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    Herbs have the power to bring our bodies and minds into balance. That’s exactly why one Ohio woman created Wild Origins. Through it, she teaches hands-on how-tos through herbal workshops and online courses, plus sells her handmade herbal body care products around the world. Read on for all the all-natural details.

     

    Anika Zala started Wild Origins after battling a years-long bout of chronic stomach pain.

    Aniko Zala started on her path to being an herbalist after a years-long bout of chronic stomach pain. As she explains, “I was at the mercy of impersonal doctors and fruitless tests for a long time before someone suggested trying a peppermint tincture.” Just a few drops unexpectedly brought powerful relief for Zala.   

    After that she couldn’t stop studying how to use plants for health and balance. In 2015, she started more formal learning under local herbalist and ethnobotanist Dawn Combs. And in 2016, she launched Wild Origins.

    “I was ready to start sharing what I had been learning with others,” Zala says. “Learning about and incorporating herbs into my own life is empowering and has made me healthier and more balanced than I have even been. Wild Origins is a fun and fulfilling way for me to help other people do the same.” 

    Zala describes herself as an herbalist, teacher, and maker with an interest in the intersection between nature, self empowerment, and self care.  Wild Origins is how she can help others find the power that herbs have to bring our bodies and minds into balance.

    Zala teaches hands-on herbal workshops around Columbus and sells handmade herbal body care products.

    Through Wild Origins Zala teaches hands-on herbal workshops around Columbus and sells handmade herbal body care products. Her herbal body care products are focused on use for health, beauty, and ritual.  

    Her most popular products are ones that require you to slow down for some ritual self care, like the herbal body cream, the salt scrub, the face wash, the dream balm, and the rose+mugwort body oil.

    If you’re looking for ways to add self care and herbal treatments (especially as part of your New Year Resolutions or Intentions), Zala has some advice. She suggests starting with at least one plant or nature based self care ritual. 

    Adding, “use an herbal body oil for self massage. Or make yourself a relaxing and nourishing herbal tea to drink every evening (I love mixing lavender, rose, and lemon balm). Or be and breathe in nature – take a long walk in one of the metro parks at least once a week, no matter the temperature.  You can even buy an essential oil diffuser and turn it on every evening when you get home.” 

    Zala has in-person workshops and online courses you can take to learn her herbal tips and tricks. Workshops range in price from free to $35. Online courses are $89 per person, or a discounted rate of $160 for two people.

    You can keep up-to-date with all of Wild Origins and Aniko Zala’s workshops and products by visiting them online at www.mywildorigins.com and following along on Instagram at @wildorigins

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      Think of it as the Uber for babysitting, but with background checks on both the family and the sitter to ensure a safe environment for all. For our annual parenting issue, learn about the locally launched business and app that’s taking the nation by storm one family at a time.

       

      SaferSit was founded by Francie Ruppert and Laura Borsky.

      Being a full-time mom is chaotic, between packing lunches, planning play dates, cheering at games, and running everyone here and there (not to mention food, groceries, cleaning, oh my!).

      When it’s time to wave the white flag and enjoy a night out with friends or the hubs (or just a shopping trip to Target alone), the stress of finding a dependable sitter shouldn’t get in the way, but it often does.

      That is, until now. Thanks to Cincinnati natives, Francie Ruppert, a junior in UC’s Linder Honors PLUS Program, and Laura Borsky, a mother of two, finding a sitter you can count on is now the least of your worries.

      Borsky and Ruppert founded SaferSit in May of 2016. Together, they created a local company that connects families looking for babysitters with responsible college and high school students. Not only is it a way for mothers to build relationships with students they can count on, but it is also a great way for high school and college students to build their network and make money along the way.

      Although the official launch date of SaferSit was only a little over a year ago, the idea has been brewing for quite some time. Just four years ago, Ruppert started a club, Babysitters R Us, while she was a student at St. Ursula Academy. Through Babysitters R Us, she connected her friends with local babysitting jobs in the Anderson and Hyde Park Areas. Borsky was an avid user of Babysitters R Us and by the time Ruppert graduated high school, Borsky approached her with the hopes of expanding the brilliant idea.

