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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To learn more, visit www.bigdaddywalkerproductions.com.

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Whether it’s a honeymoon, destination wedding, anniversary trip, romantic getaway or babymoon, there’s one local business that specializes in planning a trip that’ll make you fall in love all over again.

LoveShack Vacations offers destination wedding packages for couples.
LoveShack Vacations offers destination wedding packages for couples.

Destination weddings are gaining in popularity, especially since a lot of couples are paying for their own weddings and honeymoons these days. With a lot of competition out there – store front agencies, online booking engines and even booking directly with the resort – which is the smartest way to go? Laura Rhein, Caribbean Specialist at LoveShack Vacations, knows first-hand the importance of booking through a travel agent. “Prior to becoming a travel agent myself, I had a terrible experience after booking a family vacation online,” she says. “When the eight of us arrived at the resort five hours late at 11 p.m., the resort was crawling with teenage kids partying. The rooms were gross and everything was an upcharge.”

“The nightmare went on and nobody seemed to care,” Rhein continues. “Had we booked through a travel agent, we could have had an advocate to help resolve the issue – and we wouldn’t have paid any more for the trip!”

LoveShack Vacations were formed in 2013 and is part of Host Agency KHM Travel Group out of Cleveland, Ohio. Independent agents that are part of LoveShack Vacations are Romance Travel Specialists with extensive destination expertise, dedicated to designing trips around a couple’s unique needs. While they do focus on romance travel, they are full-service travel specialists offering FEE FREE service to clients.
Since joining LoveShack Vacations in 2014, Rhein has tripled her annual sales. “Romance travel is a great business,” she says. “I love doing bridal shows, meeting future brides and grooms and finding out how I can help. Many resorts, especially in the Caribbean, will offer a FREE wedding and even a FREE honeymoon if the bride and groom can book a minimum number of rooms.”

“I love the independence of being self-employed and being able to work from home,” Rhein continues. “I, of course, love to travel, and there is no better career than being a travel agent. The most rewarding part of my job is happy clients. I love to hear about what a wonderful time my clients had on their trip and of course when they refer their friends and family. To me, there is nothing better than that!”

As for what sets LoveShack Vacations apart from other booking methods, the bottom line is simple: they save you time and money. Not only is working with a LoveShack Vacations agent a fee-free service, but they are available 24/7 and have access to upgrades and amenities that you won’t find on the internet.

According to Rhein, her first step in working with a new client is to really understand their wants and needs.

“In many cases, with younger clients, they may not have a lot of knowledge about destinations, and that’s where I can help,” she says. “I worked onboard cruise ships with Royal Caribbean for over 10 years and have been to every island in the Caribbean and Mexico more times than I can count. I have also traveled to many of the destinations and resorts independently as well.”

“I spend a lot of time working with the client to identify the best fit in a destination and resort and will provide them with several options, including price ranges,” Rhein continues. “Much is driven based on the client’s budget, however, there really is something for everyone! I even run side-by-side comparisons of their favorite resorts, so that it’s easier to make an informed decision!”

In looking to the future, Rhein’s personal goals are to continue growing her business – year after year – while helping as many couples as possible plan the vacation or honeymoon of their dreams. On the near horizon is the Afterhours Bridal Show at Great American Ball Park on Thursday, March 10th from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Here, Rhein will be in attendance and be registering for two honeymoon giveaways.

“Our Corporate honeymoon giveaway, which is drawn in June, includes a five-night all-inclusive honeymoon stay at the El Dorado Royale in Riviera Maya, Mexico – including round-trip airfare,” says Rhein. “I’ll also be giving away a four-day/three-night stay at Couples Luxury All-Inclusive Resorts in Jamaica, which will be drawn the night of the show!”

To locate an agent closest to you, visit www.LoveShackVacations.com or www.LoveShackVacations/LauraRhein to go directly to Rhein’s page.

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A designer, consignment bridal boutique just opened in the Reading Bridal District and they’re taking the concept of “less is more” to a whole new level. Read on for more.

LUXEredeau
LUXEredux Bridal Boutique is a consignment shop-concept for bridal gowns.

Designer consignment shops are popular in the retail world, so why not create the concept for brides-to-be? That’s the question Lindsay Fork asked herself, and the answer made her the owner of LUXEredux Bridal Boutique.

