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From handbags and bangles to lotions, candles and Rookwood Pottery, learn about the Loveland-based shop that’s the perfect place for a little retail therapy.

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Busy Bee Boutique in Loveland carries unique gifts for children, teens and women, and even a gift gifts for men, from many different brands.

Cincy Chic: What is Busy Bee Boutique?
Maggie Bruns, Owner of Busy Bee Boutique: Busy Bee Boutique is a gift store. We opened our doors on February 1, 2008, and have been striving ever since to stay true to our motto: Shopping is fun! We have a great selection of gifts for infants, kids, teens and women. We even have a few gifts for men. We offer a friendly atmosphere that encourages you to come in, browse, find unique gifts, have a chat and ultimately enjoy a little bit of retail therapy. We’ll even wrap your gifts up for you so you can walk out of the doors with a gift that’s ready for giving.

Cincy Chic: What’s the inspiration behind it?
Bruns: We’re sister-in-laws and decided to open a gift shop together in 2007. We have had so much fun picking out new, unique gifts for infants, kids, teens and adults. We’re especially fond of our jewelry and books.

Cincy Chic: What brands do you carry?
Bruns: We carry several brands including Lenny & Eva, Waxing Poetic, PuraVida, Luca and Stella Bangles, Tyler Candles, Rookwood Pottery, LaVie Parisian, Tat2, Jelly Cat, Harlow, Rebel, Patricia Locke, Avant Garde and Marjorie Baer, Extasia, Capri Blue Candles, Jenny Krauss Belts and Handbags, Lolita Wine Glasses, Thymes and Naked Bee Lotions, Linneas Light Candles, Hadaki Bags, Calliope and Elisabetta.

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Cincy Chic: Where is Busy Bee Boutique located?
Bruns: We’re at 732 Middleton Way, Suite 106, in Loveland.

Cincy Chic: What are the store’s hours?
Bruns: We’re open Monday through Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Cincy Chic: Where can readers go to learn more?
Bruns: Readers can visit our website, email or call 513-677-2879.

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Finding it difficult to regain that momentum you had prior to the holiday? Our wellness columnist explains the seven simple tips you need to get back on track.

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Who isn’t busy these days? We’re in a perpetual state of running to appointments, dealing with life stressors, work demands, family obligations and doing things for others. Many of us are so busy that we neglect to check on ourselves first and maintain our health. I get it; we’re all juggling with something that shifts our focus away from where we need it most.

However, maintaining everything can get tricky and time can slip away. I believe all of us are goal-oriented individuals. If we don’t have incentive and give attention toward reaching our goals, what started out as great intentions for the start of summer have now become afterthoughts.

Time management skills is one of the best tools for setting yourself up for success. Here I share my top tips to remain focused or regain focus of your health and fitness goals.

1. Have A Goal
While this obvious and rather common knowledge, how many of you have actually created one with measurable parameters?

If you don’t know where you are going, how will you ever get there or know what to do? Sound familiar? For guidance on how to establish a goal, refer back to “It’s Time—Create a Plan!”

It can be easy to lose track of time and direction if you don’t have an end goal in mind. This is why it’s important to be very clear on what exactly your goals are. Whether you want to lose weight, increase lean muscle mass, improve your eating habits, manage your stress or change careers, determining what your goals are is an important first step towards managing your time and being successful.

I recommend writing your goals down and placing them somewhere where you can see them every day. This will serve as a reminder when life gets hectic—it’s inevitable—and will help you stick to your goals when it may seem easier to skip them.

2. Create A Timeline
Once you have determined your goals, give it a timeline. I advise starting from the finish point and work backwards. For example, let’s say your goal is to run a particular distance, figure out how much time you will need to prepare first.

The same concept can be applied for other goals such as weight-loss, gaining mass or even getting more sleep. Start at the end and figure out how much time you will need to reach your goal.

3. Figure Out What You Need to Do
I realize this seems to elaborate further on tip 1, but bear with me. Intention doesn’t mean action. Anyone can have the greatest intentions or plan, but without action steps nothing will occur.

Once you know where you are going and how much time you will need, it is now time to write down exactly what you will need to do. If the goal is to lose weight, for example, you will likely engage in exercise, be more mindful of your eating habits, drink more water, get adequate sleep and be consistent with each.

