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There’s only one thing better than chocolate: Locally made chocolate. Learn more about this Cincinnati-based business and the passionate chocolate lovers behind it.

Maverick Chocolate Company is making delectable, locally-made chocolate right in its store.
Maverick Chocolate Company is making delectable, locally-made chocolate right in its store.

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, indulge in a little local love with Maverick Chocolate Company.

The craft chocolate-making business is owned by Paul and Marlene Piton, who are themselves, passionate chocolate lovers. In their shop, the Pictons produce chocolate bars starting with the cocoa beans and working their way to a finished bar.

“When we discovered the joys of craft chocolate, we set out to bring that joy to Cincinnati,” says Paul.

Paul is a mechanical engineer with extensive aviation experience. When Paul was traveling around the world as an engineer, he always returned home to his wife with new and interesting chocolates from around the world. However, he no longer went out on business trips in 2013 and the two no longer had their exotic supply of chocolate.

When they couldn’t find hand-crafted chocolate in the Queen City, they decided they wanted to go out and start making it on their own. “Marlene is a graduate of the ecole chocolat bean-to-bar chocolate program,” adds Paul.

After her graduation, the Pictons started making chocolate. Following several rounds of trial and error, they invited friends to come over and check it out. Once the verdict was in and their friends were impressed, the Pictons were encouraged to pursue a career as chocolate makers.

Maverick Chocolate Company opened its doors to the public in July 2014 and they’re already expanding. Paul says they are not only regularly producing new flavors but they are expanding their front counter and adding seating in order to create a more café-like experience. “We also expect to remain open later into the evening as well,” he says.

When guests come in to visit Maverick Chocolate Company, Paul says that he wants customers to watch the chocolate being made and asking as many questions that pop into their heads.

Visit them in the south side of Findlay Market, at 129 W. Elder Street in Cincinnati. Check them out online at or like them on Facebook.

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From prints and stationery cards to silk-screened posters, tees and tote bags, one local lady launched a new business that shows women empowerment through chic and swanky designs.

Kayla Risch of Kayla Risch Designs
Kayla Risch of Kayla Risch Designs

Hello “Miss Thang,” “Miss Bees Knees,” “Midwest Swanky Gals”! You are the go-getters – the tenacious few – those who aren’t afraid to be who you are and rock it.

No one understands you better than fellow swanky girl and owner of Kayla Risch Designs and Midwest Swanky Gals (MWSG), Kayla Risch herself. “I think there is this unsaid code between these types of women. It’s something in us – wanting more for the world,” she says.

Risch emphasizes that she has a big heart, a big laugh, and an even bigger passion for design. With the support of her hardworking family and friends she doesn’t have to “work” a day of her life – because she does what she loves. “I come from a hardworking family and have had to work very hard to be where I am, so I try to keep things real around here,” says Risch.

The whole thing started as a happy accident. Starting a city flea booth two years ago, Risch was determined to sell some art as a way to start paying off her student loans. While maintaining her full time job as a senior designer at Landor Associates, she would draw until she fell asleep at night.

In an effort to feed her “artsy” side, in addition to her daily work at Landor, she started silk screening and created her first prints – Ohio Girl & The Queen. “I was literally hand dying bags in my sink – it was my own sweatshop,” Risch laughs. “I had my poor mother cutting artwork to frame hours before city flea. This was just going to be for fun – I had no idea what the turn out would be.”

“Well, my little hobby sure worked,” Risch continues. “The response was worth all the hard work and I felt like I was giving the world a piece of me.” After her success, she continued around five city fleas creating new tote bags, tees and a card/print line.

“I always told myself as a designer – I didn’t want to lose my edge,” says Risch. “I haven’t seen enough women in art here that represents empowerment. So with that – I created an art silkscreen line and MWSG was born.”

Today, MWSG offers a range of originally designed prints, stationery cards, silk-screened posters, tees and tote bags. The theme is around women empowerment and femininity. “I have a mix of Girl Power & Ohio Girl tees – along with painted lips, XO’s, patterns & featured fashion illustrations,” says Risch.