The LUXEredux story began in 2010. As its sister store La Jeune Mariee Bridal Boutique grew bigger and more mature, the space grew smaller due to an overwhelming amount of dresses. The owner, Fork, attempted a semi-annual sample sale only to be disappointed by the turnout. Sample sales, however, always drew a crowd.

That’s when Fork was inspired to create a store that was a constant sample sale, opening the first LUXEredux Bridal Boutique in Columbus selling samples or dresses that had been gently used. She then upped the ante by launching an e-commerce as well. The results proved to be so powerful that she was prompted to open a second LUXEredux Bridal Boutique location in June 2015 in the Reading Bridal District.

While competition can be fierce, especially in the Bridal District, Fork says their concept separates them from the pack. “The entire concept of LUXERedux when I started it was that brides should not have to compromise on experience simply because they are buying a sample,” says Fork.

Fork
LUXEredux’s e-commerce site allows brides to purchase without stepping foot in the store. The bride simply selects her three top gowns, and for a $50 fee, they are sent to her where she can try them on in the comfort of her home.

Right now, they are focused on getting more attention to their store, concept and convenient e-commerce options. In fact, their site allows brides to purchase without ever stepping foot in the store. The bride simply selects her three top gowns, and for a $50 fee, they are sent to her where she can try them on in the comfort of her home.

Which trends are flying off the bridal shelves right now? Fork says it’s all about the sleeves! She calls them “demure, gorgeous, and stylish.” In fact, she says designers are pairing them with sexy low backs and yards of lace capturing three trends in one dress. As far as the bridal party she says the best trend is capturing exactly what the bride wants for the day. “I have seen way too many sad scenarios where you can just tell she is all about making mom happy or sister(s) happy and it boggles my mind,” Fork says. For winter brides she advises you stay warm! – but fashionably so. If sleeves are what you want, go for it, but your Big Day is less about external heat and more about that inner, fiery glow.

LUXEredux is located at 203 W Benson Street in The Reading Bridal District. To learn more, visit http://www.luxereduxbridal.com.

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Learn about a local health practice, headed up by a Wall Street power player turned reverend, that focuses on self-healing and spiritual well-being to help clients achieve life goals.

Rev. Ria is the founder and owner of Ria Wellness.
Reverend Ria Roth is the founder and owner of Ria Wellness.

Reverend Ria Roth, once a power player on Wall Street, took a unique career turn into health and wellness by focusing on the spiritual aspects of well being. It was during Rev. Roth’s journey of self healing that she began to trust her own intuition. This gave her the courage to pursue her own passions and open Ria Wellness to assist Tri-Staters with their spiritual well-being.

Rev. Roth’s strong passion for a holistic approach to well-being lead her to seek training in an assortment of spiritual and physical wellness practices that her business offers. As an ordained minister Reverend Roth officiates weddings, is a Oneness Trainer, Certified LIIFT ( Life Improving Internal Focus Technique) Healer, Associate Polarity Practitioner and Licensed Clinical Massage Therapist.

Living in New York, Rev. Roth was draw to a Taoist Coach to heal certain aspects of her past that she felt were holding her back in life. During this time she was introduced to self-healing techniques. Rev. Roth was encouraged to practice on others as well as herself in order to build skill and experience and a unique thing began to happen. “I started to get feedback that when I worked on people, they could feel warmth, shifts, and healing happening. This led me to believe that maybe I wasn’t born to work on Wall Street,” Rev. Roth explains, “but maybe I was here for something else – to partner with people and help them discover and create balance and well-being in their lives.”

The unique approach that Ria Wellness takes is to focus on the inner self as an approach to well-being “So many people focus on diet and exercise for wellness. They focus on their physical body but forget that inner wellness is just as important as physical fitness to a happy and healthy body and life,” Rev Roth says. While Ria Wellness offers services that focus on the physical body like massage therapy, a majority of her offerings are focused on the internal.

One such offering is LIIFT Therapy which Rev. Roth describes as an “effective tool that can change unwanted behaviors and patterns that keep us from leading our best lives. LIIFT utilizes simple techniques to quickly pinpoint the source of the issue and correct it. LIIFT accesses the subconscious mind and the thoughts that are stored there, and gently removes the hidden blocks that are holding us back from experiencing happiness and fulfillment in our lives. It can help with career, relationships, self-worth, physical, emotional and spiritual health, financial success and abundance, truly every aspect of a person’s life.”

