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Have a chocolate lover in your life? (Yes, that includes you) This local chocolatier creates artisanal chocolate boxes perfect for gifting and Choc Boards perfect for grazing.

Cincy Chic: What is Choc on the Wild Side?
Debra Richman, Founder of Choc on the Wild Side: Choc on the Wild Side is chocolate reimagined, crafting artisanal chocolate into beautiful Grazing Choc Boards and fully customizable Choc Boxes that are perfect for at-home entertaining as well as personal and corporate gifting!

Cincy Chic: What’s the inspiration behind it?
Richman: Baking has always been a shared hobby in our home, and holidays and special occasions have always been accented by creative sweets to mark the moment. When my daughter, Maddie, was a preschooler, we spent a lot of time baking and she always asked me to promise we would start a bakery together and that we would call it the M&M bakery, for “Mom and Maddie.”  I would always agree that for sure we would do that (tongue in cheek), she would say “when?,” and I would say “before you’re in middle school” – because that felt so far off.  Pan ahead a decade later and Maddie is an 8th grader, the name M&M has always been clearly taken, and Choc on the Wild Side is a chocolate business not a bakery, but the inspiration for starting this company came from the fun I had creating desserts with that little preschooler. 

Cincy Chic: What types of treats do you offer?
Richman: We offer seasonal and fully customizable choc boxes with varieties of gorgeous and delicious chocolate pairings!  Our amazing chocolate barks come in more than two dozen combinations, and our loaded pretzels are easily a stand-alone dessert! In addition, we add an artisanal flare to several flavored cookies covered in chocolate, and our ‘Choc Cookie Flight’ is a crowd pleaser with a wine tasting or a huge glass of milk. 

Cincy Chic: Are you offering any specialized holiday boxes?
Richman: We are offering a ton of specialized holiday boxes and our online launch for the 2020 Holiday Season is Friday, November 13th!  We will feature Hot Cocoa Choc Boards with hand crafted delicacies to create the perfect holiday drink. In addition, we’ll have gorgeous boxes filled with Choc Bark Pretzel combos, Choc Bark Bars, and Choc Covered Cookies for sending to someone you miss, thanking a special teacher, or sending out to wish co-workers or employees a Happy Holiday Season!

Cincy Chic: What makes Choc on the Wild Side unique?
Richman: Choc on the Wild Side is unique because of our approach to rethinking chocolate combos and asserting that in the choc arena there’s no such thing as excess! One commonality in our world right now is wanting to celebrate the good times together and wanting to reach out to the people we’re missing – a little chocolate excess checks both of those boxes!

Cincy Chic: Is there anything new on the horizon?
Richman: We’re always looking for some innovative spin and tailoring our ‘Choc Cookie Flight’ this winter in tandem with Wine Tastings will help infuse some fun to Winter 2021. In addition, we will be offering a ‘Brew Companion Choc Box ‘featuring our salty ‘Choc Potato Chips’ and ‘Nutty Choc Barks’, which can hold their own with a tasty, seasonal craft beer! 

Cincy Chic: Where can readers go to learn more and follow along?
Richman: We post all of our newest creations on Instagram and Facebook where we often spotlight Choc Boards we’ve recently delivered for fun events, and we also feature gorgeous Choc Boxes all customized for special occasions, before we ship them off to a destination outside of Mason. In addition, our website, choconthewildside.com offers a wide array of options for real time ordering and also a way to reach out so that we can collaborate together to create a perfect fit for an Open House or a Milestone Celebration worthy of fanfare.

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The holiday season is here and our life coach is sharing how you can fill your own cup in a year that's been anything but normal.

Ready or not! The holidays are now upon us. Thanksgiving is in a few days. But the energy and excitement this year isn’t as strong as years past. 

This is the time of year when you celebrate and spend time with family, friends, co-workers and new acquaintance in homes, restaurants, and party venues. But this year it’s mostly virtual. 

To be honest with you it just doesn’t have the same energy and high vibe like it does when you see someone in person and can give them a big hug and just be in the presence of others.