Getting her name out there, however, is what has brought her solid street cred. “I had a large illustration mural featured in the Cincinnati Museums Princess Diana exhibit this past summer, and was commissioned to illustrate and design The Queen Bee 2014 poster ‘Born to Rule,’” says Risch. “I illustrate OTR’s Malice Ball posters and my original ‘Ohio Girl’ is in Frameshop’s gallery. Since my last city flea I now carry my stuff at Brideface & Cincy’s first juice bar Off the Vine in OTR. Plus both those businesses are owned by amazing hustling Ohio women. No joke. Go support.”

As for Rischs’ personal goals for MWSG, she hope to gain clients and store interest. “I would love to keep doing city fleas, but it’s a ton of work selling print goods all in one day,” she says. “I would love to sell my stuff more fluidly in stores and create my personal brand – but most importantly, I want to keep making more art.”

Ultimately, Risch hopes that Cincy women will see that they are all Midwest Swanky Gals. “There is such wonderful women to look up to and be friends with right next door,” she says. “I want them to rock a little tote or have Ohio Girl print hanging in their office because of what it stands for. So go ahead – be awesome. You have my permission.”

To check out Kayla Risch Designs, follow her on Instagram (@kaylarishdesign), on Twitter (@kaylarisch) or on Facebook. She also has an Etsy shop, and will be launching her blog and website in approximately one month.


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Local businesses are partnering up to support an important cause that’s “in the bag.” Keep reading to learn more!

Jim Scott helping the Cases For Love campaign.
Julie Phillippi-Whitney with Jim Scott helping the Cases For Love campaign.

If you have a family you go home to every night, you’re one of the lucky ones. Foster children throughout the Tri-State don’t have family, and they often don’t have anything to carry their belongings as they navigate from home to home either.

After Julie Phillippi-Whitney, Owner and President of Phillippi-Whitney Communications, saw a story about this and other campaigns to collect suitcases for those children on a news program, she decided to do something about it.

Upon seeing the story, she contacted Hamilton County Jobs and Services to see if local foster children would benefit from a similar collection. That’s when she started Cases For Love, to help the children who live in foster homes carry their belongings in something other than garbage bags.

Once the agency confirmed the need for duffel bags and suitcases, Phillippi-Whitney contacted Susan Knabe, Director of Marketing at Sibcy Cline, so their 22 local offices could serve as a regional collection source for donations.

“Sibcy Cline, in turn, contacted the University Moving and Storage Company to become a partner, too,” explains Knabe. “They are going to all Sibcy Cline offices and collecting the suitcases for storage until they are delivered to Job and Family Services later in February.”

Cases For Love officially launched on Jan. 1, 2015 and runs through this Saturday, Feb. 14. The campaign is accepting suitcases, duffel bags, backpacks and cosmetic cases that are in new or gently used condition.

Knabe says public support for Cases For Love has been outstanding. “We’ve very touched by all of the generosity in making donations,” she adds.

“This amazing citywide effort could have never taken off without the continual support and guidance of Hamilton County Job & Family Services, and the generosity and countless man hours that both Sibcy Cline and University Moving and Storage have provided,” adds Phillippi-Whitney. “Cases For Love has been more successful than any of us ever dared hope or imagine.”

Donations currently sit at 3,300 suitcases, 387 new duffel bags and more than 80 new backpacks. Phillippi-Whitney says their original goal was 1,200 suitcases. Since that goal has already been far-exceeded, Phillippi-Whitney says they’ll now be able to help foster children in Hamilton and Butler counties and also Dayton and Northern Kentucky.

Knabe says that they hope to continue the partnership to help the area’s foster children meet a variety of needs that can help make a difference in their lives. “I hope that our efforts will bring further awareness to the critical and ongoing need for both foster and adoptive parents throughout Greater Cincinnati,” she says. “There are an estimated 900 children in the foster care system at Hamilton County at any given time who all need loving homes.”

To stay up-to-date on Cases For Love, “like” them on Facebook. To donate before the Feb. 14 deadline, bring donations to any Sibcy Cline location, the Second Story Auctions warehouse in Blue Ash or the University Moving and Storage Company in West Chester.

