The only online publication for women in Greater Cincinnati

blocks from the heart - search results

If you're not happy with the results, please do another search

by -


Blocks from the Heart creates homemade personalized items

Cincy Chic: Tell us more about the concept behind Blocks from the Heart!
Katie Patton, Owner of Blocks from the Heart: The concept behind Blocks From The Heart is bringing back the simplicity of wood and creating something meaningful and beautiful with your photos. It’s about getting rid of all those picture frames and taking everyday things you have in your house, like a tissue box, to create a piece that will be finished to hand down for generations. There is something unique and special to hold a block in your hand with your loved one or to give a gift that is personalized just for that person. No one can explain how it grasps the inner core of your heart and brings out the good, heartfelt moments. We live in a very busy world and to bring back those special moments is an unforgettable creation.


Cincy Chic: Who’s behind Blocks from the Heart and when did it launch?
Patton: I started this business out of my home in 2012. I started creating and perfecting my technique and decided to start selling my creations. It took off like crazy from that point. My brother, David Huffer, who lives two hours away in Stoutsville, Ohio, is a woodworker by hobby. I collaborated with him to build all my wood items – we work well together. He loves to build and does not enjoy the finish. I don’t enjoy to build but I love to finish and bring it to life. My husband, Jeff Patton, has been a huge help, supporter and encourager. Jeff helps me on the little things. He cuts all my blocks by hand, helps me with the hardware and much more. All the creations I gather in my head, my brother and my husband are a huge help to build and bring it to life. I design and give measurements and they do it without being able to visualize what I am trying to accomplish sometimes.


Cincy Chic: Where can we find Blocks from the Heart?
Patton: I opened my store in Western Hills in January 2013. Then, in September 2013, I was robbed and my car was stolen. So I then decided to move operations to my home. It’s continued to grow like crazy so now I get to work out of my home located outside of Cheviot.


Cincy Chic: What was your inspiration for starting Blocks from the Heart?
Patton: The inspiration behind the business started after three deaths of people I was very close to. My husband’s uncle was first, then a month later my dad passed away and five months later my “Cincinnati mom” passed away (I’m from Stoutsville). She was my neighbor and became and family and I took care of her for 16 years. I couldn’t believe how these deaths impacted my life. It was forever changed and I found that looking through pictures and holding onto memories was a huge grieving process. I wanted to create some Christmas gifts and capture those special moments. I decided to quit my orthodontic career of 20 years and start creating memories. I wanted to create good heartfelt creations. Every being on this earth should feel important and valued. We are God’s creation. We are important. We are his masterpiece. I started this business to bring back this very simple concept of touching someone’s heart again and validating a human life. To receive and give value to someone’s life. I had a customer from Wisconsin call me the very day her dad had passed away and thanked me for making a couple stars in recent months to remember their dad as he was declining and let me know he passed on. There is a closeness with my creations that is not easily explained and because of this, I have made many new friends in this process. I value each picture, every story and I pray over every creation before it is mailed or picked up. The name Blocks From The Heart came about because I started with creating the blocks and these creations are truly from my heart.


Cincy Chic: How has the business grown since launching?
Patton: My business has grown a ton since I launched it. When someone receives my creations, they remember how it felt to see it for the first time. Then it presents a chain reaction as they want someone else to feel that too. What is challenging is getting someone who has not received one of my creations to stop, take the time to send a few pictures and have their creation made. Time is not our friend these days, but I encourage everyone to stop and take the time because the impact of your 10 minutes lasts for many lifetimes ahead of you.


Cincy Chic: What makes Blocks from the Heart different?
Patton: You can go to any store and buy a gift, but to take 10 minutes of your time to order one of my creations is a huge reward. Most of the time my creations brings those good heartfelt tears to life. We don’t experience that enough. What my customers do not know is that I create each piece with their future in mind. I vision the great-great-grandchildren finding this treasure in a box of their belongings one day and feeling the importance and value in it. I see them setting it out as part of their decor and creating the conversation piece to talk about their history and family. These will never go out of style as these are personalized to each individual. I’ve already had some of my items at funeral homes after loved ones have passed away. I finish each creation with the utmost care and respect. Handmade perfection is the goal! I coat every creation so I know it will last to hand down from generation to generation. My Pet Urns have became a top seller this year. I just received this response from a new customer: “I don’t know what I would have done if I had not come across your website. Every other website I had visited or catalog that I have flipped through did not come close to reflecting the beauty of our pets or the loving expressions of how we feel when a treasured pet is gone.”


Katie Patton, Founder of Blocks from the

Cincy Chic: What kinds of items do you offer customers?
Patton: I offer my customers the choice to be very involved with my creations while some choose to say, “do your magic.” I offer a line of wood products from baby mobiles, tissue boxes and much more that I’ve created to personalize anyway they choose with pictures, quotes, poems, dates, colors and themes. If they can’t find what they are looking for, I offer anything they need customized.