Having just conducted the Growing Through Gratitude webinar and talking about the different ways that you can expand on your gratitude practice by using the deeper why method, an evidence journal, and the pay it forward practice what a perfect time for you to really lean in and do the things that bring you joy.

We’re so busy taking care of others and their needs that sometimes you forget yourself in all the responsibilities and distractions. And emotionally that can be exhausting.

Start with YOU. Plan sometime fun that only you will enjoy. What’s your favorite movie, what book have you been anxiously awaiting to read, update your music playlist, light some candles.  

What about buying a new nightgown, even bra and panties, or your favorite scent for bath salts. 

It’s time that you step back into taking care of you.  Doing those little things will recharge you and bring joy. 

Even if it’s going in the kitchen and whipping up a big batch of pancakes, or my favorite French toast, even if you no longer eat carbs, go for it, unapologetically.  Enjoy every bit and savor the flavor.  

Ignite inside of you again what’s been missing. Turn inward and find the magic. Remember you can’t pour from an empty cup. 

Live your best life now in this moment in time.

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Check out a recap of the small and local businesses we've featured this week on our new sister page Spend With Cincinnati.

Cincy Chic recently launched a new sister account called Spend With Cincinnati. The goal of Spend With Cincinnati is to share how the public can still support small and local businesses during the COVID-19 outbreak. Below is a recap of what we’ve featured this week:

Kaitlyn Gallaher: Happy Monday everyone! Looking for the perfect holiday treat? @kngallaher has you covered! Decorate these adorable turkey cookies with the whole family this thanksgiving! PLUS: who doesn’t love hot chocolate😍 Check out their amazing hot chocolate bombs to warm you up this season!

Make sure to watch their latest post to see these yummy hot chocolate bombs in action and get your orders in today! 

Foster the Fun: It’s almost time for one of my favorite childhood memories…elf on the shelf! Struggling with creative ideas for the elf this year? @foster_the_fun is here to help with their AWESOME elf kits!

Each kit includes a quarantine jar, 18 activities and notes, and 6 bonus ideas if you want to swap any out! ALL for just $75!

Click the link in their bio to get your hands on these limited supply kits today! Note: elf not included! 

Red Feather Kitchen: Thanksgiving is just ONE WEEK away from tomorrow! Skip the stress and hassle of cooking this year with @redfeatherkitchen !! Pre-order their holiday feast today with your choice of a protein, salad, 2 sides, and a dessert!

Head over to their website to get your order in today and check out their page for more details! 

Kenny’s Farmhouse Cheese: Anyone else looking forward to eating endless amounts of cheese boards this holiday season 🙋‍♀️ @kennyscheese is here brining you all the cheese you need this season! From spreads to curds to blocks and more they have it all!

Click the link in their bio to get to shopping today and get your hands on these yummy goodies! 

Fitopia: It’s the weekend! Get your body ready for all the yummy goodies that come with the holidays this weekend! @fitopiaems is a new workout experience helping you become the best you! And the best part? It’s only 20 minutes! Click the link in their bio to head over to their website and see how you can sign up!

PLUS: enjoy this pic of our very own @amy_scalia getting her strength on with them! 

Ivory House: Happy Sunday everyone! Is brunch calling your name this morning? @ivoryhousecincy has you covered! PLUS: to help kick off the holidays they are offering 25% off brunch all weekend! Indulge in their delicious breakfast tacos, mimosas, and so much more!

Offer is only for dine-in or carry-out! Use code “holiday25” or show their latest post to your server! Happy brunchin! 

Doscher’s Candies: It’s never too early to start stocking up on your holiday sweets…especially when they are just around the corner! @doscherscandies is brining you all the holiday candy and more this season! Stock up on their famous peppermint bark while it last as a perfect gift for someone you love OR yourself! 

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While holiday meals might look a little different this year, a local catering company created a delicious way to send your love.

The story of Funky’s Catering dates back to 2004 when Michael “Funky” Forgus took his more than 30 years of restaurant and fine dining experience and moved into the special event industry.

The goal of launching Funky’s Catering was to change the landscape of catering in Cincinnati.

“We believe that breaking bread with someone is about so much more than the bread,” the Funky’s website states. “We were the first in the city to exclusively offer private tastings. These have been a key factor in our success, because it is during these dedicated one-on-one times that we get to know our clients and they get to know us.” 