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Getting married but not sure where to start? One local business is helps to put your big day together – starting with your floral arrangements. Read on for more.

Jeff and Robert Green of {say i do} love weddings & events llc
Jeff and Robert Green of {say i do} love weddings & events llc

{say I do} love weddings & events llc is now a blossoming business, and it all started with their beautiful floral arrangements. Jeff and Robert Green founded the business in July 2011, and now it’s a full service wedding and special events florist based in the Reading Bridal District.

“After working in the floral industry for 30 years and seeing the same designs and materials being utilizes, over and over, we were both inspired and challenged to bring new bridal bouquet designs to the heart of the wedding industry,” explains Jeff. “We use different mediums, textures and non-traditional floral products.”

Some of the unique mediums the duo uses in their floral designs include brooches, fruits, vegetables, houseplants, garden succulents and natural branches including twigs and jute. Jeff says that branching out – quite literally — has allowed them to provide an individualized event experience within an affordable budget for brides-to-be everywhere.

The Greens also provide box-bulk fresh flowers, fresh floral design, glassware rental, Manzanita tree rentals, event coordinating, event vendor referral, candles, delivery-set up-teardown, free personalized consultations by appointment and free prototypes of bouquets.

“This year, as we grew, we moved to our Design Center at 116 West Benson Street in the nations largest bridal district, The Reading Bridal District,” says Jeff. “In the upcoming year we are planning on hosting some design classes on bouquet making and centerpiece designing for the DIY bride.”

Jeff adds that he and Robert know how important staying on budget is for brides and grooms, which is why they plan to provide more options for the DIY bride. In the coming year, Jeff says, they want to offer as many options to make as many dream days come true — whatever that dream might look like for each individual couple.

To learn more about {say I do} love weddings & events llc, visit,, “like” them on Facebook, or check out their website. {say I do} is located at 118 W. Benson Street in the Reading Bridal District.

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We chat with a local business owner who will have you in stitches. Read on about her new OTR-based shop, specializing in stitching and embroidery.

The Hoop & Needle is a small business that focuses on cross-stitching.
The Hoop & Needle is a small business that focuses on cross-stitching.

Cincy Chic: What is The Hoop & Needle?
Sarah Fisher, Owner of The Hoop & Needle: We are a small retail shop specializing in cross-stitch and embroidery supplies for all ages and skill levels. Unlike more traditional shops, we also carry edgy and modern designs, so you can learn to cross-stitch your favorite four-letter word.

Cincy Chic: What’s the inspiration behind your business?
Fisher: When I got laid off from my job in grad school, I started making my own cross-stitch patterns for fun. Most were funny quotes from my favorite TV shows or just anything I found funny. I soon found out that other people would buy them and started doing indie craft shows around the Midwest. I now produce my own line of about 20 full cross-stitch kits under the name, Purple Hippo Stitches. The Hoop & Needle grew out of this original business and by meeting other awesome designers making modern patterns. I wanted a store that showed that traditional crafting is not dead and make it accessibly for a new generation of stitchers.

Cincy Chic: Who’s behind The Hoop & Needle?
Fisher: At this point, it’s just me. I use the store as my studio for my own designs. And sometimes, when possible, I get my husband to help out.

Cincy Chic: What types of stitching and embroidery do you do?
Fisher: The store carries supplies for cross-stitch and general embroidery. We like finding unusual materials and stitching mediums so we have tools to stitch into paper or even on iPad covers. Personally, I mainly do cross-stitch. I’ve been stitching since I was 10 years old. It’s easy and stress relieving. My husband and I have both been getting more into embroidery and learning new stitches.

Cincy Chic: Is there anything new on the horizon for The Hoop & Needle?
Fisher: We just wrapped up our first gallery show and have an open call to artists for our show going up in March. It will have a Bockfest theme as we are directly on the parade route. We are continuing to host Sip ‘N Stitch nights once a month as an informal night to chat and work. And we are working on bringing more formal classes and demonstrations to the store.

