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See how a family tradition of yoga led this woman to launch her own business to help women - especially moms - use yoga to increase health and decrease stress.

Yoga With Pooja
See how a family tradition of yoga led this woman to launch her own business to help women – especially moms – use yoga to increase health and decrease stress.

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Pooja Malhotra grew up in India. There, her parents devoted their lives to yoga and holistic living. Malhotra was surrounded by the teachings of yoga and practiced it throughout her life.

“I realized that the childhood gift of yoga that I received from my parents helped me build coping skills for overcoming life’s challenges in the most effective way,” she says.

Today’s world is full of stressful situations and lifestyles. Because of the seemingly never-ending chaos, Pooja decided to open her own studio where she could share yoga traditions with people to help them navigate through everyday stresses in positive ways.

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Pooja Malhotra, owner of Yoga with Pooja

She opened Yoga With Pooja in January 2012 as a traditional yoga studio that helps people lead a conscious lifestyle, which can positively change one’s being and approach to life. “Our yoga studio offers the traditions of yoga for today’s lifestyles,” explains Malhotra. “Our classes implement a holistic approach toward physical, mental and spiritual integration for all age groups, fitness levels and ability.”

According to Malhotra, you’ll not only see life in a different way after practicing at her studio, but you’ll notice that it’s a warm and inviting place that fosters an invigorating, centering and calming attitude.

Malhotra is quick to thank others for the studio’s immediate success. She credits the yoga teachers for their great leadership, her clients for their continued support, her husband and two boys for being her backbone through this entrepreneurial journey, as well as her friends and family who believed in and supported her along the way.

When you attend a class at Yoga With Pooja, you can choose from offerings for those who are new to yoga, therapeutic classes for people recovering from a medical ailment or other health condition, traditional alignment-based yoga classes for personal yoga growth and yoga and meditation classes for stress management. In addition, you can enroll you children in kids yoga for those ages three and up, pre-teens and teens yoga classes, classes for special needs children, family yoga and mommy-and-me classes for toddlers.

According to Malhotra, those who take classes at Yoga With Pooja say it’s a peaceful environment that offers a personalized experience. Also, there’s no need to bring along any equipment, as it’s all provided for you in the studio.

There are multiple package options available at Yoga With Pooja. Drop-in rates range from $9 to $13 per class. In addition, Malhotra says, Yoga With Pooja is offering a New Year January special, which includes 30 days of unlimited yoga for $30.

Malhotra has a lot to look forward to in the coming months at Yoga With Pooja. She says that they’ll be offering yoga-themed birthday parties for kids, ladies night out events, summer camps for kids and a continuing education program for yoga teachers who are interested in becoming a yoga teacher.

Yoga With Pooja is located at 666 Reading Road in Mason and at the Kids First Sports Center at 7900 East Kemper Road in Cincinnati. To learn more visit www.yogawithpooja.com or “like” them on Facebook.

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Read on to learn more about a local non-profit organization that’s providing studio space and teaching opportunities to visual artists with disabilities.

Chic Spotlight: Visionaries + Voices’ Art Classes
Read on to learn more about a local non-profit organization that’s providing studio space and teaching opportunities to visual artists with disabilities.

Virginia and Emily making prints at Visionaries + Voices
Virginia and Emily making prints at Visionaries + Voices

Cincy Chic: What is Visionaries + Voices?

Jamie Muenzer, Education Director at Visionaries + Voices: Established in 2003, Visionaries + Voices is a non-profit organization that provides studio space, exhibition opportunities, supplies and support to more than 125 visual artists with disabilities. V+V artists actively contribute to the greater arts community through creative, educational, and strategic partnerships with local and regional artists, schools, and business leaders. Collectively, we are growing a more inclusive arts community in Greater Cincinnati.

Cincy Chic: What types of art do you do at Visionaries + Voices?

Muenzer: Artists in the studios use a variety of different mediums, techniques and explore many different subject matters. Including: painting on paper, wood, and canvas, drawing, ceramics, print making, photography, sculpture, assemblage, papier mache, mixed media, mosaics and collage.

