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Read on to learn about a Cincinnati-based health food business, spreading approachable and attainable wellness one prepped meal at a time.


Midwest Meal Prep is a commissary kitchen based in Newport, Kentucky.

Want to eat healthier but don’t have time for it? A local, health food-focused meal prep business can help with that.

Midwest Meal Prep is based in a commissary kitchen in Newport, Kentucky. “The kitchen is called The Incubator Kitchen and it has been a huge kick start to my business,” Mike Mandell-Brown says, Owner and Founder of Midwest Meal Prep. “It’s a great way for businesses to make the leap from initial inception of concept into production without having to acquire property and such.” Midwest Meal Prep has been in business for two years, and they’ve been in The Incubator Kitchen for one year.

Mandell-Brown brings a college education to his business. “I have been to college for classic French techniques and restaurant management. At the same time, I have worked several years in the field in high volume restaurants crafting my skills as a chef and a leader,” he says. “In 2013, I started my career at PF Changs as a Sous Chef, which helped me learn how to manage people and deal with the stresses and challenges that it presents. Then in 2015, I started a food truck with close friends and have also been doing that ever since.”

The inspiration for the business started in 2013 when Mandell-Brown’s friend approached him about his cooking in 2013. “[My friend] owned a gym and had clients who needed a way to eat better and we sat down and went over some ideas,” Mandell-Brown says. “That was the first time my two passions, cooking and fitness, came together in a harmonious fashion and it just felt right. From there I started coming up with names and such, finally settling on Midwest Meal Prep.”

The target demographic for Midwest Meal Prep has changed over time. “Originally, I was narrow minded in my scope of clients, only focusing on those who were imbedded in the fitness community. Whereas now, we have realized that these services can help not only the aspiring body builder or athlete, but we can help John S who works 9-5, six days a week and just want to eat some healthier foods while trying to balance his life,” Mandell-Brown says. “We feel anyone can start making better life decisions and a great way to start is to be mindful of the foods we put in our bodies, our fuel. It also helps people who need more time in their lives elsewhere and can’t devote two plus hours a week to source food and prepare healthy meals for themselves or family. So, to answer the question, our target demographic is anyone who wants to eat healthy and conveniently while having peace of mind that the food they are eating is flavorful and nutritious.”

There are a variety of services that Midwest Meal Prep offers. There are “weekly meals delivered or dropped off to clients with new and exciting flavors each week. We also offer protein by the pound, vegetables by the pound, or carbohydrates by the pound each week. There are breakfast, lunch and dinner options,” he says.

Midwest Meal Prep is a unique business in the Greater Cincinnati area. “We are set apart with our heightened culinary driven food we offer with a healthy twist,” Mandell-Brown says. “When I sit down and think up new menu options, I try to think of ways to take everyday foodies and make them healthier, for example, our Turkey Mac. We use cottage cheese instead of high fatty American cheese and brown rice noodles for added protein.”

Mandell-Brown’s favorite part of working for Midwest Meal Prep is hearing the input of the customers. “It’s nice to get client feedback after meals have been delivered or see pictures of our food on someone’s social media,” he said. “I’m a chef and I love to cook. This is a great way to mesh that with the health and fitness lifestyle.”

If you want to keep up with what Midwest Meal Prep is doing, follow them on Facebook, Instagram, or their website.

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A local reproductive health facility now has a state-of-the-art facility and ranks in the upper 10 percent in the United States. Keep reading to learn more.


The Institute for Reproductive Health helps patients dealing with infertility and pregnancy loss.

Has your family been struggling with infertility? The Greater Cincinnati-based Institute for Reproductive Health may be able to help.

With its main office located in Norwood, and satellite locations in West Chester and Florence, Kentucky, they have several locations with a variety of experts helping patients dealing with infertility and pregnancy loss.

“Most of our patients have not been able to get pregnant or have not been able to hold on to pregnancy. Some of those patients have a child, but many of them have never had a child,” Sherif Awadalla, Medical Director of the Institute for Reproductive Health. “We get some patients that are early on in treatment, but we get patients who had extensive prior failed treatments. It’s a variety of different kinds of people that we work with.”

