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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 a boy, 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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Everyone said raising a child goes quickly. Our Editor in Chic shares a letter to her daughter about how true that’s turning out to be and what she plans to do about it.

030915LOLAWhenever I sit down to write these letters to you, my first thought is always “I can’t wait until she reads this one day.” But I stopped myself this time.

As a new mom, I bought a sea of books before your big arrival, and drowned myself in information. I wanted to prepare in every way I could. So, now that you’re finally here, it’s like the pages are all coming to life before me. All your little developments are unfolding like the chapters of my books said they would.

I’ve found myself saying “I can’t wait” a lot these past few months. “I can’t wait until she can wear this…go here… do this… say that” …and the list goes on.

But the truth is I can – and should – wait. This is the one chance I get to raise you. This is the one time in my life where you’re completely dependent on me. These are the years I’ll have on repeat in my mind when you’re long moved out and living your life as an adult. Why be impatient and wish it all away?

I know I’m not technically wishing these moments away. But every time I say “I can’t wait” for something, I’m not just enjoying the moment. A part of my mind is already turning the page on the next chapter. I’m anticipating “what’s next,” instead of soaking up where you are right now, what you’re doing, and how special it is that I get to share it with you.

Today, during a feeding, you grabbed the bottle and held it yourself. I asked myself – with welled up eyes – was that the last bottle I’ll ever get to hold for you? I would have cherished the prior feeding had I known it would be my last. That’s when it hit me: I’ve been so caught up in the excitement of all your new developments that I failed to realize many of your “firsts” come with a “last” of something else. I never know when these delicate transitions are coming, either.

You can apply that to just about anything in life, though. You usually never know when you’ll have a first or a last, but you spend a lot of time anticipating them both. It prevents you from being able to cherish, soak in, and enjoy each moment as if it’s your last.

Yesterday’s the past, tomorrow’s the future, but today is a gift. That’s why it’s called the present. So, the next time you find yourself saying “I can’t wait,” softly whisper back with a “Yes, I can” and just enjoy.

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Want to get healthy and lose weight but struggling to fit it into your busy schedule? One local expert figured out a way to get Gym Rat results without ever leaving the house.

030215ADVERTORIAL

Fitness was always a priority for Michelle Beckman. But when kids came along, she found it more and more difficult to fit in exercise and healthy eating into her busy schedule that now revolved around her child’s feedings, naps and activities.

She continued to gain weight and was at her heaviest when she met her husband, Brian, in 2002. Wedding dress shopping prompted her to finally decide she wanted to lose weight and get healthy. So, she immersed herself in learning about whole foods and proper nutrition.

“I started researching foods and how different ingredients affect our bodies,” she explains. “Slowly I started to cut out processed foods and certain ingredients.”

She says high fructose corn syrup and partially hydrogenated oils were the first two to go. She then started eating more whole foods and less red meat. “I noticed my waist line shrinking and I started to drop weight,” she recalls. “However, after two pregnancies, lack of sleep, lack of energy and less time for exercise I found myself having difficulty getting my weight back down below 150.”

That’s when she found Beachbody. “My youngest had just turned two and I just couldn’t lose those last 15 pounds, even after running two half marathons,” she says. “So, I decided to try shakeology and I started the workout program ‘Insanity.’ I lost weight within the first week and knew I was on to something.”

She continued to follow the program and drink my shakes daily for 60 days. By January 2012, she had lost 9.5 inches total body, 8.5 pounds and 5% bodyfat. “And that was over the holidays,” she laughs. “Needless to say, I was ecstatic! I decided that I wanted to help others achieve their goals and most importantly to get healthy and fit.”

That’s when she began her journey as a Beachbody Coach. “I decided to become a Team Beachbody Coach because I found it empowering to share these products in able to help people reach their goals,” she explains. “People helping people – from all around the country – working towards one common goal: ‘Reversing The Trends of Obesity: One Relationship at a Time!’ That is what coaching is about and I love that!”

Beckman provides free support for all of the Beachbody fitness programs. In fact, to help her clients stay accountable, help answer questions, and create an online community of encouragement, Michelle creates private Facebook groups of clients who want a group setting – but virtual to fit in everyone’s schedules – to keep them committed and help them reach their goals.