Cincy Chic: Tell us more about the art classes offered by Visionaries + Voices!

Muenzer: As part of our commitment to making contemporary art a part of daily life, Visionaries + Voices has partnered with 21c Museum Hotel to present free monthly art classes in the gallery spaces at 21c. On the 3rd Sunday of every month from 5:00 to 6:30pm, explore the work of a different V+V Teaching Artist as they lead you through a hands-on activity.

Each presenting artist has graduated from Visionaries + Voices Teaching Artist Program (TAP). TAP is a 30-week in-house visual arts training program that gives artists with disabilities the opportunity to learn how to speak and teach about their artwork. The primary goal of TAP is to expose students to new ways of thinking, making and doing through art. But it also has a secondary goal – to ask students to consider the idea of “disability” and who they view as leaders and teachers. For more information about V+V Teaching Artist program please contact me at jmuenzer@visionariesandvoices.com

 

Cincy Chic: When can readers check out upcoming classes?

Muenzer: February 15: Explore the meditative drawing method of Zentangles that artist, Neil Dignan, has adopted into almost all of his work. Neil’s intricate drawings sprawl out over everyday objects, from cups to chairs to plates and skateboards. Using repetitive lines and shapes, create a stained glass piece using glass, paint markers + sharpies.

March 15: Artist Kevin White incorporates pop cans, cardboard, fabric and other materials into multi-dimensional found object sculptures and paintings. From bins of recycled materials, participants will collage and draw using unconventional materials to create 3D works on canvas or sculpture.

Cincy Chic: How much does it cost to attend an art class?

Muenzer: Free! Art classes are open to the public and all ages. For adult class participants, 21c Metropole provides drink specials – $5 Local Draft Beer or an $8 Specialty Cocktail.

Cincy Chic: Is there anything new on the horizon for Visionaries + Voices?

Muenzer: [CON]TEXT exhibition opens on Thursday, Feb. 19, 2015 from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. at V+V 3841 Spring Grove Avenue in Cincinnati and runs through April 15. [CON]TEXT will spin tales of fact and fiction leading the viewer to question what is language and what has evolved to a beautiful mark.

To accompany this exhibition, Visionaries + Voices and WordPlay Northside have worked collaboratively to create 2 distinctive programs to run concurrent to (Con)Text during our Collective Vision Open Studio Thursdays, held the last Thursday of every month at our Northside location:

· On Thursday, February 26 from 6:00 to 8:00p.m., Visionaries + Voices will host “Louder than Bombs,” A National Poetry Slam for teenaged writers. Come to our Northside location to hear some very talented young poets participate in the competition.

· On Thursday, March 26 from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m., Visionaries + Voices hosts “Ekphrastic Poetry and Children’s Responses to Art.” Elementary-aged school children will be visiting the exhibition and then returning to WordPlay to write ekphrastic poetry: poetry in response to art. They will return to the gallery to perform the work that they’ve created in response to the [CON]TEXT exhibition. Exhibition runs thru April 17, 2015. All Exhibitions and Programs are free and open to the public.

Double Vision 6 opens April 10, 2015 at Memorial Hall. Returning to Memorial Hall in its 6th year, our annual art auction fundraiser Double Vision represents the culmination of Collective Vision: Pairs Well With. We’ll be raising awareness and money to support activities and programs at V+V.

Open Studios: The V+V Northside studio opens its doors to the community the last Thursday of every month from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m., inviting everyone to come in and make art.

If you’d like more information on our exhibition program, please contact Krista at kgregory@visionariesandvoices.com.

Cincy Chic: Where can readers go to learn more?

Muenzer: Find us at visionariesandvoices.com or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

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011915FEATUREAnita Altman of the UJA-Federation of New York in Manhattan wanted to create a national ReelAbilities Film Festival to help raise awareness of the common humanity and value of each person, regardless of his or her disability. That’s when she founded the ReelAbilities Film Festival.

The idea for a film festival was developed when Altman saw a film called “Praying with Lior” about a young man who has Down syndrome and how he prepared for a bar mitzvah. From there, she wanted the film festival to highlight moves that impact change while helping to expand and transform programming for people with disabilities.

