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A new event planning service, which will launch in March, seeks to get to know clients to build elegant events with a unique twist. Read on to learn more.

Crystal Corbin is no stranger to planning events. For five years, she worked as an event manager and marketing manager for various nonprofits, planning design and execute fundraisers as well as helping them with their social media presences.

Her love affair with planning weddings began five years ago with the first wedding she planned. In 2016 she decided to branch out to planning events on her own, and on March 11, her Fairfield, Ohio-based party planning and designing business, The Crystal Collection, will officially launch. The Crystal Collection will primarily work in Ohio, southern Michigan, and northern Kentucky, as well as destination events.

Anastasia Gentry Photography

The Crystal Collection plans and designs weddings, showers, “sophisticated” birthdays, and photo shoots. Corbin describes the feel of events planned by The Crystal Collection as “sensual” and “sexy,” explaining that the events have an aura that “align with intimacy and sensuality,” blending those aspects with sophistication and femininity. “We love all things burgundy, lace, and floral! Lots of floral!”

As the owner and lead designer of The Crystal Collection, Corbin hopes that potential clients understand the importance of having a planner, especially a good one who can execute your vision well. Planning an event is an enormous undertaking, and it can be stressful to organize every aspect, especially for someone untrained in event planning. Corbin knows that many people think event and wedding planners are expensive and not important enough to justify the cost, but that the work planners do is vital to any well-executed event. The Crystal Collection aims to provide customers with the feeling of planning their wedding with someone who wants to get to know them personally so they can have a unique event experience.

“With the Crystal Collection, we hope to provide a unique and intimate experience with planning their special days, whether it’s a birthday celebration or an engagement party,” Corbin says to explain what sets The Crystal Collection apart from other event planning businesses and why potential clients should choose her business. “All events are special. We bring a huge flare of design and appearance that compliments our client’s personality.”

Though The Crystal Collection won’t officially launch until March, its Instagram account and Facebook fanpage are up and running. To learn more, call (419) 699-9659.

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Love cats and coffee? There’s a new cat cafe where you can grab a cup of organic coffee and enjoy it with adoptable cats. Read on for the purrr-fect details!

The Kitty Brew Cat Cafe will bring coffee and cats to the Tri-State.

Cincy Chic: Tell us more about the Kitty Brew Cat Cafe!
Jenni Barrett, Co-Owner and Founder of Kitty Brew Cat Cafe: Kitty Brew is Southwestern Ohio’s first cat cafe. We will provide premium cafe drinks made from organic, fair trade coffee beans. We will serve some sandwiches, soups, and salads. We will also have a variety of sweets including cookies and muffins.

Cincy Chic: What’s the inspiration behind the cafe?
Barrett: I have been rescuing cats and kittens for a few years and always felt like I could do more to raise awareness. One evening my family and I were watching Shark Tank and a woman pitched her idea (cat cafe) to the sharks. After the show, I did a lot of research and fell in love with the idea. Ken and I have worked very hard pursuing our dream of owning such a cool business.

Cincy Chic: Who’s behind the Kitty Brew Cat Cafe?
Barrett: My boyfriend and I are the owners of the business!

Cincy Chic: When will you launch Kitty Brew Cat Cafe?
Barrett: We formally announced our business on Facebook in March 2016. We anticipate opening in late February or early March.

Cincy Chic: What makes Kitty Brew Cat Cafe unique?
Barrett: We’re unique because we offer great customer service, amazing drinks, and adoptable cats and kittens. It doesn’t get much better than that!

Cincy Chic: Why is Kitty Brew the perfect place to visit with girlfriends?
Barrett: Kitty Brew is the best place to visit with friends because we offer a great menu and a great experience at the same time. You and your friends can be entertained by our quirky cat companions in our super comfortable cat lounge!

Cincy Chic: Where can readers go to learn more and follow along with Kitty Brew Cat Cafe?
Barrett: Readers can follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Kittybrew.com. We also have a GoFundMe page to help raise funds for our startup costs!

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Learn about the local lady who launched a new service that takes the stress of finding new and fun things to do for date night.

Danielle Reinhart, Founder and President of Date Deputy.

