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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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The first film was a hit, but is bigger always better? Click here to see how Magic Mike XXL … ahem, “Measures up”… to its predecessor!

WATCH THE TRAILER(S) HERE: 





KEY CAST MEMBERS: Channing Tatum, Joe Manganiello, Matt Bomer, Stephen “tWitch” Boss, Kevin Nash, Elizabeth Banks, Adam Rodriguez, Amber Heard, Donald Glover, Andie MacDowell, Michael Strahan, Gabriel Igelsias and Jada Pinkett Smith

WRITER(S): Reid Carolin

DIRECTOR(S): Gregory Jacobs
60 SECOND PLOT SUMMARY (OR AS CLOSE TO THAT TIME AS ONE CAN MAKE IT): Picking up a few years after the events of the first film, stripper (er, “male entertainer”) “Magic” Mike Lane (Channing Tatum) is living out his dream running a small furniture business away from the stages and lights his former “Kings of Tampa” buddies are still hitting on a regular basis. Struggling to run his business – he only has one employee and he can’t afford to offer him health insurance – Mike gets an unexpected phone call from Ernest a.k.a. “Tarzan” (Kevin Nash) that makes him rush to catch up with his old buddies.

That’s when things pick up into full swing and the old Kings of Tampa – Tarzan, Big Dick Richie (Joe Manganiello), Ken (Matt Bomer, Tito (Adam Rodriguez) and happy-go-lucky emcee Tobias (Gabriel Iglesias) – are back in action headed to the annual stripper convention in Myrtle Beach. And since their old boss won’t be joining them, the Kings are guaranteed to face a new series of adventures once Mike takes over as the de facto boss. 

What lies ahead of them? Perhaps a reunion, a few new introductions … And a whole lot of women and body oil along the way. 
WHO WILL LIKE THIS FILM THE MOST? Fans of the original Magic Mike who wanted that film to have more upbeat, party scenes and fewer dramatic ones; Tatum and Manganiello fans; Jada Pinkett Smith and Andie MacDowell fans; women seeking a great “girls night out” release; fans of movie diversity


WHO WONT (OR SHOULDN’T) LIKE THIS MOVIE? Those who liked the more dramatic elements of the first film; homophobic men; people who don’t see how the film is both a bit of a “bro” movie and a male objectification at the same time the cast is all cool with … Or do and they as an audience member are not cool with it; those who find the whole idea of a film about a bawdy group of male strippers laughable/ludicrous 
 
SO, IS IT GOOD, BAD OR ABSOLUTELY AWFUL? When the first Magic Mike movie was getting ready to hit theaters, the general public seemed to have one of the following reactions: 

  • This movie is going to be ridiculous
  • This movie is going to be ridiculous, but I’m intrigued
  • BRING ON THE ALMOST NAKED MEN!!! 
Then, the first movie hit and some people were a little taken aback by the film’s somewhat downbeat ending and story.  But Magic Mike proved to be a hit, raking in more than $100 million at the box office domestically and the idea of a sequel became more than just an idea. And now, Magic Mike XXL – which if you’ve seen ANY of the advertising promises to be bigger, better and more salacious than its predecessor – is here. All that leads to one question: What in the world could XXL offer fans of the first film that Magic Mike didn’t?

Surprisingly, a whole lot – especially if you’re looking for a more entertaining than you might expect excuse to see a bunch of guys acting wild and driving women the same way as they do it. 

Before I get into a detailed review, let me just make this “shocking” admission: I am a man. A heterosexual man. And Supreme Court decisions/everyone love everyone ideals notwithstanding, let’s be honest – I am not the target audience for XXL. (Well, I guess that means I wasn’t the target audience for the first movie, but whatever.) That’s why it may come as a surprise that not only did I find XXL to be a quote-unquote “decent” movie, I actually found it to be quite a really entertaining one … Even if I had to wade through more thongs than I ever hoped to see in my life in the process. But if the latter isn’t a problem for you, you’ll likely find it even more enjoyable.

Love him or loathe him, one has to give Tatum credit for always committing to his roles; given that Magic Mike was inspired by his time as a strip–sorry, male entertainer–before he made it big, it should come as no surprise he’s in his element in XXL. Tatum and company – Manganiello, Nash, Rodriguez and Bomer – have a great chemistry together as they truly seem like a bunch of guys enjoying each other’s company as much as the ladies they entertain enjoy their work. 

Whereas Tatum is the film’s core, Manganiello steals just about every scene he’s in. He is, however, given more than ample time to shine as a Jersey Shore-style musclehead (with a heart of gold, of course) who’s character is akin to that proverbial best friend that may be silly but always comes thru at the right time. Bomer likewise has several memorable moments as the sensitive stripper who – especially when paired in a memorable scene with Donald Glover – takes his job very seriously for all the right reasons.