The ReelAbilities Film Festival was founded in 2007 in New York City. Since then, the film festival has spread to 12 U.S. cities, including Cincinnati. In fact, Cincinnati’s ReelAbilities Film Festival launched in 2013 as the first city outside of New York to host the event. Today, it hosts the second largest festival nationwide, behind only New York.

In 2014, the festival’s national headquarters moved to the Queen City. It’s managed by the nonprofit Living Arrangements for Developmentally Disabled (LADD), Inc. For those who have never attended the film festival, all of the films screened during the event share the stories, lives and art of people who have disabilities.

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According to Festival Co-Chair and Accommodation Committee Chair Kara Ayers, PhD., the Cincinnati ReelAbilities Film Festival expects thousands of people to participate in the eight-day event that runs from February 27 to March 7. Presented by Macy’s, the region’s largest film festival includes a Premier Weekend Corporate Awards Luncheon, Red Carpet Gala and Gala Afterparty as well as more than 30 film screenings, speaking and other events for VIPs. “Each of our film screening events is hosted by and will benefit a local nonprofit organization whose work enriches the lives of people with disabilities,” says Ayers.

 

At this year’s Cincinnati ReelAbilities Film Festival, Oscar and Golden Globe Award Winning Actress Marlee Matlin will be the keynote speaker at the Corporate Awards Luncheon. Also in attendance will be respected actors Danny Woodburn, Daryl Chill Mitchell and Kurt Yaeger in addition to Richard Bernstein, the country’s first state Supreme Court Justice who is blind. Project Runway’s Justin LeBlanc and internationally acclaimed photographer Rick Guidotti of Positive Exposure will also be at the film festival as well as many who are featured in or part of the films will attend the Cincinnati ReelAbilities Film Festival.

Now that the Cincinnati ReelAbilities Film Festival is entering its third year, the event has grown more than four times in size, according to Ayers. “We have accomplished this because of how our entire region has supported our cause,” Ayers adds. “We have succeeded at bringing together government, academia, the business and arts community as well as social service to celebrate our region’s diversity and our shared humanity.”

The mission and message is resonating within the business community, too, says Ayers. “The region’s top employers are recognizing the importance of diversity and inclusion in recruiting and retaining strong workforces,” she adds.

In addition to these accomplishments, the Cincinnati ReelAbilities Film Festival is bringing nationally- and internationally-recognized Hollywood stars who want to come to Cincinnati and participate in the festivities. The national festival has grown so much this year that there were more than 500 films submitted from across the world to be juried for awards.

The Cincinnati ReelAbilities Film Festival will be held in several locations throughout the Cincinnati area. “Our Premier Weekend Corporate Awards Luncheon and Red Carpet Gala will be held at the Hyatt Regency in downtown,” says Ayers. “We will be holding film screenings at the Cincinnati Art Museum, Kenwood and Esquire Theatres, Cincinnati Museum Center, Great American Ball Park, Taylor High School and the Contemporary Arts Center.”

VIP guests are also invited to participate in a variety of speaking and other engagements that will take place throughout the city.

To see a list of nonprofit agencies benefiting from the film festival, click here. To learn more about the ReelAbilties Film Festival, visit the website at www.cincyra.org. Here you can learn more about the events, watch Film Festival trailers, register to volunteer and purchase tickets. You can also follow along on Facebook Twitter and join in the conversation using the hashtag #DifferentLikeYou.

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010515CAREER2You don’t get a second chance for a first impression. That’s why Anne Schmidt is so passionate about her work.

As the founder and owner of Blu Design Shop, she helps start-ups and small businesses – locally and nationally – with their branding and graphic design needs. “We offer fully customized brand identities that accommodate a start-ups budget,” explains Schmidt, “and allows them to get up and running quickly.”

Schmidt’s love and enthusiasm for design is initially why she launched her business. “I started my career at a marketing firm in Washington D.C., where part of my responsibilities involved creative design for marketing and grassroots advocacy projects,” she explains, “From there, I dabbled in recruiting and HR, but I really wanted to get back into designing.”