Between jobs, kids, and other obligations, dating can fall by the wayside for many couples, but studies show that dating is important for couples at all stages. Danielle Reinhart, founder and president of Date Deputy, is here to help.

Date Deputy is a brand-new website that Reinhart describes as “kind of like a concierge dating service.” Daters fill out a quick questionnaire, from which Date Deputy develops creative and fun custom date ideas and then sets everything up and sends the customer an itinerary, so all the customer has to do is show up. “We do it all so the couples can enjoy one another, instead of having to stress about what to do or where to go,” Reinhart explains.

Dating is important. Research shows that when someone is with the same person for an extended period of time, doing the same things over and over again can cause the couple to fall into a rut. Doing new and exciting things is important to spark emotions and enhance the intimacy towards one another. But while actually dating is fun, planning dates can be stressful and time-consuming.

“It’s not that people don’t want to take their spouse on this kind of date, they probably just don’t have the time or may not be blessed with the creativity to plan the date,” Reinhart explains, adding that Date Deputy takes away the stress, leaving the couple with the fun of dating.

“We take it seriously and want to make sure you have a great time and enjoy one another, instead of worrying about all the planning,” Reinhart says. While other similar websites may give ideas for dates, Reinhart emphasizes that Date Deputy is the website that customizes ideas to couples’ needs, relationships, and situations, then sends the idea to the couple for feedback before it’s finalized. The dates are unique not just because Date Deputy tries to add an element of surprise to every date planned, but because the dates are based on the customer.

Date Deputy was officially launched in January 2017, but the idea was brewing as early as 2012, when stay-at-home mom Reinhart’s husband Scott pitched to her the idea of a business based on dating ideas for people who are strapped for time and those who don’t have a lot of ideas of what to do on dates. Since 2007, Scott had been wowing Reinhart with his clever, creative, and thoughtfully-planned dates. Reinhart felt that everyone should have dates like those planned by her husband, so she was fascinated with his idea and began working on it in May 2016.

Beyond using Date Deputy to relieve stress, Reinhart stresses the importance of dating and urges couples to “go on a date with your spouse the same way you dated before you were married.” Among her dating tips are dressing to impress, avoiding topics such as the kids or work, chivalry, and preparing your date for what you’re doing.

To learn more about Date Deputy, click here.

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Dust off your green thumb and keep reading to learn more about upcoming horticulture events at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden!

The Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens is hosting a series of gardening classes and Sustainable Urban Landscape Symposiums.

Cincy Chic: Tell us more about upcoming horticulture events at the Cincinnati Zoo!
Angela Hatke, Communications Coordinator at the Cincinnati Zoo: We have an upcoming gardening class as well as our Sustainable Urban Landscape Symposium!

Cincy Chic: What makes these events so unique?
Hatke: As one of only two accredited botanical gardens in Ohio, there’s no better place to dig in than with the experts from the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden. Go from zero to 60 with your gardening knowledge and skills directly from the Zoo’s top horticulturist, and be ready to create a thriving and beautiful garden this spring.

Cincy Chic: How much does it cost to attend these events?
Hatke: The gardening classes are $10 per class for members and $15 per class for non-members. The entire gardening series is $45 for members and $70 for non-members. The Sustainable Urban Landscape Symposium is $49.

Cincy Chic: How can readers RSVP for the horticulture events?
Hatke: Readers can RSVP here or email horticulture@cincinnatizoo.org with any questions.

Cincy Chic: Is there anything new on the horizon for the Zoo in 2017?
Hatke: We’re still putting together the events for 2017, but we do have a new events manager and we’re excited for her to bring a new spin to our classic events! Keep an eye out at cincinnatizoo.org/events.

Cincy Chic: Where can readers go to learn more about the zoo and upcoming events?
Hatke: Visit www.cincinnatizoo.org for more information.

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Is this sequel to “Fifty Shades of Grey” Red Room ready or is it a new form of torture? Read on for our movie critic’s steamy new review.

 
“If all else fails, I can get a jump on the sequel to Eyes Wide Shut: Eyes Wider!” Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) prepares to attend a ball with her paramour in a scene from FIFTY SHADES DARKER. Credit: Doane Gregory. © 2016 Universal Pictures. All rights reserved. 