The passion for the project came years ago when the institute was still hospital-based. “A lot of the hospitals are focused on cardiology and orthopedics. We found that being hospital-based was full of distraction because things were geared up more towards bigger procedures,” Awadalla recalls. “We thought that the hospital model did not work out really well for them.”

The Institute for Reproductive Health went from a unified facility in a hospital, to moving into its own building, and to now being in several locations across the Tri-State. “Our goal was to bring in the doctors, nurses, lab people, etc.,” Awadalla says. “It was kind of like an A to Z infertility treatment center, so we can concentrate on one thing.”

The Institute for Reproductive Health now has a new building for its main office in Norwood, and Awadalla says they now truly have a state of the art facility for their patients. “We just wanted to build a center that could do an excellent job at treating couples with infertility,” he adds. “We really are trying to be as efficient as possible and help them to get pregnant as quickly as possible.”

The institute has been in business for about 22 years, and offers variety of services, such as: ovulation medication, Artificial Insemination, Invetro Fertilization, Frozen Embryo Transfers, Sperm Donation, and Egg Donation.

Awadalla’s favorite part of working at the Institute for Reproductive Health is helping people who have had a complicated history and never succeeded with getting pregnant. “We get people who have had very complex prior failed treatment. Those cases are really, very rewarding,” he says. “The patients have worked so hard for so long, and then finally they’re able to have a child.”

Sherif Awadalla, Medical Director of the Institute for Reproductive Health

Awadalla loves coming to work everyday because it is interesting and there’s never a dull moment. “Everyday is a new journey we take with each couple. You know, it’s not over until it’s over,” he says. At the institute, there is always something going on. “It’s challenging and it’s stressful because we know it’s a big deal for the couples and we’re in it for them too,” Awadalla says. “It ends up being a lot of pressure on yourself.”

The Institute for Reproductive Health is unique because “We’re in the upper 10 percent in the United States, and extensive experience with it,” he says. The people working at the facility have broad experience in this field. “We’re also bringing in new people, so we can train them to continue on,” Awadalla says.

To learn more about the Institute for Reproductive Health, call 513-924-5560 or visit their website. Also, if you want to keep up with what the institute is doing, check out their Facebook page.

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Learn about a local lady who was inspired to launch a yoga studio as a way for people to exercise their faith (and body) in every day life.


Worthy Yoga takes on yoga as a process of continual adjustment and alignment. 

At Worthy, yoga is a practice not focused solely on the attainment of a pose. Instead, it is a process of continual adjustment and alignment.

It’s not unlike one’s walk with Christ, says Brenda Westfall, owner of the Mariemont-based Worthy Yoga. It is non-competitive, she adds, christian yoga is not about emptying the mind, rather it is a way to incorporate more of Christ in all parts of life: heart, soul, mind, and strength.

The inspiration for the business, launched three years ago, began when Westfall was involved with Holy Yoga Teacher Training in order to improve her own yoga skills.

“Soon after I completed my training, God put it on my heart to open a studio. I definitely felt inadequate but it was a step in obedience. Often times, Holy Yoga instructors will lead in a church, a YMCA or community center but God called me outside of the church,” she says. “I wanted to try to bridge a gap between Christians who might be uncomfortable with a traditional Eastern yoga practice and the yogi who is searching for something special. I also wanted to offer a practice that wasn’t too fitness focused as that’s where the comparison lies can start to creep in. Every bit of it, every style belongs to God and it can all be redeemed for His glory.”

Westfall thought of the idea from spending time with the God. “I sat down to meditate on it and God gave it to me instantly. I think it covers a multitude of meanings,” she says.

There are a variety of services that Worthy Yoga offers. “We offer a variety of yoga classes for all levels and barre classes. We also offer private yoga instruction for individuals. We also have book groups and bible studies,” Westfall says. “We host survival events including private small group classes, bridal party yoga and ladies nights out. We are hoping to bring back our Worthy Girls class this fall. The class is tailored to the heart and souls of girls age 10-14. I also offer private Reiki.”