Cincy Chic: Can you give us some price points?
Patton: I offer items from $6 up to any amount if you need a customized piece of furniture. I’ve made coffee tables and end tables with photos on them.


Cincy Chic: Is there anything new on the horizon for Blocks from the Heart?
Patton: Last year I created the Totem Blocks! My daughter named them because Totems tell your story. These are amazing! The Totem blocks are my personal favorite. I’m always thinking and my brain doesn’t stop. I am always creating new and exciting pieces! Here’s what’s coming this year: I am bringing back the old Silhouettes and bringing them back with a special twist! All I can say is, I got a projector, some wood and they will be amazing!


Cincy Chic: Where can readers go to learn more?
Patton: You can find me at or on Facebook. I’m also on Etsy, Pinterest and Twitter.

    by -

    A local lady recently developed a retreat to bring conversation and companionship to female creative business owners. See how her inspiring idea can help you make 2019 your best year yet.

    Amanda Donaho wanted to find a way that brought together female creative business owners. As a photographer and business owner herself, she’s been attending events and creative workshops for years. But these gatherings were always full of people sitting in boardrooms and taking notes. 

    Illuminare Retreats are hosted in a private mansion just outside Louisville KY

    “I found myself craving something more intimate,” she says. “About five years ago, I attended a retreat that was on a much smaller scale and that struck a chord with me. I know the power that comes from a group of women having conversations late into the night and sharing ideas over meals. I wanted to pull all of those pieces together in a way that would give creative business owners the opportunity to dig deep for a weekend, and create new friendships as well.”

    That concept became Illuminare Retreat, an intimate, 3 day/2 night conversation with female creative business owners. Italian for “to light up,” Illuminare is designed to help attendees move past fears or mental roadblocks, and navigate to high places both personally and professionally. 

    “The retreat focuses not just on strengthening each woman’s business, but her heart, too,” says Donaho. 

    Amanda Donaho, Founder of Illuminare Retreat

    Guests to the event are pampered with an in-house cook preparing meals while also being treated to massages and yoga instruction. “Women walk away inspired, hearts and bellies full, and with a house full of new friends,” adds Donaho.

    Donaho recently hosted the first Illuminare Retreat that was completely sold out. “We sold out every spot rather quickly,” she says. 

    Donaho says that because it was the first Illuminare Retreat, she wasn’t quite sure what to fully expect. 

    “I knew that for it to go as I had hoped, the attendees would have to be willing to be vulnerable with each other and really open up about their own journey as a creative entrepreneur,” she says. “Thankfully, the group was incredible and the weekend was everything I had hoped for plus some. Some new (big!) dreams were laid out over that weekend, really beautiful friendships were made – there were lots of tears and laughs. It was pretty perfect.”

    In addition to food and pampering, guests at Illuminare Retreat also receive swag bags and feel taken care of the entire weekend. 

    The retreat features private in-house cook and pastry chef, Olivia Tew

    “We will dive deep into conversations over a glass of wine about fears, goals, and mindsets,” says Donaho. “We’ll tackle topics that every small business owner faces, like social media and branding. We will hear from a financial advisor on how to be healthy financially, and learn how to take care of our bodies through a nutrition demo and yoga instruction. We really strive to cover the mind, body, and business.”

    The goal of the Illuminare Retreat is to focus on intimacy and the whole person. 

    “When we’re talking about creative business owners, we’re often discussing individuals who work alone frequently,” she explains. “It can be a lonely path to walk, and the beauty found in finding others to ‘get’ you is so important. Alsoo, as a creative entrepreneur retreat, we’re bringing together women from various industries who can give a different perspective, which is incredibly helpful – versus photographers just meeting other photographers, for instance. Doing all of that under one roof in an intimate setting really accelerates those friendships and the amount of personal growth. Finally, we use the line of ‘mind-body-business’ to explain our take on the importance of having a healthy mind and body – not just a functional business. All three working together will create the best, not just for you as a person, but for your brand.”

    The next Illuminare Retreat will be held at the Retreat House in Louisville August 9-11, 2019.

    To learn more about Illuminaire Retreat, visit There you can register for the next Retreat and take advantage of Early Bird pricing. You can also follow along on Instagram

    by -

    Business is booming in Over-the-Rhine and a nationally-known eyeglass chain just opened its doors in the heart of the neighborhood. Read on for the eye-catching details.

    Warby Parker recently opened its first Cincinnati store in Over-the-Rhine.

    Warby Parker recently opened its first-ever store in the Queen City. Located in the heart of Over-the-Rhine, this store is the third in the state.

    “We’re excited to join the community in Over-the-Rhine,” says Co-Founder and Co-CEO Neil Blumenthal. “There are so many neighbors we’re eager to meet and there’s tons to take in. We’re especially happy to be just blocks away from Washington Park.”

