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Congrats! You lost weight! But then life happens. Sound familiar? How do you avoid falling off the wagon? Our health columnist offers five strategies to help.

You’ve just found the magic solution to losing the extra weight and permanently keeping it off. You figure out what to eat on the plan outlined, buy the groceries needed to adhere to it, and adopt the exercise regime it recommends. You follow the program strictly for two weeks, and guess what? You lose some weight, you feel better, and you like how your clothes fit. Success!

Then ___________ happens. In other words, life occurs. Who could have seen that coming?

I’m sure many of you have experienced this at some point in your weight loss journey – I know I have many times!

There was birthday cake strategically placed at the office, your partner left you, your boss reprimanded you, you went out to lunch with your coworkers, you didn’t prepare ahead of time, or you haven’t eaten in 8 hours. Whatever it is and how valid the reason may be, this is called life. Before you know it, the incongruent goal choice and action has crept up on you without your conscious knowledge and drove your head into a bag a chips or row of cookies. After the consumption, you feel ashamed and despaired. You ask yourself, “Why did I do that? I feel like a failure!” You ditch your rigid “diet” and fall back into old patterns and behaviors and the weight lost soon comes back, and likely more.

Why does this keep happening? How do we break this cycle? How do we handle it with grace and remain congruent with our health goals?

Insert The Diet Doc call!

Before diving into the five strategies, I want to first share three of the common hazards that set up unrealistic expectations, which can lead one more readily to fall off the healthy weight loss wagon. The five tips will help develop an approach that will stop you from engaging in that unhealthy yo-yo cycle, or restrict-binge behavior, you may know all too well.

Hazard #1: New Beginnings
We as human beings love novelty; it is always exciting and fresh at the start. It may sound strange, but sometimes it’s fun to start a new diet or exercise routine. You get to try new recipes and new workout routines and there’s all these gadgets that track all your metrics, but once the initial excitement wears off, we tend to get bored. That’s when motivation drops quickly. Refer to my “5 Nutrition Tips” article to establish that meaningful purpose statement.

Hazard #2: Short and Sweet
We also tend to have short attention spans and want immediate results that requires the least amount of resistance. Rolling with the punches or daily sacrifices don’t have to be physical pain – though the soreness you might feel when starting a workout routine could count – it can also be the annoyance of not ordering your usual coffee beverage or avoiding the fries or preparing healthy meals ahead of time instead of laying out on the couch. Refer back to your “why” and determine how high of a priority your health is.

Hazard #3: Unrealistic Expectations
If it were possible to lose a huge amount of weight in a short amount of time and keep it off for the rest of our lives, none of us would be in this situation in the first place. Sustained, healthy weight loss, and maintenance takes time, consistency, practice, and patience.

Now that those are laid out, here are five tips to avoid common weight loss pitfalls and set yourself up for long-term success:

1. Focus on the Big Picture
Acknowledge the desire for novelty and meet those needs in other areas of your life before the excitement of the diet and/or exercise routine wears off. For example, you could try a new sport or hobby. Additionally, look at other aspects of your life and determine what realistic, sustainable modifications you need to make to achieve your goals. Be proactive with your actions with the intention of making them lifelong behaviors and habits. It just takes starting though, striving to improve one day at a time and never settling.

2. Become a Mental Endurance Individual
We’ve heard the cliché, think of weight loss and maintenance as a marathon rather than a sprint. If you reflect of your struggle with weight, you’ll probably discover that it took years to get to where you are today. Similarly, it may take years to find success in your weight loss journey and to stay there in the long run. Believe in yourself and trust the process. Again, don’t quit on yourself. Keep trying, keep failing, keep learning, and repeat.

3. Be Humble
In order words, accept your weaknesses. For example, if you know that an upcoming family gathering will present itself as a stressful situation with food triggers, work around it by planning ahead. Consider what you will eat ahead of time and figure out a way to de-stress afterwards that doesn’t revolve around food. Even if despite the best intentions and the plan doesn’t go according to the plan, shake it off and analyze how you could improve for next time. What steps will you take? What could I have done differently? What was behind my motive for the choices I made?