Consequently/ironically in lieu of the criticism of Bryce Dallas Howard’s character in Jurassic World, the women of XXL are the ones that seemingly get to take on – and relish – the roles of the sexually aggressive characters in the film. Whether it’s the pure “look at them and never forget how beautiful you are, ladies” mantras uttered by Jada Pinkett Smith’s semi-brothel owner Rome or the Southern Belle who is ready to have hers rung played by Andie MacDowell, the role reversal showcased in XXL. For the film does plenty to shatter any lingering issues of women not enjoying sex, not having a mentality of knowing what they are worth and how they need to be valued not only by men, but their selves. (The latter message is the important one, everyone.)

Of course, the main reason anyone going to XXL for is to watch Tatum and company strip and dance. They certainly do that, but build to it slowly before the film’s epic grand finale … What many may find revealing, however, is the showcasing of the nature of predominantly African-American strip club culture and how women of all ethnicities can appreciate a man who treats them well. (It may seem silly, but XXL may do more to bring race relations – at least when it comes to sex and romance – better and with less inflammatory scenarios than any film since the failed Guess Who? with Ashton Kutcher and the late Bernie Mac.) 

In summation, if you enjoy comedy, club music, REALLY in shape bodies and more sexual titillation than perhaps some people may be ready for, XXL lives up to its name in just about every aspect. Just be prepared to be disappointed if the man in your life can’t live up to the bar being raised so high unless you can find a way to inspire him to get to the gym.


OVERALL RATING (OUT OF FOUR POSSIBLE BUCKETS OF POPCORN):

 

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    For our annual kids issue, we chat with a local lady who has a passion for turning fetes into fairy tales. See how The Picture Party Place combines her love of photography and theater while providing an outlet for other artists to showcase their talents and creativity.

    The Picture Party Place helps bring events to life for children by featuring their favorite characters.

    Caroline Hall launched The Picture Party Place in October 2013 after finding inspiration from a little shop in Michigan called the Book Nook and bringing it to life. The store in Michigan, where her family went on summer vacation for 27 years, has evolved and changed throughout the years.

    Today, it’s not only a shop for books but also for performers to come and play on the weekends and for local artists to showcase their work.

    “When you entered the shop, it was so relaxing and enjoyable that I wanted to create a similar environment,” she explains.

    That’s when Hall decided to bring her own little store to Cincinnati. Although she closed up shop last year due to family responsibilities, she was determined to keep the business alive.

    “We love to perform and entertain, and I also love photography,” says Hall. “The business was a way to marry two of my passions. We do our best to bring that passion and love to all of our events.”

    The passion for The Picture Party Place not only comes from Hall, but from her family as well as the area’s up-and-coming performers in the local theater community.

    The Picture Party Place has become a way for Hall to run a business where magical memories can be made. Hall, who herself has an extensive background in theater, has had a long line of success. She started two children’s theater programs that are still thriving and typically involve more than 100 children in the productions.

    The Picture Party Place is where you can let your imagination run wild. Hall’s business offers several types of photography packages and specializes in character-themed photos.

    “You can have a photo taken with your favorite character or have them perform at your party or event,” explains Hall.

    What makes The Picture Party Place so unique is that Hall and her team can customize their characters to fit your theme. “If you have an idea, we will work with you to bring it to life,” she says.

    The performers at the Picture Party Place are highly trained actors and vocalists, so you’ll be sure to entertain family, friends and other guests with top-notch talent. Hall can put together characters and songs to provide the entertainment you’re looking for.

    There’s even a Patriotic Quartet and Victorian Caroling group special for holiday gatherings. In addition to a unique business type, the party packages available through The Picture Party Place are one of a kind. “[Our party packages] are designed so that all you have to do is show up, we take care of the rest,” says Hall.

    Party packages are available at the Loveland Castle, Cocoa Bites in Loveland and at The Parlor in Milford. Photography packages start at $125 and party packages start at $160.

    Hall offers photography sessions for just about everything. “We offer character-themed photo sessions, head shots, photos for theater productions, senior pictures, bridal portraits, family photos, fantasy photos and casual weddings, “she says. “We also offer packages to photograph parties and events.”

    The price of party and event pricing (starting at $160) includes a photography packages. The birthday party packages include a photo with a character for the group as well as individual photos with the character for the children in addition to all the shots snapped during the party.

    Hall says that the best thing about running The Picture Party Place is seeing the smiles and joy on the children’s faces. “One of the best things, and one of things I miss most about my theater programs is hearing little voices sing,” she says. “You will often see ‘Madame Shopkeep,’ as the performers call me, wiping a tear while listening to the kids sing along with the performers.”

    She also enjoys doing events for the Dragonfly Foundation of Cincinnati, adding that one of the goals she had when starting the business was to be able to do things for that organization.

    Doing events at the Loveland Castle is another big thing for Hall, saying that their partnership has been a great pairing.

    Hall says that there’s plenty on the horizon for The Picture Party Place. “We are doing more performances at events, so you will see us customize our characters to fit various themes,” she says.

    The group recently had Miss Hannigan, Rooster and Lily St. Regis requested for a party. They also did songs from Seussical featuring Horton, the Cat in the Hat, Mayzie and Gertrude for a Dragonfly Event.