    Since its launch in 2010, Warby Parker now has more than 75 stores across the U.S. and Canada with more than 1,500 employees.

    “Warby Parker was founded with a rebellious spirit and a lofty objective: To offer designer eyewear at a revolutionary price while leading the way for socially conscious businesses,” says Blumenthal. “It all began when four friends wondered why buying glasses was so expensive and oftentime tedious. They set out to make the whole thing easy, affordable, and way more fun.”

    Warby Parker allows customers to go around the traditional chain of purchase glasses. Instead, they design glasses in-house and work with customers directly to ensure that they receive high-quality, better-looking prescription eyewear that starts at $95.

    “We can’t wait to have you over to our new Cincinnati home and keep the good times going,” he adds. “We believe that buying glasses should leave you happy and good-looking, with money in your pocket.”

    The store is decorated with classic designs, much like you’d see in a library. It’s also similar to other stores in offering an atmosphere that is inviting and welcoming for customers.

    Of course in a fashion-driven world, you want to look fashionable in every aspect of the word. And that’s where Warby Parker comes in. Their glasses are easy to fit, affordable, and fun.

    The main identifier of the store is a larger-than-life-sized blue-footed booby (yes, you read that right), the company’s beloved mascot. It’s located in a sidewalk alcove just outside the store. Warby Parker says that the booby is there because the company identifies with its curious expression, charming tuxedo-esque plumage, and sense of playfulness.

    To celebrate the opening of the store in Cincinnati, Warby Parker designed a pair of sunglasses that’s special to the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood.

    OTR Warby Parker opened Oct. 27, located at 1419 Vine St.

    “We took our roundlenses Flynn in Smoky Quartz Crystal and made it over with Flash Mirrored Pacific Blue lenses,” says Blumenthal. “This Cincinnati-exclusive frame won’t be around forever, so check it out soon.”

    Also available in the store are glasses for kids. “We’ve taken some of our favorite grown-up frames in a rainbow of hues and miniaturized them for tinier faces,” he adds.

    The glasses are available in two sizes: Jr. (for ages 8 and up) and Jr. Jr. (good for kids ages 4-7).

    Customers who aren’t quite sure of the frames they’d like to order can check out the custom-built app in what the store calls Point of Everything. There, you can get an overview of the glasses you tried on and even see any of the measurements taken in the store.

    Prescription glasses from Warby Parker are shipped within days, and non-prescription pairs are immediately available to take home, and thanks to free lifetime adjustments, customers can stop in any Warby Parker for a “tune up.”

    And because Warby Parker knows that dealing with insurance can be confusing, the team is there to make your experience goes as smoothly as possible. They accept certain UnitedHealthcare and Spectera vision plans that can often lead you to get a new pair of glasses for the cost of your copay. Additionally, there are other ways to save at Warby Parker including out-of-network reimbursement, FSA, or HSA.

    Warby Parker also has a Buy a Pair, Give a Pair program, and have distributed more than 4 million pairs of glasses so far. Through the program, every time a customer purchases a pair of glasses or sunglasses, Warby Parker donates a pair to someone in need. To learn more about the Buy a Pair, Give a Pair program, click here.

    Warby Parker is located at 1419 Vine Street in Cincinnati. The store is open Monday through Saturday from 11 am to 7 pm and Sunday from 12 pm to 6 pm.

    To learn more about the Cincinnati location, click here. You can also follow Warby Parker on Facebook and Instagram.

    by -

    Named one of the best workouts in the country, The Barre Code just made its way to the Tri-State. See how it can give your fitness a boost in 2017.

    The Barre Code will soon be opening its doors in Cincinnati after making a statement with its body sculpting workouts across the country.

    Based in Chicago, the fitness franchise will open its first Ohio location thanks to Michelle Ziegler.

    When The Barre Code was established back in 2010 by Ariana Chernin and Jillian Lorenz, it was a women’s-focused exercise regimen that aimed to change the way women perceive their own strength. The workout also came with a full-bodied program that was driven by empowerment, positivity, and community.

    “The Barre Code is not your typical ‘barre studio,’” says Ziegler. “It brings the area a one-stop-shop of cardiovascular conditioning, strength training, and restoration class formats.”

    Ziegler was inspired to bring an exercise program like The Barre Code to Cincinnati after a heartbreaking experience of her own. She lost her dad after a long battle with cancer and was looking for an outlet to help her heal.

    “Little did I know that I would find a community to not only help me find peace, but also a place that reignited my passion for dance and fitness,” she says. “The Barre Code became like a second home to me and I knew I wanted to create this same community for women in Cincinnati.”

    The Barre Code is a new barre workout coming to Cincinnati.

    “The Barre Code is a very special community,” adds Ziegler. “With an extremely loyal following across the country.”