      Ruppert’s babysitting club was the main inspiration for SaferSit, and in order to take it to the next level, the duo pulled ideas and inspiration from other apps to build their current business model. “I saw a way to take this great idea Francie had and turn it into an Uber style model and make it easier and safer for both families and sitters,” says Borsky.

      SaferSit provides users with the best of both worlds when searching for a sitter or while searching for a babysitting gig. Borsky can tend and adjust the businesses’ needs to fix the wants of mothers, while Ruppert communicates with students and educates them on how to provide the best care.

      “SaferSit will be the first babysitting company to background check both the sitters and the families,” Ruppert says. “This ensures a safe environment for everyone involved.”

      The site is defined by its unique way of providing care locally, and since its launch SaferSit has received glowing reviews. In March they won the UC IQUE pitch competition and in May they were featured on Local 12 News. “We have grown from 30 sitters a year ago to 340 sitters to date,” said Borsky. “SaferSit has also helped over 350 Cincy families find sitters and has booked over 2,000 jobs.”

      As for the rest of 2017, Ruppert and Borsky are excited to announce the launch of their mobile web app, which should be available by the end of the summer.

      SaferSit rates are affordable and range from $10 an hour to $14 an hour, prices varying by the number of children needing care.

      SaferSit currently serves Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky areas. To learn more about SaferSit, visit www.safersit.com. You can also follow along with SaferSit on Instagram and Facebook.

       

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        He likes his design bold, coffee black and bourbon neat. After honing his skills at some of the leading agencies in town, this local designer launched a business that crafts work for clients, highlights its own creative expression, and gives you a super sleek place to shop.

         

        Austin Dunbar, Founder of Durham Brand & Co.

        For some people, the typical 9-5 job just doesn’t quite cute it. Whether it’s because you’re passionate about something else, the hours just aren’t flexible enough, or you need to express your creativity in another way, the standard job we always thought we’d have growing up isn’t always enough.

        That’s how it was for Austin Dunbar. The husband and father has always been passionate about design and creativity, but his 9-5 didn’t quite quench the thirst.

        Durham Brand & Co. creates brands from the ground up for a variety of companies and businesses.

        “I’d work the normal hours, come home, play husband and father, and would start my third shift job freelancing for other agencies around the globe or work on my own personal design work,” he says.

        His freelancing lasted for two years and took him on quite a bit of travel working for other agencies, but it didn’t offer the stability and security he was looking for in a career. That’s when he decided to take the idea of a design business a bit more seriously and open a brick and mortar location.

        And he did just that. He launched Durham Brand & Co. (DB&Co.) based in downtown Covington, in 2014. Today, it’s a brand-building design studio, coupled with a retail shop, located in downtown Covington. “The studio builds brands from the ground up for profit and non-profits, local to national, and large and small clients,” says Dunbar.

        “Since then, some people have referred to the studio as having this ‘hardworking, blue collar’ aesthetic to the work, which I can appreciate, but I mostly equate that to the catalogue of work I’ve been fortunate enough to partner on and create with great clients,” he explains.

        Dunbar runs DB&Co., but he gets help from his wife Ashley, who helps with the day-to-day, back-of-the-house work.

        Durham Brand & Co.’s brick and mortar location is in downtown Covington.

        Dunbar strives to make his work at DB&Co. unique in every aspect. He doesn’t have a lot of quick, flash in the pan clients, he says. “Most of the clients of the studio, if new, become long term partnerships for well over a year,” he explains. “That’s something I’ve been proud of. From a look, tone, feel perspective, I think the clients the studio has partnered with, whether corporate, independent, pretty, or gritty, all have a sense of boldness and bravado to the work.”

        Dunbar says that he’ll never let a client leave without a brand that doesn’t give its business long enough legs to stand on.

        In addition to creating branding for other businesses, the studio creates its own line of branded apparel and lifestyle products to sell. This, Dunbar says, allows the studio to treat itself as its own client and provides an excuse to stay sharp on its design ideas.

        Dunbar says there are a lot of big projects coming up for DB&Co. in 2017, which he’s looking forward to seeing the roll-outs of toward the end of the year and into 2018.

        To learn more about DB&Co., visit durhambrandco.com. You can also follow along on Instagram or reach out to Dunbar himself at info@durhambrandco.com.

