The only online publication for women in Greater Cincinnati

Authors Posts by Amy Scalia

Amy Scalia

Amy Scalia
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Publisher & CEO - Amy Scalia, a Cincinnati native, is the editor in chief and publisher of Cincy Chic. Send her an e-mail at ascalia@cincychic.com. From growing up in the cornfields of Harrison and getting a Mass Communications B.A. degree in the bubble of Oxford, to living on the NKY side of the river in Newport and then Ft. Thomas, Amy Scalia has embraced Cincinnati with her presence. Her major life accomplishments include: being a mom of two girls and another little one on the way, a 2010 "40 Under 40" recipient from the Cincinnati Business Courier, winning the "Best New Product/Service of the Year" Award from the Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce and a national Web-writing award from ASHPE in 2007, a national feature writing award from ASBPE in 2006, and running three Flying Pig Marathons.

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Watch our exclusive Storyteller video with the co-owners of Alba Organic Beauty Studio

From parabens to formaldehyde, the beauty industry is full of not-so-beautiful toxins. But one local business has been providing non-toxic beauty services and products since way before it was trendy.

Andrea and Ashley Lauren have been offering all organic, natural and non-toxic services and products at their co-owned businesses Alba Organic Beauty Studio and Cincy Style Bar (CSB) since 2012. Alba is an expansion of the production makeup and hairstyling business that Andrea began in 2003. Alba Organic Beauty Studio was officially opened in October 2012 as Cincinnati’s first non-toxic salon spa offering non-toxic hair, makeup, manicures, pedicures, facials, waxing, airbrush tanning and massage.

The sister duo also launched Cincy Style Bar, the Midwest’s first and only blowout and makeup bar. “We are happy that we introduced the region to the concept of a blowout bar long before most people had even heard the term” added Ashley.

(l-r) Ashley and Andrea Lauren
(l-r) Ashley and Andrea Lauren

“We have worked hard to create a non-toxic, relaxed, unpretentious sophisticated atmosphere that allows our team and guests to feel welcome and at home,” says Andrea.

To help get you even more relaxed while you enjoy services from Alba and CSB, the facility has its liquor license, allowing guests to select a cocktail from the specialty menu with happy hour prices ($3 off) during your services. “Whether it’s for a bachelorette party, birthday party or a girls night out, we love having groups get ready with us,” Andrea says.

Aside from making your visit to the salon an enjoyable one, the team is also dedicated to Continuing Education and staying up-to-date on the latest trends and techniques. “Whether it is a full makeover or just a freshen-up of your signature look, all of our talented artists can be counted upon to deliver results customized to your individuality,” says Andrea.

The Alba Production Pros also does makeup and hair for film, television, commercial and print work for Cincinnati and surrounding areas in the Tri-State. “We have had the privilege of working with dozens of top-tier companies such as Food Network, E! Entertainment, MSNBC, Nickelodeon, People Magazine, Disney and even Sir Paul McCartney,” Andrea added.

In addition to Alba Organic Beauty Studio and Cincy Style Bar, the Lauren sisters also own Cincy Bridal Beauty, where they offer Big Day services to brides and their wedding parties.

“Our talented and professional artists have been beautifying brides since 2003,” explains Andrea. “We are unique in that we offer both in-studio and on-location bridal services. Additionally, we have a bridal suite for brides that need a space to gather and hang out in while they’re getting ready.”

Whether it’s everyday salon services, bridal beauty services or creating looks for television and film productions, Alba Beauty Studio has you covered – with organic, non-toxic services and products.

Learn more about Alba Organic Beauty Studio here. You can also like them on Facebook or follow along on Instagram and Twitter. You can also visit www.cincystylebar.com and www.cincybridalbeauty.com to learn about the Lauren sisters’ other booming beautification ventures.

 

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Watch as our Editor In Chic Amy Scalia shares her personal message about child safety

About a year into being a mom, I joked that I could write a book about all the things mom-to-be books don’t tell you. That was before my daughter could walk, so now I feel like I could fill an entire library!

Here’s one of my biggest lessons learned, and I hope sharing my story helps you, too…

Like I said, I read all those mommy-to-be books, and I thought I had my house prepped for Lola’s arrival. But once she took those first steps, everything changed. She was all the sudden getting into things I never dreamed she could reach or open yet.

Thank GOODNESS, right after she started getting mobile, I saw a commercial that was my “a-ha” moment. The commercial was about everyday dangers in a home, and one of them were laundry pacs. At first, I thought “well, duh, who would just leave those sitting out in front of a baby?” And then I realized that I was essentially doing just that.

My laundry room door was closed, but Lola can now open doors. If she did, all my products – including laundry pacs – were on a shelf she could probably reach, and the container was opened because it was easier to not have to fuss with opening it each time I needed one. Holy. Cow.

I realized I had to make that room safe if she ever did get in there (which you know she eventually would). So, I made a promise to myself to always keep all my laundry and cleaning products up and closed from that point forward. But, of course, with style. I took to Pinterest to find some cute DIY shelving that keeps everything out of reach for her but still within reach for me to grab-and-go when I need it.