    The Barre Code will opens its doors in Cincinnati in early 2017. “It offers a health and wellness community in the heart of downtown,” adds Ziegler. “It will also foster a community that supports and motivates members to be the best versions of themselves.”

    When you join The Barre Code, you’ll find that you can meet a number of fitness needs in one place. “The program promotes personal growth and self-acceptance and it promotes the importance of the mind-body connection,” she says.

    Workouts at The Barre Code are fun and high energy, and is specifically engineered for a woman’s body with new routines each week as well as a variety of class formats.

    Ziegler says The Barre Code is the perfect fitness facility to visit in the New Year because it’s something that you will become a part of. “You will be challenges and you will have a support system to cheer you on along the way – it’s an environment where women support one another,” she says. “De-stress from a hectic work day, prepare for looking and feeling your best for your upcoming wedding, stay active and healthy during your pregnancy, or just take some well-deserved time for yourself. Whatever your reason, The Barre Code will become your go-to place.”

    When the studio opens, it will offer traditional barre classes as well as classes focused on HIIT (interval training), strength (boot camp), and restoration (stretch). The concept behind The Barre code is rooted in innovation that continually introduces new formats that will keep classes interesting and challenging.

    Ziegler says that pricing for classes has not yet been finalized, but everyone’s first class is free. “There will be options to purchase class packs or monthly-unlimited memberships,” explains Ziegler. “We can say, however, that ‘founding members,’ or those who sign up for the unlimited monthly membership before or at the grand opening, will receive special pricing.”

    The Barre Code will be located at 615 Main Street, just a few blocks from Fountain Square and on the streetcar line.

    Keep an eye out for The Barre Code in 2017 as it opens its doors to downtown Cincinnati in late March or early April. Ziegler says they will also be announcing additional details on grand opening events. Ziegler says that you can also feel free to reach out at any time by emailing

    To learn more about The Barre Code, click here. You can also follow the Cincinnati studio on Facebook.

    by -

    Learn about a local health practice, headed up by a Wall Street power player turned reverend, that focuses on self-healing and spiritual well-being to help clients achieve life goals.

    Rev. Ria is the founder and owner of Ria Wellness.
    Reverend Ria Roth is the founder and owner of Ria Wellness.

    Reverend Ria Roth, once a power player on Wall Street, took a unique career turn into health and wellness by focusing on the spiritual aspects of well being. It was during Rev. Roth’s journey of self healing that she began to trust her own intuition. This gave her the courage to pursue her own passions and open Ria Wellness to assist Tri-Staters with their spiritual well-being.

    Rev. Roth’s strong passion for a holistic approach to well-being lead her to seek training in an assortment of spiritual and physical wellness practices that her business offers. As an ordained minister Reverend Roth officiates weddings, is a Oneness Trainer, Certified LIIFT ( Life Improving Internal Focus Technique) Healer, Associate Polarity Practitioner and Licensed Clinical Massage Therapist.

    Living in New York, Rev. Roth was draw to a Taoist Coach to heal certain aspects of her past that she felt were holding her back in life. During this time she was introduced to self-healing techniques. Rev. Roth was encouraged to practice on others as well as herself in order to build skill and experience and a unique thing began to happen. “I started to get feedback that when I worked on people, they could feel warmth, shifts, and healing happening. This led me to believe that maybe I wasn’t born to work on Wall Street,” Rev. Roth explains, “but maybe I was here for something else – to partner with people and help them discover and create balance and well-being in their lives.”

    The unique approach that Ria Wellness takes is to focus on the inner self as an approach to well-being “So many people focus on diet and exercise for wellness. They focus on their physical body but forget that inner wellness is just as important as physical fitness to a happy and healthy body and life,” Rev Roth says. While Ria Wellness offers services that focus on the physical body like massage therapy, a majority of her offerings are focused on the internal.

    One such offering is LIIFT Therapy which Rev. Roth describes as an “effective tool that can change unwanted behaviors and patterns that keep us from leading our best lives. LIIFT utilizes simple techniques to quickly pinpoint the source of the issue and correct it. LIIFT accesses the subconscious mind and the thoughts that are stored there, and gently removes the hidden blocks that are holding us back from experiencing happiness and fulfillment in our lives. It can help with career, relationships, self-worth, physical, emotional and spiritual health, financial success and abundance, truly every aspect of a person’s life.”

    A LIIFT session generally lasts 45minutes to one hour, the person lists three things in their life that they would like to improve and then “utilizing what we call mind-body communication, we pinpoint where the issue began and work to gently release the hidden blocks,” Rev. Roth says. The overall goal of LIIFT healing is to release subconscious thoughts the self beliefs they lead to that are holding us back in life. Rev. Roth explains that LIIFT Healing is customized to each individual.