Now break down the main, long-term goal into small, manageable, short-term goals. Ask yourself: What will you do for exercise? How many days a week? How long each day? How many days will be devoted to resistance, cardio and flexibility? Be very specific with the actions, and write them down.

As for improving your eating habits, it requires you to be attentive to thoughts and choices. Perhaps that means making a grocery shopping list and planning your meals ahead of time. Based on your day-to-day structure and context, does that mean planning ahead for the week or only a couple of days? Sometimes planning that far ahead may even be a stretch, so what is the course of action you will take to remain in control and mindful? That’s where maintaining a daily logger is helpful in order to provide objective data of where you stand.

Say you are dining out, what is your plan? How will you handle this situation without throwing your hands in the air? Prepare ahead of time, set up some strategies; again write down the steps to help you achieve the outcome you desire. The clearer, more detailed you get, the better you will be in managing your time and reaching your goals.

4. Schedule Your Workouts/Plan Your Grocery Trips
This is rather simple, relatively speaking. In order to stay faithful to your workouts, trips to the grocery store, or other healthy “to-dos” in your calendar, write it down. Just as you would for work meetings or medical appointments, make it a point to block time for the activity on your calendar. You’re more likely to stay on track when it’s scheduled.

5. Prepare Your Food In Advance
This was briefly shared in tip 2, but now that you have gone to the store, make an effort to prepare your meals. Fail to plan, prepare to fail. We hear it all the time, but do we actually do it?

Daily preparation can be exhausting and impractical for many, so choose a day during the week best for you and prepare a few days’ worth of meals. Using a nutrition journal as a tool will allow you to stay on track and still meet your daily nutrition numbers. It’s just a matter of choosing your favorite meals and making them fit within context.

If you don’t spend a lot of time cooking at home, but rather dine out frequently, devote some time reviewing restaurant menus beforehand to determine what fit best for you based on daily goals and context of the meal.

6. Take Advantage of Personal Time
When the kids are down for a nap or you have an extra few minutes, take advantage of this time. What tasks have you been putting off for yourself? What do YOU need at this moment? Ask yourself that.

Use this time to focus on yourself. If you are at work, take a walk. If the kids are asleep, get in a home workout. If you have 10 minutes to spare, relax and do something you love. Don’t neglect yourself in the process, enjoy it!

While it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and like you just “don’t have the time,” the reality is we can create the time if we make our goals a priority.

7. Check In Daily
Zig Ziglar asserted, “People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing, that’s why we recommend it daily.”

Once a day, take the time to evaluate your progress, your time and the plans for the upcoming day and week. Does something need to be better allocated in your day or sacrificed? Do things need to shift a bit? What are potential barriers today? What could I improve? What could I let go of?

This step is critical, as it will help keep you balanced and present in the moment. Self-regulation is what separates those who achieve their goal and continue to flourish. The ability to focus, resist temptation and redirect our attention speaks of self-regulation. It’s the process towards self-awareness. We have the ability to think about our thoughts, be aware of our awareness, behave according to our behavior and have feelings about our feelings.

With this level of perception, we can be the masters of our destinies.

A question for you: Can you think of a time in the past where you set an unrealistic goal and struggled to hit it? How could you have modified the goal to make yourself more likely to succeed? Be specific.

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    What started as needing some motivation to exercise turned into a girl power movement that empowers women through fashion. Read on to learn about Mighty Petunia, its motivational tank top line and the Ohio woman behind it all.

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    “Secretly, I’m a badass,” laughs Cathy Gainer, who says she blasts AC/DC while lifting weights. “But here’s the thing. I’ve found, some days, that little voice doubted my badass-ness. So I figured out that to strengthen my inner voice, I need to work it out like I do my muscles to make it stronger.”

    That’s why she launched Mighty Petunia, a brand with motivational messages on workout apparel. “Our messages are bold, direct and don’t mess around,” Gainer explains. “They’re tough, convincing and leave no doubt who’s in charge of your workout.”

    It all started in the fall of 2013, Gainer was on a rigorous nutrition and workout plan, but felt the struggle of sticking to it. “I would catch the fever and be able to go for long periods of time and then lose the motivation,” she explains.