Worthy Yoga is a unique business it’s a non profit in the Cincinnati area. It is set up as an LLC, but there are a few people who are volunteers. “We do this because we love people and believe in the benefits of this practice,” she says. There are special events and donation-based classes for organizations in the area. “I am super interested in developing Holy Yoga Teacher Training Scholarships for the undeserved, so they can take this incredible practice into their own communities as well. There is healing and freedom here and everyone is worthy!”

Worthy Yoga defines success by growing a community of people care and invest in each other. “If we could all begin to take ‘Namaste’ off of our mats and look at each other in the eye and see the light within as the Holy Spirit,” Westfall says. “This is our inheritance as Children of God. The Spirit is at work in each person. We just need to pause and allow the Spirit within to fan the flame in that same Spirit in another.”

If you want to keep up with what Worthy Yoga is doing, follow them on Facebook and Instagram.

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Learn about a Cincinnati startup that uses Nutrigenomics (yes, we explain what that is, too) to create an individualized nutrition plan just for you.


Do you want to experience a health startup that can help you anywhere in the Cincinnati and Dayton? My Nutrition and Me LLC is a startup, whose home is in Cincinnati. “We are flexible to meet the client’s appointment needs anywhere in the Greater Cincinnati and Dayton areas,” Karolin Saweres, Founder and CEO of My Nutrition and Me. “We also use chat platforms over video conference, phone or through email.”  Saweres is the sole employee of the startup and meets with people of all ages.

Saweres strongly believes in having a diet that is personalized. “I partner with the client to develop a personalized nutritional plan that will enable them to achieve a healthy balanced diet, optimize their nutritional status and prevent, delay, and manage diseases and conditions,” she says. “Our mission is to empower an individual to reach their wellness goals through evidence-based food and nutrition science.”

There are a variety of different services that are offered at My Nutrition and Me. These services are one-on-one consultations, weight management (individual or group classes), nutrition seminars/presentations, grocery store tours, cooking demonstrations, meal plans and recipes. “Our services also include non-invasive genetic testing to provide comprehensive, reliable, genomic information with the ultimate goal of improving health through personalized nutrition,” she explains.

My Nutrition and Me is important for the community. “Generalized diets don’t work. Individuals respond differently to food intake. Personalized nutrition coaching and education is key to achieving individual goals,” Saweres says. “We implement evidence-based practice, along with professional judgment, in order to achieve optimum nutrition and wellness outcomes.”

Karolin Saweres, Founder and CEO of My Nutrition & Me

The startup is unique because it involves a new scientific discipline called Nutrigenomics, which “uses modern genomics technology to study the relationship between genes, nutrition, and health. It has long been apparent that some people respond differently from others to certain foods,” she says. “For example, individuals with lactose intolerance experience gastrointestinal discomfort after consuming certain dairy products, while other individuals can consume dairy with no problems. Nutrigenomics allows us to understand how our genes affect the way we respond to the foods, beverages, and supplements we consume.”

In 2017, Saweres is going to be sharing more health tips, more blogging, and more recipes using fresh ingredients, a monthly newsletter, and there’s a new Weight Management class coming in the Fall of 2017.

If you want to keep up with what My Nutrition and Me is doing, check out their website, Facebook, and Instagram.

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Mama-to-be, considering au naturel? A local expert shares seven savvy tips to decrease discomfort and increase joy in the experience.


St. Elizabeth will help guide moms-to-be through unmedicated births at its Family Birth Place in Edgewood.

Melissa Wills had an epidural during her first pregnancy. But, she opted to deliver her second and third babies without the use of medication.

While she experienced the joys of childbirth with all three of her children, she said that joy was intensified when she chose the natural route.

“With the unmedicated births I experienced greater joy and personal strength,” Wills said. “The bond between my husband and I also grew as he coached me through contractions, pushing, and the fear and doubt I had in myself. In essence, unmedicated birth enables women and their families to have all of the ‘feels’ of the miracle of birth.”