A LIIFT session generally lasts 45minutes to one hour, the person lists three things in their life that they would like to improve and then “utilizing what we call mind-body communication, we pinpoint where the issue began and work to gently release the hidden blocks,” Rev. Roth says. The overall goal of LIIFT healing is to release subconscious thoughts the self beliefs they lead to that are holding us back in life. Rev. Roth explains that LIIFT Healing is customized to each individual.

Ria Wellness offers another customized healing practice called Polarity Therapy which removes blockages that occur due to past or present trauma, stress, and general hurt. “In Polarity we seek to remove the blockages,” Rev. Roth explains, “so that energy can flow freely and balanced health can be restored, leading to overall well-being. A Polarity Therapy session takes place on a massage table, and the person wears comfortable, loose-fitting clothing. The person leaves feeling refreshed, unburdened, and at ease. I have had clients say that they feel like they have been on a mini-vacation after their session.”

Ria Wellness holds LIIFT Healing, Polarity Therapy, and Clinical and Therapeutic Massage out of Rev. Ria’s home office. Fees are based on the package purchased and packages begin at $70. She also leads a meditation group at her home office on Sunday mornings at 10:30am in which all are welcome. The meditation group “is on a love offering basis, typically $10-20 but any amount is accepted from the heart,” Rev. Roth explains. In addition Rev. Roth conducts wedding ceremony services in the Tri-State at a variety of venues.
To find out more about Ria Wellness please visit their Facebook Page You can also download Rev. Roth’s guided meditation CD Chakra Dhyana on CDBaby.com or for live streaming on Apple Music.

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Learn the lash-batting details about what makes these on-location makeup artists unique and how they help Cincinnati brides look and feel their best.

Blend Artistry Ohio helps brides look their best on their big day.
Blend Artistry Ohio helps brides look their best on their big day.

Brides have a lot of options when it comes to planning a wedding, but looking their best isn’t optional.

That’s why Kelly Bretcher, co-owner and makeup artist, helped to launch Blend Artistry Ohio. “It is a special honor to work with brides because they put so much trust and faith in you as an artist to make them look their best,” she says, adding that they try to make their services as easy, expansive and personalized as possible for busy brides to be.

Blend Artistry Ohio “is a team of on-location professional makeup artists, hair stylists and airbrush tanning technicians. We travel to our clients for their events or on their special day to make them look and feel their best,” Bretcher says. “Every look is custom; Quality and client satisfaction are our top priorities. Our personal beauty philosophy is a focus on each individual client, and enhancing their beauty.”

Co-owners Kelly Bretcher and Megan Kramer always had a passion for makeup; both of them had worked for prestige cosmetic lines as well as doing freelance makeup artistry before deciding to start their own bridal venture together. “We celebrated our two year anniversary this [past] January,” Bretcher says.
Blend Artistry offers a range of on-site services for brides. “We provide makeup applications including airbrush foundation, individual and strip false eyelashes, hair styling, and airbrush spray tans.” Bretcher says. “Additionally, we offer trial runs for makeup and hair, as well as lessons to help them create an everyday look to wear after their wedding.”

In the two years since Blend Artistry launched, Bretcher says she and her team have shared many meaningful experiences with their brides. “There is a special energy on the day of a wedding. As an artist, it is a privilege to work with a bride on one of the happiest days of her life,” Bretcher adds. “Everyone gets exited to see their friend or family member transform into a beautiful bride. We take the trust they have in our team very seriously.” In addition, she says, “It is also incredibly rewarding to see the professional photos of my work. I feel lucky and blessed that most of my clients are referrals from previous weddings.”

In a competitive bridal industry, Blend Artistry takes pride on what makes them stand apart. “Our team makes us unique. We have incredibly talented artists that have diverse backgrounds and education. We all pursue careers during the week that give us the freedom to focus on weddings and events on the weekends,” She continues. “Something else unique to us is that we do not require a minimum number of applications or styles; we want everyone to have the convenience of on-location artists regardless of their party size.”

