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See how the desire to give clients intentional design for all of their event planning, photo styling, and creative direction needs.

Cincy Chic: What is The Crystal Collection Co?
Crystal Swift, Founder of The Crystal Collection Co: The Crystal Collection Co is a design and styling company based in the Greater Cincinnati area! We specialize in intentional design through event planning, photo styling, and creative direction. 

Cincy Chic: What’s the inspiration behind it?
Swift: The brand was started because we have a heart to serve! Not only do we love serving others, but even more than that, client experience is everything to us. We want you to feel invited into our space and inspired by what we can do together. 

Cincy Chic: Who’s behind it?
Swift: The owner and creative director is myself, Crystal Swift (recently married!). I started the business in 2016! In 2018, I couldn’t do it alone. The team is now made up of Crystal, my lead assistant, lead planner, and a lead designer. We are currently looking for day-of assistants to be hands on with current events and projects. 

Crystal Swift, Founder of The Crystal Collection Co.

Cincy Chic: What services do you offer customers?
Swift: Event planning and design as well as creative direction.

Cincy Chic: What makes The Crystal Collection Co unique?
Swift: We are in the business of serving others with intention. None of our events or projects will ever look the same because our focus is on the one we’re serving. Every person, every business has a story, and we use that as our inspiration to create events and projects that are unique and exclusive. 

Cincy Chic: Is there anything new on the horizon?
Swift: New services are coming! And they will all be geared toward creative entrepreneurs, client experience, and visual storytelling. 

Cincy Chic: Where can readers go to learn more and follow along?
Swift: You can learn more and follow along on our website, Instagram, and Facebook

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Our life coach columnist talks about friendships — making the best connections and how to maintain the relationships healthiest for you.

Connection! We all have a strong desire to be connected, included, a part of something — and friendships are no different.

The relationship girls create starts early in life and if you’re lucky it will last well into your adult years. Also, there are girlfriends who can and may be seasonal in your life.  

What if girlfriends aren’t your thing or simply don’t have anyone you can call friend?

Seek and you shall find.

Finding others to develop a friendship with can come at any given moment.  When attending meeting and events if someone you are around brings you joy, raises your energy level, and has value in conversation, perhaps that person is someone you want to begin nurturing a friendship. Inviting them to coffee or lunch to have conversation which can open the door to a new friendship.

If it’s someone that gossips, complains, gives off a negative energy then this probably isn’t someone whom you want to build a friendship.

You get to decide.

For those who have girlfriends be sure they are still offering value in your life.  It’s okay if you have outgrown the relationship.  It might be time to start pruning away those who do not serve in a higher way or it could be time to start nurturing those relationships even deeper.  

Jim Rohn said, “you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with”. Be sure to consider this with your friendships.  Look at the top five “girlfriends” you spend time with and ask yourself if they still bring you joy.

Most importantly, when you engage in the relationship be sure and be nurturing, caring, give-and-take, love, and lots of laughter, all while cherishing every moment. That’s all!

Sending you love and light,

Melissa

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Our travel expert has some ideas for staying healthy and active while traveling and maybe even try something new.

Photo: Haven Lane
Photo: Kareem Mazhar

Traveling can throw us out of our normal fitness and eating routines. It is nice to have a plan to help us stay on track. When you are out of town, it is a great time to switch up your routine and do something you may not do at home. Here are 8 ideas to help you stay active and have fun when you are out of town.

1. Explore on foot – When you are in large cities, public transit is often readily available. While that is nice for long distances, it is usually easy and fun to explore on foot. In fact you’ll be surprised at how quickly you accumulate steps when you are seeing sights in a city! Whether it is strolling through Paris, walking through Central Park in New York City, or seeing the architectural artwork in Barcelona, you’ll enjoy burning calories while seeing amazing new places.
 
 
2. Try a new sport – Use your new locale as motivation to try a new sport! Take a surfing lesson in Hawaii, try paddle boarding at the lake or in the calm Caribbean Sea, brush up on your backhand on the tennis court, or dive into sand volleyball at your all-inclusive paradise. You’ll have fun while giving your muscles a good workout.

Photo: Fabrizio Passetti
 
3. Bike around the city – Many cities have bikes for rent. And in many places, there are dedicated bike lanes or paths. Instead of an electric scooter, get a bike! Go explore around the city and drop the bike at the nearest return rack when you reach your next destination. Bikes are a great way to get around Hilton Head Island, Lyon in France, and even in our city of Cincinnati!
 
 
4. Hike – Hiking is a great way to stay active and appreciate the beauty of the world around you. You can hike to discover beautiful waterfalls in Costa Rica or Iceland, you can explore the Grand Canyon and see amazing views from various vantage points, and you can explore the ancient world on a hike to Machu Picchu.