I feel a MILLION times better with that little afternoon shelving project, and now, I want to spread the word so other parents can do the same. When it comes to laundry pacs, keep them up and keep them closed to keep your kiddos safe!

Watch the PSAs below I recently did on Star64 with an Injury Prevention Specialist from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and then please share this page with parents, grandparents, caretakers, and anyone with little ones at home! Click here to learn more great safety tips.

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We chat with a full-service production company that offers professional DJ, karaoke, MC, sound, lights, entertainment and more — all under one rockin’ roof. Read on for details.

Allen Walker knows that planning a wedding can be stressful. That’s why his company Big Daddy Walker Productions serves as a one-stop-shop for everything entertainment during your big day.

From DJ, karaoke, MC, officiant, sound, lights, and entertainment, Big Daddy Walker Productions offers it all. Established in 2002 with a long history of entertainment services, Walker says they also stay on the cutting edge by maintain the latest in music selections and frequently update equipment and services.

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Allen Walker with Big Daddy Walker Productions
In fact, they just added a new service called “Foto Bomb” to their entertainment line-up. The service allows attendees of your wedding or event to submit their photos via smart phone – no application needed – to a short code and it will be submitted to a slideshow that will play throughout the event, and be added to a zip drive given to the event host at the end of the night.

“Big Daddy Walker Productions truly cares about entertainment and making your next event a success,” Walker says. “We believe that music and entertainment has the ability to connect people and further relationships.”

Connecting and building relationships also earned Big Daddy Walker Productions several awards. In fact, they’ve been named Best of Weddings by The Knot for five straight years and inducted into the Hall of Fame. “We are the only DJ service in Cincinnati to ever earn that distinction,” he says. “We aim to bring to you and your guest the absolute best in wedding Emcee and DJ services. We ensure that every detail is covered to give you the night of your life.”

Walker says that because they’re privately owned and managed, he keeps a careful eye on quality, and that’s his secret to success. “We have one chance to get it right, and that’s how we train our DJs to perform,” he explains. “DJs have to shadow me for a year before they’re released and certified to do the weddings. We have 17 DJs total right now who can do a variety of events, but only five are committed to and certified to do weddings. That’s how we keep our quality in tact.”

To learn more, visit www.bigdaddywalkerproductions.com.

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It's the neckline of the season: The Mock Turtleneck. Read on as we share tips and tricks for how to wear it.

 (image credit: crossroadstrading.com)
(image credit: crossroadstrading.com)

Season after season, we’ve seen the resurgence of trends across the decades with carwash pleats, bomber jackets, and everything in between. Experts are forecasting that leopard prints will be a significant fabric for coats pre-fall 2016, a timeless classic that first came about during the roaring ‘20s according to About Vintage Clothing, although back then they used real skins as opposed to the faux fur used today.

But as we approach the warmer temperatures of spring, we’re finding ourselves less concerned with outerwear and more focused on current trends. One of the more prevalent styles we’ve noticed throughout the past year and up until now is the mock turtleneck. Less apparent than other comebacks of earthy tones and folksy patchwork, the mock-neck has subtly made its way back into our wardrobe, and we’re loving it.

Popularized by the ‘90s supermodels like Kate Moss, according to Lyst, celebrities and style icons have rediscovered the power of this flattering silhouette, a neckline that has proven to be more forgiving than the turtleneck, which also happens to be one of the trends that dominated the Fall 2015 Shows.

The mock-neck has been dubbed fashion’s weirdest collar by Vogue, and who can blame them? Though designers and runway walkers did their best to give it a couture aesthetic, many still associated mock turtlenecks to a less-than-stylish market from pro golfers to die-hard Star Trek fans and boy bands like N’Sync. But the world of fashion can be just as unpredictable as the weather, thus it’s quite likely that the industry rejected trends of yesterday will return in a more appealing manner.

Now that mock-necks have been given a sexy upgrade, it’s time to find out how to actually pull them off. Manifesting in every seasonal wardrobe, there are a myriad of ways to style this collar. While the weather still calls for it, a mock turtleneck underneath an open cardigan or paired colored textures would make you look fabulous, or wear it as a modest neckline to match with a midi skirt during your spring and summer outings as shown on Refinery 29.

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Alright, countdown is on. Tomorrow marks one week until Christmas, aka the week when I get all my Christmas shopping done. Having a baby definitely makes life more expensive and busy (awesome, but expensive and busy), so I’ve become quite saving-savvy online shopper this past year. I’ll do a separate post about my new obsession with rebate apps. But my other obsession is with Groupon.