 

WATCH THE TRAILER(S) HERE: 

 


KEY CAST MEMBERS: Dakota Johnson, Jamie Dornan, Eric Johnson, Luke Grimes, Eloise Mumford, Bella Heathcote, Max Martini, Victor Rasuk, Rita Ora, Marcia Gay Harden and Kim Basinger 

WRITER(S): Niall Leonard (screenplay); E.L. James (novel on which the film is based)

DIRECTOR(S): James Foley

WEB SITE: http://www.fiftyshadesmovie.com/

HERE’S THE STORY: The second installment of the trilogy based on novelist E.L. James Fifty Shades books, Fifty Shades Darker again stars Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan as Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey. Now broken up, Anastasia has moved on, enjoying her dream job at a Seattle-based publishing company learning the ropes under the tutelage of Jack Hyde (Eric Johnson). But Christian hasn’t. He wants her back and will do whatever it takes, even “re-negotiating terms.” 

But as soon as Anastasia and Christian seemingly begin to work things out, shadowy figures from the past and present star to interfere in their lives in a way that threaten to break them up forever.

WHO WILL LIKE THIS FILM THE MOST? Women who love cheesy romance novels, abs and exposed male buttocks; women who want a safe entry point to explore their BDSM fantasies; men who want to have sex with their lady but don’t think they have to put in much work if she liked the first movie

WHO WON’T (OR SHOULDN’T) LIKE THIS MOVIE? Anyone not named in the previous section.

SO, IS IT GOOD, BAD OR ABSOLUTELY AWFUL? I could write a term-paper length dissertation on everything that makes Fifty Shades Darker an awful movie … But given how little effort apparently went into making the film, that would be more work than it’s worth. So, while I hate to say a movie is “awful,” but Fifty Shades Darker is damn close to as awful of a romantic film as you can release through a major Hollywood studio.

Look, since the target audience for this film is women, single women, married women, kinky women, young kinky single women, young kinky married women, older single kinky women and older married kinky women, let me save you a ton of time: Do not, I repeat, NOT drag your man along with you to Fifty Shades Darker. Simply go with your girlfriends out for the night, get some wine before or after the movie and enjoy the cheese that the film offers to compliment it for 2 hours. 

Johnson delivers the most, um, compelling performance of anyone in the film, which is best described as one part bad daytime soap opera (there’s a helicopter crash!) plus late-night Showtime/Cinemax soft core porn. (There’s a drink thrown in someone’s face, for goodness sake!) Dornan is fairly wooden in his emotions (and they are better than they were in the first movie, which is saying something), the s were in the first movie, which is saying something), the story is absolutely ridiculous (and, based on my limited exposure to people who consider themselves part of the BDSM community, not an accurate representation of the lifestyle) and the less said about Gay Harden and Basinger in this, the better. Johnson and Dornan’s “chemistry” is pitiful, the “villains” are comic book bad (don’t think modern Marvel; think ’80s Saturday morning cartoons), the dialogue is junior high first boyfriend/girlfriend insipid and James Foley (Glengarry Glenn Ross, House of Cards) should be ashamed for how terrible his overuse of foreshadowing and heavy-handed direction (here comes a dramatic moment) is. Then again, Niall Leonard didn’t give him much to work with script-wise; then again, he was working with original E.L. James novel, so …

If you really like the books or think that Pretty Woman or any of the Twilight films are good movies, you’ll like Fifty Shades Darker. If you just want to imagine the world has plenty of 27 year-old billionaires that are dark and mysterious because they have been abused but really have a heart of gold and need an – you know, I’m not going to talk about Johnson’s looks as there’s nothing wrong with them, but let’s just say I can’t think of a distinct quality about her or her character that stands out – a good woman to save him (oh yeah, AND he’s a freak in the bedroom, too!), go ahead!

If you don’t fall into the groups mentioned above, seeing Fifty Shades Darker is the equivalent of dragging a 25 year-old female who enjoys Lady Gaga, Katy Perry and Migos music, ends all her texts with “lol” and clubbing to a Star Wars marathon. I’m not saying you can’t find a woman that fits that category who would enjoy Star Wars; I AM saying the effort to find that woman is not worth it just to prove a point.

