, a town trapped in time with train rides, Mobile Ts and a working farm; all consisting of historic and significant buildings that were moved here by Henry Ford. We have a membership so we love to go as much as possible and just walk around and escape the rest of the world. It also helps that they have a custard stand that serves the best frozen custard you can find!
Who or what inspires you?
I am constantly finding inspiration in others’ stories. I love to hear about someone’s success story.
I love reading memoirs and listening to interviews detailing the lives and struggles that brought a person to where they are now, not just their current success. Two of my favorite memoirs that have inspired me are This Will Only Hurt a Little by Busy Phillips and My Life as a Goddess by Guy Branum.
What accomplishment, moment, or thing are you most proud of?
Professionally I’m proud of an ad campaign I worked with my company to create and got to design it. It is up now for Pride Month and called Pride In Our Story. It highlights LGBTQIA+ History, bringing it to a wide audience. Spotlighting history that many may not know and adding more context to the reasons we celebrate Pride.
How have you and your partner been celebrating and honoring Pride Month this year?
I co-chair the LGBTQIA+ Employee Resource Group for the company I work for so we have been planning some virtual events. Nick and I’s pride plans look different this year; the pandemic caused Detroit’s Pride celebration to move to the fall so with that on hold we have been watching FX’s new docu-series Pride, which I couldn’t recommend more.
Jake, of late
How has the iTrackBites Community made a difference in your health journey?
Being a part of this community, especially on Instagram has been a huge part of my journey. The community keeps me motivated and accountable, and makes it so much easier seeing and talking with others on what they are doing, especially when it comes to cooking and recipes.
We know that you love to travel – to fun, random places, nonetheless! Where’s your dream road trip?
LA to Seattle. I have never made it to the west coast and it’s at the top of my bucket list. Though the real dream isn’t a road trip but a train ride on Amtrak’s Coast Starlight from LA to Seattle. I’ve been obsessed with trains since I was a child and the Coast Starlight is the ultimate route.
What are your go-to road trip snacks??
This is a hard one but I think I’d have to take it back to my childhood favorite that I still get on road trips from time to time. Combos, specifically Pizza Combos. They are a true classic that never lets you down, plus I don’t think I’ve ever been to a gas station or convenience store that doesn’t sell them.
We also know you’re a foodie!! Tell us about your all time favorite restaurant experience!
A couple years back Nick and I were in Chicago on Memorial Day. We had the most magical night exploring the city and were hungry. It was pretty late and with the holiday not many places were open but we finally found a restaurant that was. There was a little wait for a table but it was less than 30 minutes. We had the BEST burgers we have ever had. In our Uber back to our hotel I was looking up reviews; we had stumbled upon Au Cheval, widely recognized for having the best burger in the world, and notorious for their hours-long waitlist. It really would be worth the wait, so if you’re even in Chicago you must try it.
If you could pick anything on earth to always be zero BITES, no matter what, what would it be??
Pizza! I think I could eat pizza for every meal for the rest of my life.
Favorite summer treat?
Street Fair Lemonade! Here in Wyandotte where I grew up we have a street art fair every year and they have charity lemonade booths that sell shaker cup lemonade and nothing compares to it.
Currently feeling excited about??
And I’m feeling excited about selling our house and moving. We are currently in the middle of selling our house and buying a new one together, the best part is the new house has a pool!
We hope you loved our chat with Jake as much as we did! We’re grateful that he represents us, and we know that his followers and community feel the same way. If you’re looking for ways to connect with Jake, be sure to follow him on Instagram HERE. You’ll be thanking us for the follow rec, after you see his food-feed!