Our favorite indian restaurant and sushi restaurant are on there right now, so I bought a ton of those Groupons up. I kind of feel like we’re winning at life every time we use one and we get more than half-off on dinner (at a place we would have gone to anyway). I also got a bunch of presents through Groupon Goods. I was pleasantly surprised at the cool stuff they have on there (it’s not the outdated, damaged packing stuff that I thought I’d be finding for 50-70% off). I got half off a Red’s pen (with game-used dirt in it!) for my dad and an Autocross racing package for the hubs (for $159 instead of $679!!!) so he can drive that Ferrari F430 he’s obsessed with. I got the girls in the family stuff on Groupon Goods too, but I can’t say what I got them because I know they read Cincy Chic! haha!

The obsession with Groupon deepened when I saw the tab up top that said “Coupons.” Mind you, I’m new to the coupon, rebate app, and Groupon world. I had really only used coupons at grocery before. But then I saw Groupon had coupons for BabiesRUs, Sam’s Club, Kohl’s, Office Depot, JC Penney, FootlockerHarry and David, Nine West, Loft, and even Lord & Taylor.

We’re not in Kansas any more, Toto. We’re not just saving $1 on milk any more. I’m saving 60% off on Lola’s Christmas toys, 40% off my New Year’s Eve dress, and 35% on all the office supplies for my business. Yeah, I can reeeeally get into that kind of coupon. Quick. Oh, and how about I celebrate the bajillion dollars I just saved with a wine club membership? Because that, my dear, is 40% off with one of these magical fairy dust Groupon Coupons!

These coupons are free, and their site says they offer 70,000 coupons from 9,000+ stores. I’m not even exaggerating. This is real life. So, bookmark it and check there before you buy anything. Or go anywhere. (yes, there are even coupons for getaways and travel — like Travelocity & Orbitz). The getaways are kind of insane… some start at $80 and some of the all-inclusives (which include airfare) are $600ish.

Ok ok, I’ll stop. But seriously go to Groupon Coupons now if you want to forever win at life. And look good doing it. Because your dress was 40% off.

 

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Making a home safer and more accessible for people with disabilities and older individuals who wish to stay living their homes as they age is not simply a trend. For many homeowners these types of renovations are a necessity, and universal design and aging-in-place contractors are coming to their rescue.

While these terms can be used interchangeably, there are key differences when discussing aging-in-place and universal design. Knowing the differences will help you find the right contractor with the skills needed to complete your home’s renovation project.

Aging in Place Modifications

As implied by it’s name, aging in place renovations allow people to stay in their homes well into their golden years.

Generally, aging-in-place contractors are focused on renovating and retro-fitting an existing home to make it more safe and comfortable as the homeowner’s age and their physical abilities change. These renovation can be as simple as installing grab bars in tubs and showers or as extensive as replacing front steps with ramps.

As more than 750,000 Americans begin to reach retirement age, the services of aging-in-place contractors is becoming more in demand. The National Association of Home Builders offers the Certified Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS) designation program, which instructs contractors in the different aspects of this particular segment of the industry. This guidance includes advice on business management, customer service and technical aspects of home modifications. In addition to this, there are also programs for interior designers and others to become certified as aging-in-place specialists.

Universal Design

For contractor’s purposes, the term universal design applies to projects completed for people of all abilities and ages—from first home buyers to families with young children and elderly parents under one roof. Universal design normally refers to the design of a brand-new home that incorporate universal design principles, but can also refer to renovations made to an existing homes to improve convenience and ease of use.

For many universal design practitioners, the goal is to have universal design features incorporated into the regular features of a home as seamlessly and inconspicuously as possible.

In addition to aesthetic concerns, universal design approaches take into consideration future adaptability needs. An example of this would be wall construction so that grab bars can easily be added at a later time, but not until they are needed.

Features in common

Whether referring to aging-in-place or universal design, features of both often overlap since they share the same goal of making it easier and safer for people to live in and move about their homes.

Here are a few features and modifications that contractors can help with:

  • Widening hallways and doorways to accommodate wheelchairs, strollers, and other mobility devices.
  • Pocket doors that reduce the amount of space hinged doors require.
  • Bathrooms situated on main floors, with plenty of space in which to move around.
  • Fixtures, such as kitchen and bathroom sinks, with added space underneath and adjusted to proper levels allowing wheelchair users to easily access them.
  • “Zero step” entrances and ramps to at least one outside door.
  • Wall mounted toilets that can easily be placed higher or lower depending on home occupants’ needs.
  • Walk in showers with oversized doors and no thresholds.
  • Additional lighting to allow people to move around the home safer and easier.
  • Adjusting switches and controls to make them more accessible—this includes electrical outlets, light switches and thermostats.
  • Lever-style door handles and faucets.

Considering a retrofit project or building a new home that needs to take into consideration universal design and aging in place principles? Find vetted and qualified aging-in-place or universal design contractors with Contractor Connection.

Contractor Connection makes it easy to find top-quality contractors for your home renovation project or new home build. Each contractor in our network has been thoroughly screened to ensure he or she is qualified, licensed and insured. Plus, we offer an industry-best three-year warranty on all workmanship to ensure your complete satisfaction.

For a free, no-obligation estimate from a qualified contractor, click here to choose a contract speciality and enter your ZIP code at the top of the page.

 

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