Blend Artistry also expands their services beyond the bridal industry. “We provide makeup, hair and airbrush tanning services to any client looking for on-location convenience,” she explains. “We have been involved in magazine, maternity and engagement photo shoots, and we are also starting to offer technique workshops in addition to the private makeup lessons we offer in-home.”

Regarding upcoming bridal makeup trends, Bretcher says, “In the last couple of years there has been a surge in requests for airbrush foundation, false lashes, and contour and highlight. More recently there has been a demand for matte lips and defined brows. Bridal parties are also starting to embrace a bold lip.” For the spring season, she adds, “We are looking forward to bright lips, glowing skin, and flushed cheeks.”

Blend Artistry Ohio was recently chosen as a 2016 pick for The Knot Best of Weddings. To learn more, visit http://www.blendartistryohio.com.

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A local designer and entrepreneur took inspiration from her father to create natural wedding decor, jewelry and wooden bow ties. Read on for all the details.

Lindsey Estes of Lucca Laser Workshop creates natural products such as bowties for weddings.
Lindsey Estes of Lucca Laser Workshop creates natural products such as bowties for weddings.

Cincy Chic: What is Lucca Laser Workshop?
Lindsey Estes, Owner of Lucca Laser Workshop: Since I was a very young girl, I always knew that I wanted to have a retail store. I wasn’t sure what it was going to be, but I knew I wanted to be an artist, and I knew I wanted to run my own show. Lucca is where that dream began. I went to college at the Columbu College of Art and Design for a year, but I quickly realized I wasn’t going to be able to afford to continue going there, and I already felt a yearning to be doing something else. I already felt I would be able to transform my trade into something useful.

Growing up in my father’s machine shop, I was raised on the power of entrepreneurship. I was taught the trade of machinist and, most importantly, I was taught diligence, efficiency and perseverance. No idea was too small or too minuscule. Now all three daughters own their own businesses as well! So I quit school, moved back to Cincinnati and I bought my first laser machine. Working from the top floor of my home, I had a small studio where I would work on my off hours. After my first craft show at The City Flea, my business hit the ground running. I quit my day job, and I focused solely on designing, creating and developing new products. Once I created my first item, there was no stopping my creativity there.

A bowtie created by Lucca Laser Workshop.
A bowtie created by Lucca Laser Workshop.

Cincy Chic: What’s the inspiration behind it?
Estes: My main inspiration? My father. Hands down my father. Or should I say my family. My father raised me on the power of entrepreneurship, precision design and love for the constant search of knowledge and expansion. He taught me to never ignore my instinct or deny an idea or design no matter how simple or obscure or difficult. He also ingrained in my mind that sometimes you need to relax your brow, step away from what you’re doing, and grab an ice cream cone!

My inspiration and drive also comes from my passions outside of my business. The importance of maintaining an active social environment outside of my work really allows me to approach each day with a new feeling of exuberance. Moving my studio to the heart of the city allows me to take daily walks to adore the architecture of the city, take my shop dog to the dog park or allow myself the relaxation of opening my large shop doors and sketching new designs on the couch. A weekly visit to the neighboring small shops allows me to explore what is on the market, converse with other educated business owners and observe how others find their passion and motivation!

Cincy Chic: When did did you launch your business?
Estes: I started Lucca Laser Workshop in 2013. After 2 years of working from my home, I realized I needed to get another machine and more studio space, so I found a space downtown and I opened my first retail store in June 2015.

A hair piece created by Lucca Laser Workshop.
A hair piece created by Lucca Laser Workshop.

Cincy Chic: What makes Lucca Laser Workshop unique?
Estes: My store features all of my natural gifts, supplies and decor created by natural wood and paper. I also feature a few other artists who create items from natural materials. My space is split between my studio and my retail space. So when you come in to shop, you can see me working as well, and you can hear the faint whir of the laser machines. Smells of all kinds of wonderful cut wood in there! Lucca began creating natural wedding decor, but I have since expanded immensely!! I really pride my business on focusing on natural and handmade products. People think laser design is all machine made, but it is far from that. I can spend up to 30-40 hours drawing and designing a product, then long hours and gritty hands are used to clean, sand, stain and package each and every item.