A few years prior to her company launching, Schmidt created her very own wedding invitations, pregnancy announcements for her children and birthday cards. Requests for custom stationery from friends and family soon followed, and then referrals from that business.

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Anne Schmidt, founder and owner of Blu Design Shop

In 2009, a California based photographer discovered Schmidt’s website that she created for her line of custom stationery. “The photographer loved my work so much that she asked if I would be willing to create a logo and website for her, and the rest is history,” Schmidt says, “I fell in love and became obsessed with creating logos and web designs, and I began learning as much as I could about the design industry.”

Schmidt’s initial work transitioned from designing custom stationery for consumers, to creating custom stationery systems for businesses. Since the company’s official launch in 2009, 30 vastly different clients have been added to Blue Design Shop’s portfolio.

Some services offered include logo design, WordPress web and blog designs, business cards, flyers, car/truck decals, social media images and much more. Schmidt says Blu Design Shop has earned a respectable reputation because of its award-winning customer service in addition to its wide range of start-up services. In addition, Schmidt says, Blu Design Shop’s prices are geared to help startups and grow with their businesses.

Since she, herself was once a start-up, Schmidt understands where clients are coming from, and believes that a company’s branding and web needs shouldn’t be one of the obstacles holding them back from bringing a great service or product to consumers.

Schmidt says her passion for her clients’ ideas and and her team’s designs that bring client visions to life is what makes Blu Design Shop unique. “We are flexible with our service offerings, as we understand each client is different,” she adds, “We approach our clients’ businesses from more of a customer service standpoint versus a technical one, which allows for mutually beneficial partnerships.”

Starting this month, Blu Design Shop is offering a new service that focuses on social media support for clients, helping them grow their online presence, while giving them more time to focus on other aspects of their business. “Most of our clients are start-ups, which means they are insanely busy with every detail of their business, and it’s difficult for them to make time for social media; let alone afford it,” explains Schmidt.

Schmidt and her team also plan to give back to the Cincinnati area and its economy. One way in which they currently do that is through their content contribution to Bad Girl Ventures, a local company that helps entrepreneurial women achieve success.

To learn more, visit www.bellabludesignshoppe.com or “like” them on Facebook.

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The Brideface team in front of their new Over The Rhine storefront

 

Ask and you shall receive. At least that’s the way it works at Brideface.

 

Based in Over The Rhine, this multiple-award-winning posse of makeup artists specializes in bridal and makeup coaching throughout the Tri-State. Their coaching classes can be customized for tweens, mother-daughter, or a girls night out.

 

In addition, owner Nancy Dawson launched a “FACEing” cosmetics line in 2013. The line currently includes lipsticks, lip glosses, cheek color, brushes, brow mascara, brow kits and eye shadows. Dawson has plans to soon launch more offerings.

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Brideface “Blockbuster Box”

 

“I hear it over and over in my FACEing classes,” Dawson recently posted. “So many women hate foundation. They wish they could buy a lightweight product that is good for their skin, evens the tone, and makes it just look healthy, not covered up and flat. Well we have a new product coming that will blow you away!”

 

Client feedback is what fuels new ideas for her business, Dawson says. In fact, prior to the holidays, she began receiving requests for “beauty bundles,” or just a few of her favorite things all wrapped up with pretty packaging to give as a gift. She obliged, and says it’s been a big hit.

 

“A long-time client contacted me just a few days before Christmas and asked me to pull together six $200 beauty boxes for the women in her family,” Dawson explains. “I customized them each and added a note on how to use the products, gift wrapped them, and shipped them out!”

 

After posting an example on Facebook, orders began to flow. “I can do them in any price point,” she adds. “A husband called me because his wife had just taken a FACEing class with me, so I pulled together the things I had recommended for her in the lesson.”

 

According to Dawson, a “Brideface Blockbuster Box” typically includes an assortment of brushes, lip collection, cheeky cream blushes, and brow collection. “We also have brush rolls and canisters and lot of people have been loving those to keep their tools organized,” she explains.

 

Price points vary depending on the products included, but a $200 gift package includes seven makeup brushes, two lip colors, cheek color, liner, twissors, brow mascara and brow sketchstick.