In addition to being a mother who has experienced natural birth, Wills is also a labor and delivery nurse at St. Elizabeth’s Family Birth Place in Edgewood.

Both Wills and certified nurse-midwife Sr. Kay Kramer – also at Edgewood – offer these tips for women considering a natural birth:

Choose a provider who has experience with and will support natural birth.

Be willing to ask your providers about their experience: What is their cesarean section rate? What is their episiotomy rate? How many natural childbirths have they done? What are they willing to do to help you through the birth of your child? Will they let you have intermittent fetal monitoring? Will they let you get up and move? Will you be able to eat? When would they induce you?

“The answers to these questions will assist you in making the decision about which obstetrician or midwife provider will best meet your needs. Also, keep in mind there are multiple providers within a practice with varying opinions. Ensuring everyone is willing to support your vision of birth is within your rights as a patient,” Wills said.

Take care of yourself.

Good prenatal care is important for all pregnancies. Take care of yourself and your baby. Exercise and get proper nutrition throughout your pregnancy to help prepare your body and your baby to experience birth, Wills said.

Understand that labor isn’t a nonstop experience of pain.

Kramer said many women think of labor as constant pain for hours and hours.

“It’s important to understand that, in the space of an hour, most women experience no more than 20 contractions that last one minute,” Kramer said. “So, that’s 20 minutes out of 60 that she might be experiencing pain.”

Wills often reminds her patients that the pain of delivery is only temporary.

Plan to have continuous labor support.

Having a supportive person by your side coaching you through the pain can make a huge difference, said Wills.

Learn about natural options to ease discomfort.

St. Elizabeth’s Family Birth Place recently installed three birthing tubs, Wills said. Many laboring women find comfort in the water of the tubs or in the show to help ease their pain. Wills also encourages her patients to try the birthing balls, squat bars, peanut balls and birthing stools to assist women to find a more comfortable position.

“Ambulating, massaging, breathing techniques, music, a focal point – these all make a difference in the experience of pain,” Kramer said.

“Without medication, you have the advantage of mobility. Being mobile assists the baby in finding its way out, Wills said. “Positioning and movement of the mom help the baby descend into the pelvis and rotate to an optimal position for delivery. Optimal positioning and controlled and coached pushing decreases the incidence of tearing of the perineum, which ultimately decreases healing time and recovery.”

Educate yourself.

Wills suggests reading books such as, Birthing from Within, Birthing without Fear, Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth, Bradley Method Classes and Hypnobirthing. Find the method you think will work best for you.

Believe in your body.

“I try to help women to understand that their bodies are strong,” Kramer said. “Women have been having babies forever and anesthesia is really a recent development. Be aware of your own strength.”

For more information on natural childbirth options at St. Elizabeth Healthcare, including midwives, visit the Family Birth Place.


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See how a local woman’s personal journey with fitness and nutrition after pregnancy led her to launch a wide range of services to people who want to change their life.


Dawn Rapp, Founder of D.A.W.N. U Health and Wellness

Do you want to get in shape and become a brand new you? Starting in 2014, D.A.W.N. U Health and Wellness has been an online business based out of Cincinnati, Ohio. The inspiration for the business came from when Dawn Rapp, Personal Trainer, Group Fitness Instructor and Marketing Manager of D.A.W.N U, had her daughter and was on maternity leave from her job.

“I wanted to stay in shape after pregnancy took its toll and to spend more time with her,” Rapp says. “I have always had an entrepreneurial spirit as well, so I wanted to find a way to set my own schedule and earn what I was worth as well.”

The name of the business came from a Facebook status where she asked people to come up with a name, and the winner of the name choice would get free training sessions. “The winner was “Developing A Whole New U or D.A.W.N.,’ and I added the ‘Health and Wellness,’ instead of fitness so I could cover all topics-mind, body and view!”