Remember that being healthy is a process, not an outcome; it will not always be enjoyable. Expect tough times when you are bored, tired, ill, unmotivated, busy, or stressed. It’s about consistency, not perfection. You stick with it though because of its meaning and importance.

4. Forgive Yourself/Celebrate Your Successes
We tend to flourish and succeed at goals when we are complimented. Instead of labeling yourself as a “failure” when you detour, acknowledge what happened, be mindful of the choices that lead up to it, and change direction towards the outcome you desire. Stay away from extreme labels that make you feel hopeless (“I can’t…” is one of them), or set unachievable standards (“look like a supermodel”).

5. Develop a Strong Support System
Most people find that they are more successful with long-term weight loss, or any life process, when they involve others in the process. It’s absolutely crucial! How could your partner, family, or friends support you in your goals? Could you share healthy meals or exercise together? Could they be a support line? If you’re feeling unmotivated to exercise or to remain honest to your nutrition, could you reach out to them to help you remain focused?

There is research to support there is a higher tendency to slip back into old behavior patterns after an initial weight loss due to how we deal (or don’t deal) with our emotions. A reliable accountability partner can help you pinpoint patterns when faced with upsetting emotions or circumstances. This individual can help you address and resolve issues when they arise instead of stuffing them down with food or denying they exist.

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    Bacon. It’s not just for breakfast any more. It’s now on your sandwiches, topping your side dishes, wrapped around your veggies, and even in your dessert. To celebrate this swine time in culinary history, Coney Island along with Restaurant Raiders of Cincinnati, Yuengling Beer, Lipton Tea and other local food trucks and restaurants are hosting Bacon Fest 2015.

    Bacon Fest is free to attend and will take place on Father’s Day, June 21, which is also International Bacon Day, from 1:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. at Coney Island. As an added plus for their special day, all dads park for free at Coney Island from 12:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. as well.

    If you’re headed to Coney Island for Bacon Fest, there’s plenty to expect. According to Amy Zahora, executive director of Restaurant Raiders of Cincinnati, there will be more than 10 restaurants and food trucks serving food that all contain bacon in one form or another. “We’ll have chocolate covered bacon, bacon mac and cheese, bacon grilled cheese, bacon wrapped hot dogs and more,” she adds.

    Some of the participating restaurants and food vendors you’ll see at Bacon Fest include C’est Cheese Food Truck, Urban Grill, The Dock Food & Spirits, Enon, The Patriot Steakhouse & Tavern, SugarSnap!, TruckHunger, Paynes Food Truck, Dominique’s Bistro & Bar, Tex Mex Joes, Dena’s Diner, Pit to Plate, Ritters, Sweetums, Bistro de Mohr and many more.

    Of course you know that bacon will be served all day long, but some of the participating eateries have already released details about items they’ll be serving. The eateries participating in Bacon Fest will serve chicken-bacon flatbread, guanciale cheeseburgers, bacon cheddar potato wedges, hog balls-fried deliciousness with potato, cheddar, bacon and some jalapeno and bourbon bacon brittle to name a few.

    Other tasty treats you can expect at Bacon Fest include bacon cheesecake, bacon cole slaw, bacon crab cake, bacon caramel corn, bacon potato salad, loaded potato croquettes, bacon pretzel bites, gourmet bacon cupcakes, bacon waffles, candied bacon, bacon wrapped shrimp, bacon jam and bacon carbonara.

    Whether you’re looking for a hearty meal or just want a savory sweet treat, you’ll find them at Bacon Fest 2015. And if you’re one of the few who don’t like bacon, don’t worry. There will also be food and treats that don’t have bacon including BBQ and frozen cheesecake.

    Aside from all of the tasty treats that’ll be served up at Bacon Fest, Zahora says that the Naked Karate Girls will hit the stage at 4 p.m.

    Zahora says that in addition to a big thanks to Coney Island for hosting the event, other sponsors for Bacon Fest are Heidelberg, Yelp Cincinnati, Heartland Payment Systems and Morgan Services.