 

Not only is the Blockbuster Box concept a big hit for Brideface, but their new location is too. “We did so well in our new location over Christmas,” Dawson says, “we just love it!”

 

Located at 2009 Elm Street, Dawson says foot traffic has been steadily increasing with the rapid development in OTR, and foresees a major boost once the streetcar is up and running. “Because we are so off the beaten path from Vine and Main, we haven’t yet been able to piggyback off [OTR’s] shopping events. But when we did Fuchsia Friday, on black friday, we were listed in the OTR Chamber of Commerce marketing materials so we saw a huge surge from that,” she explains. “We rely heavily on Rheingeist traffic now, since we are the only businesses at that end of the street. That all [will] change rapidly though as the streetcar gets closer to opening!”

 

To learn more, visit www.brideface.com.

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One lens, many frames. That’s the idea behind Frameri.

 

Essentially, with Frameri glasses, you have lenses that snap in and out of a variety of Frameri frames – allowing you to own a single pair of prescription lenses or sun lenses and move them between an array of boutique quality frames.

 

“The inspiration for the concept was from me not being able to treat glasses as an accessory,” says Konrad Billetz, CEO and Founder of Frameri. “I would put together an outfit with a bag, shoes, clothes, etc., but my glasses were the only thing I was never able to change. I only had one pair of glasses and they were expensive, so I though the Frameri system could be better – and that’s what we set out to do.”

 

Frameri offers handmade Italian frames for $100 and lenses for $100 a pair – designing and sourcing everything in-house without a middleman. “We love that we have changed something for the better,” says Billetz. “We made our glasses with the customer in mind and we are happy to bring to market a product that is fashion-forward, smart and design-oriented.”

 

Since launching last July, Frameri has already started working on expanding their capabilities on the prescription side. “We offer progressive lenses, higher prescriptions and some awesome sun lenses – all processed in-house in our OTR optical lab,” says Billetz. “We are also expanding the frame options. We introduced new colors in our Holiday Collection and are working on new styles, sizes and colors as we speak to release in 2015.”

 

Above all, Billetz wants to shake up what he refers to as a “rather boring industry” and challenge the way things have always been done in an effort to make glasses better for the people who actually wear them. “As we continue to grow and build our brand, you’ll see many new frames choices, new lens choices, and a whole lot more fun,” he says.

 

As for what sets Frameri apart, Billetz says their product improves the experience of wearing glasses. “Our team is dedicated to making the glasses system about the glasses-wearer,” he adds. “We wanted to make the highest quality frames available, and we did it.”

 

“We have created something new in an industry that’s been lacking in innovation for quite some time,” he continues. “Most notably though, we have no experience in the industry – we’ve learned everything on our own as we go, which is a further testament to our drive to make glasses better.”

 

Beyond providing new jobs, Billetz says the early success of Frameri and other notable Cincy startups shows how important the startup culture is becoming in Cincinnati.

 

“Fueled by The Brandery, CincyTech, and Cintrifuse, the startup community is becoming as vibrant in Cincinnati as it is just about anywhere,” says Billetz. “It’s really special to get to call Cincinnati home for us. One of our big goals for 2015 is finding ways to engage with our local community more as well as with other local startups.”

 

Watch the video below to see how they work. To learn more, visit www.frameri.com or email Frameri at hello@frameri.com. Plus, Billetz says, “Anyone local to Cincinnati can set up a time to drop by our office and check out the glasses in person.”

 

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Lots of clothes but nothing to wear? Marsha Ashley and Brock Maitland know the feeling. That’s why they launched Style Edit.

 

Style Edit is a Cincinnati based wardrobe styling business, helping women and men across the Tri-State to revamp, edit, cultivate and distinguish their style. Style Edit offers personalized wardrobe consultations and advice on fashion trends, clothing and cuts that work best for their clients.

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They also works with corporate clients – such as magazines, production companies, designers, department stores and boutiques – to style photo shoots, dress store windows, host events, act as creative directors, and speak on upcoming trends.