D.A.W.N. U offers a wide range of services to people who want to change their life; including personal training, nutrition, a 12-week transformation program, vacation information, self-development and beauty products. The typical clients that Rapp works with are young adults to middle aged women. “They are mostly from the Cincinnati/Dayton area and are looking to lose weight and tone up after years of low physical activity or post child birth,” she says.

Over the past three years, D.A.W.N. U has experienced an immense amount of growth. “When it first came about, it was just a name on a sheet of paper, but soon it became a way of life for me. I started taking clients for personal training, while getting educated on the nutrition aspect of fitness,” Rapp says. “This made me realize how important that part was and the whole beginning of this year has been dedicated to creating an online and offline group program to visit every topic relating to health and wellness, focusing on nutrition at the core.”

Rapp loves what she does. She loves the flexibility and freedom from running her own business. “I love that the doors never truly close and I can help people around the clock, from no matter where I am in the world,” Rapp says. “It’s a unique business that encourages people to be the best version of themselves. ”It was created to inspire others to dream big and do that thing that they’ve been envisioning, and to help others along the way!”

If you want to keep up with what D.A.W.N. U is doing, follow on Facebook, Rapp’s blog, and email.


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Goat yoga has arrived in Cincinnati. Learn about the local farm offering these fun, furry, and seriously cute classes.

Goshen-based Honey Sweetie Acres now offers goat yoga classes (photo: Desert Paddleboards)

Think about it. The health benefits of a yoga class, with the cuteness of a Nigerian Dwarf goat by your side. Honey Sweetie Acres offers just that with their new Goat Yoga classes.

According to Regina Bauscher, co-owner of Honey Sweetie Acres, goat yoga is just one more wonder that their Nigerian Dwarf dairy goats produce. Regina and her husband, Steve, started the Goshen-based Honey Sweetie Acres to produce goat milk skincare and nature-based products, made from their award-winning Nigerian Dwarf dairy goats.

Regina and Steve Bauscher

Nigerian Dwarf milk is very high in butterfat, approximately three times higher than the milk from any other goat breed, so it makes for some luxuriously rich skincare products. Regina and Steve quickly saw success, selling in major retailers such as Whole Foods, and brought more goats to their farm to keep up with the demand.  

The inspiration behind offering Goat Yoga classes began when they realized that there weren’t many opportunities for people to meet all their goats. “Goats are very friendly animals and seek human interaction,” Regina says. “They have a propensity to climb into your lap, whether invited or not.”

When they saw the popularity for Goat Yoga classes out West, they knew it was the perfect fit to bring to Honey Sweetie Acres. “We saw how Goat Yoga began in Oregon last year, then it moved to Colorado, Arizona and Nevada, and kept spreading,” Regina recalls. “Since we own the dwarf goats, we thought it was time for Ohio to join in.”

What’s it like? Regina explains: “[It’s] a normal yoga class, in which baby goats are allowed to roam between participants. They visit class members, sometimes climbing in their lap, on their back or just simply take up residence on their mat,” she adds. “Goat Yoga is a wonderful form of stress release when interacting with cute, baby animals.”

Classes are $30 a person, for adults 18 and up, and last two hours with 30 minutes of “meet the goats” time. Bring your own mat, and register online as class size is limited to 15 people and they do sell out. “Pre-registration is required. No-walk ins. The dates and times are all listed on the Honey Sweetie Acres website,” Regina explains. “Click on ‘About,’ scroll down to Goat Yoga, click purchase a ticket and a drop down menu with the remaining available dates and times will appear. Many classes are completely full and therefore, are not listed.”

Regina, at first, thought that the Goat Yoga would be just another fad, but now she sees it being offered for years to come. “We never realized just how many people actually love goats and wish they could own one,” she says. “For those living in the city, it is a bit if an escape for two hours in a beautiful natural environment.”

Regina says she loves to see the joy participants experience when they take a class. “My favorite part is watching the participants laugh; at each other, at themselves and the babies,” she says. “Seeing the smiles and the joy this creates is satisfying and we are happy we can bring the opportunity to so many people. Laughter is a wonderful medicine.”