In the midst of a pandemic, however, dining experiences are once again changing. 

To accommodate the holidays and keep customers safe, Funky’s is offering a variety of gourmet holiday gift boxes. 

The boxes, says Forgus, were inspired by the innovation and creativity that’s been forced by 2020. 

“We are a national leader in the safe return of weddings and catered events,” says Forgus. “We created and continue to offer curbside and delivered fine dining meals, including family packages for November and December holidays. We’re rethinking and customizing holiday corporate parties, and we created Funky’s Holiday Gift Boxes. While these gift boxes feature world-class taste, each gift box is house made locally – and they’re a smart way to support your local food industry.”

Their gourmet holiday gift boxes include the Funky’s Charcuterie Holiday Gift Box, Funky’s Pantry Box, and Funky’s Seasonal Sweets Gift Box.

In the Funky’s Charcuterie Holiday Gift Box you’ll find: Bellavitano Merlot Cheese, Bellavitano Gold Cheese, Olli Sliced Sopressata, Black Kassel Black Pepper Salami, Busseto Spicy Dried Chorizo, Date and Fig Jam, Assorted Roasted Nuts, and Jacobs Assorted Crackers.

The Funky’s Pantry Box includes: 16oz jar of house marinara, a 16oz jar of roasted tomato salsa, house-made local honey whole grain mustard, seasonal roasted nuts, pomegranate white balsamic vinegar, and Funky’s custom grilling rub. 

You can satisfy your sweet tooth with the Funky’s Seasonal Sweets Gift Box which includes: Ohio spiced maple syrup, Buckeye popcorn, fig and date jam, hot chocolate mix, gourmet chocolate covered pretzels, grandma’s candy dish, and ancient grain pancake mix.

The holiday gift boxes range in price from $40-$55.

To learn more about the gourmet holiday gift boxes, visit www.FunkysCurbside.com.

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Missing friends and family and want to show them how much you care? Tell them they’re the bomb with this creative local company.

Cincy Chic: What is Balloon Bombed?
Chrissie Blatt, Founder of Balloon Bombed & CBC Event Planning: The Balloon Bombed mission is all about spreading joy! You can send a Balloon Bomb to a friend, family member or colleague for a special occasion or just to remind them that they are awesome! You can send it anonymously and the Balloon Bombed team will keep your secret! Imagine arriving home or waking up to a burst of colorful balloons on your doorstep or even covering part of your house! Balloon Bombs can also be custom designed for virtual event backdrops, retail window displays, galas, events and much more! The Balloon Bombed way is big, bright, and happy. Balloon Bombs are filled with air so they last longer and you can enjoy them for an extended period of time or even pass them on!

Cincy Chic: What’s the inspiration behind Balloon Bombed?
Baltt: Sigh. The world is a tough place to live in right now and we believe that doing things for other people can help brighten the day of not only the recipient but the giver as well. Now is the time to give back, tell people that you appreciate them and do your part to spread a little bit of love. Sure… they are just balloons but the smiles that they create are contagious. Also, we are all looking for ways to celebrate safely and uniquely during the pandemic – we think that Balloon Bombs do just that! 

Cincy Chic: Who’s behind the business?
Blatt: In the midst of the pandemic Balloon Bombed I recognized that the large events I had on the calendar for 2020 and 2021 were cancelling or moving to a later date, leaving quite a gap in my work life! I have a true love of balloons, working with people, spreading joy, and building something beautiful, all of which created the perfect recipe for Balloon Bombed. Balloon bombing is art! The mixing of colors, shapes and sizes as well as the juxtaposition of the balloons against a structure gives the Balloon Bombed Team the creative outlet they were looking for. And the best part? Getting pictures and messages from clients with their happy reviews! It is a true feel good kind of business.

Cincy Chic: How does balloon bombing work?
Blatt: You can place an order by sending our team a message through Facebook or Instagram! All we need is a delivery date, photo of where you would like it to be installed, area of town to be delivered, colors or theme and budget. Once we know the details we can design something perfect for you! We can install Balloon Bombs inside or outside and they can be as big as you can imagine (the bigger the better we say)! Balloon Bombs are 100% custom and start at $125. We currently serve NE Cincinnati and prefer at least 2 weeks notice to account for design and ordering.