    To beat the funk, Gainer turned to the Internet for a little motivational boost. It was there that she found sites like Lean Bodies Consulting, Jillfit Physiques, Thrives as the Fittest and others before coming across motivational workout tanks. She ordered one that said “Suck it up, buttercup” and loved the boldness the shirt had.

    Once the shirt arrived, she was met with disappointment. “The tank came to me wadded up in a mailing pouch, the phrase on the front of the tank was thick and plastic smelling, the material was not what I expected and the logo on the tank looked almost stripper-esque,” she says.

    Cathy Gainer, the Founder of Mighty Petunia
    Cathy Gainer, the Founder of Mighty Petunia

    Gainer realized that she could make motivational workout shirts better than the lackluster shirt that arrived her doorstep. In December 2013, Gainer set a goal for herself: to launch an e-commerce business by June 1, 2014.

    Gainer met her goal just before the deadline. She launched Mighty Petunia on Memorial Day of that year. Now, unlike the tank Gainer received in the mail, customers who order from Mighty Petunia receive a tank, artistically designed and printed on the softest material and wrapped in pretty paper. “It’s like giving yourself a gift,” Gainer says. “All of our fabrics are soft and feel great on, and we print our phrases so they are soft, not rough and plastic-y.”

    Between setting the goal of opening her own e-commerce business, Gainer needed to come up with a name. She admits, it was struggle. After several days working on a name, she finally hit a wall.

    “I called it quits after about a 12-hour day and coming up with nothing,” she says. Gainer wanted a name for her business that conveyed both strength and femininity, the good days and bad days and everything in between.

    When she woke up the next morning, the name Mighty Petunia was in the front of her mind. “When I was a little girl, my dad had given me two nicknames,” explains Gainer. “When I was behaving, I was Petunia. When I was sassy and not being ‘good,’ I was Mighty Mouth.”

    Gainer likes to believe it was her dad, who passed away a few years ago, made a late night visit to her in her dreams and encouraged her brain to combine the two names, giving her Mighty Petunia.

    Gainer’s background includes retail, wholesale, buying, sales and owning her own business in the past. She says Mighty Petunia is the perfect culmination of all her past experience. Social media has helped her to promote the business and learn more about her market.

    “The biggest thing I learned is that even the women who are super successful and look like they have it all together struggle, too,” she says. “But, they are able to work through their down times. Everyone faces the grind. The key is to motivate yourself through it. That’s why the whole idea of our tagline ‘motivating your mind’ came from. We need to strengthen our motivation like we do a muscle. You gotta work on it if you want it to get you through the tough times.”

    Since launching Mighty Petunia, Gainer says that she’s been able to meet other women who have fitness-focused businesses including Jen Sinkler, Jill Coleman and Erin Brown, who have been both inspiring and motivating to her.

    The models she works with are women of all sizes and abilities, and are generous with their time for Gainer. She says the first photoshoot had some mistakes, so it needed to be redone. As a result, she credits their kindness and willingness to come back and do it all over again. “That was humbling,” she says. “It truly is amazing how many people are willing to share their knowledge and time if you just ask. Now, I try to do the same for other women and their start-ups.”

    The motivational tanks from Mighty Petunia range in price from $24 to $31. Gainer says they recently expanded the selection of tanks to include neon, brights and burnout colors as well as the Curvalicious Plus sizes.

    There’s a lot on the horizon for Gainer and Mighty Petunia. She says the second year of her business will be spent reaching out to other women in the fitness/motivation business and cross promoting. So, be sure to look out for Mighty Petunia to start popping up in different stores.

    To learn more, visit www.mightypetunia.com.

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    Find out more about these fit local ladies — and their fun, playground workouts — who are on a mission to inspire, empower and educate others to become both mentally and physically strong.

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    Lindsey and Johnnie, Founders of Cincy Fit Chicks

    Hopping on a boring treadmill after a long, stressful day — sounds like fun, right? That’s why Lindsey and Johnnie launched Cincy Fit Chicks.

    “We want to empower and encourage women to get outside, take an hour to themselves and meet new friends with a similar goal,” Lindsey says. “All they need to bring is a yoga mat, sweat towel, water and a positive attitude – we provide the rest!”