To learn more about Honey Sweetie Acres, visit them online at, or follow along on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.


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A local salon stays on the cutting edge (get it?) by specializing in the latest techniques and eco-friendly practices while also prepping to launch a salon RV next year.


Vagabond Salon offers vibrant, long-lasting hair color to clients.

With so many salons in Cincinnati, it’s not always easy to stand out. But for Rebecca Cowles, owner of Vagabond Salon, she says it comes easy because they truly are different.

Launched in 2014, and based in Montgomery, Vagabond offers haircut, color and skin services with a specialty in vibrant, long-lasting hair color. “I have invested a lot of time and money into my continuing education and continue to do so,” Cowles says. “You can come in for an exceptional balayage highlight or a haircut based on your own personal head shape to ensure it suits you the best. I also do facial waxing.”

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what makes Vagabond Salon different, Cowles says. “A vagabond is a person that wanders from place to place without a home. This term perfectly describes what I hope to achieve with my salon,” she adds. “The RV that will be Vagabond’s new home will move it’s semi permanent location every few years to up and coming communities that would benefit from the additional foot traffic and support. I’m hoping to be in Pleasant Ridge or Madisonville.”  

Vagabond Salon is also unique because of the steps they are taking to improve the environment and community. “I started Vagabond Salon to make Cincinnati beautiful and to turn the world of hair salons as we know it on its head.” Cowles explains. “Salons are notorious for being wasteful and I wanted to do something about that. We only get one world and it is up to us to take care of it. There are many small, yet impactful, things salons can do, in order to be less wasteful.”

To practice keeping the earth clean, the loose hair that she gets from the salon goes to “Matter of Trust,” a company that creates mats to soak up oil spills. In addition, Cowles has an entire dumpster dedicated to all that the salon recycles, and she’s adamant about other conservation efforts such as turning off tools when not it use.

“The RV that I’m building and will be operating out of next year will be almost entirely self-sufficient,” Cowles says. “I plan to recycle the grey water collected from the shampoo bowls into a community garden on the premises and recycle and reuse as much as possible. I have so many exciting things in the works and cannot wait for these projects to be completed.”

At Vagabond Salon, Cowles defines success by seeing the number of selfies that her clients take of their haircuts after leaving the salon. “Feeling confident and too beautiful to wait until they get home to share their new hairstyle,” she says. “Also, by the number of wonderful compliments I receive from the beautiful people who I deal with everyday.” Her favorite part of the job is seeing the lives that she gets to touch. “I love making people feel good and bringing the inner beauty out in everyone that comes through my door.” Cowles adds.

“Everyone who comes in to get their hair done, leaves knowing exactly how to achieve their look and maintain their hair at home,” she says. “We are different in the steps we take to be less wasteful and friendly to the environment.”

Vagabond Salon is located within Salon Concepts, at 9797 Montgomery Rd, Suite 8, Cincinnati, OH 45242. To learn more, call or text Rebecca Cowles 513-472-0202 or visit online. You can also follow them on Instagram and Facebook.

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Life is just better when you feel good about yourself. Our sexual health columnist explains how to gain freedom through accepting your body, one beautiful bit at a time.

How comfortable are you with your body? How about your naked body? Do you dread the inexplicable overhead lighting that is present in every women’s dressing room? (WHY?!?!?) There must be a reason that one of the most common nightmares reported is being in front of a crowd naked. Being naked leaves us in our most vulnerable state. Nothing to cover up with, nowhere to hide.

As we come upon the beginning of summer; pools, BBQs, daisy dukes, and bikini waxes, we are forced to confront our comfort level of being exposed, physically. After spending the winter hibernating and indulging in junk food during our Netflix binge sessions, summer can be terrifying. But what would happen if you could love and accept your body at any weight? What would happen if you could love every inch of your naked body?

Accepting our bodies and feeling confident naked can have so many positive effects on our lives.