Cincy Chic: Where is The Hoop & Needle located?
Fisher: We’re at 1415 Main Street in Over-the-Rhine.

Cincy Chic: Where can readers go to learn more?
Fisher: Our website,, has all of our upcoming events, hours and an online store. Like us on Facebook for the latest updates or see photos of our newest products on Instagram.

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The creators of The Matrix trilogy are back in theaters with their latest sci-fi adventure, the Mila Kunis and Channing Tatum-led Jupiter Ascending. But is this cosmic action adventure out of this world good? Click here to find out!

McCoy on Movies: Jupiter Ascending
The creators of The Matrix trilogy are back in theaters with their latest sci-fi adventure, the Mila Kunis and Channing Tatum-led Jupiter Ascending. But is this cosmic action adventure out of this world good? Click here to find out!

“What fire – I’m trying to figure out how to reach that shelf up there without asking someone taller than me!” Jupiter Jones (Mila Kunis) faces danger in a scene from Andy and Lana Wachowski’s sci-fi epic JUPITER ASCENDING. Credit: © 2014 Warner Bros. Pictures and Village Roadshow Pictures



KEY CAST MEMBERS: Channing Tatum, Mila Kunis, Eddie Redmayne, Sean Bean, Douglas Booth, Maria Doyle Kennedy, Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Nikki Amuka-Bird

WRITER(S): Andy and Lana Wachowski

DIRECTOR(S): Andy and Lana Wachowski


60 SECOND PLOT SYNOPSIS (OR AS CLOSE TO IT AS ONE CAN TRY TO MAKE): A film that’s nearly impossible to accurately sum up in short session, Jupiter Ascending stars Mila Kunis as Jupiter Jones. The daughter of a … Let’s say somewhere in Russia … immigrant whose husband was murdered while she was pregnant with her, Jupiter has long been told she is destined for greatness. That should in turn help explain why she hates her job cleaning toilets with her mother (Maria Doyle Kennedy) and aunt (Frog Stone).

Then a group of aliens tries to abduct one of her clients thinking it’s her … Only for her to later be saved by Caine Wise (Channing Tatum), a wolf/human DNA hybrid former military hunter from a universe way. And that’s when she learns the details of her true existence as a descendant of royalty from a family known as the Abrasax, which is now in-fighting over who gets control of Earth. And both Titus Abrasax (Douglas Booth) and Balem Abrasax (Eddie Redmayne) have some very specific ideas about their inheritance …

WHO WILL LIKE THIS FILM THE MOST?: People enjoy watching Channing Tatum shirtless; Matrix sequels apologists; people happy to see a mash-up of many of their favorite sci-fi movies without blatantly ripping off one of them too much

WHO WON’T – OR SHOULDN’T – LIKE THIS FILM?: People seeking a less convoluted plot, stronger characters and/or more originality; those who don’t like movies that rely on action sequences to overcome their shortcomings

FINAL VERDICT – IS IT GOOD, GREAT, BAD OR DOWNRIGHT AWFUL? Jupiter Ascending aspires to rise to astronomical heights … But watching the movie, it’s pretty safe to say it barely gets off the ground.There’s a LOT to dissect when breaking down the various problems that keep Jupiter Ascending from doing just that, so there’s no one area one can pinpoint to simply say “THAT’s what’s wrong!” You could start with the fact that Kunis’ character is not well-developed from a plot pacing/development standpoint as it’s always a lot more interesting to see why her character is supposed to be special than simply have other characters always tell you she is. Then again, while trying her best to commit to the role, Kunis too often comes off as just along for the ride in a movie that is largely about her character.

The same could be said for Tatum’s character, for all he essentially gets to do is look steely eyed with his shirt off – and we already have Magic Mike and the upcoming Magic Mike XXL for that. At least one could say he looks engaged in those two films, however, as save for his fighting sequences, he often looks confused as to how he’s supposed to convey his character’s feelings other than “I must save her” actions.