Cincy Chic: Where can readers purchase your products?
Estes: Right now I am not only selling on three online websites, including Etsy and on my website, but I sell wholesale all across the world! Lucca is currently in 30 states and 6 countries across the world.

Cincy Chic: Is there anything new on the horizon for your business?
Estes: New on the horizon for my business? Expansion! I plan to eventually have 5-6 machines working all day. This summer I have a new assistant who will be working with me to help produce items faster, and help with daily work and tasks. Right now it is just me! My goal this year is to expand my wholesale product line and hire new employees. My 5 year goal is to get an 8′ laser machine where I will be creating furniture as well!

Cincy Chic: Where can readers go to learn more?
Estes: Readers can visit my Etsy store or check out my website.

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There’s a difference between being busy and being productive. Our life coach columnist explains how to tell the difference and make an impactful change.

Recently, I was working with a business client that was complaining about not having enough time in her day. I asked her to write her schedule down daily. When we reviewed the schedule the next week, she commented that she was certain I could see the problem. There just wasn’t enough time to accomplish everything important in her life!

What I did decipher, among other things, was that she worked an unbelievable amount of hours in her career. In fact, she worked well over 60 of them. Now, I’m sure that this bit of information does not faze some of you. You see a clear connection between the number of hours you work weekly and your desired career success. However, I beg to differ.

I own my own business and am quite guilty of working my fair share of 60-hour weeks, or more. It’s not unusual for me to be working 7 days a week on some aspect of my job. Yet, I noticed something yesterday that I want to share with you. Maybe this resonated with me because of the recent discussion with my client. Anyway, it was Saturday afternoon, and I was sitting at my desk. I had a to-do list beside me and knew exactly what I needed to accomplish. However, I was getting absolutely nothing done. Yes, I kept myself busy by jumping around on the internet and checking this or that- but I neglected to finish one thing on my list.

I was busy, but not with the tasks that I needed to accomplish.

I was mad at myself for not being able to be productive. I pulled up my accounts and began the task of filling in yesterday’s appointment updates. However, my brain was working in slow motion. No matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t focus on anything. Frustrated, I gave up after 2 hours of being “busy.”

Did you know that 4 in 10 Americans work over 50 hours a week? That probably doesn’t surprise you, but how about this tidbit: your productivity falls starting at 50 hours a week, and takes an even steeper decline at 55 hours weekly. Numerous studies back up the fact that at 55 hours, you become less efficient and the quality of your work declines.

Could this be the reason for the frustrating experience at my desk?

Maybe it’s not that we’re so busy in our lives as much as we waste time pretending like we’re working hard. Maybe we could get much more accomplished if we worked less hours and made those hours really matter.

My suggestion is to step back and take a good look at your work habits. Your life could possibly feel like it’s spinning out of control because you’re working hard, but you’re not working smart. You’re putting in the time, but you’re not making the MOST of your time. You could very well be like me and be wasting time, going through the motions of what you call work.

Before you consider implementing CHANGES, give some thought to the beliefs that you have about work. Do you believe that working hard is the only key to success? Does it soothe your guilt when you work? Do you think that it looks good to others? Does it enable you to ignore another part of your life?

Before you can make positive CHANGES, you need to understand what purpose overworking serves in your life.

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It’s wedding season. Yoga can help with that. Our yogi columnist explains.

Photo:
Photo: GwyneMark Photography

Hey out there, newly engaged ladies! Congratulations! If you’re like most brides-to-be, you’re probably already thinking about the things that you need to do before the big day. Amid all the choices you’re making about flowers, venue, dress, my guess is that you’re thinking about some personal remodeling as well.  You’d like to lose a few pounds. And you definitely want to tone up those arms.  Tighten the belly. Actually, you’d be happier with slimmer thighs, even though no one will see them in that big puffy dress.

Here’s the capital-t Truth about your wedding day — it goes by so fast. In the blink of an eye, all those things that you’ve planned for, the cultivated choices, the planned moments will be suddenly in the past. And if you don’t pay special attention, if you have too many things that you are worried about happening at the perfect moment, you’ll miss it.

Yoga can be your best ally for wedding season, but not for your biceps, bum, or thighs. Maybe not for any reason that you are currently considering. Yoga is a gift of presence, and one that you can have for longer than just one day.