Cincy Chic: What makes Balloon Bombed unique?
Blatt: What we do is customized for you! Balloon bombs are created with the recipient in mind. Love pink? We can mix the perfect pinks, sizes and shapes of balloons to make a custom “bomb” that is “pinkalicious.” Is tie-dye your thing? Let us create a funky colorful “bomb” with lots of swirly marbled balloons to fit your vibe. There are so many wonderful ways for us to celebrate each-other and we think the Balloon Bombs are a great way to mix it up from the traditional gifts!

Cincy Chic: Where can readers go to learn more and order a Balloon Bombed gift?
Blatt: Check us out on Instagram and Facebook for tons of visual inspiration! Shoot us a direct message if you would like to receive a formal quote!

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After this year, it might feel difficult to feel thankful this season. Our life coach columnist offers tips to find joy and gratitude through the cloud of chaos.

Do you find yourself in a place of uncertainty especially now in 2020? Are you seeking peace, a way to let go of the chaos and frustration, and be able to find your joy? You’re not alone. 

We are all struggling to understand what’s next, feeling a bit ofemptiness inside, knowing things are different. With all the events of the world it becomes a challenge to focus on gratefulness when your mind is racing to understand and process all of the world events and evolution. 

Let me offer you the opportunity to find your way back to center using the tools for Growing Through Gratitude. Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and what better time to learn a new way to practice thankfulness.

The process of Growing Through Gratitude begins with a deeper connection for what you are thankful for. 

“I am thankful for electricity.” Going deeper is the AND “I am grateful for the person who had the idea, the technology to support the invention, the ability to have it available everywhere, the multiple uses, etc.” Use a journal to being this practice to explore and tap into how you feel grateful beyond the person, place or thing by writing out all the “whys.”

Then start an evidence journal. This is where you can track your growth in gratitude. Be the good finder I like to say.  Perhaps you see repeated numbers, find money on the ground, or out of the blue opportunities begin to show up. This is part of the “evidence” that you are conspiring on behave of the cosmic kitchen to receive that which you desire for your life. Write these in a notebook as well.

Pay it forward! This is where the magic happens.  Gratitude is a form of being grateful for what you can be, do, and have so to amplify these gifts, by paying it forward, is your exchange to the Universe acknowledging all the goodness you’ve called into your life through gratitude. This can include buying the persons meal behind you in the drive thru, bring flowers to a loved one, or volunteer in your community. 

Remember, your thoughts become things, your actions create a reaction, and when you know how to apply the three keys to practicing for gratitude, you really can create your life by design and have more joy, abundance, and prosperity.

Cheers to a wonderful Thanksgiving celebration and to living the life you deserve.

Learn more this Thursday — here’s the RSVP link: https://cincy.live/events/gratitude — where I will be teaching a webinar on Growing Through Gratitude. You will learn how you can break out of ruts, attract more good, and live your best life.

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Check out a recap of the small and local businesses we've featured this week on our new sister page Spend With Cincinnati.

Cincy Chic recently launched a new sister account called Spend With Cincinnati. The goal of Spend With Cincinnati is to share how the public can still support small and local businesses during the COVID-19 outbreak. Below is a recap of what we’ve featured this week:

Coko Clay Co: Give the gift of accessorizing this holiday season with @coko.clay.co 😍 All their beautiful earrings are handmade with polymer right here in Cincinnati!

Get your hands on these creations today by clicking the link in their bio! ALSO: make sure to check them out at local markets! See their second to latest post for dates and locations of their upcoming schedule!

Mosaic Climbing: Calling all my climbing lovers! Never been rock climbing before? Time to t try something new! @mosaicclimbing is here to bring you all you need for getting your climb on! From beginners to advanced, they do it all!

Check out their story for all the classes you can join this week! PLUS: click the link in their bio to buy your pass or membership today! 