    To learn more about Bacon Fest 2015, visit or

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    Jewelry at Idlewild Woman boutique in OTR, recently launched by the team behind Article Menswear

    As store manager Cale Darrell will be quick to tell you, Article Menswear is not just a men’s clothing store. It’s a complete lifestyle brand. They sell everything for the fashion forward, modern man from suit jackets to casual wear, hoodies to t-shirts, accessories to home décor, and even men’s bath and body products.

    This young, small, locally-owned business has only been up and running for two years. But in that short time, the positive feedback from shoppers has been overwhelming, Darrell says. “We wanted to create a modern day men’s general store to make guys feel comfortable while shopping with us,” he adds. “We have everything from shaving goods to shoe polish and we carry such a large variety of apparel for men.”

    The store is surrounded by big, floor-to-ceiling windows allowing natural sunlight to pour in, partnered with dimmed spotlights throughout the store, with rustic furniture, and an American flag that proudly hangs above the check-out desk. Apparel with a rugged yet edgy and edgy feel hangs on the racks and fills the shelves.

    According to Darrell, the store is strategically merchandised so that it sparks a client’s interest as they walk through the store, shopping for whatever they need. They sell brands from all over the U.S., while still showcasing its local love too. Carrying brands such as Noble Denim, which was founded in Cincinnati, and even a man-friendly, scented candle company called, Good Candle that was created by UC DAAP graduate, Johnathan Kroeger.

    “We buy the majority of our merchandise from trade shows in other cities like Las Vegas, so it can sometimes be a challenge when buying stock for upcoming seasons since we order clothes for seasons way in advance. But we know our customer well enough to give him that traditional clothing and staple pieces in cool and unique ways,” says Darrell.

    In fact, he said it’s a team effort to accomplish the best trend forecasting, as the entire staff offers insight for this process. The team consists of Darrell — along with their multi-talented sales consultant, Trey Jolly, and owners Anthony and Maria Graziani.

    Freeman Sporting Club, Schott NYC, Baldwin, and Saturdays Brand are all brands you’ll find at Article. If that doesn’t get you in the door, they also have some special events coming up. During MLB’s All-Star weekend, reps from Mitchell Bat Co. and Ebbets Fields will be visiting Article Menswear to host a party to welcome their new merchandise to be sold in the store. The event is free, while light refreshments and beer will be served.

    Don’t worry, ladies. The team at Article hasn’t forgotten about you. Just last month, they opened up a sister boutique just one block down called, Idlewild Woman. Idlewild started out as a pop up shop they tried out within Article Menswear. “The response was so great from the pop up shop, it was evidently clear there was a need for the owners to create a sister store for women,” Darrell says.

    Idlewild has soft and feminine décor with an all-white building with white brick walls inside. They carry flowy, bohemian chic clothing paired with delicate accessories. They are also a lifestyle brand that embraces womanhood, carrying home goods, bath and body products, and accessories. Both stores carry some of the same brands such as Billy Reed, Imogene & Willie, and Gant Rugger that have men’s and women’s lines within their brands.

    Keep your eye on Article Menswear as they will be introducing new brands to their store this upcoming fall. They are also planning a special event coming up for the fall, but are shy on sharing details just yet. “We want to keep it a secret so people will be surprised when we announce,” laughs Darrell.

    To stay tuned with both stores, follow them on Instagram at @Articlemenswear and @Idlewildwoman.

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    Two Cincinnati men created a new business and product line of natural elixirs for beards of all shapes and sizes. Learn more about this manscaping mecca.


    A locally-based company makes manscaping a little easier. Scott Ponder and Patrick Brown, the co-founders of Ohio Valley Beard Supply, launched a Cincinnati based line of product for men with beards of all shapes and sizes.

    Local hairdresser and co-owner of the Northside Chop Shop, Scott Ponder has been in the business for years. As one of his regular customers, Patrick Brown noticed during a visit that they were both growing out their beards, and they began discussing the lack of satisfactory grooming products for beards.