And the only point one needs to prove about Fifty Shades Darker is that Fifty Shades Freed has nowhere to go but up from here – because this romance can’t get much worse. 

 

OVERALL RATING (OUT OF FOUR POSSIBLE BUCKETS OF POPCORN):

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A local lady is channeling her acting, writing, directing and production experience into a new production company. Read on for all the Tinseltown details.

Time to be Alive Productions was founded by local lady Carrington Rowe.

Carrington Rowe has been performing for her whole life, and she pretty much does it all. She has acted on stage since childhood, added screen acting (for movies, TV, and the web) to her repertoire, and she sings, dances, writes, models, and blogs. Adding a new feather to her cap, she’s now the founder and executive producer for Time to Be Alive Productions, a production company that specializes in film, web series, and filming events such as weddings and behind-the-scenes.

The decision to branch out into founding a production company came seven months ago. “I was exhilarated and terrified all at the same time, as any owner of a business can relate to,” Rowe says. When she took a trip to Chicago for the Midwest Independent Film Festival and met producers, writers, directors, actors, and cinematographers, she thought to herself, “Wow, what a time to be alive!”

With a perfect name for her company, Time to Be Alive Productions, Rowe set her plan into motion. “This is our time to be alive. Why not do something you love?” Rowe says. “Let’s create something to make us feel alive!”

Carrington Rowe, Founder of Time to be Alive Productions

“I have been in show business for 23 years, literally my whole life. I have always performed. Even before I could talk I was a performer,” Rowe explains of her performance roots. From performing skits and songs from shows she had seen as a small child, Rowe went on to perform in various theatre productions. Her big breakthrough was in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory at nine years old, when she looked out into the audience during a monologue and realized that “wanted to do this for the rest of my life.” She took every class she could to hone her skills and keep up the craft, and at age 19 got into film through a college class called “Acting for the Camera.” That led to more workshops and eventually to roles in films such as 50 to 1 and shows such as Nashville TV series.

Time to Be Alive is almost finished with the short film “Cellpocalypse,” starring, written by, directed by, and produced by Rowe. Stay tuned for web series “The Lirrington Show” and “O, Barbara,” still in production or pre-production. Time to Be Alive will be collaborating with a theatre company this spring, as well as with Rowe’s fashion blog, Fashion with Carrington, for behind-the-scenes footage. Time to Be Alive Productions also takes requests. Time to Be Alive Production’s immediate goals are to focus locally before moving on to other markets and submitting to film festivals.

The company is also in need of part-time workers; if interested, contact Rowe at ttbaproductions@gmail.com or learn more at www.facebook.com/timetobealiveproductions.

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There’s a new glass studio in town offering everything from DIY classes to colorful, one-of-a-kind home decor and jewelry. Read on for more!

Brenda Buschle of The Glass Rainbow.

Cincy Chic: Tell us more about The Glass Rainbow!
Brenda Buschle, Founder of The Glass Rainbow: The Glass Rainbow is a warm glass studio. I work with sheet glass specifically meant to be fired in a kiln. The glass comes in just about every color you could imagine and there are also “accessory” glass products such as Stringers (1 or 2 mm strings of glass), Confetti glass (extremely thin slivers of glass), and Frit (tiny chunks of glass as well as ground glass that comes in powder form). I have an 1,800-square-foot studio that sits next to my home. At this point, I’m not sure why I still have a home because I’m in the studio all day, every day.

Cincy Chic: What inspired you to launch The Glass Rainbow?
Buschle: It was my obsession with glass. I took a single class in 2015 and was immediately obsessed. I couldn’t wait for the next class and the next and the next. I purchased my first kiln about 2 months later. Kilns are built to spec so it took about 4 weeks to arrive (longest 4 weeks of my life!). Three weeks later, I had my second kiln on order. I added my third (and biggest) kiln to the family in November 2016. If this isn’t an obsession, I don’t know what is.