    Lindsey and Johnnie are certified fitness trainers with a background in many areas of exercise. According to Lindsey, by creating a fun and welcoming environment, they have encouraged women of all ages and fitness levels to come and join them in enjoying the outdoors, summer sun and fellowship.

    After meeting over a year ago and realizing how much they had in common, this dynamic duo knew right away that they had a lifelong friendship in the making. Little did they know that Lindsey and her fiancé were about to relocate to the Cincinnati area from Dayton – right next door to Johnnie.

    “Before long, the ideas started to brew about how we could begin to share our passions for health and fitness with the community,” says Johnnie. “That’s where the idea behind Cincy Fit Chicks was born. We simply used social media as a tool, found a local park and started spreading the word!”

    Cincy Fit Chicks offers outdoor boot camp style classes for all fitness types at Lunken Airport Playground on Wednesday evenings at 6:30 p.m. and Saturday mornings at 9:30 a.m. – with more class times and locations on the horizon. “Since developing the concept, we have established a fun, positive and welcoming culture which women are drawn to,” Lindsey continues. “We are going into our second week of classes and we already have an amazing following!”

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    Single class passes can be purchased for $5 or 10 class passes, which are called a “Chick Card”, can be purchased for $45 and may be used at any time during the summer. “We also offer an inspirational Facebook page full of recipe ideas, encouragement, at-home workout ideas and more!” says Johnnie. “We are looking to create a full-circle wellness program.”

    Lindsey and Johnnie are proud of their quick progress and are excited about their future. “We would love to grow Cincy Fit Chicks into a huge community of health, love and fitness!” says Lindsey. “We both come from a background of loving fitness and helping others, so our biggest reward is witnessing class participants achieve something they never have before. The excitement in their eyes and smiles on their faces is an experience unlike any other.”

    To learn more about Cincy Fit Chicks, check out their Facebook or e-mail them at cincyfitchicks@gmail.com.

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    A local entrepreneur had the idea to pair a party bus with a tour of the area’s best wineries. Learn more about Cincy Wine Wagon and their fun, year-round tours.

    The Cincy Wine Wagon takes you on a tour of the area's nearby wineries.
    The Cincy Wine Wagon takes you on a tour of the area’s nearby wineries.

    After working in the banking business for 15 years, Mike Stokes decided to transition into a full-time beer and wine enthusiast.

    Stokes began working in the beer industry in 2013 when he launched Cincy Brew Bus, a beer touring business that samples some of the finest breweries in the Tri-State area.

    “I, like many folks, came into craft beer about eight years ago and fell in love,” he says. “When the taproom laws changed in 2012, it opened up an opportunity for us to take people to local breweries and try their goods on site.”

    With that initiative in mind, Mike left his banking job for good and has been his own boss through his touring companies for nearly two years now. The Cincy Brew Bus has been offering tours since October 2013.

    “I love Cincinnati, beer and entertaining,” Stokes says. “I wanted to bring to light the amazing Cincinnati brewing history along with tasting the exciting new beers from these local artisans. I also wanted to be part of this renaissance that both the brewing industry and the city is having right now.”

    Cincinnati is rich in brewing history and it is Stokes’ goal to provide quality information on his brewing tours alongside tasting local craft beers. Although beer is where he started, Mike also has a deep love for wine as well. He expanded his business to wine tours in January of this year. The Cincy Wine Wagon offers tours year-round, as does the Brew Bus, but to local Cincinnati vineyards and wineries.

    On the quality of Ohio vineyards, Stokes says, “I love the grapes grown here. The climate is great for it. The vineyards grow Native North American Grapes and they grow French American Hybrids very well. Our region, the Southern Ohio Valley, is historically one of the best growing regions in the country.

    In addition to the Great Lakes, Ohio is in the top 10 grape growers in the country. Nicolas Longworth, who lived in Cincinnati most of his life and produced the most wine in the country in 1859 at 500,000 gallons, is known as the father of the American Grape, which was grown right here in this region.”