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          See how one woman turned the trials and tribulations of her teen pregnancy into a non-profit organization and mentorship program for young women to build the self-esteem and confidence they need to make their dreams blossom.

           

          Teresa Washington, Founder of Pure Orchids

          For Teresa Washington, “beauty always blossoms from within.” That’s the motto that she lives by. It’s also what inspired her soon-to-launch nonprofit organization, Pure Orchids.

          “Growing up isn’t always the most fun or easiest experience, and building a young woman’s self-esteem can be one of the hardest part of growing up,” says Washington. “I experienced teen pregnancy and struggled with self-esteem as a teen, and I want to help young women find it easier than I did.”

          Washington began her professional journey in the fashion world as the owner of Paris J. Boutique, based in Cincinnati. Today, she’s the successful fashion designer and owner of Chicago-based Style Room 326.

          To help instill self-esteem in young ladies, regardless of the cards life dealt them, Washington will soon launch Pure Orchids in 2018. “Pure Orchids is a nonprofit organization inspiring young ladies ages 10-16 from all walks of life to uncover their extraordinary inner and outer beauty and embrace their differences while expressing joy, optimism, and gratitude through their words, thoughts, and actions,” says Washington.

          “The goal of Pure Orchids is to offer experience-based lessons through positive mentorship with a 3-week Free Summer Day Camp program that improves self-awareness and build self-confidence while realizing that when they love themselves they will find more joy and love in their lives,” she adds.

          Like many, Washington believes that girls are the future. The media has such a huge impact and influence on young women, that it isn’t difficult to see where the obstacles lie in trying to help the teens and youth of today find a way to love themselves, and that’s what Washington hopes to change.

          “It’s extremely important that our girls have positive role models in their lives as well as organizations such as Pure Orchids that will inspire them while discovering their strength and self-esteem, empowering them to feel confident, whole, and capable to accomplish anything,” she says.

          What makes Pure Orchids unique is its overall mission to reach young girls nationwide, according to Washington. It’s also for young ladies from all walks of life, as Washington says she believes that we can all learn something from one another regardless of our race, background, cultures, or religions.

          “That’s the only way we grow, is learning to accept others’ differences,” says Washington. “We’re all flowers in a garden, we share a common root, the garden is beautiful because it has different colors in it, and those colors represent different traditions and backgrounds.”

          Washington isn’t the only one hoping the change the world one young lady at a time. She has a team of dedicated, positive women who are willing to volunteer their time and services to help make a difference in the lives of each young lady. These women include: Kimberly Sullivan, Stephanie Straughn, Amelia Orr, Dwan Tarrance, and Washington herself – and they are always searching for more volunteers.

          While the beginnings of Pure Orchids dates back to June 2011, the last stretch of finalizing paperwork and becoming a 501(c)3-approved non-profit means the group will officially launch in summer 2018.

          Washington says that she will host several open houses for volunteer opportunities as well as for parents and teens to learn more about Pure Orchids and enrollment for summer 2018, which will accept only 30 teens.

          To learn more about Pure Orchids, visit www.pureorchids.org. You can also follow along on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or send an email to info@pureorchids.org.

           

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            Trends come and go, but style - especially your own personal style - is forever. That's the idea behind one locally-based fashionista who launched an app to help you cut back on clutter in your closet and create outfits you'll actually wear. Read on for all the details.

             

             

            Inspired by a desire to do more with less, a local group of stylists, storytellers, and developers set out to make your wardrobe go digital. Together, this team launched Cladwell, a personal styling app that helps you get the most out of your closet.

            “Our app helps you get dressed everyday, cut the clutter, and shop more intentionally,” says Cladwell CMO Erin Flynn.

            Select clothes similar to what you own and get curated outfits.

            “If you’re like anyone on our team, you’ve looked into your closet and said those dreaded words, ‘I have too many clothes and nothing to wear,’” says Flynn. “So why do we assume going shopping and buying more clothes will help?”

            According to Flynn, the average American owned approximately 36 items of clothing back in 1930. However, in today’s world of over consumption, the average American owns more than 100 items and is always under pressure to buy more.

            That pressure to keep buying when you don’t really need it inspired the team at Cladwell to develop their idea for the app.