Cincy Chic: Who’s behind the studio?
Buschle: Just me. My mom helps out with beading of the wind chimes and now she’s working on beaded sun catcher curtains. She also plays a part in some of my creative ideas, as well, but the glass is all me.

Cincy Chic: When did you officially launch The Glass Rainbow?
Buschle: The Glass Rainbow opened in early 2016.

Cincy Chic: What types of products do you create for customers?
Buschle: I make glass wind chimes, jewelry, clocks, art panels and functional glass pieces including, bowls, plates, dishes. I’m only limited by my imagination.

Cincy Chic: Is there anything new for The Glass Rainbow in 2017?
Buschle: New this year, I’m offering Girls Night Out classes where you can get together with your friends and make you own kiln-formed glass project. I’m starting out with easier items but will be adding more intricate projects, if the interest is there. You can view current classes here. Anyone interested in private instruction is welcome to contact me for more information!

Cincy Chic: Where can readers go to learn more?
Buschle: Visit www.theglassrainbow.com. I’m also on Facebook.

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See how a college project turned into a large-scale monthly event series that showcases hundreds of local artists and supports area charities.

Art on Vine celebrates Cincinnati’s art community.

In 2012, James Jenkins and Page Lansley were college students working on a project together. The goals of the project were “to create something this city could be proud of, and a sustainable outlet for local artists for years to come, giving artists an opportunity to pursue their creative dreams or goals, and a chance to do what they love and making a living at it,” explains Jenkins, who majored in Business Law and Film Photography. The two presented the project in front of Procter & Gamble, Hewlett-Packard, and Western & Southern Financial Group, and they turned it into a business, Art on Vine.

Art on Vine, founded by Jenkins, with Lansley serving as a graphic designer and local artist, is a monthly local fine arts and handmade goods sale that hosts over 70 local vendors in Rhinegeist Brewery in the fall and winter and Fountain Square in the spring and summer.

Art on Vine offers a wide variety of items, from oil paintings and works on canvas to pottery and crafts and so much more. Unlike some similar vending opportunities, Art on Vine is held year-round. Art on Vine also offers local food to offer buyers a “unique, one-on-one” good time and the opportunity to meet the artists in person and find out what inspired them. The artists, in turn, can “meet and learn from consumers, and to share ideas that can inspire them to create the perfect and personal piece,” Jenkins explains.

Before founding Art on Vine, Jenkins also worked as a photographer for local businesses such as Boca, Sotto, MidPoint Music Festival, Lumenocity, and many shops in Over-the-Rhine, so he understands how important these opportunities are to artists. Art on Vine gives artists the opportunity to build relationships with long-term repeat customers, sell their work on a monthly platform, gain feedback from customers in meet-and-greets, and to bond with fellow artists, which can lead to partnerships and information on other events and further opportunities.

Art on Vine also seeks to benefit a different nonprofit organization each month, following the tradition of a portion of artist fees benefitting Over-the-Rhine Community Housing when Art on Vine first started in a parking lot on Vine Street.

Art on Vine only has three dates left at Rhinegeist Brewery: February 19, March 19, and April 23 from 12 to 7 p.m. Then it will move to Fountain Square for the summer months until October.

To learn more about Art on Vine, visit http://www.artonvinecincy.com/

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After a disastrous experience with his own homeowner’s insurance policy, an entrepreneur decided to launch the first-ever “Yelp” for insurance. Keep reading to learn more.

Todd Kozikowski, Co-Founder of Clearsurance.

Cincy Chic: What is Clearsurance?
Todd Kozikowski, Co-Founder of Clearsurance: Clearsurance is the first ever ‘Yelp’ for auto, home, and renter’s insurance – leveling the playing field between big insurance and consumers by bringing transparency to a traditionally secretive industry. By crowdsourcing customer reviews (10,000 and counting) and combining them with industry-leading financial ratings, Clearsurance aims to provide the most objective, trustworthy, and comprehensive ratings, reviews, and advocacy tools in the insurance industry. As more consumers purchase insurance directly from insurance companies, there is a clear need for a trusted, independent source for consumers to share their insurance experiences, learn from others, and compare their options.