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    The Cincy Wine Wagon tours start at Maggiano’s Little Italy restaurant at the Kenwood Mall and then go to Valley Vineyards, Vinkolet Winery and Henke or Meier. During the tours, people can expect history on Cincinnati wines, wine trivia and fun facts and wine tastings. Touring the facility can include seeing how the wines are made and, of course, more tasting.

    Bottles will be available for purchase and the Cincy Wine Wagon has optimal storing containers based on which wines are bought. Stokes underscores that this is more than just a wine tasting company.

    “I think our passion for educating our customers on local history, both in wine and beer, teaching proper tasting techniques, our knowledge of how to brew both wine and beer, and the laid back feel our tour provides really separates us,” he explains. “We employ Certified Tourism Ambassadors for the Cincinnati USA region. This program gives us additional education on local history and things to do in the entire region. It’s great because after our tour many folks want to know where to go and what to do next and with our training we are able to provide that.”

    The duration of the tours typically last 4-6 hours. As of right now, beer tours are offered every week and wine tours are offered every other week.

    To learn more about specific tours and pricing, visit http://cincywinewagon.com/. Also, be on the lookout for Lou’s Brew Bus, the Louisville extension of the beer tour, which is slated to start operating this summer.

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    Fashionable finds, made with fair trade materials. That’s the idea behind Fairly Adorned, a locally-launched accessory company that empowers artists around the world. Read on for more!

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    Fun and fashionable, while also empowering and ethically sourced. That’s the foundation on which Tara Tenore built her business, Fairly Adorned.

    “I create unique, quality jewelry,” she says. “My goal is to create one of a kind pieces which are easy and fun to wear. I like to feature Fair Trade and ethically sourced beads and components both for their unique one of a kind qualities and the positive social impact.”

    Tenore works with several organizations around the world to source her materials and product lines, such as Kazuri, Swazi and Paper to Pearls. Materials range from metal and stone to leather and cork. Tenore says her best seller is their line of Triple Wrap Leather Bracelets.
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    Launching the business not only provides significant income to her partner organizations that support sustainable lifestyles for their artisans, but it also allows Tenore to stay at home with her three-year-old and six-year-old. “I stay at home with my two beautifully sweet girls, balancing my ‘mommyhood’ with my creative work,” she says. “I love what I do and the people I meet and would not change anything… except maybe a little more sleep… but that goes for most of us doesn’t it?”

    While Fairly Adorned doesn’t have a brick and mortar store, you can find Tenore at 30+ shows per year. You can see a list of her scheduled events on her website.

    Tenore says her next event is on Saturday, August 8 in Yellow Springs at the Art on the Lawn craft show — a fine art, craft, jewelry, and home décor festival hosted by Village Artisans. It’s a free event that is open to the public.

    To learn more, visit http://www.fairlyadorned.com.

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    Read on as this local writer, speaker, and personal coach reveals how she found her path in life and why she devotes her life to helping others do the same.

    Cherylanne Skolnicki started her own coaching business called Cherylanne Skolnicki Coaching.
    Cherylanne Skolnicki started her own coaching business called Cherylanne Skolnicki Coaching.

    Cherylanne Skolnicki had a successful and upwardly mobile career – in sales and then marketing at Proctor & Gamble – but eventually, she realized that she had a different calling in life.

    She left P&G to form Nourish, a company focused on helping families eat well. Now, Skolnicki is a writer, public speaker and private coach through Cherylanne Skolnicki Coaching.

    She says it’s a mixture of business coaching and personal coaching, and she tends to attract women who want it all, such as working mothers trying to balance their professional aspirations with their desire to be excellent mothers. She describes her career as “the fullest expression of who I am and what I’m here to do.”

    “I think my whole body of work up to this point has led me to this chapter,” Skolnicki says of her inspiration. “It took me a while to put the pieces together of how my greatest gifts intersected with what people around me needed most, but once that became clear, this chapter of my professional life was born. Words truly are my gift – especially words used to uplift, encourage, clarify, and inspire – and my work as a writer, speaker, and coach allows me to use words in a way that touches lives and makes an impact on the world around me.”

    Skolnicki is on a mission to teach the principles of Life Design, a “process of intentionally designing a life to consistently feel the way you want to feel. It’s about discovering what you’re here to do and doing it. It’s about finding harmony between your professional pursuits and your relationships at home. It’s a method of using simple prototypes and experiments to answer the question ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ It’s the most direct way out of feeling stuck or overwhelmed that I’ve ever seen and it’s the path to living a highly energized, personally optimized life that you know matters.”