    Eventually, Ponder asked Brown to join him in a venture to develop a product line for beard-bedecked men. The duo developed a logo and series of products, all within a few months. “It felt pretty quick when it came together,” says Brown. They ultimately launched what is now Ohio Valley Beard Supply Company in February of 2014.

    With current retail placement in Losantaville and Over the Rhine, as well as a booth at Cincinnati’s City Flea events, Brown says he’d like to expand the company regionally. To do so, according to Brown, they will replicate the same approach given in Cincinnati, with products on shelves in places such as Whole Foods and Trader Joes. “Our mantra is that we’d only like to sell in places that we would shop ourselves,” he explains.

    With five distinct scents ranging from “woodsy” to “citrusy” (including unscented), the baseline product recommended for all beard owners and lovers is the Beard Elixir, standing at $20 per bottle. For men with fuller and/or bigger beards is the Finishing Balm, which provides as a heavy moisturizer as well as withholding a strong, shaping element, also $20 per bottle. The Mustache Wax, which sells at $10 per bottle, is for those who’d like to keep a well-groomed ‘stache holding firm all day long. They also offer beard washes and conditioners, which sell for $12 each, which were created to work with the elixir, balm and wax. Brown says the product does well not to strip out the natural oils of the beard while also taking care of its natural state of being. All of the products are made from natural ingredients and have never been tested on animals.

    Brown and Ponder aim to cater to a different niche. According to Brown, mainstream products target a younger crowd, “hipsters,” “bikers,” or “lumberjacks.” However, Brown says Ohio Valley Beard Supply is “representing the extremes of bearded men,” he adds. “It’s hard to build a company for dudes obsessed with beards. Those are very distinct personalities.”

    To learn more, visit

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    A local entrepreneur and fitness enthusiast created an innovative new product that makes mental and physical stress just float away.

    Joe Daniels, co-founder of Think Tank, and owner of Daniels Fitness Training and Swing This Kettlebell and Strength
    Joe Daniels, co-founder of Think Tank, and owner of Daniels Fitness Training and Swing This Kettlebell and Strength

    Phones ringing, email dinging, cars honking, kids crying — don’t you just wish stressful days like this just had a reset button for your body and mind? Well, now there is, according to Joe Daniels, co-founder of Think Tank, utilizes Magnesium Flotation therapy and Restricted Environmental Stimulus Technique (REST) as a type of stress relief, mental wellness and recuperation spa.

    After studying Magnesium and stress relief techniques for many years for recuperation from exercise and daily stress, Daniels stumbled onto the concept of flotation tanks. “Since there were none in the area, I forgot about it until I started looking for muscular pain relief outside of massage therapy,” he says. “I talked to some people who were open to the idea then Alex Fraser and I began meeting to see what we could do to bring it to the state of Kentucky.”

    061515HEALTH2The flotation tanks house up to 1,000 lbs. of magnesium salt and is 10 inches deep, allowing users to float on their backs. “This immediately provides muscle tension release that compounds the more you use it,” Daniels explains. “This is exceptionally great for fibromyalgia, stiff joints and other muscular pains caused by overuse or exertion.”

    As for the water, it is heated to skin temperature (93.5 degrees). “You enter a state of incredible relaxation by decreased sensory input, hence Restricted Environmental Stimulus,” Daniels continues. “This allows the brain and nervous system a much needed reset from the world we live in. Think of it as being in rush hour traffic and all of a sudden you’re on a beautiful road in the bluegrass area of Kentucky on a spring day.”

    Through his fitness training businesses — Daniels Fitness Training and Swing This Kettlebell and Strength — Daniels has been spreading the word about Magnesium flotation and its benefits. “With the experience I have coaching people, I feel that we will be able to describe and ease any reservations people may have with Flotation therapy,” says Daniels. “We will have a progressive manner in helping people overcome anxiety of the tanks. Not everyone needs to start full throttle.”

    According to Daniels, many people looking for muscle pain relief can float with the tank open, while others can shut the tank and enjoy complete darkness and sound reduction to venture deep into meditative states. “We aim to bring a therapy that will work with the individual, not make the individual bend to the therapy,” he says.