“It’s perfect for busy moms who can’t leave the house for fitness classes, but need a group setting to keep them motivated, and a coach to keep them on a plan,” Beckman says. “I’ve been there, I am there, and I understand it. That’s why I love providing people with the nutrition and fitness tools they need to make positive changes in their lives, all from their own home, when it works for their schedule.”

To learn more, watch the exclusive webcast below and visit www.michellebeckman.com.

 

This is a special advertising supplement, paid for by Michelle Beckman

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Our Editor in Chic shares a letter to her daughter about being stuck in a rut and the only way to get out (other than calling AAA).

030215LOLAI’m going to regret telling you this when you start driving, but I was towed out of our driveway TWICE today. Yes, within a five hour period, I (who actually thought I was a good driver until today) got stuck two separate times and had to call two separate tow trucks to help get me out.

The first time was annoying. I was taking you to an appointment, and all the sudden my tires started spinning. I thought “no big deal” and was determined to get it going again. We had things to do, places to be, and I wasn’t going to let this stop me.

In the five years of owning my car, I’ve grown to know it and read it very well. Ahem… at least, that’s what I thought.

Reverse, forward. Reverse, forward. The further I slid, slid, slid. Before I knew it, I had completely slid off the driveway and down into a big ditch next to it.

“Well,” I thought, “this stinks, but we need to get to that appointment! It’s time to put some elbow grease into this situation!”

I ran to our garage and pulled out the biggest shovel and bag of salt we had. I dug the snow out around each tire, poured the salt, and got back in my car fully confident I’d drive right out of that mess.

Nope. I just dug big muddy ruts with my tires in the process. I eventually got out to assess the situation and it looked like complete mayhem. Sliding tire tracks, skid marks, hastily shoveled out holes, random salt patches, and mud everywhere. Kind of embarrassing.

I finally gave up, unsnapped your car seat from the car, and headed back to the house. My determination and ingenuity felt more and more deflated with each step.

It was a rare time in my life where my hard work and quick thinking didn’t get me out of a situation. That’s always worked in the past.

So I called AAA and got a tow truck out to tow me out onto the road. I headed to our appointment and had no problems getting there or back. But then, I turned into our driveway and immediately started to slide again… almost in the same exact spot!

Again, I thought I could figure it out. The other time surely must have just been a fluke. I couldn’t possibly get stuck again. In the same spot. In my own driveway.

Reverse, forward. Reverse, forward. Further I slid, slid, slid. Before I knew it, I was back where I had been just a few short hours ago.

This time, though, I wasn’t just annoyed. I was furious. Furious at the snow. Furious at my car. Furious at myself for getting stuck again. Furious that I couldn’t figure it out. Again.

I called another tow truck to come get me. But this time was different. The tow truck driver was talkative. At first I was too furious to listen. I was too focused on getting my car out of these stupid ruts. Ruts that I had created.

But the more he talked, the more I could tell he was a car buff. He started asking if I had ever used the paddle shift option on my car. He said it could work wonders in this kind of weather.

Really, dude? You’re talking to a gal who calls this car her second home. But, no, I hadn’t used the paddle shift. I actually didn’t know it even had that option.

After he pulled my car out of the ditch, he asked if I wanted to drive it down our driveway to the garage or if I wanted him to. The hard-headed, determined, slightly feminist me wanted to say “no thanks” and hop in my car and do it myself.

But me doing it “my way” is what got me into trouble in the first place. Maybe it was time to learn a new way. So, much as it hurt my pride to say it, I told him he could drive me to our garage.

Once in the car, he taught me how to use the new option on my car. I couldn’t believe it, but it actually worked. When the wheels started spinning in the slick spot that sent me off the drive twice before, he shifted down and eased right past it.

No more sliding, no more reverse and forward, no more frustration, and no more ruts. I learned a new way, and therefore got new results.

So, keep this in mind: You can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking you used when you created them. That goes for any kind of rut, physical, mental or just a ditch in your driveway.

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Our Editor in Chic shares a letter to her daughter that explains where the grass is truly greener.

022315LOLAI remember my first garden. Well, technically it was my sandbox. But I planted radish seeds in it once, and they surprisingly grew, so we called it my garden.

My parents were so shocked that anything grew in it because, for one, it was a sandbox. No soil, just sand. It was also in the shade, and a fairly long walk from our house so it wasn’t necessarily easy to get to.