    Ria Wellness offers another customized healing practice called Polarity Therapy which removes blockages that occur due to past or present trauma, stress, and general hurt. “In Polarity we seek to remove the blockages,” Rev. Roth explains, “so that energy can flow freely and balanced health can be restored, leading to overall well-being. A Polarity Therapy session takes place on a massage table, and the person wears comfortable, loose-fitting clothing. The person leaves feeling refreshed, unburdened, and at ease. I have had clients say that they feel like they have been on a mini-vacation after their session.”

    Ria Wellness holds LIIFT Healing, Polarity Therapy, and Clinical and Therapeutic Massage out of Rev. Ria’s home office. Fees are based on the package purchased and packages begin at $70. She also leads a meditation group at her home office on Sunday mornings at 10:30am in which all are welcome. The meditation group “is on a love offering basis, typically $10-20 but any amount is accepted from the heart,” Rev. Roth explains. In addition Rev. Roth conducts wedding ceremony services in the Tri-State at a variety of venues.
    To find out more about Ria Wellness please visit their Facebook Page You can also download Rev. Roth’s guided meditation CD Chakra Dhyana on or for live streaming on Apple Music.

      by -

      You don’t need to travel far for a relaxing vacation. For this week’s Staycation issue, we chat with the owners of local inns, B&Bs and castles nestled in the ‘Nati’s nooks and crannies that will have you feeling like Queen City royalty.


      Whether you have vacation days to burn, or you just need a break from the holiday hustle and bustle, you don’t need to look far for your next getaway. Instead of booking a plane ticket, try booking a room at one of these local inns and B&Bs.

      The Glendalia is a six-room boutique hotel in the heart of downtown Glendale, Ohio
      The Glendalia is a six-room boutique hotel in the heart of downtown Glendale, Ohio

      The Glendalia
      Just 12 miles from downtown Cincinnati in Glendale is The Glendalia, a six-room boutique hotel that offers large apartment-style rooms overlooking the city’s Village Square.

      “The downstairs is a culinary studio featuring culinary adventures such as hands on cooking classes, 4-course gourmet dinners created in a group environment and then served restaurant-style in our dining room and chef Demo Wine Dinners,” explains The Glendalia’s Owner Robin Thomas.

      In addition to the culinary options, the Culinary Studio at The Glendalia is available for private parties, special events, team building events and just about anything else associated with food, according to Thomas. Also on the property of the hotel is an 800-square-foot off-site meeting space decorated in a bright, thought-provoking color palette.

      Thomas purchased the building that would become The Glendalia in 2008. She renovated and opened the hotel in 2010 and opened the Culinary Studio in 2013.

      There are plenty of amenities offered to guests staying at The Glendalia. “The rooms are large suites with kitchens, and some having washers and dryers,” says Thomas.

      Rooms at The Glendalia can be reserved nightly, weekly or monthly. Guests also enjoy a continental breakfast. Each room also has a full-size coffee pot and microwave oven.

      Thomas says The Glendalia is a great place for a staycation because of its location near Village Square, which resembles a European village. There are several attractions nearby including Ikea, Jungle Jims, Kings Island, local bakeries and wine bars, Grand Finale Restaurant and all that the heart of downtown Glendale has to offer such as Cock & Bull English Pub, Bluebird Baker, Meritage Restaurant and Piccolo Wine Room.

      “The Glendalia offers a getaway package that gives you your room and one our culinary experiences at a discounted rate,” she adds. You can opt for a room with a Queen-size bed for $129, King-size bed for $139 or a 2-bedroom suite for $169. The cost to add a culinary adventure for two is $70.

      The Glendalia is located at 11 Village Square in Glendale. To learn more, visit

      Big Rock Cabins in Beaver Township is a secluded getaway that many couples favorite for their anniversary getaway.
      Big Rock Cabins in Beaver Township is a secluded getaway that many couples favorite for their anniversary getaway.

      Big Rock Cabins
      Approximately two hours from Cincinnati, in Beaver Township, are Big Rock Cabins. These unique, romantic getaway cabins in Southeastern Ohio are perfect for a couple looking to escape for the weekend to celebrate anniversaries or just to enjoy some time alone together.

      “Each secluded cabin features interesting decor and fixtures, a hot tub on a covered deck, gas fireplace, gas grill and a fire pit,” says Big Rock Cabins Operator Erin Hoskins.

      Because it sits at the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, Big Rock Cabins are surrounded by trees and private trails lead to incredible rock formations and breathtaking views atop Big Rock, Prophet’s Peak and Turkey Rock.

      “After operating for 11 years, most of our guests are repeat customers that return every year for their anniversary,” says Hoskins.

      Hoskins, who operates Big Rock Cabins alongside Val Wolf, says that despite the cabins being in the “middle of nowhere,” there are several restaurant and shopping options just a 15-20 minute drive from Beaver Township.