Photo: Dang Iman Nurjaman
 
5. Skiing and snowboarding – Isn’t that a destination in itself? Take advantage of the cold climates to ski the slopes in the Colorado Rockies. If you are feeling like a new destination, the Swiss Alps may be your next great adventure!
 
6. Gym – If you have a routine, most gyms have a gym that is included with your hotel stay. A morning in the gym may be just what you need to give you the energy to take on your day’s adventures.
 
 
7. Find a near-by class – You may want to stick with a familiar exercise you love. You can often find classes around an area, such as somewhere that offers cross-fit or a personal trainer to help you switch up your routine or up your game. Imagine diving deeper into your yoga practice with a guru in India! Many resorts offer classes you many enjoy, such as Zumba on the beach, water aerobics, and morning yoga. Look for offerings in the area you plan to travel and to make reservations if needed.

Photo: Dang Iman Nurjaman
 
8. Exercise in your hotel room – If you are not a gym person, but want to stay in shape, use the wi-fi to view a workout from your favorite streaming  network. Or search for a hotel workout online to accomplish your goals. Simple exercises such as planks, crunches, push ups, squats, and lunges are a great way to keep you active. Remember, you can easily pack a resistance band to travel light with your equipment.

Staying active while traveling helps you to feel balanced, especially when you are somewhere with amazing cuisine and beverages. Planning your next vacation around what you love to do would be a great way to see the world!

What is your favorite way to stay active on vacation? Share your ideas in the comments.

Photo: Alexey Avvakumov

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Get your beads ready! Learn about the biggest Mardi Gras party in town and how it supports our community’s most vulnerable children!

It’s been 29 years since four homeless children perished in a garage fire. Although the years have passed, the memory of it hasn’t. To help the memory of those lost live on, the Northern Kentucky Restaurant Association (NKRA), led by Chairman Gordy Snyder, launched Mardi Gras for Homeless Children to help fight against homelessness in the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky region.

“The NKRA member restaurants and businesses donate their food and time to raise much needed funds to support the food budgets for Bethany House Services, Brighton Center, and Welcome House,” explains Barbara Gurren, Vice President of Sales & Marketing at the Commonwealth Hotel Collection.

Mardi Gras for Homeless Children offers guests a culinary experience that benefits Bethany House Services, Brighton Center, and Welcome House, all local agencies that help feed the region’s homeless children.

This year’s event is on February 25, Fat Tuesday, at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center from 6:30 pm to 10:00 pm.

To date, more than $1 million has been raised with the event for the region’s homeless children through organizations that service more than 40,000 needy individuals in the community each year.

Mardi Gras for Homeless Children features more than 50 booths of food and beverages furnished by members of the NKRA.

To purchase tickets for Mardi Gras for Homeless Children, visit mardigras2020.org, or stop by Mercedes Benz of Ft. Mitchell, Bethany House Services, Brighton Center’s Homeward Bound, Welcome House of Northern Kentucky and the 50 participating restaurants.

To learn more about the event or the organization, click here or call 859-291-NKRA.

Check out this video for a sneak peek of the upcoming Mardi Gras with Homeless Children:

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Jump start your path to better well-being at a locally-based, one-stop shop for all things beauty, health, and wellness.

Cincy Chic: What is Batavia Art of Healing, Beauty & Wellness Center?
Lisa Taylor of Batavia Art of Healing, Beauty & Wellness Center: At Batavia Wellness Center, we are a network of like-minded practitioners and consultants who are dedicated to help you by providing great quality services with a holistic approach, and a personal touch. Our mission is to provide natural and alternative sources that get back to that true sense of health and vitality from the inside out We all believe that you and your families deserve the very best.

Cincy Chic: Who is part of the team that makes up the Batavia Art of Healing, Beauty & Wellness Center?
Taylor: We have Dr. Taylor of Batavia Chiropractic, myself from Main Street Salon in Batavia, Angela Lipps of Serene Ways, Julie Bryant of Soothing Soles, Cathy Liming of Ohio Valley Alternative Allergy Therapeutic, Nicole Jeffries from Hypnotic Wellness Methods, and Lizz Schmitz of Queen City Tan.

Cincy Chic: What services do you offer? 
Taylor: We offer chiropractic care and services, reflexology, NADA ear acupuncture (this means no needle), allergy relief, whole food, standard process supplements, health coaching, CPR classes, hypnosis/hypnotherapy, L’anza Healing haircare, essential oils, and an all organic natural spray tan. 