This poor little “garden” had everything stacked against it. I had every excuse for it not to work. But I saw gardens in magazines and wanted one so badly.

I remember visiting my radishes each day, bringing them water — never looking at other plants to notice they were in soil not sand, or if they were bigger than my little radishes. I just watered watered watered, and loved seeing the little green sprouts get bigger every day. Then, eventually, that proud moment when my parents said my radishes were big enough to pick!

We pulled them out of the ground and I couldn’t believe I had grown them all by myself. I think I stared at them for hours – so proud – before I finally caved and ate one. I’ll never forget that day.

Somehow along the way, though, I forgot the lessons this little garden taught me. With the huge hurdles we’ve had to clear lately, it’s been tough to not look at everyone else’s “garden.” I started looking at other people’s soil. Their plants. Their harvests. Why did gardening seem so much easier for them than it did for us? Did I have a black thumb?

There was one woman in particular who seemed to have it all: healthy family, lots of kids, nice house, traveled often, great job, etc. From an outsider’s perspective, their life just looked effortless and happy. Like a beautiful, self-watering garden full of huge, fruitful plants. Who wouldn’t be jealous of that?

Last week, I had a business meeting with this woman. I even thought “It must be so nice to be her” when she welcomed me in to her perfectly organized office, shook my hand with her perfectly manicured nails, and smiled at me with her perfect Hollywood smile. Then, about 15 minutes into the conversation, she poured out her heart to me. She hadn’t been happy in years and she had just told her husband she wanted a divorce. Life had been secretly crumbling behind the facade she kept so well-manicured.

I was shocked. It was like learning that the dream gardens in my magazines as a kid were really a bunch of silk plants stuck in dirt (which they very well might have been). And here it had me – a person who somehow made radishes grow in a shady pile of sand – wondering if I had a black thumb. In reality, I made something really special happen when I focused on my own little plants. I willed those little radishes to grow with lots of love and water. Your daddy and I did the same thing – despite all odds, we willed our special little family to grow with lots of love and strength. We just needed to keep doing that and not worry about anything else.

So, keep that in mind when you feel the urge to compare your life to others. While it might look like it from afar, the grass isn’t always greener on the other side of the fence. But the grass will always be greener where you water it, even if it’s just a few radishes in the sand.

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Our fashion columnist explores the art of mixing colors, playing with patterns and incorporating prints into your outfits. Learn more about the dos and dos of mixing it up and creating style recipes.

If you run into me bopping around Hyde Park and you don’t know me, you might think to yourself, Why is she wearing all of those prints? What is she thinking? Does she know those don’t match? Or hopefully, you’re inspired to see style as an expression of self. Maybe you’ll decide to try to mix up your outfits a bit as to avoid the same old recipes you continue to put together, limiting yourself to pants that are married to a certain sweater or a dress that only goes with one belt and certain shoes. Sound familiar?

I’ve been researching Pinterest (don’t judge, I know you’ve pinned 6 things in the last 24 hours on a secret board). Anyway, I’d like to summarize my findings to help you incorporate pattern play into your wardrobe.

Study Color Experts
As much as style should be individual, fashion is often driven by designers and retailers. Browse the J.Crew catalog for a little guidance on styling a monochromatic look or to find new color combinations. Interior design is another great source of color inspiration. It’s amazing what you already have in your closet to make up these looks.
Keep a list of ideas for moments when you’re lacking creative combinations.

Try a few, including:
• Mustard & Grey
• Navy & Fuchsia
• Marsala & Bright Blue
• Camel & Hot Pink
• Yellow, Turquoise, & Black
• Olive, White, & Tan

Common Thread
This is both a literal and figurative suggestion but make sure when mixing prints that there is a common thread to pull the look together. For example, when mixing two or three patterns, make sure there is a commonality. Wear black and white prints of varying scales or ensure there is a unifying color in the multiple patterns. Remember it doesn’t have to perfectly match but be purposeful in the color coordination of your look.

Leopard is Neutral
While I can’t take credit for this concept, I do believe and practice it as a fashionista. Leopard goes with everything. Buy a pair of leopard pumps or flats to wear as often as you do your nude shoes. If you are nervous to incorporate more than one pattern, use leopard as your safety net. With leopard, ignore the common thread rule mentioned above.