            “The inspiration for the idea was based on a simple concept: Small wardrobe. Bigger life,” says Flynn. “It sounds lofts, but we believe that when you cut clutter you make room for more important things. Things that don’t take up space in your dresser drawers. Things that really matter.”

            While developing the app, Flynn and the team at Cladwell wanted you to help get your closet to the point that you love, and actually wear, every item in your wardrobe.

            Cladwell gives you outfit ideas using items you already own, or what you should own to make the most of your closet.

            “Over time our app will help you streamline your closet and make the most out of what you have,” she adds.

            While a closet you love doesn’t exactly happen all at once, Cladwell will provide you with simple, daily steps necessary in order to help you get to that lifestyle of simplicity and intentionality. “It’s a journey, and you’ll learn a lot about yourself and your style along the way,” adds Flynn.

            The team behind Cladwell knows all too well what it’s like to look into your closet and see nothing but a chaotic mess. “We mix the best of styling and technology, and created an algorithm that delivers hand-curated outfits everyday directly from your closet,” says Flynn. “Regardless of your style, we help you see all the potential your closet has to offer and help you make the most of it. It’s a new way of thinking.”

            This thinking, on your end and the app’s end, is created through teamwork. To help subscribers find these outfits in their wardrobe, there are a few steps to take:

            Erin Flynn, CMO of Cladwell
            • Show off your closet. With a few minutes, you can select clothes that are similar to the ones you own from the app’s massive database, and there’s no need to take photos.
            • Get personally styled every day. The app suggests three new outfit recommendations based on the day’s weather. Or, you can choose from all the outfit possibilities in your closet.
            • Discover what you love. You have the ability to log what you wear, and with each day you can gain more insight into what you love and what you don’t.
            • Remove the rest. After you discover what you don’t love you have the opportunity to cut the clutter to make room for items you do love.
            • Shop smarter. Before you buy an item you can use the app to see how many new outfits it would add to your closet. Give yourself the option of trading impulse buys for items you will wear again and again.

            According to Flynn, and the team at Cladwell, the result of using the app is a streamlined closet that you’re going to love.

            A monthly membership for the Cladwell is $5 and is currently only available on iOS devices, however Flynn says they are working on an Android app next.

            To learn more about Cladwell or join, visit cladwell.com. You can also follow along on Instagram.

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              Learn about a Miami University grad who’s making the world more fashionable — one American made, hand-crafted bag at a time — all based right here in Ohio.

               

              FOUNT makes handcrafted leather products right here in Ohio.

              For just over three years, FOUNT has been designing, cutting, and sewing beautiful and unique leather goods from their Ohio-based (downtown Cleveland to be specific) studio.

              From large bags to small clutches, FOUNT carries a variety of products.

              The company is headed up by Phillip and Jackie Wachter — Jackie is a Miami University alum who graduated in 2005. The two started FOUNT out of their apartment in Cleveland Heights in 2014, and named the business FOUNT, which means an abundant source of desirable quality, from an old hymn performed by Sufjan Stevens.

              “What began simply as a passion project quickly grew into something more,” explains Phillip. “After a few months of starting the company, we moved FOUNT to a studio downtown and began bringing people onto the team.”

              Since their launch in 2014, the team has grown from two people to 36 people, and recently celebrated the opening of a new location.

              FOUNT has two showroom storefronts, one in the Cleveland neighborhood of Gordon Square on the city’s westside and another location in The Short North of Columbus.

              Phillip and Jackie Wachter, Founders of FOUNT.

              The ultimate inspiration for FOUNT was to be creative and celebrate their love for quality goods. “Both quality crafted products that are heirloom in nature and quality work environments for our team members,” says Phillip. “Also, classic clean lines and simplicity are design cues that we gravitate toward as a company.”

              When you shop FOUNT you’ll find all forms of leather fashion accessories, including totes, handbags, cross body, bags, duffels, backpacks, wallets, hair accessories, jewelry, and even leather turbans. According to Phillip, prices at FOUNT range from $22 to $1,440, while the average price of a bag is $400.

              According to Phillip, the design, cut, and sew of everything sold by FOUNT is done in Cleveland and made from fine Italian leather. And that’s what makes the company unique, he adds. “We follow a direct-to-consumer business model, allowing us to sell a higher quality product at a much lower price point than our competitors who are producing their bags overseas and selling through department stores or boutiques,” says Phillip.