Then again, the actual story being told in Jupiter Ascending feels like it doesn’t know what it wants to be. Is it a romance? A story of destiny? Downton Abbey/Cinderella in space? A homage to Star Wars with its lizard and elephant like creatures and flying ships? A tribute to Star Trek with its creatures with wacky skin tone, distinct ears, ship captains and interspecies love affairs? What the hell is it?! Whatever it is, it all comes across highly disjointed, predictable (even when the film reaches full sci-fi hodge podge status) and trying to do too many things without doing any of them individually well. And the less said about the film’s attempts at being funny, the better.

To summarize, somewhere in Jupiter Ascending is a decent story trying to get out … But it is not apparent in the finalized product. Underdeveloped characters, a convoluted plot and a general lack of anything distinctly original make for a humdrum (yet ultimately watchable) movie. It’s just not one that’s going to stick with you – in a good way, at least – long after you’ve seen it.

With Jupiter Ascending, the Wachowskis are proving themselves to be more and more akin to the M. Night Shymalans of the science fiction genre … And that, much like the supposed creatures in The Village, is something one should not wish to speak of.



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February is American Heart Month, and here at Cincy Chic we’re taking the topic to heart. Keep reading as we learn about the innovative ways one local healthcare provider is promoting and improving heart health across the region, especially for women.

Red-MHeart disease is the No. 1 killer of Americans, and that’s why cardiovascular care is now at the heart of some big initiatives at St. Elizabeth Healthcare.

With six main campuses, 1,200 licensed patient beds, and more than 100 primary care and specialty office locations in Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio — they’re trying to make it easier than ever to get you the care you need. “[We have] vast resources to serve the Greater Cincinnati area,” says Theresa Taylor, manager of marketing and communications, “including a physician organization [with] more than 400 providers, a medical staff of more than 1,200 physicians with admitting privileges, almost 7,300 associates, more than 1,200 volunteers and three freestanding imaging centers.”

St. Elizabeth Healthcare has come a long way since the Sisters of the Poor founded it more than 150 years ago; Taylor says technology has a lot to do with that. “Technology has come a long way in recent years and allows us to be more in touch with our healthcare records and results in a way that hasn’t always been possible,” she explains.

For example, Taylor says, St. Elizabeth Healthcare was the first healthcare system in Greater Cincinnati to have a mobile app available for iPhone, iPad and Android phones. The app features contact information for and driving directions to any St. Elizabeth Healthcare hospital or physician facility. It also offers Health and Wellness Tools, such as a food diary and RunTracker to give you what you need to stay healthy right at your fingertips.

insightly new year chic publicationState-of-the-art technology at St. Elizabeth Healthcare is allowing the network to help people get and stay healthy thanks to a “secure, internal electronic medical records system that not only gives providers access to their patients’ medical records at any St. Elizabeth Healthcare or St. Elizabeth Physicians facility, but also gives you, the patient, faster, more convenient access to your personal medical records, test results and healthcare providers through a web portal called ‘My Chart,’” explains Taylor.

This spring, the hospital network will be opening the St. Elizabeth Heart & Vascular Institute, which Taylor says will be a game-changer for the region’s cardiovascular health. Through the institute, St. Elizabeth Healthcare has pledged to reduce heart-related deaths in Northern Kentucky by 25 percent in 10 years. “That’s why we’re already hard at work across this region promoting the habits and lifestyles that promote premium heart health,” says Taylor.

Last fall, St. Elizabeth started its journey toward making cardiovascular disease prevention a priority when it launched two new health education programs. One of the programs was created for third-graders, the other for adults. “We figure by putting the best prevention information out in the community now and making it fun and interesting to learn, pretty soon it will be second nature for people locally to live more healthfully for their hearts,” adds Taylor.

Recently, St. Elizabeth began a major health education program that was piloted in the Kenton County School District called “My Heart Rocks.”

There is also a program available through St. Elizabeth Healthcare that cater to those who are older and missed out on the chance to learn about cardiovascular health called Take Time for Your Heart. It’s an hour-long, weekly class at St. Elizabeth’s Edgewood campus that are build around a Mayo Clinic manual on beating heart disease.