022315STYLE_Plaids&Dots 022315STYLE_Unifyingcolors 022315STYLE_Leopardasneutral

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Our Editor in Chic shares a letter to her daughter about taking the journey of life one step at a time - literally and figuratively - even if you have to learn how to walk all over again.

021615LOLA1Yes, you’re the newborn in the house, but it’s your daddy who learned how to walk this week.

He had total knee replacements on both legs a few days ago. Since then, I’ve seen him come out of surgery, visit with therapists, and take his first steps with his new knees.

The funny thing is that when the therapists had him on the side of the bed ready for those first steps, they said his goal was to just walk two steps. They began counting down, and before they could even say “2…1,” your dad was already lifting up.

He couldn’t wait. He had waited long enough. Years of waiting, actually. He was ready to walk again. Ready to finally enjoy life again. And it all started with these steps.

He didn’t stop once he got going, either. Not only did he do the two “goal” steps, but he walked all the way to the door and back. Probably a good 20 steps total.

I’m not going to lie, the happy tears were flowing witnessing all of this. It was a spiritual experience to see him get out of that bed and begin walking without the crunching and pain of his bone-on-bone old knees. Yes, he still had pain. But it was different pain. It was post-surgery pain. Not when-will-this-end pain.

021615LOLA2
Pete taking his first steps after surgery!

I cried because he was on the other side of the pain. I cried because he exceeded the therapist’s goal. Moreso, though, I cried because he pushed past his fear. His fear of not being able to reach the goal, handle the pain, or worse – falling.

Over the past year, as his rheumatoid arthritis worsened, I’ve watched him become more fearful of getting up, standing, walking and falling. It was so good to see him push past all of that and know these were the first steps of the rest of his life, and our life together as a family.

He wasn’t thinking about his limitations or all the therapy still ahead of him. He wasn’t thinking about the countdown or the goal. He wasn’t thinking about all the fears that have held him back before. He was thinking about pushing himself as much as he could in that very moment, whether that meant one step, two steps, or 20.

Seeing him get up out of the bed and walk to the door without fear was like watching him float… soar… fly. Made my heart so full to witness.

So, keep that in mind as you stare down a moment in life that scares you. Just focus on taking that first step. Don’t worry about falling. Because, my love, you might just fly instead.

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Our Editor in Chic shares a letter to her daughter about three simple words that have made all the difference during a difficult time.

letitgo

Let it go. Those three little words have helped me so much these past few months. (I know parents of little girls who love the movie Frozen will feel differently about this! haha!)

That’s because recently, I saw the quote “She took a deep breath and let it go,” and it stopped me in my tracks. I stared at it. Re-read it. Re-read it again. And then I did it: I took a deep breath and let it go.

Nothing has brought me the kind of relief as that simple action. You see, I’ve been holding onto a lot lately. Why did we have fertility issues? Why does Pete have rheumatoid arthritis? Why is it so severe? Why did this happen to us? Why can’t life just be easy?

I took these questions, zipped up each in a bag, threw them over my shoulder, and carried it all with me each and every day, adding new bags with each new question. Throughout the day, I’d open each bag, look inside, re-ask myself each question, dwell on it, and feel helpless because I couldn’t find an answer. I didn’t realize it, but all this baggage was weighing me down physically and mentally. I couldn’t carry anything else. I couldn’t think about anything else.

I held onto these questions because I couldn’t find answers. That’s what you do when you haven’t figured something out yet. Like a math problem, you think about it until you get the “a-ha moment,” remember the formula, and figure it out. But there will be things in life, that no matter how hard you think about them, no matter how many formulas you memorize, no matter how hard you study, no matter how much you research, no matter how much you work to resolve it, you just won’t figure it out. And those are the things you need to let go.

You can waste so much energy carrying around heavy baggage full of things you can’t figure out or change. But instead, use your precious energy to find your new normal and move on. That’s what I’ve learned is so important: the quicker you realize the things you can’t change and let them go, the quicker you can move on and start to enjoy life again.

It sounds cliche but life is way too short. There will be things that turn out differently than you planned. There will be issues you can’t resolve. People who don’t like you. Things you can’t change. Questions you can’t answer. And believe it or not, that’s ok. You don’t need to carry it around with you. You don’t need to figure it out. You just need to take a deep breath and let it go.