 

When this dynamic duo first launched Style Edit in Spring 2011, they were just two friends who were new to the Queen City. They met in a marketing class at the University of Kentucky in 2004 and their passion for fashion instantly brought them together.

 

Just before they launched Style Edit, Maitland says the two were working downtown and in search of style inspiration. “We created our blog and immediately immersed ourselves in the growing fashion scene in the city,” says Maitland. “A few months later, we launched our styling company, Style Edit.”

 

Now that they’ve been in business for several years now, Maitland says that she and Ashley have had the pleasure of working with incredible partners, including Saks Cincinnati. They’ve also been able to grow their client base extensively and continue to expand their brand’s awareness. “We’ve also narrowed into how the majority of Cincinnatians approach fashion and style,” Maitland explains.

 

Whether your budget is unlimited or tighter than a pair of leather pants, Style Edit can help. While they can shop for and add new key pieces to clients’ wardrobe, Maitland says revamping your wardrobe isn’t always about buying something new.

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In fact, clients often hire Style Edit because they just want to see their wardrobe with new eyes. In that case, Maitland says, they look through the client’s wardrobe to offer advice on how to wear certain pieces, pair together outfits the client wouldn’t have coordinated otherwise, and even pull items to be altered to update the cut or better fit the client.

 

“There are different body types and varied goals people want to accomplish with their clothes,” says Maitland. “And we’re able to help both readers and clients alike navigate them.”

 

Maitland says they especially love to help clients re-think and expand their wardrobe options with seasonless dressing. “We always advocate repurposing summer favorites for the fall, and even winter,” she says. “Think of a maxi dress you loved in the summer and try pairing it with a chunky knit sweater and suede slouch boots.”

 

Maitland says that Style Edit has some exciting things on the horizon, and they’ll be making the big announcement soon on their new website, www.styleeditstudio.com.

 

To keep up to date on Style Edit, their announcements and styling tips, follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

 

First Photo by: Saeide Kmi & Siavash Yansori
Second Photo by: Claire Marie Photo

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Homemade meals are yummy and nutritious, but they rarely fit in your busy schedule. That’s where Meals from Scratch can help.

 

A father and son team, Matthew and Phillip Hayden launched Meals from Scratch, a division of Scratch Food, in November 2011. Then, in 2014, Jason Haught, owner of Bathfitter in Southwestern Ohio, recognized the potential of Meals from Scratch and also jumped on board.

 

Meals from Scratch focuses on creating convenient, nutrient dense prepared meals for those who have busy schedules. Additionally, Meals from Scratch also helps those who need assistance with lifestyle disease management because of diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

 

According to Matthew, the inspiration for Meals from Scratch came from a notice of the lack of nutrient dense alternatives in the foodservice industry. “We were just beginning to develop our product when we met The Pink Ribbon Girls,” explains Hayden. “We decided straight away that this local charity would demand our full effort, and would ultimately become our primary focus and our inspiration.”

 

Since nearly one in three Americans suffers from a lifestyle and/or dietary associated disease, Matthew and his father knew that they would be serving a significant need by starting Meals from Scratch.

 

Today, most people know someone who suffers from or has died from a lifestyle of poor nutrition, whether it is diabetes, heart disease or cancer. This includes Hayden. He says that he lost his mother to cancer and even he had to undergo multiple heart bypass surgeries to repair the damage a poor diet in his youth had caused, despite maintaining a fit appearance throughout his life.

 

What makes Meals from Scratch unique, according to Matthew, is that it’s a diet that makes sense. “The American Diet is based on a model that is extremely flawed,” he adds. “Meals from Scratch is not interested in following a traditional model, we simply combine the right foods for a perfect diet.”

 

It’s also the taste of the food that makes Meals from Scratch so different from its competitors, Matthew says. The food is created by executive chefs who focus on taste, because as Hayden laughs, “how sustainable is any diet if the food does not taste good?”

 

Meals from Scratch started with a single client knocking on the door and asking if they had any prepared meals to take home to her family. They’ve since grown to preparing more than 600 meals every week and shipping them all over Ohio.