      Rates at Big Rock Cabins range from $125 to $209. A weeknight stay with 2 or more nights Sunday through Thursday is $125 per night. A single weeknight Sunday through Thursday is $165. Weekend nights include a 2-night minimum for $209, with one of those nights being a Friday or Saturday. As for holiday weekends, there is a 3-night minimum at $209 each.

      To learn more about Big Rock Cabins, click here or “like” them on Facebook.

      With a hardworking history, The Inn and Spa at Cedar Falls is located in beautiful Hocking Hills.
      With a hardworking history, The Inn and Spa at Cedar Falls is located in beautiful Hocking Hills.

      Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls
      Hocking Hills’ Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls offers a relaxing getaway about 2.5 hours from Cincinnati. Innkeepers Ellen Grinsfelder and Terry Lingo describe the Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls as a “Country Inn” that they’ve been operating for 27 years.

      “We are a Country Inn in a peaceful, natural setting where people can connect with the earth and universe,” says Grinsfelder. “We are dedicated to high standards – standards of excellence. We have committed ourselves to quality food, quality surroundings, quality service and quality employees.”

      The Inn, located in Logan, Ohio, was first a vision of Anne Castle, who wanted to build a place where urban dwellers could escape to a natural setting.

      “After two and a half years in the making, the vision became a reality when The Inn opened in 1987,” says Grinsfelder. “Those two plus years were not without struggle.”

      That’s why in each room of the Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls is a brief history of The Inn. This brief history states: “This is not a Pollyanna-glad-girl story, however, the struggle to withstand backbreaking work, mind-bending discouragement, seemingly countless physical, emotional and financial blocks, is a long tale…”

      Grinsfelder, who is the daughter of Anne Castle, eventually married Terry Lingo, who was hired as a contractor to finish the construction phases of The Inn. Today, Grinsfelder and Lingo, as well as their children, are carrying on Anne’s dream, helping to establish a place where guests can, according to Grinsfelder, “come home.”

      Cabins, cottages and rooms are available at The Inn with prices ranging from $329 per night for a guest room, $379 per night for a cottage and $429 per night for a cabin.

      In addition to the room offerings, The Inn also has a babymoon experience, a romantic weekend getaway, workcations and slumber parties. The spa menu features facials, yoga, massages, hand and foot treatments and reflexology.

      The green-certified property is also where you can find The Gathering Place, a 5,000-square-foot, fully handicapped-accessible space featuring an open layout and space for meetings and social events including weddings, anniversary parties or celebrations for men, women, couples and groups.

      To learn more about The Inn, visit

      by -
      The Ark Spark is a children’s art studio that aims to boost imagination and creativity.

      In 2010, Jacquelyn Graff and Emily Otte were recent college graduates trying to pave their new career paths. While both in search for teaching jobs, they bonded over a mutual love for education, art and children.

      Eventually, they realized that their calling was to start a business, and The Art Spark was born. “We decided to open our own children’s art studio after working at a similar business during summer break in college,”

      Otte and Graff explain. “We love being able to provide children with lasting memories that instill imagination and creativity into their future endeavors.”

      Today, The Art Spark has been providing Cincinnati’s children with a creative outlet for five years. The business has grown to provide different age-targeted programs that encourage problem solving, independence and individual creation. Their offerings include pre-school classes, after school classes, home school classes, birthday parties, summer and winter camps and personalized events.

      The Art Spark is a bright spot for children among other academic curriculum. “It’s important that children can feel free to carry out their own ideas and [learn] to problem solve in a creative way that they may not be getting during their school day,” say Otte and Graff. At The Art Spark, every class and camp session begins with a brainstorming session. “This allows the child to contribute their ideas – it’s very exciting and makes a child [gain] self-worth and a sense of accomplishment,” Otte and Graff add.

      At The Art Spark, creation is more than a finished product. “It’s an investment in the future of every child,” Otte and Graff explain. Every project helps children to develop fine motor skills by using a variety of different supplies and techniques. “We challenge our children to think outside the box and solve problems creatively,” say Otte and Graff. “The kids see it as a fun puzzle but ultimately it’s helping them develop skills that they can use in their daily life.”

      An instilled sense of imagination helps children from grade-school age and beyond, according to Otte and Graff. As they grow, a flare for creativity, “helps them to be more confident, have exceptional leadership skills and to not give up when they may hit road blocks,” they add.

      The Art Spark offers programs and opportunities to fit every lifestyle. Summer and winter camps are divided up by ages and all have a unique theme. Activities include both individual and collaborative team projects.

      Age ranges for camps are 3-4, 5-9 and 7-11. Birthday parties are another way for children to experience The Art Spark. Families can choose between different packages according to their wishes.

      “Our Play and Create package offers games, activities, and two art projects that each child takes home with them,” says Otte and Graff. “Our Exploration package offers activities within an elaborately build, full-emersion environment and also includes two take-home projects.”

      Birthday parties are also customizable, with the activities and projects based on a theme chosen by the child.