    To financially support the concept launch, Think Tank currently has a GoFundMe campaign with more than $2,000 in donations from individuals across the community. “We’ve had a lot of hurdles, as KY is one of the hardest states to work with in this industry – so we weren’t able to be up and running as soon as we’d like to,” Daniels explains. “We’d like to be open in a few months and supporters can get prepaid deals on float packages and memberships.”

    In looking to the horizon of Think Tank, Daniels emphasizes his focus of seeing a more connected and less stressed community – one that enjoys going outside and nature, one that wants to help make the community and surrounding area a better place.

    “I have connections with doctors, universities and sports teams that we could help with getting stress help and nervous system studies,” says Daniels. “Flotation therapy has even been used for certain addictive behavior cessation. It truly is a window into the individual’s mind without fear the fear of what other people will think.”

    To learn more about Think Tank, visit, or follow on FacebookInstagram, or Twitter.

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    Learn about the City Slicker Sundays event series on Fountain Square, hosting local creative businesses and Art on Vine for a special artistic market.

    061515SOCIALCincinnati is a hub of creative small businesses. The “City Slicker Sundays” event series on Fountain Square, which takes place every Sunday at noon, turns the heart of the city into an outdoor extravaganza showcasing these businesses, artists and designers.

    Aside from the huge jumbotron broadcasting the Reds games, as well as a variety of food and drink choices, City Slicker Sundays has even more in store this year. Art on Vine will set up its special art market during the first Sunday of each month on Fountain Square.

    Cincinnati native James Jenkins is the owner of Photography for the People and founder of Art on Vine, an art show that hosts events in multiple areas of Cincinnati. He and graphic designer Page Lansley are the creative minds behind this local art experience.

    “The vision for Art on Vine began in 2012 from a college class project while I was studying Business Law and Film Photography. At the time, Page Lansley was my class partner, and now she’s the Art on Vine Graphic Designer and a local artist,” explains Jenkins.

    The two wanted to create an experience that would be both meaningful and exciting for the city – something Cincinnati could be proud of as a sustainable outlet for artists to exhibit their work for years to come. Jenkins wanted to give artists “an opportunity to pursue their creative dreams or goals and a change to do what they love and make a living at it,” he explains.

    According to Jenkins, over the past three years, Cincinnatians have responded with high praise and a strong support for its events. In fact, the company had just eight artists to start with, now has nearly 50 local artists and have hosted 30 events in just the past two years.

    Not only does Art on Vine feature local artists, but they also give a large portion of their revenue to non-profit organizations in the community every month. “We love contributing to great non-profits that truly make a difference. Our first non-profit was Over-the-Rhine Community Housing (OTRCH),” says Jenkins. The contributions made to OTRCH help low-income residents get back on their feet so that they can succeed within the community. Art on Vine also makes donations to Cincinnati Senior Services and Pones, Inc.

    Art on Vine will host their art markets on Fountain Square now through the beginning of October, and will then move the market back to Rhinegeist Brewery for the colder months. During the City Slicker Sunday markets, Art on Vine has a multitude of unique artistic opportunities for the community to engage.

    Jenkins says these events allow attendees to not only enjoy the art, but also interact with the local artists. Having one-on-one encounters with artists is how to “find out what inspired them to create the work,” Jenkins explains. “The artist has the chance to meet and learn from consumers, and to share ideas that can inspire them to create the perfect and personal piece.”

    To learn ore about Art on Vine, visit, and visit for City Slicker Sunday event details and times for the Art on Vine markets.

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    A new production company launched to bring the best beats to your next bash. Read on for all the fine-tuned details.


    Whether you’re planning a business party, a fundraiser, back yard bash, or the concert of the year, you’ll want fun music. Ohio Valley Productions, founded in early 2015 by Anne Zimmerman, Dan Varner, Greg Harshfield, and Eric Miller, is your direct connection to national, regional and local acts to fit your vision for your event.

    According to founding partner Greg Harshfield, Ohio Valley Productions was born from a dream of a music festival event on the east side of Cincinnati. Varner, frontman of the Dan Varner Band, Harshfield, an entrepreneur, and well-connected Miller, director of the Anderson Area Chamber of Commerce, realized that a business needed to be created to support such events.