Because heart disease is the leading killer of women, Taylor says the St. Elizabeth Heart & Vascular Institute created a program called Women Take Heart. “The program is free and makes learning about heart health easy and fun,” she adds. The program provides several benefits including monthly email newsletters with heart health tips just for women as well as information about upcoming heart health programs and screenings, news updates on women’s and cardiac health topics from Smart Health Today and priority registration for the popular “Women Take Heart” health conference and the “Women Take Heart” cardiovascular screenings at Dillard’s.

In addition, Taylor says, St. Elizabeth Healthcare is the first and only healthcare system in Kentucky, Ohio or Indiana to pass the Mayo Clinic’s rigorous review process to become a member of the Mayo Clinic Care Network. This collaboration allows physicians from St. Elizabeth Healthcare to consult with Mayo Clinic physicians and provide their patients with event better care.

St. Elizabeth is also heading into its third year of membership with the Mayo Clinic Care Network. Taylor says the relationship is paying off in improved health for residents across the area. “And the great news is that this is just the beginning,” she adds. “In fact, initiatives that have just gotten under way with Mayo Clinic promise to bring patients still more benefits in the years ahead.”

For example, two students that were started in late 2014 may help save people from the potentially fatal effects of a heart attack while another study puts its focus on individualized medicine.

To learn more about St. Elizabeth Healthcare, click here.

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Want a Hollywood smile without the celebrity price tag? Learn about West Chester’s Maui Whitening and their unique process that’s effective yet affordable.

Samantha Tino, Owner of Maui Whitening in West Chester
Samantha Tino, Owner of Maui Whitening in West Chester

While a dentist’s teeth whitening procedures could cost thousands, the drugstore products could leave lackluster results. That’s where Maui Whitening in West Chester can help. Owner Samatha Tino says that Maui Whitening professional teeth whitening sessions give you prices and results to smile about.

“We use the same-grade equipment and products used in dental offices across the country,” she explains. “We understand that with today’s fast-paced lifestyle, you need a teeth-whitening salon that fits your schedule and is also affordable.”

Maui Whitening accepts walk-in clients and offers mobile whitening sessions. The system used at Maui Whitening is a fast, effective and safe way to a brighter smile. The upside: it can be done in 20 to 60 minutes.

“Each ‘session’ takes just 20 minutes and most clients choose to do between two and three 20-minute sessions to get their teeth the very whitest,” says Tino.

The time and number of sessions you’ll need depends on the shade of your teeth and how bright you want to go. The process involves applying the whitening gel to the teeth, upper and lower arch, positioning the accelerator light on the mouth and giving customers results in 20 minutes.

“There is a three-step process followed at Maui Whitening including a whitening gel that’s strong enough to deliver the results [clients] want without making the experience unenjoyable,” explains Tino. “We use the most advanced and effective technology on the market. Our lights are the most powerful and effective lights made specifically for teeth whitening.”

According to Tino, white teeth are associated with health and beauty, and having a white smile also boosts your confidence. That’s why, Tino says, Maui Whitening provides affordable teeth whitening treatments at such an affordable cost. “Plus, it also helps to make us more cautious of what we’re putting into our bodies and do for ourselves,” she adds.

A 20-minute session costs $99 while you can purchase a 40-minute session for $149. The most popular session that Tino says renders the best results is 60 minutes and costs $179. “Customers who come back within six months of a session are given a special discounted rate so they can continue maintaining a whiter smile at a lower cost,” she adds.

Tino says that they’re exploring the idea of adding other beauty enhancing services to Maui Whitening’s offerings, so watch for updates soon. Maui Whitening is located at 7967 Cincinnati Dayton Road in West Chester. To learn more about Maui Whitening, call 513-847-6008 or visit You can also check Maui Whitening out on Facebook and Twitter.

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Learn about a local lady’s personal coaching practice, First Day Wellness, that’s helping clients get healthier and happier.

Kate Messer Photography 2014
Niki Pappas, founder of First Day Wellness


Wanting to get healthy is one thing. Actually doing it is another. That’s why Niki Pappas launched her business, First Day Wellness. She works with clients to increase their self-awareness and self-compassion to help them live the healthy life they’ve always desired.