Hudepohl Jewelers: Looking to spruce up your jewelry collection? @hudepohljewelers is here for you just in time for the holidays! Gift yourself or a loved one with one of their beautiful pieces this holiday season! PLUS: they specialize in custom pieces to make the jewelry extra special!

Click the link in their bio to book your appointment today! 

Cartridge Brewing: It’s Friday AND game day for our bearcats!! Celebrate this beautiful day today with @cartridgebrewing 🤩 Grab your favorite people and head on down to their pub to grab a cold beer and watch the game! 

Fifty West Brewing Co: Get your skating on this Saturday! @fiftywestbrew is open for fun outdoor experience coming soon! Join them for beer, burgers, and skating! Just click the link in their bio for more details and keep an eye on their page for when the rink is open!

PLUS: make sure to try out their new holiday flavors this season like x-mad cookie 🤩 

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Read about a local organization that’s stepping up to help the region’s most at-risk children.

The goal of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Cincinnati is to empower and enable all young people, especially those most at-risk, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, and responsible citizens.

“We believe every kid has what it takes,” the Boys & Girls Club says on its website. “The mission and core beliefs of Boys & Girls Clubs fueled our commitment to promoting safe, positive, and inclusive environments for all. Boys & Girls Clubs of america supports all youth and teens – of every race, ethnicity, gender, gender expression, sexual orientation, ability, socio-economic status, and religion – in reaching their full potential.”

However, this year has been unlike any other in every sense of the word. 

“The 2020-2021 school year poses some of the most significant challenges families across the region will ever face,” says Bill Bresser, Chief Executive Officer of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Cincinnati. “As we have all seen, in the wake of COVID-19, many schools are beginning the year either fully virtual or are offering a blended approach where half their  students will not be in a classroom on any given day.”

Additionally, many of the parents of those who are in the Boys & Girls Clubs work in essential jobs, are single others who live under the poverty level, have more than one child, and may not have access to the necessary child care or technology capabilities to meet the needs of children in this environment.

“These kids and families have already been disproportionately negatively affected by COVID-19 and the upcoming academic year looks as if more of the same is on the horizon,” adds Bresser. “But Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Cincinnati was built to meet these needs.”

In an effort to provide the same services they have under intense situations, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Cincinnati are operating from 8am-6pm five days per week. They also offer breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a morning and afternoon snack.

“We are partnering with other agencies to ensure our students have access to necessary mental and behavioral health services,” says Bresser. “We are installing new fioptics at each site to ensure we can accommodate the virtual academic needs of our students.

By opening the center in the morning The Boys & Girls Clubs will also allow for a safe space for parents to send their children and work alongside professional staff when they need to go to their essential jobs. The Boys & Girls Clubs are also stepping up in their academic assistance.

“We are hiring academic assistance leaders to assist students with take-home and virtual work,” says Bresser. “For students who may need additional assistance, we employ full-time Education Directors at each site. Our services, including the expanded academic time, will remain free for our families.”

Unfortunately, the pandemic has also put the Boys & Girls Clubs of Cincinnati in a spot of unplanned, additional expenses.

“We estimate that our COVID-19 response will cost us an additional $200,000 this school year,” he says. “We are working diligently to fill this gap, and although work still needs to be done, we are confident our community will step up to support these important efforts.”

To learn more about the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Cincinnati or to support their mission, visit https://bgcgc.org

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See how life after professional sports inspired this local entrepreneur to launch a new underwear brand with a luxury twist.

Cincy Chic: What is VORA?
Colin Mulvey, Founder of VORA: VORA is a company that provides men with confidence disguised as underwear. I feel the base of any great outfit is confidence, so I started at the bottom. 

Cincy Chic: What’s the inspiration behind it?
Mulvey: After an embarrassing but necessary adjustment in an airport in front of a stunning woman, I knew there had to be a better version of underwear. Men didn’t have to live with the current status quo. I linked up with an excellent factory and team down in Colombia, and after a year of prototypes, we had the first pair of proper adjustment-free underwear.  