    The three realized that they had “similar dreams for a business that would bring together the many aspects of the entertainment industry and event production,” Harshfield says. Varner, Harshfield, and Miller brought in Anne Zimmerman, President of Zimmerman & Co. CPAs Inc., as the business consultant, and the four began brainstorming. “With Dan Varner’s incredible experience and the diverse skills of the other partners,” Harshfield says, “it became obvious that we had something magical that had real potential.”

    Though based in Ohio, Ohio Valley Productions offers live entertainment services nationwide. No event is too large or small, Harshfield says, as Ohio Valley Productions brings live entertainment to every kind of event, including major concert events, corporate parties, festivals, fundraisers, and other special occasions. It produces its own event series as well as full event planning, management, talent, and venue resources for other events.

    What sets Ohio Valley Productions apart, according to Harshfield, is dedication: “Entertainment is our passion, our purpose and our personal goal for every event that we are involved in. You won’t find the type of service that we provide anywhere else, or with more dedicated people. Ohio Valley Productions has a unique blend of professionals who are experts in their field, and we treat every event as if it was our only event.”

    As a company only a few months old, the team behind Ohio Valley Productions has big plans. “As we work toward building the business and our debut events, we will begin to grow our reach into local venues, regional venues and beyond,” Harshfield says. “Connections to resources that can provide local, regional and national talent ensure that growth potential. Building the data behind the business is also key to the overall success, and we have that covered as well.”

    Be sure to look out for their debut event, “Rockin’ the Rail,” on August 14 and 15 at Belterra Park. August 14 will feature acts such as multi-platinum headliner Lorrie Morgan. August 15 will feature the Dan Varner Band and Eric Paslay. Contact Ohio Valley Productions at or visit to learn more.

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    A local music lover designs one-of-a-kind custom electric guitar bodies. See why it’s music to the ears of musicians across the nation who want to stand out on stage.


    Cincy Chic: What is Seta Guitars?
    Mike Seta, Owner of Seta Guitars: Seta Guitars creates unique, one-of-a-kind custom electric guitar bodies for musicians who want to stand out with their instrument, or who are looking for something completely different to add to their collection.

    Mike Seta, Owner of Seta Guitars
    Mike Seta, Owner of Seta Guitars

    Cincy Chic: What’s the inspiration behind your business?
    Seta: Most musicians shopping for a guitar will go to a music store and buy a stock model that’s complete and ready to play. Some will swap out components here and there, but they won’t drastically alter the instrument. My customers are the guys who want total control of every part of their guitar, and they build it piece by piece. I focus on the body of the electric guitar—the main wooden “plank” onto which all of the other parts are attached. My buyers like to assemble the final instrument themselves, adding whatever neck, electronics and hardware they want.

    Cincy Chic: How long have you been carving guitars?
    Seta: I started doing this in the 90s for fun, mostly for myself. When I got tired with a guitar, I’d trade it or sell it so I could build myself a new one. With the advent of the Internet and eBay, I began selling more and more. Seta Guitars is still just a side business for me (I’m in marketing), but I’m very passionate about anything to do with guitars. I’m completely self-taught, and I’ve screwed up more guitars than I care to mention! But it’s been a fun learning experience, and the money I make lets me buy more guitars. I have many repeat customers and lots of followers on eBay, which is very satisfying. Many of them think I’m some big company. The truth is, I’m just one guy, working in a small corner of my basement, doing something I love.

    Cincy Chic: What types of guitars do you create?
    Seta: I have two basic broad categories: carved guitars and faux-finished bodies. The carved guitars are much more intricate and time-consuming. Using a combination of power tools, chisels and hours and hours of hand sanding, my carved designs are generally organic and follow the original lines of the classic body styles. Some of these bodies take up to 40 hours to carve. I consider these true art pieces, and no two are alike.