“I provide information that will help them move forward, and I support them with warmth and empathy,” explains Pappas. “Together, we develop strategies they can practice to improve their eating, increase their activity and internalize a healthy mindset.”

Pappas launched First Day Wellness in early 2011, when she was a student in the Institute for Integrative Nutrition’s Health Coaching program. In college and graduate school, she studied psychology and has always loved studying and interacting with people.

“In turned this interest into a 20-year career in Marketing Research, which was challenging and rewarding,” she says. “Over time, though, I realized I wanted to work one-on-one with people on their most important issues – those of health and happiness.”

She adds that she was lucky to be able to change her career path and move into the coaching field. This change also allowed her to improve her ability to take better care of not only her clients but also herself and her loved ones.

Currently, Pappas offers a 12-week program that includes four one-on-one sessions in person or over the phone as well as ongoing email interaction and support between sessions. “The process begins with an initial complimentary consultation when a client shares his or her background and health-related goals and challenges, and we start digging in to increase understanding and develop a couple of initial strategies – small changes that the client can experiment with, that will add up to big results,” Pappas explains.

The 12-week program is $500, but you’ll notice significant weight loss, reduction in cravings and an improved relationship with food as well as better sleep, reduced stress and increased mindfulness and balance overall.

On top of the work she does with clients, Pappas is currently exploring partnerships with companies offering adjacent services to their employees or clients, and she has several company presentations scheduled.

“I enjoy doing lunch and learn talks on health-related topics that are relevant for different organizational or employee groups,” she adds.

To learn more about Pappas and First Day Wellness, visit as well as her blog at

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See how this local lady’s inspiring story is paving the way for a business that puts women’s needs first.


Looking for the unique products and individualized attention you don’t find at the big box stores? Busom Buds, a privately owned woman’s boutique, offers a wide variety of unique inventory to give you a one-of-a-kind shopping experience.

Coming up with the name, “Busom Buds” was a no-brainer for owner Emily Smith. “My mom has always been my best friend, and her nickname for me growing up was ‘Bud’ or ‘Buddy,’” she says. “I was my mom’s buddy and we were always together. The ‘Busom’ part came from my mom’s breast, which was affected by breast cancer.”

1465860_588043451274674_1849746854_o“The way she was treated during her treatment was cruel and no other woman should ever have to be treated like that,” Smith continues. “This is why I decided to open my own store. I wanted to make sure that woman are treated the way they deserve to be treated.”

This endeavor ended up being a perfect fit for Smith and her mother. “My mom went through the cancer, but not alone,” says Smith. “I was right there with her the entire time. Our experience proved that we both can relate to the other women in need.”

Smith went on to start her business in an office space in 2006, later expanding to a storefront in 2008, and then finally moving to their new location in 2012. “I am proud to say that we even have an online store now, which allows us to go worldwide.”

Busom Buds carries bras sizes A28 to 56N, underwire and non-underwire, nursing bras from A-I, post surgical camisoles, mastectomy bras, Nite Sweatz for ladies going through menopause, jewelry, Big Buddha purses and they also specialize in breast cancer prosthesis.

According to Smith, what truly makes Busom Buds unique is that they care about each and every person that walks through the door. “All the products we carry are also very unique, such as Spanx, Poo-Pourri, Sonoma Lavender, WubbaNub, Foxers and several more,” she says. “Our story is simple. We are different and actually care about our customers.”

As for Smith’s goals for the boutique, it’s all about getting her name out there so she can continue educating women. “Since 90 percent of women are currently in the wrong bra size, I would ultimately like to reduce that by 50 percent within the year,” says Smith. “I would also like to educate women and let them know that we’re not just a breast-cancer store, but that we also handle every day needs for ladies.”

Smith hopes to someday launch a new store in another state, listing Florida, Texas or Arizona as potential possibilities. Until then, she plans on continuing to hold events at the boutique as a way to create awareness and inform women

To learn more about Busom Buds has to offer, visit or call (513) 870-0074. You can also stop in at the boutique Monday thru Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. or Saturday 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. located at 7558 Voice of America Centre Drive in West Chester.