              Phillip and Jackie are looking forward to what’s to come in 2017. “We have several new designs in the works including a few smaller cross body designs and small accessories are excited to launch soon,” he says.

              Belts, dog collars, and leashes are also in the near future. Phillip says FOUNT hopes to open a combined retail and production facility so that the public can tour the studio and watch the hand crafting of leather products on a daily basis.

              To learn more about FOUNT, visit www.fountleather.com. You can also follow along on Instagram and Facebook. You can also sign up for their newsletter and catalogue on the website.

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                Inspired to bring the city something creative, two UC DAAP grads launched Handzy Shop + Studio, specializing in handcrafted wedding invitations, graphic design and creative workshops. Learn more about these two local ladies (and best friends!) who are putting their handcrafted stamp on the Queen City!

                Handzy Shop + Studio is located across the bridge in Covington, Ky.

                Brittney Braemer and Suzy Strachan have always wanted to turn their passion for making things into a career. Two best friends who went to design school at the University of Cincinnati’s DAAP program, Braemer and Strachan turned their dreams into a reality when they launched Handzy Shop + Studio, a small stationery gift shop and graphic design studio.

                “In our small space in Covington we sell creative products produced by independent makers (greeting cards, local art, ceramics, jewelry home goods, and design and desk supplies,” says Braemer. “We also host creative workshops, design custom wedding invitations, and do branding and graphic design for other small businesses.”

                While the two have always wanted to own a business, they spent a year apart exploring other paths before they came back together. “Now the opportunity to be a platform for other independent artists and designers is what inspires us to keep showing up for work,” says Strachan.

                Handzy Shop + Studio officially launched in early 2015, when they opened their first studio and began selling and designing stationery at the City Flea and other craft fairs.

                “We worked there until June of 2016 when we spotted the perfect storefront on Pike Street in Covington,” says Braemer. “We made it all happen in a month and opened our current shop and studio space in July 2016. We are getting excited to celebrate our shop’s first birthday soon!”

                They also brought on a new designer to join the Handzy team, Leah.

                The Handzy team uses their graphic design experience to create illustrated greeting cards.

                Now, the three of them are constantly creating a number of products, although they mostly focus on greeting cards and art prints. However, they say the amazing thing about having their own studio and shop is that they can experiment and create anything they feel inspired to.

                The Handzy team has made hand-painted terra cotta pots, jewelry, and other fine art collages. “As a medium we use a lot of watercolor to create the imagery for our cards and prints but have also recently been practicing our digital illustration skills,” adds Strachan.

                The products created by Handzy Shop + Studio are unique thanks in part to the team’s graphic design background. “Our space is small, so we have to be selective about what we sell,” says Strachan. “When you come to shop at Handzy, you know that everything on the shelf has been considered. When we are stocking the shop we keep the word ‘upbeat’ in mind. We want this to be a happy, inspiring place!”

                Products from Handzy Shop + Studio range from $2 for a sticker to as much as $250 for a piece of original, local fine art.

                Items at Handzy Shop + Studio range from $2 to $250.

                “We have an entire wall dedicated to greeting cards, which range from $4 to $7.50,” says Braemer. “Our hope is that there is something unique and inspiring for a range of price points.”

                Thanks to the exceptional growth Handzy Shop + Studio experienced in 2016, the team is looking forward to settling in and refining what they do as a shop and studio in their Covington location.

                To learn more about Handzy Shop + Studio, visit www.hellohandzy.com. While there you can also see the store’s online shop, take a peek at their portfolio, and sign up for their email list. Don’t forget to follow along on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

                 

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                  Mother’s Day is almost here. So, to get ready for the big day, we feature a local mommy mecca to learn about their special mom-focused services, exclusive discounts, and an upcoming event that’ll feature lots of creative “mommy makers” in town. Keep reading for all the mama-dotin’ details.

                   

                  Mother’s Day is just around the corner and Becoming Mom Spa + Ultrasound offers pampering services to make the day extra special.

                  “Becoming Mom is the perfect place for all moms, not just expecting ones,” says Ally Osborne, General Manager at Becoming Mom. “Our guests love that we use natural spa products and our specially trained staff is attentive to their needs at all stages of motherhood – before, during, and after pregnancy.”