 

There’s also the partnership with Pink Ribbon Girls of Dayton. “The Pink Ribbon Girls asked us to prepare meals for their clients that included late stage breast cancer patients in need of domestic services,” says Hayden. “In the beginning, we were preparing a few dozen meals a week and hand delivering them to these deserving women.”

 

Hayden says there are plenty of plans for the future. He adds that with the addition of Haught, they plan to take their product directly to customers. They’ll start working with their friends in the healthcare industry to expose clients to the convenient, nutrient dense products offered by Meals from Scratch.

 

“We’ll also be making our meals available to the general public on our website and at our headquarters in Centerville,” he says. “We are confidence that our strong, locally sourced, processed ingredient-free meals are a perfect fit for those in need of a healthy meal as well as those seeking lifestyle disease state management.”

 

Meals from Scratch is located at 767 Miamisburg-Centerville Road in Centerville. To learn more, visit www.scratchfood.com or “like” them on Facebook.

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shari How is 2015 going to be bigger, brighter and more successful than the previous year? If you haven’t given this much thought, let me make some suggestions. I have a few good ideas that might help you start developing a plan.

Give yourself the gift of Forgiveness
Have you been carrying around some extra luggage that you need to let go? Maybe, just maybe it’s time to move on. It could be that you are finding it hard to forgive yourself for something that has happened in your past. Even though you try to convince yourself that you have “moved on”, this incident has colored everything else in your present and future. So, in essence, you haven’t really moved on at all. Until you make a decision to finally let go of this albatross, life will continue to be less than you desire. Make a pact to forgive yourself and wipe the slate clean. Realize, once and for all, that life is not perfect, and you’re human. Make your amends and go forward.

 

Give yourself the gift of Acceptance
Do you struggle with being enough? Do you constantly compare yourself to others and come up short? Maybe it’s your friend’s salary, their great career, perfect kids, beautiful home or great spouse. Whatever it is, I’ve come across some folks that make a lifetime habit of feeling that they just don’t stack up. The thing is, while you’re wasting energy thinking about how you don’t have the perfect body, you could be actually changing your life. No one has a perfect life— period. People only allow you to see what they want you to see. Work on improving your own life and becoming a better person. Refrain from beating yourself up to get there. Accept you for you and appreciate your gifts.

 

Give yourself the gift of Reinvention
How do you feel about change? Hopefully, you’ve made peace with it and have incorporated this concept into your day-to-day life. You should always be looking for the ways that you can learn and grow. When you’re feeling unhappy, chances are, you have allowed yourself to get stuck. You’ve gotten comfortable with doing things the same way time after time. You are no longer challenging yourself. Think of reinvention and change as an ongoing process. It never stops. Push yourself to do at least one new thing everyday— no matter how small it appears to be. For example, try a different restaurant, take a different route to work, talk to someone that you have never talked to. When changing your job seems overwhelming, just take one little step at a time. One change leads to another and to another and eventually you’ve successfully reinvented yourself.

 

Give yourself the gift of Authenticity
On the surface, it doesn’t seem so difficult to just be yourself. However, for some individuals, this one goal can be extremely challenging. Being “you” means that you may have to disappoint other people and this can be intensely painful. Maybe you have incorporated a belief system where pleasing others is way more important than ever pleasing yourself. You may have a battle going on in your head that isn’t exactly the most rational discussion. That’s the thing— those battles rarely make sense. Having authenticity and being yourself means that you live true to your own values, beliefs and goals— not someone else’s set of expectations. When you live your life this way, you find the happiness and success that you’ve been searching for.

 

My hope is that you will do an honest self-assessment and are able to make 2015 a fantastic year.

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A picture, it is said, is worth a thousand words. But two years ago, when Mary Price first saw the picture of her with her newborn grandson, Ronan, the words that crossed her mind were relatively few, but decidedly urgent.

 

For as long as Price could remember she had struggled with her weight. And, the diminutive 5-foot-tall nursing manager had a lot of successes, losing 30 or more pounds each time she dieted.

 

But then, she always gained those pounds back and many more, until late 2011 when she received that telling photo when she weighed 210 pounds.

 

It was simply far too much weight for her tiny frame. And, as a nurse who trains other nurses, Price knew all too well what all that extra fat meant for her health. In fact, she could feel it in every fiber of her being.