    Cincy Chic: What makes Seta Guitars unique?
    Seta: I focus primarily on the classic Fender style guitars—the Telecaster and the Stratocaster. These iconic instruments were designed by Leo Fender in the 50s, and have remained the best selling models to this day. I think the shape, tones and feel of those guitars is nearly perfect. And since I can’t improve upon the design, I try to push the aesthetics of the guitar into new territory.

    Most electric guitars come with pretty basic finishes: solid colors, transparent stains, natural oils, etc. They’re often quite beautiful, but not memorable. I create guitar bodies that stand out. Working within the Fender platform, I carve and paint bodies that are all completely different, yet all have my own personal design signature.

    While the carved bodies accentuate the natural beauty of the wood, my faux finishes strive to replicate the look of a material other than wood. I make them look like rusted riveted steel, copper or even concrete and stone. Even upon very close inspection, these bodies look just like the material I’m trying to replicate.

    I do this because most guitarists are very picky about the tonewoods of their instrument. Alder, ash, mahogany, etc., all give an electric guitar a very different sound. A guitar that was really made from metal or stone would sound completely different. So I build guitars that sound the way my customers want, but look completely different from anything else out there.

    Cincy Chic: Where can readers go to learn more?
    Seta: People can learn more at or on Facebook


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    Can’t seem to get past that weight loss plateau? Our resident health guru offers his best solutions to the four hidden health hinderances.

    Food is health; exercise is fitness. Two separate concepts, yet work synergistically. One shouldn’t neglect one or the other for ultimate health and wellness, especially for weight loss purposes. If you just started an exercise plan or are working out more consistently, you may need to change how you fuel your body to get the most out of it. Some nutrition mistakes, such as drinking your calories or eating too much post-workout may be the reason why weight loss has stagnated (or inches) even though you’re giving it your all. Although getting fit and healthy isn’t just about the scale, it’s still an important motivating factor, so lets break down 4 common issues—and how to resolve them—to get you back on the path to results.

    Issue 1: No idea how many calories you’re really eating
    It’s common to think more exercise = more calories. However, if you’re trying to lose weight, you may be adding on as many calories as you’re burning—or more. It’s commonly observed in those who want to lose weight are eating more than anticipated, and for those intending to gain weight are eating less than anticipated. I’ve shared this parallel to personal finances in previous articles, but think about the food you’re eating and ask yourself how it fits into your total calorie allotment for the day. Determining that caloric value is very subjective and unique though to every individual, but it starts with establishing a baseline first. Just because you hit the cardio hard today doesn’t entitle you to supersize dinner. Most people have no idea how much they’re really eating until logging is introduced. Once he/she realizes how much food is being eaten, especially mindlessly, it permits an opportunity to change the routine. Be honest with yourself and your calorie needs, literally write down everything you consume. Whether you write it down old school style or use a digital app like MyFitnessPal, use that as a starting point and analyze the trends. Thus, determine if you are losing, gaining, or maintaining in a week’s time and rate your energy level. The final numbers and macronutrient proportions will probably humble you. The figures provide clues as to how to proceed, with you in the driver’s seat.

    Issue 2: You’re not having a pre-workout snack
    As long as an individual is getting enough balanced calories in his/her diet, the average person should have all the glycogen stores he/she needs to get through an hour-long workout, even first thing in the morning. However, eating something beforehand might give your performance a little boost. If you notice what’s called “bonking” – the sensation where you run out of glycogen and blood sugar halfway through a workout – you may benefit from a pre-workout (PWO) meal or supplement.

    Some fitness magazines are starting to report actual studies on PWO nutrition needs. If you consume a small amount of carbs first, you’ll have a much stronger, more effective exercise session. More calories are likely to be burned, more calories will be used during the subsequent couple of hours (even at rest), risk of lean body mass is reduced, and studies show collectively that more body fat loss occurs compared to fasted exercise. Carbs before exercise are important whether it’s first thing in the morning or mid-afternoon. Be sure to time the PWO fifteen- to sixty-minutes prior to training, and be cautious to use a small amount of carbs – just enough to prime the pump. For example, 50–100 calories of simple carbs should be sufficient. Half a banana with peanut butter or a quarter cup of oats with fruit is few of many ideas.