And anyway, when you’re 80 and looking back on this day, you won’t wish you spent more time in the gym. You will cherish the photographs and memories made with your loved ones. You will wish that you could climb back into these moments and spend time with these people once again. You will look back at pictures of your body as it is at this very moment and only see how beautiful you are.

Why wait for time to make us wise and content?

Yoga helps with a little thing called mindfulness. It’s something we practice every time we come to our mat, and it’s something that even a very beginner can try. Maybe you’ve been going to yoga classes but think you haven’t been giving mindfulness meditation a try. But you have. When your teacher asks you to close your eyes and notice, that’s mindfulness. When you realize that you’re clenching your jaw, release it, and feel the tension melt away through your neck and shoulders, that’s practicing mindfulness. When you find that you’re holding your breath in a pose instead of breathing easily and then adjust, that’s practicing mindfulness.

Mindfulness is all about staying in the present moment, however boring or uncomfortable, and being totally and fully aware. Even if you’ve never done yoga before, you can do it right now. Close your eyes and ask yourself, how do I feel today? And simply notice what comes up. It may be words, it may be feelings or emotions. You may notice your back twinge in response. Don’t get too wrapped up in the answer. The answer doesn’t matter. The noticing is what matters. Continue to sit like this for a few breaths and keep asking, keep noticing. How do I feel today?

Over time, a mindfulness practice helps us to realize how little most of the things we think about matter. That really, we’re okay just as we are. We’re perfectly imperfect, just like every other human being on the planet. And when we notice and accept the imperfections in ourselves, it’s so much easier to accept them in other people.

As you prepare for wedding season, your own or another’s, considering adding yoga to your preparation list. Not for your arms or your core, but for your mind and the rest of your life. So when that thing goes wrong on the big day (there’s always something), you take your deep breath and notice. That you are surrounded by loved ones. How concerned everyone is in making this special. How love and community and connection are what have brought you all together on this day. Amid all the nerves and anticipation, you will find peace and gratitude. And a smile.

Cherish this day, dear one. May you find happiness in the here and now.

 

Ready to give yoga and mindfulness a try? Look for mindful classes at a local studio. At the Yoga Bar, for example, any of our Gentle, Mindful Flow or Restorative classes will also have a deep focus on mindfulness. Look for classes with similar names at other studios.

You can try out seated meditation on your own with one of the recommended apps below. All are free to download and have beginner sequences of varying lengths. Delving deeper requires a paid subscription.

Calm for iPhone and Android

Take a Break for iPhone and Android

Headspace for iPhone and Android

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    We chat with the founder of a new locally-based online resource that’s dedicated to encouraging, supporting and inspiring women. Read on for more about the writer, speaker and personal coach behind the movement that aims to shine up your sparkle.

    Cherylanne Skolnicki, Founder of The Shine Movement.
    Cherylanne Skolnicki, Founder of The Shine Movement.

    Everyone has their own sparkle, but it’s easy to let life’s difficulties dull the shine.

    Helping women shine is what Cherylanne Skolnicki is aiming to do with The Shine Movement, a membership site that’s dedicated to helping modern women, especially moms, redesign their everyday to create a space for them to shine.

    “Members are most often women who are searching for a way to balance their professional pursuits with their personal lives while trying to find a connection with a like-minded community,” explains Skolnicki, who is also a writer, speaker and personal coach.

    Skolnicki launched The Shine Movement when she herself was searching for a community she could identify with while balancing her personal and professional lives. “I was so hungry for this that I decided to build it myself,” she says.

    “We want this to feel like a ‘charging station’ for women who are committed to making choices that let them shine,” Skolnicki adds. “It’s a place to come get filled up before you go back out and give it your all.”

    The Shine Movement is built around four guiding principles: contribution, connection, playtime and downtime. Contribution is about serving others by using our gifts to make a difference while connection is about being real in our relationships. Playtime is when you make time to do the things that fill your heart and light you up and downtime is establishing a rhythm in your life to break the busy cycle.

    Alongside Skolnicki is a small team of women who are helping to create content and bring it to life. Darcy Crociata serves as the Content Manager and Growth Analyst, Anne Schmidt works as Creative Designer, Hilary Molina as Operations & Member Relations and Melissa Lower who helps The Shine Movement as an intern.