 

Every joint in her body ached. She couldn’t stand for long and became easily winded. She was pre-diabetic, and even though she took medication, her cholesterol levels were too high. Even her asthma had worsened as her stressed and overweight body worked ever harder just to breathe.

 

The Florence mother and grandmother knew she had to do something radical about her weight or she probably wouldn’t be around – or at least wouldn’t be healthy enough – to really enjoy her three children and their five youngsters.

 

“So, I did my research and went to all the information sessions for the different programs at the Weight Management Center at St. Elizabeth Florence,” she recalls. “I went to the surgical weight loss program and learned about the sleeve gastrectomy. That’s when I just felt this huge – excuse the pun – ‘weight’ come off my shoulders because I remember thinking that this is my answer – that surgery. And the thing that really sold me on it was that it cuts off the part of the stomach that creates most of the hunger hormone. So I just thought, ‘Bingo! This is my answer.'”

 

That was October 2011. By the following February, Price was signed up and beginning preparation for the surgery – like all Weight Management Center patients – by undergoing several months of medically supervised dieting, nutritional and psychological counseling, physical evaluation and pre-operative education.

 

Both Price and the weight management experts at the center say that pre-operative preparation period — which typically lasts three to six months — is critical to long-term success with bariatric surgery.

 

“I think that this is a major strength of our program that is not offered at other surgical programs in the area,” says Weight Management Center Clinical Psychologist and Behavioral Therapist, Dr. Laurie Little.

 

“Effective weight management should address biological, nutritional and behavioral issues, and St. Elizabeth is the only center that addresses all of these areas,” Little explains. “Healthy weight management is not just about what you eat, but a great deal about how and why you eat. Although the surgery is an incredibly powerful tool that helps restrict the amount of food one can eat in one sitting, if a patient does not address any underlying maladaptive eating patterns, they will not lose the amount of weight they want to lose, or they run the risk of regaining it back over time.”


 

A surgery that removes the source of hunger-triggering hormone
By the day of Mary Price’s Aug. 15 surgery, she said she was very well prepared and ready to dive right in to a new lifestyle. And that she did, immediately dropping 15 pounds the first month and about 10 pounds monthly after that until, by this past August, she had shed almost half of her body weight.

 

Part of her success can be attributed to one of the key benefits of this popular form of bariatric surgery. As her surgeon, Dr. Magued Khouzam explains, sleeve gastrectomy takes both the stomach’s capacity and source of hunger triggers away.

 

“We remove the portion of the stomach that allows it to stretch,” says Dr. Khouzam. “So, instead of having a big stretch of stomach, this sleeve gastrectomy procedure gives you a very limited volume stomach that doesn’t stretch. When we remove this [stretchable] part, we’re also removing the part where it’s believed the hormones are secreted that create your appetite in your brain. So patients are no longer hungry.”

 

The procedure – the most popular bariatric surgery at St. Elizabeth – worked so well for Price that today she is not only a svelte 122 pounds, but she’s much healthier and energetic. For instance, she walks everywhere she can because the pain that plagued her joints is completely gone.

 

She’s no longer looking to a future with diabetes because her blood sugar levels are normal. And even though cardiovascular disease runs in her family, she has been able to cut her cholesterol medicines in half. Even her asthma has greatly improved.

 

In short, Price is on track to live a long and active life. And that’s something that many people in her extended family are very thankful for this New Year.

 

“I can get down on the floor now and play with my grandchildren and I don’t have to look for the nearest piece of furniture to grab to get back up. I can take a walk with them and be on my feet enjoying life,” she says. “I just feel more confident and better about myself. In fact, I can even jump. I couldn’t do that before, but recently I was somewhere with my grandsons and I jumped. It’s funny, but I just remember thinking, ‘Oh, my gosh, I can jump now! I can jump!'”

 

To learn more about the St. Elizabeth Weight Management Center, a Bariatric Center of Excellence certified by the American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, call (859) 212-4625.

 

This is a special advertising supplement, paid for by St. Elizabeth Healthcare

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