    Issue 3: You’re eliminating all carbs
    Aren’t we all sick of hearing about low-carb plans? Yes – they can work as far as losing weight, but you’ll end up slashing your metabolism as high as 50% in as short as three months. What’s the plan after the fact? Is it practical and sustainable to follow the plan for the rest of your life? The irony is fat is burned in the flames of carbs in the body. This is why having an understanding of your metabolic needs is critical because the body is only going to use what’s needed and store the rest, and this is very unique to every individual. It’s a continuum. Anyways, far too many try to eliminate ALL forms of carbs when they’re trying to lose weight or to jump-start the process with a detox/cleanse. Not only is it risky because the strategy can backfire, nor is it enjoyable, but depleting carbs too drastically from your diet can put you at risk for using lean protein stores for energy, which ultimately can decrease your lean muscle mass. See carbs as a buffer to preserve your muscles and metabolism. Muscle is critical for positively influencing your metabolism and burning more calories even at rest. The lesson? Don’t be afraid of carbs, so eat up – within context of the day of course and understanding of your metabolic needs.

    Issue 4: You’re not working out hard enough
    If you notice you come home from a run only to find that you’re noticeably hungrier, consider upping the intensity of that run. A recent study in the International Journal of Obesity looked at sedentary, overweight men who either worked out at a moderate pace for 30 minutes or completed a high-intensity interval workout for the same amount of time. Those who did the intense interval exercise ate less at a subsequent meal, as well as the next day. Not every workout should be an intense interval session, but fitting in one or two a week can help turn the dial down on your appetite. Much like your nutrition, monitor your training; be as objective as possible. In order to know what to do, you have to know what you did.

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    For our annual Men's Issue, our Editor in Chic writes a letter to her daughter about the superman who lives with them.

    11406828_10153524618546282_3505204440919648601_nI have to share a little secret with you: Superman lives here.

    Yes, I know you’ll hear that Clark Kent lives in Metropolis and works for the Daily Planet. I’m talking about a different Superman, though. The one you call daddy.

    Your daddy has absolutely amazed me over the past two years. He has been through so much with his RA-related double hip and double knee replacements, and all the therapy that goes with it. There were several times we both wondered if this was it. Was this all the disease left behind? Damaged joints, scarred body, and atrophied muscles?

    Pete after his two mile walk to Venice Beach
    Pete after his two mile walk to Venice Beach

    These were questions that no science book or doctor could answer. It was really up to your dad to answer. Through his actions, dedication, and perseverance. He was the one to decide what was left of his body. How he would rise up from these ashes. How he would fight to make the most of what he has.

    Over the past three weeks, your dad has absolutely shocked me with how far he’s come. About a month ago, he mentioned that a friend of his – Nancy Cartwright, the voice of Bart Simpson – invited him to a charity poker tournament at her house in LA. This is something he’s been invited to several times over the past few years, but hasn’t been able to go because of pain, surgeries or recovery. But this year, he actually could. I wasn’t able to go though, so if he went, he’d need to travel alone.

    Pete and Nancy Cartwright
    Pete and Nancy Cartwright

    This is a man who just a few months ago needed help getting into the shower, dressing himself, and had to be hoisted into his car every morning for work. Could he carry his own bags, get them in and out of his car, be walking and on his feet all day like travel often requires? Neither one of us were sure, but figured there was only one way to find out so he booked the trip.

    Next thing I know, not only did he have no issues with bags and travel, he’s texting me a picture of him on Venice beach, where he walked TWO miles. I about fell over. Overwhelmed with pride for how hard he was pushing himself to get better, and joy that we could travel again — something we haven’t been able to do for two years.

    I know you won’t know or remember any of the pain or difficulty he’s been through in the past couple of years. In a way, that’s a good thing. He wants to be strong and active for you — you’ve been such a huge inspiration for him to recover so quickly.

    But I want you to know that he’s our Superman. He’s doing the impossible. Making miracles happen. All right under our roof. Oh, and judging from how you get anything you want from him already, I can see that you’re his kryptonite. 🙂