Cincy Chic: What makes Batavia Art of Healing Wellness Center unique?
Taylor: Our mission is all encompassing. We want to provide all of our clients with an all-natural, organic, holistic approach to health, beauty, and wellness.

Cincy Chic: Where is Batavia Art of Healing, Beauty & Wellness Center located?
Taylor: We can be found at 250 East Main Street in Batavia. 

Cincy Chic: Where can readers go to learn more and follow along?
Taylor: You can learn more about us and the services we offer at https://www.batavia-wellness.com. We’re also on Facebook. You can call 513–491-0118 or send us an email at bataviawellnesscenter@gmail.com

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Feeling a little sluggish this season? Read on as our life coach columnist explains why hibernation is essential to rejuvenating the body, mind, and spirit.

If you find yourself being less active this time of year, it’s OK, really. Give yourself permission to be in an inactive state during this time. AND be sure to plan for what’s next so you can actively engage in the planning.

As a transformation coach I support others to live a life by design because you make it happen. The key part here is YOU make your life happen…by design!

This time of year, many things are dormant including you. Do you find yourself less engaged in designing and planning, and more in conserving energy, resting, and less active or energized?  

If so, then what if you take this time to consider being in hibernation of rejuvenating the body, mind, and spirit, knowing when spring arrives you will ready and excited to get active in ways to live your life by design?

Here are a few ways you can utilize the remaining time of winter in preparation for what’s next.

1. Create a choice list (not a to do list) to discover all the things you desire to be, do, or have for yourself in business and life.
2. Clean out a closet (or two) and remove anything that no longer serves you. Don’t second guess, let it go. The less you keep of those things that don’t bring you joy the more joy you will hold. 
3. Map out a year-in-a-glance calendar. List each month and decided what you want to accomplish in each month. For instance, 
• March – be more active by finding an activity that gets me moving a minimum of 10 minutes per day. 
• April – launch a new promotion for business to increase sales. 

This quick glance will set the stage for aligning your desires and how you want to make things happen so you can begin being more active in your life and living by design. You’ve got this!

Sending you love and light,

Melissa

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This Tony Award-winner performed for three presidents, Princess Diana, and Queen Elizabeth — and she’s coming to Cincinnati soon! Read on for more.

When it comes to performing, Lea Salonga has been on stage for over 37 years. Over her nearly-four-decade career, she’s built an astounding musical theatre legacy, earning awards such as the Tony, Oliver, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle and Theatre World Awards. And now, she’s making her way to Cincinnati in two months with two concerts on April 20 and 21.

At the mere age of seven, Lea performed in the musical The King and I with the Repertory Philippines. Since then, Lea has appeared in productions such as Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Fiddler on the Roof, The Sound of Music, and many more. She is also the singing voice of Princess Jasmine from Aladdin and Fa Mulan for Mulan and Mulan II and was the lead role in Miss Saigon.

Throughout her career, Lea has  broken barriers for the next generation of performers. Lea was the first Asian to play Eponine in the musical Les Misérables on Broadway and returned in 2006 to play Fantine. She also was the first Asian woman to win a Tony Award and sign with an international record label. Lea uses her voice to not just sing, but to truly perform and has impacted millions along the way, including six Philippine presidents, three American Presidents, Princess Diana, Princess of Wales and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

Lea Salonga will be coming to Cincinnati in April to perform and bring to life classic songs from her albums and roles. “I’m thrilled to be back on the road in North America, and all around the world in 2020,” says Lea. “We’ve got a lot of new music, some old favorites, and a few surprises in store. We had so much fun with our incredible sold-out audiences last year. I can’t wait to perform at these gorgeous venues and connect with fans, new and old, in the months to come.”

Lea Salonga will be performing two shows in Historic Memorial Hall, right in the heart of the revitalized arts district of Over the Rhine. The shows will be held on April 20 and 21 at 8pm. The show can be enjoyed by all ages, seeing, as her voice is timeless and can be recognized by all ages. Tickets range from $50-$95 and can be purchased here.

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Say goodbye to toxic chemicals and hello to eco-friendly dinnerware the whole family will love.

 

Cincy Chic: What is your plastic-free, stainless steel dinnerware line called?
Manasa Mantravadi, Founder of Ahimsa: Ahimsa (ah·HIM·suh). It is an ancient Sanskrit term meaning “avoiding harm” and “universal love.” 