    The Picture Party Place will be doing a ‘Princesses and Heroes’ breakfast at RSVP Event Center in Loveland on July 25 as a fundraiser to support the Dragonfly Foundation campaign to build a new facility, partnering with Sweet Moments Events and Parties to bring the best characters for the kids to enjoy.

    “There will be singing, super hero training and crafts for the kids,” says Hall. “We also perform at the Loveland Castle’s show days which are the third Saturday of every month April through August.”

    On July 18 some of the group’s favorite villains will be there while on August 15 they’ll feature fairytale characters.

    Hall says The Picture Party Place will also continue creating new things as long as they have the imagination to dream them.

    To learn more about The Picture Party Place, check out their website. You can also “like” The Picture Party Place’s Facebook page to see upcoming events and the Green Faerie Productions page to view photos.

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    Learn more about this kid friendly salon -- complete with fun themed chairs and an indoor playground -- that’s fun for adults and children alike!

    Junior Cuts in Milford is the perfect place to take your little one for their next cut.
    Junior Cuts in Milford

    In March 2014, Sarah Callihan and her husband opened the doors to what is now Junior Cuts. Located in the Recreations Outlet in Milford, the salon offers access to an indoor playground while you wait and fun chairs ranging from cars to full-sized salon chairs for teens and adults.

    As strategy consultants and business owners, the Callihans knew where and how to perfect a business concept all the way through execution. “We had the ability to offer something different and better,” says Sarah, adding that before their arrival on the market, there weren’t many kid-focused salon options.

    Junior Cuts is decorated to appeal to kids without being overwhelming to adults. Each station has a TV to provide the kids with entertainment and each stylist is primped to keep the child amused and occupied. In addition, each stylist has special training with Applied Behavioral Services for children with autism and sensory process disabilities. For infants, Junior Cuts has provided special supportive chairs for those who haven’t developed enough to sit up on their own yet.

    Junior Cuts recently earned the Hulafrog “Most Loved Kids’ Haircut and Salon” award twice and the Best of Parenting Award this past December. Callihan foresees future growth within the business due to the rising amount of clients and appointments being made weekly.

    If the growth continues, the Callihans have considered the idea of expanding and opening up other branches, and at this success rate it is not improbable. As of right now, though, they’re working on perfecting their current concept. In the near future, they do plan on the prospect of “glamor parties” for kids and/or birthday party events. Being that they’ve had a few in the past, which have proven to have good turn outs, they’d like to continue on with similar functions.

    A new addition to Junior Cuts is its newly launched Story Time series. They’ve partnered with Clermont County Public Library and have readings every Tuesday at 11:00 a.m., and are sometimes lucky enough to snag a few local authors! For more information, visit www.juniorcuts.com.

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    A local gym encourages children ages four months to 12 years to explore their physical development in an environment filled with the spirit, fun and achievement. Read on for all the somersaulting details.

    062915HEALTH2School’s out – fun is in. Well, at The Little Gym that is. So before your child has the chance to say “I’m bored” this summer, check out how The Little Gym can help keep them moving, laughing and having fun.

    Although The Little Gym is a gymnastics-based program, it branches off into a variety of different movement activities such as dance, karate, parent/child classes, gymnastics, sports skills and Kindermusik – even offering extras such as camps, birthday bashes and Parents’ Survival Nights.

    “We work on developing children’s confidence through physical activity and through praise and just making them feel comfortable in a safe facility where we can really hone in on their skills,” says Cassie Franklin, program director at The Little Gym. “Our environment is fun, but our purpose is serious.”

    Each week, progressively structured classes and a positive learning environment create opportunities for children to try new things and build self-confidence. “Classes are designed to bring out loads of giggles and grins, but there is some serious development going on,” says Franklin. “While children are having fun, our Learning Units and Three-Dimensional Learning approach strengthens their physical skills, building self-esteem and learning to love the feeling of achievement.”

    More than 30 years ago, Founder Robin Wes created The Little Gym with the hopes of creating a nurturing place where children could explore their physical development while also growing socially, emotionally and intellectually.

    “Since then, we’ve honed the teaching methods he set into motion, structuring them into an expanded curriculum, with each class building on lessons learned in previous ones,” says Franklin. “Our motto is ‘serious fun’ so we take a serious approach to teaching skills through a progressive curriculum in a very fun way.” Today, The Little Gym is international with more than 300 locations throughout the world.

    In looking to the future, The Little Gym aims to continue finding new and innovative ways to build children’s confidence through different types of programs and activities.

    “Just this summer we started Kindermusik, which is a music through movement and play based program,” says Franklin. “A big goal is to keep that program strong.”

    For Franklin, the most rewarding aspect of The Little Gym is seeing how far a child can come. “I see children overcome fears – and not just fears of gymnastics, but fears of individuality,” she says. “Just watching their confidence grow and also just knowing the families is huge because it makes it that much more worth my while when I know their story.”

    “When families come here, they are not a number,” Franklin continues. “We know their names and we know their background – their family is our family. Another big thing is cleanliness. We take pride in maintaining a clean and safe facility.”

    To learn more about The Little Gym, visit their website or call (513) 204-1400.

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