    With her team, Skolnicki and The Shine Movement is working to connect the community and empower women. “I really believe that we are all students and we are all teachers,” she says. “By connecting in this community we can get help in areas where we are struggling and share our secrets in area where we have it all together.”

    Skolnicki says that the entire community is encouraging while challenging one another to play a little bigger or to make an even bolder choice, and she loves it.

    To supplement the content she shares in The Shine Movement, Skolnicki interviews one woman who embodies the principles of the movement. “These are people like Susie Schnall who wrote The Balance Project, Tara Mohr who wrote Playing Big and Nicola Kraus who wrote The Nanny Diaries. They are sharing how they are balancing their professional pursuits with their family lives and telling fantastic stories that are so inspiring to our members,” she says.

    Through The Shine Movement, Skolnicki is hoping that she can help modern moms redesign their everyday to create space for them to shine. “I also want to surround them with a community of women so they know they are never ever alone,” she adds.

    You can learn more about The Shine Movement by clicking here or by visiting Skolnicki’s personal website.

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    Learn about a local women’s fashion boutique that provides scholarship and mentorship for some inspiring teenage girls from under-resourced communities.

    She's All That Boutique
    She’s All That Boutique donates all profits to directly benefit the young women who work there.

    It’s hard to believe that buying a cute top or some fashionable accessories can change lives forever, but it’s true.

    “Four years ago, Tara Furlough, multi-business owner, community leader, activist and entrepreneur, had a dream to start a business that would employ teenage girls from under-resourced communities,” Kelly Brake says. “Giving them the opportunity to change their lives forever.”

    Furlough, based in Alabama, founded She’s All That Boutique. In 2015, her best friend Kelly Brake opened She’s All That Boutique NKY in Ft. Mitchell, KY. The women’s fashion boutique concept donates all profits to directly benefit the young women who work there. While working and making a paycheck in high school, the girls also earn scholarship funds. As they transition to college, the girls continue to work at the store, keep up with their mentors and make positive changes in the lives of others.

    “All of the proceeds from the stores are directly donated to our 501(c)(3) Foundation, Wings of Faith,” Brake says. “The Foundation’s central purpose is to enhance educational opportunities for students through partnerships with educators and through our mentorship program. This experience helps each student develop a purpose in life and create avenues for advancing in higher education.”

    Because they work so closely with the girls for an extended period of time, Brake says the selection process is extensive. ”We work with local high school counselors to identify at-risk girls,” she explains. “Through an application and interview process, girls are selected based on several factors, including their motivation to succeed and desire to break generational poverty.”

    For example, when Brake originally interviewed a young woman named Stephanie and asked about her career aspirations, she was unsure and selected a career path others had chosen in her family. Now, when asked, she beams when she confidently says she wants to become an engineer. No one in her life had ever told her that she could become anything she wanted, nor did she have the resources to do so.

    For Stephanie, she said if she is given one sentence to say at her high school graduation, it would be to say thank you to Brake because if it wasn’t for her, she could not be where she is today. Thanks to She’s All That NKY, Stephanie will be the first in her extended family to get a high school diploma, let alone attend a four-year college. She was also the first to obtain a divers license.

    The Northern Kentucky store is newer, and doesn’t have college students in attendance yet, but has high school seniors that are enrolled to go to college next fall. Hannah, from Lloyd High School, and Stephanie, who attends Beechwood High School, are both seniors in the area that have accepted their fall enrollment at Eastern Kentucky University on scholarship.

    High school students in the program are paired with a mentor in the community, which is a successful woman who helps guides the student in the right direction. Brake, the store manager, takes a more personal approach to mentorship and relationship building. She takes the girls out to movie nights and dinner, making sure they’re always fed and in a safe place.

    She’s All That currently has two locations, serves over 20 high school girls, and has six young women in college through their scholarship program, Wings of Faith Foundation.

    She’s All That NKY is located at 2508 Dixie Hwy. in Fort Mitchell KY. Call (859)331-1292 or visit www.shesallthatnky.com for more information. To donate directly to the foundation, you can mail a check or donate online. Specifically selecting “She’s All That Boutique NKY” will earmark the funds to directly help the young girls in Northern Kentucky.

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