Cincy Chic: What inspired you to launch Clearsurance?
Kozikowski: Imagine returning from a camping trip, to find your house covered in asbestos and fiberglass. This actually happened to me. A renovation error cost my family our health, our house, and years mired in lawsuits – all because the insurance carrier didn’t provide the coverage the family thought it did. Years later, me and my team are on a mission to spare others from a similar nightmare.

Cincy Chic: When did Clearsurance launch?
Kozikowski: We launched on December 6, 2016 as a startup that took Boston by storm. On January 11, 2017, we announced its launch in Cincinnati.

Cincy Chic: Who’s behind Clearsurance?
Kozikowski: While the masterminds behind Clearsurance are myself (COO) and Michael Crowe (CEO), the entire Clearsurance team has a strong background in start-ups and/or insurance. Ultimately, the team tirelessly works to listen to consumers and carriers about their needs to reflect a higher level of transparency for the insurance industry.

Cincy Chic: What makes Clearsurance unique?
Kozikowski: Clearsurance is the first and only company on the market that provides independent, trusted, crowdsourced insurance advice. Think ‘Yelp,’ but for insurance.

Cincy Chic: What’s on the horizon for Clearsurance in 2017?
Kozikowski: As a startup, there are tons of new things coming in 2017. That includes the ability for insurers to reply to policyholders directly, help educate and guide, as well as new ways of filtering carrier rankings based on the needs of the policyholders (such as review flood claims, bike accidents, burglary, specific storms, etc). In addition, Clearsurance will be releasing a number of key metrics about each carrier for the policyholder to learn, including NPS scores (would policyholder recommend the insurer), renewal rates, claim experience, and a number of financial health metrics.

Cincy Chic: Where can readers go to learn more about Clearsurance?
Kozowski: Visit Clearsurance.com to learn more about us and what we have to offer.

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We’re hard-wired to quickly pass judgement to assess situations, but our life coach columnist explains how it can also hinder your happiness and success.

Recently, I was talking with a friend that had just lost her mother. She was telling me a little about her when I asked her if she had any other siblings in the area.

She told me that she had two siblings that lived in town and two that lived out of town. I did the computation in my head and realized that by today’s standards, she came from a large family.

Are you Catholic, I asked? You have a large family and there are so many of that faith that live in that subdivision.

She laughed and said no. She mentioned that she hears that a lot.

Can we all agree that I just made a JUDGMENT?

I realized it as soon as it came out of my mouth. Without being aware of what I was doing, I put all the available data together and made my assessment. My assessment was incorrect and was based on inconclusive evidence. However, my need to categorize and make sense of the situation was so strong that it drove my behavior.

Why do we do this? Our ancestors were instinctively hard wired for survival. Their ability to assess their environment and search for dangers and risks helped them stay alive. They had to make quick judgments about their environment for adaptation and survival purposes.

However, in today’s world, this skill can cause all kinds of trouble for you. Your need to categorize situations and people encourages judgment calls that can be way off base. When your brain doesn’t have all the necessary information, it automatically fills in the gaps. You have an innate need to quickly make sense of your surroundings.

That’s when your assessment turns out to be incorrect.

The reason I bring this point up is because I believe that making judgments can stand in your way of being happy, productive and successful in your life. You are asked to make judgments in your job, in your everyday life and at home. When you make decisions about people and situations based on your first thought and response, you can be missing out on some great people and outstanding experiences.

You can’t stop your brain from performing this task every time you encounter a situation. What you CAN do is recognize that first thought and assessment and decide whether you want to agree with it or not. Do you need more information? Is there more to this situation than it may seem at first glance?

You can push yourself to be mindful and think it through better before you open your mouth and take action. Now think about how this action can change your life. Maybe you will give that person you are interviewing a second look and not eliminate them based on their dress. Maybe they will turn out to be your absolute best employee ever. What about that guy you see at work that always talks to you? Why not give him a second chance? He doesn’t look or dress like you, but he’s really friendly. The list goes on and on.

So what I’m asking you to do is have the conversation in your head. You will ALWAYS have that first thought, but try to replace it with some good questions and try to call yourself out on your quick judgments.