Cincy Chic: What is the inspiration behind Ahimsa?
Mantravadi: In India, stainless steel dishes have been used for generations. When my children were born, my mother replaced the plastic dinnerware I mistakenly bought for my children with traditional steel dinnerware that I myself used as a child. She was concerned with leaching of chemicals in the plastic with heat. Well, in 2018, The American Academy of Pediatrics released a report on how families can limit their children’s exposure to harmful chemicals, and recommended using glass and stainless steel when possible. This made for the biggest “I told you so” moment in the history of motherhood! Since I had used stainless steel as a child and was only using stainless steel for my own children, I was shocked at the lack of options for parents to follow those recommendations by the AAP. I was also concerned about the effect on the environment as I watched my friends constantly discard and replace stained, melted, and frayed plastic dinnerware.  

Manasa Mantravadi, Founder of Ahimsa. Photography: Jessica Strickland Photography

Cincy Chic: Can you tell us about the journey from pediatrician and how it got you to where you are today? 
Mantravadi: Ahimsa stemmed from a text message chain with 5 other pediatrician moms who have remained my closest of friends since our residency days. Everyone was baffled on next steps for their own children after the release of that AAP statement. Medicine prepares you to be a lifelong learner, so I was well prepared to embark on this journey to learn about how to devise a solution. I read non-stop about the health related to food-grade stainless steel and the science of allowing metal to take on color without additional chemicals or paint. I wanted to incorporate my experience in counseling children and parents about healthy eating habits into our products; specifically what I learned as my time as an endocrine fellow at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital! Once I figured out those large pieces of the puzzle, I turned around and saw a mountain of pieces I had to navigate through to create an actual business.

Cincy Chic: What makes Ahimsa unique?
Mantravadi: We are the world’s first line of colorful stainless steel dinnerware for children. By sharing something tried-and-true from my own roots in India, we aim to redefine mealtime by putting safe, durable, and beautiful steel on the American dining table. Our entire company is based on health and science because that is what I know. However, it is the real-life experience as a parent that drives our mission to be a practical, simple, and lasting solution. From product development to lab testing, every detail is intentional and meticulous as we want parents to be able to focus on the good stuff, like happy, healthy family dinners!

Cincy Chic: Is there anything new on the horizon?
Mantravadi: We are just finishing our pre-launch phase and have had great customer feedback. We’ve listened and have since released separates! We will soon be offering round dinner plates and a cereal bowl with nesting spoon for our older kids. They don’t want their bowls to tip over either! For us, customers will always be at the core of improvements and innovation as we know mother (and father) knows best! Trust me. I listened to my mother … and Ahimsa was born. 

Cincy Chic: Where can readers go to learn more and follow along?
Mantravadi: Learn more and order at ahimsahome.com. You can follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.

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Lace up for a fashion-forward cocktail party that is equal parts style and swagger, benefitting national nonprofit, Girls on the Run.

When it comes to cocktail parties, you usually reach for your favorite pumps to pair with your cocktail attire. But at the Sneaker Soiree, your favorite sneakers are all you need to dance the night away. 

For the first year ever, Girls on the Run and Fleet Feet are hosting a fashion-forward cocktail party that is equal parts style and swagger. Girls on the Run is a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating a world where every girl knows and activates her limitless potential and is free to boldly pursue her dreams. Across the nation, there are 12,000 locations with programming available, one of them being in Cincinnati. 

“At Girls on the Run, trained coaches lead small teams through our researched-based curricula which includes dynamic discussions, activities and running games,” says Amy Elmore, Development Manager for Girls on the Run Greater Cincinnati. “Over the course of the ten-week program, girls in 3-8th grade develop essential skills that allow them to navigate their worlds and establish a lifetime appreciation for health and fitness.”

At the Sneaker Soiree, guests can expect many fun twists and turns. The night will be emceed by B-105’s co-host, Amanda Valentine. Guests will enjoy dinner by the bite and drinks while mingling with other GOTR supporters and be invited to attend an athletic / athleisure wear fashion show featuring a live auction of the outfits with auctioneer Jeff Jeffers. Throughout the night, there will be several silent auction items for guests to place their bids and hear from GOTR girls, both from past and present. 

“The inspiration for this event came from other Girls on the Run councils around the country that also host Sneaker Soirees. We have held the same spring fundraiser, a casual happy hour, for the past three years and were looking to change things up and offer supporters a new event,” says Elmore. “A Sneaker Soiree seemed like a great fit and Fleet Feet Cincinnati was willing and ready to co-host and coordinate the fashion show.”

The event is open to anyone 21 years of age or older. It will be held at the Summit Hotel, 5345 Medpace Way on February 28, 2020. 

VIP Tickets are $100, including an open bar cocktail party from 6-7pm in addition to general admission. 

General Admission Tickets are $75, including two drink tickets and dinner by the bite. 

For additional information or to purchase tickets, visit the Girls on the Run Cincinnati’s website.