    Skolnicki wants to share this message with more people and to help them “know themselves and to design their lives accordingly.” Life Design, she adds, has a plethora of benefits. Subscribers to Life Design “stand out because they are both highly energized AND deeply peaceful. They’re not frantically chasing someone else’s dream. They’re not conflicted and guilt-ridden.”

    Luckily for Skolnicki, she has found her path in life. Every day she wakes up excited to go to work, the feeling she hopes to bring to her clients as well. “It’s like you tap a supernatural energy source that’s always with you,” she explains. “So my favorite pat of my job is watching that source show up for my clients. When I see the light return to someone’s eyes – when the answer she’s been searching for comes to her in a moment of clarity and she’s simultaneously energized and peaceful – THAT’S my favorite thing about what I do.”

    Skolnicki advises those who want to better themselves to start by carving out some quiet time to evaluate their lives. “Often, the urge to better ourselves is rooted in feeling overwhelmed, and when we quiet the stimulus around us, we can more clearly hear the prompting of what we need to do. The answers are almost always there,” Skolnicki explains. “We’re so busy running that we rarely stop to makes sure we’re still running in the right direction! But the thing we most resist is exactly what we need.”

    Skolnicki describes herself as a woman who always believes that the best is yet to come. She is currently exploring options in group coaching so she can serve more people each year, and that’s just the beginning. She is working on her first book. “I’m a lifelong reader and can’t even count the number of times a book has changed my world view, so I’m excited about getting my own ideas out in that form,” she explains. The readership of her block, Let Your Life Shine, is also increasing.

    To learn more, visit her website, www.CherylanneSkolnicki.com.

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    Looking for a way to relieve stress during your wedding planning (and primping) process? Learn more about Brides+Bites+Burpees, where workouts are a party.

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    Nicole Leisen and Ashley Thomas, founders of Brides+Bites+Burpees

    A wedding is the start of a new life together. But it’s all too easy to get stressed and buried in the planning process. That’s why Nicole Leisen and Ashley Thomas launched Brides+Bites+Burpees, which combines a workout — or “Fitness Party” — complete with your closest friends, fun exercise, healthy bites and a low-cal alcoholic beverage.

    Leisen and Thomas, personal trainers and fitness group instructors, wanted to make wellness fun for brides-to-be and their circle of friends.

    “Health, fitness, friends and good food and drinks are some of our favorite things in everyday life, so it made so much sense to come together to share the things we love the most and share it with other busy girls in the Cincinnati area,” the two explain.

    Brides can select their food and workout from a menu of options. “All of our food items are ‘skinny,’ meaning we provide light and healthy options.

    The workouts vary. The three formats we currently offer are bachelorette’s booty blast, totally bodacious bride and pre-HIIT hitched. Each of the workouts are unique in their own way offering brides a total body workout to get them ready for their big day.”

    The one move they suggest women do everyday even if for only five minutes? Burpees. “Let’s be honest, they are the worst, but they do everything at once and reap many benefits in a short amount of time — cardio, core, upper/lower body strength, mobility and flexibility,” they say. brides+bites+burpees offers in-home fitness parties for the bride-to-be and her gal pals.

    “We understand planning a wedding can be one of the most special, yet stressful times,” they say. “Don’t lose sight of your fitness or your social life. kick-start the nuptial celebrations with two things everyone can agree on; working out and partying!”

    Their next Fitness Party that’s open to the public is July 9 at 7p.m. at Alms Park. Not a bride yourself, but know someone that is? A Fitness Party is a great gift idea, according to Leisen and Thomas.

    To learn more, “like” them on Facebook.

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    Cincinnati’s only furniture bank is giving new life to those transitioning out of homelessness and out on their own. Keep reading to learn more about how this nonprofit is helping those who need it most.

    New Life Furniture provides free furniture to those transitioning out of homelessness.
    New Life Furniture provides free furniture to those transitioning out of homelessness.