                  Osborne says that Becoming Mom offers many services that you can’t find elsewhere, especially not all under one roof. They offer 3D and 4D ultrasounds, where you can see your little one in higher definition than ever before, or find out the gender as early as 16 weeks. In the spa, they have unique services like a “Mom on the Go Manicure,” and “Pregnancy Enhancers” that help with anything from swollen feet to stretch marks. They even have an add-on to take an uninterrupted, candle-lit, aromatherapy nap after your spa service (every mom’s dream, right?).

                  If you can’t hit the spa with your mom, or your mom friends, Osborne recommends purchasing an online gift certificate from Becoming Mom. “Our online gift certificates can be emailed instantly or you can buy now and set the date to be delivered on Mother’s Day,” says Osborne. “This is perfect for those busy families who want to check ‘Buy Mother’s Day Gift for Mom’ off their list!”

                  Osborne says following their Facebook, Twitter or Instagram has its perks. For example, she says, they just alerted fans to a 3-day Mother’s Day special going on for Mother’s Day right now where their instant gift certificates are 20% off, with additional bonuses depending on the level you buy. You can visit http://www.becomingmomspa.com/specials/ to see a list of their current promotions.

                  “We have special spa packages, discounts on services and products, free heartbeat recordings with our ultrasounds, and even a special Mother’s Day Bonus Gift Card special, which makes a great gift from the kids to mom,” Osborn explains.

                  Becoming Mom is also giving you another chance to celebrate women in Cincinnati at its upcoming “Mommy Made Market” event this August. The event will include vendors, all of whom are local moms that create handmade products such as home decor, skincare and beauty items, clothing, accessories, and more.

                  They’re working now to secure vendors. Osborne says you can email her at ally@becomingmom.com if you or someone you know would like to participate and sell your products. “We are really excited to celebrate and give these mommy makers a place to show off their talents,” adds Osborne.

                  To follow along with Becoming Mom, check them out out on Facebook and Instagram. You can also visit www.becomingmomspa.com to learn more about their services, products, and trained staff.

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                    From St. Elizabeth Healthcare’s state-of-the art technology to Wine & Watercolor classes, see how this heavy hitter in local healthcare is enhancing its women’s wellness programs.

                    St. Elizabeth events for women include birthing classes, grandparents classes, breastfeeding classes, big brother/big sister classes, mother to daughter classes, mobile mammography and cardiovascular screenings, Take Time for your Heart classes, and Wine & Watercolor classes

                    Based in Northern Kentucky, St. Elizabeth Healthcare dates back to 1861 when it was founded as one small hospital. Fast forward to 2017, and St. Elizabeth now operates seven facilities throughout Northern Kentucky to provide medical care and wellness programs to Greater Cincinnati.

                    According to Laura Sipple, head of Oncology and Women’s Wellness Marketing, St. Elizabeth’s was recently awarded an “A” for Patient Safety in the Spring 2017 Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade. Which makes sense, she says, because St. Elizabeth’s mission is to provide comprehensive and compassionate care that improves the health of the people they serve. This goal is met by using state-of-the-art technology and its personnel, who are dedicated to helping the community, she adds.

                    The healthcare provider recently donated $30,000 to four community organizations and athletic trainers in Northern Kentucky to aid in the purchase of at least 20 automated external defibrillators while also bringing in new procedures to the facilities such as total knee replacement robotic surgery.
                     

                    St. Elizabeth Healthcare is changing women’s wellness throughout the Tri-State with mobile healthcare, wellness programs, and other healthy events.

                    A specific area of focus for St. Elizabeth, though, is women’s health. In fact, it has an entire in-depth program dedicated to women’s wellness. Through these programs and events, Sipple says, St. Elizabeth Healthcare hopes to make it as easy and fun as possible for women take charge of their health.

                    This year has been big for the provider’s women’s wellness program, as it was recognized as 2017 Women’s Choice Award winners in Obstetrics, Heart Care, and Patient Safety.

                    “St. Elizabeth’s is hosting several events for women in the community, including a variety of birthing classes, grandparents classes, breastfeeding classes, big brother/big sister classes, mother to daughter classes, tours, mobile mammography and cardiovascular options, Take Time for your Heart classes, and Wine & Watercolor classes,” says Sipple.