      Playing a role in the development of a child is a rewarding experience for Otte and Graff. “We always stick to our guidelines of inspiring imagination, solving problems creatively, and helping children gain independence and confidence,” they said, “We are always inspired by our students’ creativity and each day is a new adventure!”

      The Art Spark is located inside Rockwern Academy at 8401 Montgomery Rd. Visit for more information.

      by -

      Music has an impact on fitness and performance, and is a useful therapeutic tool. Our new health expert explains.

      Kevin shares his tips on getting fit.

      Overture. Beethoven, The Beatles, Palestrina, Led Zeppelin, Morten Lauridsen, Pearl Jam, Bach, Rush(!), Mendelssohn, some cool hip-hop artist that I will not pretend I know, Enya—the continuum of musical artists and genres are vast and diverse. Depending on context and the individual’s mood, music has a way of tugging on his or her heartstrings. Music is a gatekeeper into our mind and soul, which becomes expressed physically through emotion or action. Music can profoundly affect us in many ways, whether that is comfort after a messy break-up or to provide a quick pump before a sporting competition. Music, as a therapeutic tool, can positively and negatively impact our mood and behavior.

      Subsequently, as it relates to exercising performance, the style, rhythm, and tempo of a song can affect our intensity level. Music, health, and fitness go together like a C-major chord, so hands in playing position, head up, take a deep breath, and start on the count of four…

      Verse I. Music is well recognized for its physical, cognitive, and spiritual connection. After all, that is the essence behind music therapy. There have been many times in my career as a Nurse Practitioner where the use of music as a therapeutic modality has improved a patient’s mood or cognitive status. Sometimes music can trigger a final passing memory the patient experiences shortly before taking his or her last breathe, or an Alzheimer’s dementia patient to reminisce about a fond memory from 50 years ago. Through musical involvement in the therapeutic context, patients’ abilities are strengthened and transferred to other areas of their lives, providing an outlet for expression of feelings. From a physical rehabilitation standpoint, research has shown music to be quite effective in facilitating movement by encouraging patients to be engaged in their treatment plan. Music is powerful any way you listen to it.

      On a personal perspective of music and its therapeutic effects, my mother suffered from a hemorrhagic stroke in 2014. She has no significant past medical history, takes no medications other than fish oil and a multivitamin, is a nonsmoker, maintains a healthy weight, is a cautious eater, and is extremely active. Clearly she had minimal risk factors other than her age. The first moment I witnessed her, after her craniotomy, everything was blur. I am sure she could say the same.

      Despite being heavily sedated, she could squeeze my hand in response to simple commands. I asked her how comfortable she was. She squeezed my hand once or twice respectively to answer my question. Understandably so, she was not comfortable; she was scared in fact. Trying to maintain my composure, all I could think about was to play music to help her relax. I pulled out my iPhone and ironically the first song on shuffle was “In My Life” by The Beatles, the song my mother and I danced to at my wedding. I played the song, and her handgrip softened. Her squeezing became less frequent. For that remaining time we spent together in the ICU, we held hands and she was relaxed. She was comfortable, and so was I.

      Verse II. Music obviously can have a positive impact on cognition and mood, but how does it affect exercise performance and behavior? The use of music in exercise training has attracted considerable interest from researchers in recent years, and it has long been considered effective for enhancing the exercise experience. Researchers have proposed four factors contribute to the motivational qualities of a piece of music: 1) rhythm/tempo response; 2) musicality; 3) sociocultural impact; and 4) personal association. Considering these four factors when creating your ideal playlist, have you noticed changes in your mood or performance? As for myself, I am boring because I prefer to exercise with no music, or distractions I should say. My wife could tell me the house is burning down and I would not acknowledge what she said. I am focused—eyes on the prize.

      Chorus. Out of the four factors discussed, tempo is considered to be the most significant determinant of musical response. The listener’s physiological arousal and the context in which the music is heard may affect the tempo preference. This means that as physiological arousal increases, such as during exercise, one should, accordingly, prefer higher tempi. This observed phenomenon is called synchronization. The implication during physical activity is there will be stronger preferences for fast tempo music, owing to increases in physiological arousal.

      The choice of music tempo has also been shown to impact aspects of exercise behavior, most notably initiation and adherence of a program. Given that the arousal potential of stimuli determines preference and individuals often require a moderate increase in arousal to initiate physical activity, it follows logically that listening to music of a preferred tempo prior to exercise will assist participants in attaining an optimal mindset. Furthermore, if such music content also contains lyrical affirmations pertaining to motivation aspects, it will have an even more potent effect. Music that induces positive affect and mental imagery and promotes enjoyment is likely to increase levels of adherence.