  1. Set the tone for a great day!

Being able to look yourself in the mirror first thing in the morning can set the tone for how the rest of your day goes. If you begin the day staring at all your flaws and belittling yourself, you are most likely going to carry that around with you for the rest of the day. Being able to walk into a room with your head held high, feeling really good about yourself allows you to go through your day with a positive outlook, making day-to-day challenges easier to handle.

  1. Improve your relationships!

Research shows that those who have positive body image and self-confidence tend to surround themselves with other positive, motivating people. Having people around you that celebrate themselves and uplift you sounds a hell of a lot better than spending time with a group of people that call themselves fat and ugly all the time. Negative energy can be contagious. Remember: “You’re only as good as the company you keep” .

  1. Improve your sex life!

Whether you are in a new relationship, casually dating or have been married for 15 years, we all have that moment where we feel a little self-conscious about getting naked in front of our partner. Nothing is more of a buzz kill than being distracted by that negative self-talk reminding you of the cellulite on your thighs or that roll on your stomach. Being able to embrace and accept our bodies exactly as they are, allows us to be more present in the moment. When we are present during sex we have the ability to fully focus on all of the physical sensations that we’re experiencing and focus on the connection with our partners (and/ or ourselves!) and the pleasure we are receiving.

Try This At Home:

Find a quiet time when you will have 10 minutes without interruption.

Stand in front of a full-length mirror. The goal is to be naked during this exercise, but this may not be possible for some people. Feel free, when you’re starting out, to complete this exercise fully clothed or in your bra and underwear.

Slowly, beginning at your feet, scan your body with your eyes.

As you study your body, resist the urge to make any negative judgments.

Then identify things that you like about your body. This may be very difficult when you first try this exercise, but it will get easier with time.

*Positive thoughts about your body can be anything: your skin tone, your freckles, the curve of your back.

Use the full ten minutes if you can, taking time to express gratitude for your body and all it has done for you.

I recommend practicing this every day, but you can start out a few times a week and work your way up to daily practice.

For further information or sex, relationships or body image feel free to contact me through my website.


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While a heart attack affects men and women in the same way, they experience the symptoms differently. Experts at St. Elizabeth Healthcare explain the key symptoms a woman should take to heart.


The pressure between her shoulder blades would not let up. And when Karen Lugo, who is always cold, started sweating, her son called 911.

“I had no idea that I was having a heart attack,” said Karen.  She’s young (just 54), in good shape, and had no cardiac history. “I never had chest pain. My arm didn’t hurt.” No sharp shooting pains, just pressure. “Everybody who knows me, knows my family, was pretty shocked.” Neither of her parents had heart problems. She was fatigued and her stomach was upset, but she thought that might be the flu.

“Since I had my heart attack, I’ve had the symptoms printed up.” And, she’s eager to tell women that the symptoms for women are different than those experienced by men.

Unexplained feelings of nervousness and anxiety.  Tingling in hands and arms. Headaches. Pain in the jaw or neck, shortness of breath, nausea. Or, breaking out in a cold sweat.  They are all on her list and the list of the American Heart Association.

“And I tell everybody to quit smoking…I’d already started quitting” before the heart attack, Karen said. Since: no more cigarettes. Within an hour of her arrival in the St. Elizabeth Hospital emergency room, Dr. Daniel Courtade, a cardiologist with St. Elizabeth Physicians, put a stent in one of her arteries.

“Luckily,” said Karen, “it was one of the smaller ones.” But it was completely clogged. Two weeks later, Karen was back at work as a quality technician for a local factory.

There are no restrictions on what she can do and that means the world to Karen, who can run and play ball with her four grandchildren, ages 16 months to 13 years. “I enjoy my grandkids. They keep me young.”

If you believe you are having a heart attack, call 911 or have someone drive you to the emergency room right away – do not drive yourself.

To learn more about heart health and the simple steps you can take to get to a healthier lifestyle, click here to register for Women Take Heart: Wine and Watercolor, a fun social and educational event for women offered by St. Elizabeth Healthcare. Call (859) 301-9355 for more information.

Editor’s Note: This is a special advertising supplement, paid for by St. Elizabeth Healthcare.