Cincy Chic: Who’s behind VORA?
Mulvey: I am currently the sole member at the moment, Colin Mulvey. I grew up in a hockey rink and was fortunate enough to take that love for the game to the professional level. As a professional, I was traded on three separate occasions to the Cincinnati Cyclones. So when it was time to hang my skates up, I decided to stop fighting fate and set some roots down here in Cincinnati. My first idea for life after hockey was to renovate houses. Flipping was lucrative, but the long and lonely hours wore on me, and I wanted to be in a more engaging environment. Having a traditional hockey body, I learned to sew instead of paying to take every new piece of clothes to the tailor. Sewing was my only experience in the fashion world before VORA, other than being a consumer.  

Cincy Chic: What makes VORA underwear unique?
Mulvey: Performance: It took over a year and 16 prototypes to develop the final product. This time was spent crafting an actual no-slip bottom hem.

Using a specialized fabric on the lower leg, designed with increased elastic woven into the material, alleviates all unwanted movement. You can run, squat, or slide into a pair of skinny jeans without having to pull down the bottom of your boxers.   

Support: We have a man’s most prized possessions in mind as well. The days of unpopular looks and unwanted movement are a thing of the past due to an integrated jock support providing support and comfort. 

Design: A minimal, timeless aesthetic has been the cornerstone of the design process, highlighted by a 3D raised silicone waistband logo designed to impress. 

Cincy Chic: What about price points?
Mulvey: The single pack retails for $28 with a three-Pack for $76 (10 % off) and a six-pack for $142 (15% off). 

Cincy Chic: Will you be launching new styles soon?
Mulvey: Yes! I just received a new sample in a unique modal fabric that I want to use for what I’m naming the Kalm line. I also want to expand the color palate soon to include more primary solid colors (white, navy, marron, etc..). Once I get the underwear game solved, I’ve designed a men’s elevated casual t-shirt, think Calvin Klein meets lululemon. From there, I would like to complete the everyday man classic look with socks and jeans.  

Cincy Chic: Where can readers go to learn more and follow along?
Mulvey: Readers can follow along on Instagram to see my unique spin on marketing men’s underwear by integrating female models.

For more in-depth information and to purchase, readers should visit my online store at www.vora.style. The about me page is worth the visit if only to see my childhood “up to no good” grin. 

I’m also keeping a personal vlog, a behind-the-scenes look of growing this company on YouTube. Readers can tune in there daily to see what is happening and the progress of the brand.

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Wish you could flip the switch and make your goals and dreams a reality? Our life coach columnist explains how it could be as easy as changing a light bulb.

You know when you flip a light switch, and the light comes on, do you question it before you flip that switch? Or when you get in your car and turn the key and the motor starts, do you question it before you turn the key?

Of course not, you’ve come to BELIEVE that it will come on! Until it doesn’t. What action do you take when that happens? Do you say “Oh, well, it doesn’t work?” and leave the room or get out of the car? Of course not, because you have OPTIONS to find a SOLUTION to the current circumstances and situation.

Your belief system has been created in a similar fashion when it comes to money, health, wealth, and relationships.

When you feel “lack” in these areas it keeps you from being open to receive something more or better. Lack mindset creates stories that you’re not good enough, can’t earn enough, bad at relationships, and can’t stick to a wellness program, etc.

What if in this moment of your current situation and circumstances you treat it like the light switch? If the light didn’t come on, you’d CHANGE the light bulb.  This is usually the solution to the light not coming on and the outcome you’ve come to believe. 

And if changing the light bulb didn’t fix the problem, you’d call an electrician who can take on the responsibility of fixing the light and you no longer have to worry with “how’s that light going to be fixed”….. you just BELIEVE in the outcome!

When you align this thought process with your own personal obstacles, you are more open to receive what you desire and less of what you don’t because you believe in the outcome.  Your thoughts and actions align with your desires, and when you know what you really want, without excuses, you create your life by design.  

Each stumbling block becomes a steppingstone, the setback becomes your comeback, and all the obstacles turn into life lessons for you to navigate and rise into your next season of life. 

So, the next time you flip a light switch or turn the key in the ignition, remember your belief is powerful enough not to question if it will work. And if it doesn’t you can find an outcome simply by believing in the process.  Soon you’ll see how things change for you in all areas of your life.Don’t stop believing in all the infinite outcomes! 

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