      Verse III. That’s enough about pre- and intra-workout, so what about post-workout? Can music really have an impact? One study revealed motivational qualities of music used during exercise provided a sense of comfort to participants post-workout; it created a shared experience within the gym setting. Thus, this exemplified the building blocks of intrinsic motivation, which leads to increased levels of enjoyment and adherence. Music functioned as a conditioned stimulus within an exercise or gym setting, which became amplified over time owing to a gradual reinforcement process. It is even possible that music may influence individuals on a cognitive level, leading them to evaluate themselves more favorably and their own ability to meet their health/fitness goals. (Go to coda). Music is inspiring and motivating. It influences our mood, cognition, and health/fitness goals by making it more enjoyable and enables us to increase our intensity, ultimately improving long-term performance. Whether you are an individual just starting your health journey, or fitness professional, we are motivated by positive results, and playing music while exercising can assist in reaching that outcome. Various personal characteristics influence the response to music during exercise. Hence, personality, sociocultural relationships, and attitude towards exercise should all be considered when selecting a music playlist to accompany exercise. The beauty of music is its diversity, and not one tune will resonant identically with someone else. Encouraging exercisers of any level to create and listen to their own music playlist may be one of the most critical aspects of keeping individuals motivated towards long-term health sustainability. Create your own personal soundtrack that builds you up, that defines you, and something that empowers you.

      by -


      Shane M. Pergrem, director of “The Almond Tree” and owner of True Artists Studio

      Danny and Leslie Engle were your typical high school sweethearts. They went everywhere together, attending the same school, church and even the same youth group. After years of dating, they married and bought a home together. Starting a family was the next step for this American Dream.


      But after multiple attempts to become pregnant, the Engles learned they had a very slim chance of conceiving. The news was devastating and nearly tore the couple apart.


      “There were times in our marriage when we both wanted to give up,” says Danny Engle in the trailer for the film. “We both said it’s not working. The pain, the money, the difficulties. We can’t even complete a family.”


      But the couple eventually learned how to turn their stumbling blocks into stepping stones and discovered what true love is.


      Shane Pergrem, owner of True Artists Studio, was commissioned by Berachah Baptist Church to make a short, 5-minute film about the couple and their unique story. Pergrem says after doing a few interviews with the couple he knew there was a bigger story to be told.


      “Their story tugged at my heart strings. They had been through so much and five minutes didn’t do them justice,” says Pergrem. “I knew I could do more for them.”


      So, after completing the 5-minute project for the church, Pergrem volunteered an additional 10 months of filming and editing to shoot a full documentary called “The Almond Tree” that showcases the journey – good and bad – the couple endured to complete a family.


      “Other than the musical composition — composed by ‘Starving in the Belly of the Whale’ — and for the graphic design, it was all me and I couldn’t be more proud of how it turned out,” explains Pergrem.


      “The Almond Tree” was given an official selection at the Appalachian Film Festival, the Awareness Film Festival West, and the Hamilton Film Festival. It also won the Best Documentary award at the American International Film Festival.


      To learn more about “The Almond Tree,” visit or purchase the film here on Amazon. Watch the film’s trailer below.

      This is a special advertising supplement, paid for by True Artists Studio.


      by -


      Moksha Yoga’s new location is at U Square at the Loop,
      near the University of Cincinnati

      Moksha Yoga, known for its 100-degree hot yoga class, opened the doors of their new 75-person studio located in the recently-constructed U Square at the Loop at the end of July.


      U Square is 80,000 square feet of retail space that covers two city blocks between McMillan and Calhoun streets across from the University of Cincinnati’s main campus.


      The owners chose the Clifton and UC community so they can promote an environmentally friendly yoga lifestyle to a larger area and continue to grow their company. “There are so many benefits of yoga, for the mind and body, and we’re excited to spread those benefits in a more centralized location in Cincinnati,” says Ellen Bradley, co-owner of the studio along with her husband Michael. “Being in the heart of the city allows us to reach more people.”


      alotlikelove instoryad

      Moksha Yoga is a green, clean, hot yoga series that stretches, strengthens and tones the muscles while detoxifying the body and calming the mind. The studios are considered a “green” facility from floor to ceiling. They use anti-microbial cork floors, reclaimed wood for their front desk, and the continued use of eco-friendly cleaning products after each class. “It’s definitely not the easy way to build a studio,” says Camilla Mecher, Co-Director of the Moksha studios, “but it’s the right way, and we’re very proud to be able to make our yoga practice even more accessible as we make our new home in Clifton.”


      Moksha has grown from one studio in 2008, to three studios five years later. From just a handful of students, Moksha recently reached 1,900 students each week in the two current studios, which are located in Crescent Springs, KY and in Cincinnati across from Alms Park.


      Moksha Yoga believes that the benefits of yoga are limitless and accessible to all, so whether you have never been to yoga or are a self-proclaimed yogi, everyone is welcome to try out any of the classes offered at the studio.


      The new Moksha Yoga studio is located at 150 W. McMillan St. Go to for more information.