    Cincy Chic: What is New Life Furniture?
    Holly Young, Executive Director and Founder of New Life Furniture: New Life Furniture is Cincinnati’s only furniture bank.

    Cincy Chic: What’s the inspiration behind the furniture bank?
    Young: We are a faith-based furniture bank and we provide free furniture to folks transitioning out of homeless shelters, many of whom have fled an abusive situation (single moms with children), many veterans who have been sleeping on the sidewalk and many families who have simply found themselves homeless.

    Cincy Chic: Who’s behind New Life Furniture?
    Young: The whole community is behind us. We are funded by individuals, nonprofit grants (not state or federal funding), small businesses and churches. We also hold fundraisers to make money.

    Cincy Chic: When did you launch New Life Furniture?
    Young: New Life Furniture started as a small ministry out of Milford First United Methodist Church in 2006. We became a 501 (c)3 and moved our operation to Blue Ash for office and warehouse space in 2009.

    Cincy Chic: Aside from being the only furniture bank in Cincinnati, what makes New Life Furniture unique?
    Young: In addition to providing free furniture to folks exiting homeless shelters, we deliver and set up for them in their new space (mostly apartments).

    Cincy Chic: Is there anything new on the horizon for New Life Furniture?
    Young: Yes, we currently build tables (kitchen, coffee and end tales) to supplement what is donated. We hope to extend that building project into the prison system to build even more as well as adding dressers to that project.

    Cincy Chic: Where is New Life Furniture located?
    Young: We’re at 11431 Williamson Road, Unit D, in Cincinnati.

    Cincy Chic: Where can readers go to learn more?
    Young: Visit www.nlfurniture.org, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. They can also give us a call to set up a tour or volunteer with us by calling 513-313-0530 or emailing info@nlfurniture.org.

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    Our life coach columnist talks about routines — the ones that bring stability and comfort, and those that hold you back and cause ruts on the path to success. Read on as she offers helpful advice.

    I go for a long bike ride with my husband every Sunday, weather permitting. At this point in the season, we’re now up to about 65 miles each time we ride. We don’t always leave at the same time, but we do follow the same route on the bike trail each week. When we get past the turn-off and to the overhead pass, I always search for Tennis Man.

    Every week on our route, there’s a man that volleys against a concrete wall. In fact, I’ve gotten to the point where I search for Tennis Man as soon as I turn the curve. No matter the time, he never lets me down. He must be practicing for hours. Last week, I noticed that he started waving to us as we approached. He yelled hello and commented on how long we had been seeing each other.

    I hadn’t realized that he looked for us as much as we look for him. Passing Tennis Man had become one of the things that we counted on. We knew that once we passed him, we had a certain many miles to go to get to the next landmark.

    Seeing him always gave me a sense of comfort— something that I could count on. In fact, when Tennis Man was missing, things just didn’t seem right. Seeing Tennis Man had definitely become a part of our weekly routine.

    That’s exactly the role that having routines can play in your life. They become something that you count on, something that actually gives you a sense of comfort. In fact, when you change that routine, you can feel like something important is missing.

    The problem is that often we carry routines in our work and private life beyond their expiration date. What do I mean by that? I am referring to those routines that are mainstays in your lives, but no longer serve any sort of purpose. You simply continue to do them because you always did them. You keep them because they give you continuity in your life.

    On top of that, having them makes you feel good. However, they can sometimes hold us back from our goals and finding success.

    Maybe you have a routine of getting up in the morning and sitting in front of the computer to mindlessly check your social media. Maybe you have a routine of going out with the same group of friends every Saturday night. Maybe one of your routines is coming home and turning on the television after a long day of work. Or maybe, your routine is eating the same lunch at your desk every single day at work.

    Some of your daily routines have been a part of your life forever and you don’t give much thought to changing them. The point is that some of your routines are positive actions in your life and move you toward success.

    However, some of your routines stand in the way of you achieving the very goals you are working toward. That knowledge doesn’t occur to you on a daily basis but if you took a birds eye view of your life, that is what you might see. I am asking you to take that step back, and do an inventory of your daily life.

    Make a list of what your typical day consists of— work and play, and honestly decide whether your routines are pushing you closer or farther from your goals. Make sure that you daily actions align with what you strive to achieve in life.

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