                    On April 26, and again on October 25, St. Elizabeth will host its FORCE Support Group. According to Sipple, these get-togethers are ideal for those who have a family history of breast, ovarian, or a related cancer.

                    “[If you’re] considering genetic testing, waiting for results, or have already tested positive for a BRCA mutation or another gene associated with an increased cancer risk,” says Sipple. “These get-togethers are your chance to meet others who know what you’re going through, to ask questions, learn, or just listen in a safe and supportive environment.”

                    Sipple says guests can RSVP for the get-togethers by emailing Brandi at brandif@facingourrusk.org or by calling St. Elizabeth Healthcare Hereditary Cancer Genetic Counseling at 859-301-5396.

                    According to Sipple, other upcoming events include the March of Dimes March for Babies on April 30, Northern Kentucky Night at the Cincinnati Reds on May 20, and Heartchase Northern Kentucky on May 20.

                    To learn more about St. Elizabeth Healthcare, visit https://www.stelizabeth.com/. You can also follow along on Facebook,  Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube.

                     

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                      With a photography business and Etsy shop, she realized she could make dreams come true through her creativity. See how one local woman is making magic happen with personalized props and photography sessions for anyone with an imaginative idea they’d like to bring to life.

                      Jess Summers has always been a creative. She thrives on releasing that creativity and turning it into something magical.

                      In an effort to make creativity an everyday part of her life, she decided to venture out on her own and start a fine art portrait studio. Say Yes To Jess is a Cincinnati-based studio that specializes in turning out-of-the-box concepts into magical realities.

                      “That could mean a transformation into a mermaid, an afternoon meet-and-greet with a unicorn, and anything unique or specific to my clients,” says Summers. “It’s taking a little boy’s dream of being a chef or mad scientist and turning it into a cinematic fine art portrait.”

                      When she launched Say Yes To Jess in 2015, Summers was constantly finding inspiration in her passion for being creative. “I’ve always been theatrical and let my imagination take the wheel,” she says. “I have a tendency to get lost in movies like Hook and Alice in Wonderland.”

                      When she got into photography and photo editing, she found that she was also looking to incorporate the craziest of edits possible, which led her to fall into the rabbit hole of composites.

                      “I knew building my life around photography was going to make me happy, but only if the photos allowed me to create nonsensical things and add a sense of whimsy to it,” she adds.

                      Summers photography business hasn’t always been focused on the whimsical, however. When she first got started on the professional level, she was photographing anything that came her way and quickly found herself in the wedding scene.

                      “I started building my business around that and it was going very well, I even had a full wedding stationery,” she says. “However, as much as I tried it just didn’t feel right.”

                      She always felt like she was going after something that didn’t quite light the spark she was aiming to ignite. Summers then took some time to do a lot of research and speak with those she refers to as her “business besties” and other friends to discover it was time for her to make a drastic change.

                      It was then that she took her blog public and called it quits on the wedding industry – with her sights set on fine art photography.

                      “It was a little rock of a start, as most things are when you completely shift what you’ve been building for over a year, but it’s been a fun ride and I’m excited to see how it all comes together from here on out,” she says.

                      Currently, Summers offers three session types that are based off the amount of styling or creativity that goes into them. They are: Dream Sessions, Styled Sessions, and Classic Sessions.

                      The Dream Sessions are an over-the-top package with magic, full costume, hair, and makeup, and a custom design set extravaganza. The Styled Sessions are a little more low-key in comparison and are lightly curated. They are great for themes like a “romantic date night.” Classic Sessions are what you would typically expect when you go to a photography studio.

                      When talking about the Classic Sessions, Summers says she wanted to make sure that she offered clients something that would work for everyone who didn’t want a Dream Session.

                      Summers says she plans to spend the remainder of 2017 getting to know the community a little better while hosting several events this summer. She’s currently planning a Mother’s Day Brunch, a Princesses Only! Tea Party, and an End of Summer Party.

                      “I’m really excited about them all and hope to meet some of you there,” she adds.

                      To learn more about Say Yes to Jess, visit www.sayyestojess.com. You can also follow along on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and Snapchat (@Jsummersphoto).