 

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Mama Mimi’s is known for their gourmet take ’n’ bake pizza, but did you know they also have fresh pastas? Read on for all the delicious details.

mamamimis
DON SUPREMO

Mama Mimi’s has some seriously delicious gourmet take ’n’ bake pizzas. But if you don’t feel like pizza, and want pasta instead, Mama makes that happen.

Essentially putting their most popular pizza topping recipes over fresh penne pasta, these Mama Mimi’s Gourmet Pastas are ready when you are!

Check out the four pasta menu items and watch the exclusive webcast below to learn more.

MEATBALL PIE
Penne Pasta, Red Sauce, Mozzarella, Meatballs, Onion, Green Pepper, Parmesan, Basil, Roasted Garlic & Fresh Garlic

PARMA PESTO CHICKEN
Penne Pasta, Pesto, Mozzarella, Chicken, Tomato, Caramelized Onion, Artichoke Heart & Parmesan

MEDITERRANEAN
Penne Pasta, Olive Oil, Spinach, Sun Dried Tomatoes, Fresh Garlic, Feta Cheese, Herb Blend, Black Olives, Chicken

DON SUPREMO
Penne Pasta, Red Sauce, Mozzarella, Pepperoni, Sausage, Onion, Mushroom, Green Pepper, Black Olive, Shaved Parmesan, & Roasted Garlic

This is a special advertising supplement, paid for by Mama Mimi’s

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Our "Editor in Chic" launches a new column that shares notes she's writing to her newborn about lessons learned from life as a new family. Read on as she starts with the most important topic of all.

020215EDITOR
Lola and my husband, Pete

You were born a beautiful, perfect, and healthy baby. For that, I will be eternally grateful and will never, ever take it for granted.

For years, health is something I took for granted, though. I didn’t think twice about being able to jump out of bed, pop into the kitchen to make a quick breakfast, throw on some clothes, and go about my day. I didn’t do anything horrible to damage my health – ate generally healthy things and exercised when I could – but it wasn’t something I fought for.

Today, we’re fighting for your daddy’s health. We have been for a while now, and we will for a while longer (after double hip replacements last year, we just learned he’s going to need double knee replacements next week). So, there’s no jumping, popping, throwing or doing anything quickly in his life right now. That will change, though, and we’re going to see to it, so he can be an active part of your life and chase you around… which is going to happen very soon, because you’re starting to stand already! Ack!

That’s the thing about health. Without it, everything else becomes just out of reach. You’re trapped. Right now, your daddy has to watch life happen from a chair or a bed, and that’s no way to live. I know he wants to run into the other room when he hears you cry, take you places, perform again (he’s a GREAT musician!), and do everything else he enjoys in life.

Seeing him like this, and helping him through it, has changed me in many ways. I genuinely feel grateful when my feet hit the ground every morning and I don’t feel pain to make that happen like your daddy does. I no longer look at food as something to make hunger go away. It’s a tool I use to give my body what it needs to do its job and fuel my day. And, my most recent epiphany: I no longer see exercising as a chore.

Especially as a woman, you hear about working out to “get your bikini body,” “lose that muffin top,” or “finally fit into skinny jeans.” Exercise is SO much more than how it makes you look. Sure, that’s a benefit, but – like many things in life – it’s what’s inside that counts. Your body is your one and only vehicle through life. Being physically fit is how you keep your engine strong, your parts from getting rusty, and drive to all the destinations you want to go on your journey of life.

When daddy started to get sick, and then I got pregnant, I was either too tired or didn’t have time to exercise like I once did frequently. But then I started to have joint pain, too. When standing up, getting out of bed and going up stairs started to hurt, it scared me. You couldn’t have two parents with sick bodies.

Unlike your dad’s rheumatoid arthritis-related pain, my joint pain was more related to weight gain and loosened tendons from pregnancy hormones. So, when I realized my pain was completely reversible if I just took better care of myself, I knew that’s what I had to do.

I’ve been exercising almost every day since and it’s a big part of my life again. Being active is a privilege not everyone has, so it should be embraced. I want you to see that being healthy isn’t about the bathing suit. It’s about maintaining your “vehicle” that will drive you to all the beautiful places this life has to offer.

Your dad and I both look forward to “driving” right alongside you to lots of those places in the future. That is, until you’re a teenager and you want boys to drive you places… you’ll have to talk to your father about that. 😉

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