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Our life coach columnist shares three tips to manage the awkwardness when spending time with family and friends during the holidays – or anytime throughout the year.

The holiday season is upon us, and I frequently get requests for extra coaching from my clients who want a strategy and plan to get through the holiday season. 

Yes, it’s time to spread our thanksgiving and gratitude for the season and spend time with others.  However, some gatherings, especially during the holidays, can be challenging and daunting, especially if you only see certain friends or family members once or twice a year, and have nothing in common.  

You may also encounter family gatherings that are stressful because some type of fall out among the family has occurred. This makes it really challenging to put on a bright smiling face and enter the room without feeling awkward and uncomfortable.

Sound familiar? You’ve been there? I have as well, which is why I’m providing you three tips you can practice during the upcoming holiday season (or, actually, anytime) to help release the anxiety and stress associated with gatherings.

1. Aren’t they cute – when you are listening to someone and they are sharing a story or talking about something that doesn’t interest you, or maybe it triggers you, simply think inside your head, “Isn’t she/he cute”, and smile. This is a simple but very effective way of deactivating the lack of interest or trigger.  It gives you a different perspective and can offset your desire to say something you might regret.
 
2. Interesting – this is one word that can end a conversation without having to explain or defend yourself. It has no positive or negative indication; just neutral. When someone says something that triggers you, and you want to blast back, pause and simply say, “Interesting”, and stop at that. Nothing more to say.  If they ask, “What does that mean?”, you can repeat, “I just find it interesting –that’s all.” Then, exit the conversation by going for another bite to eat or seeing someone across the room you want to speak with and excuse yourself.
 
3. Eat the popcorn (metaphorically) – often when you are around a group, you will hear others  gossiping. If you’re not able to move away from the conversation and you don’t want to be included but don’t know how to be removed, envision yourself in a movie theater watching the big screen and eating popcorn.  What you’ll discover, is that listening is more powerful than adding to the conversation. You won’t create an abrupt departure that could cause additional gossip but you won’t be caught up in conversation in which you’d rather not participate.

There you have it. When you find yourself in the middle of holiday gatherings, these three ways will help you interact with folks during those awkward holiday gatherings with more ease and confidence. Give one or all three a try. And, if you feel it’s just too much to even go, give yourself permission to decline the invitation unapologetically. Happy Holidays!

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Elsa and Anna return for Frozen 2, but is it as magical as the first? Read on for our critic’s review.

 
“This winter, it’s personal – no, it really is!” From left to right: Olaf (Josh Gad), Anna (Kristen Bell), Elsa (Idina Menzel, center), Kristoff (Jonathan Groff) and Sven return for FROZEN 2. Credit: © 2019 Walt Disney Pictures. All rights reserved.
 

WATCH THE TRAILER(S) HERE:


KEY CAST MEMBERS: Idina Menzel, Kristen Bell, Jonathan Groff, Josh Gad, Sterling K. Brown and Evan Rachel WoodDIRECTOR(S): Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck

 
THE BACK STORY: Following up on the events of the first film, Frozen 2 finds the magical Elsa (Idina Menzel) living happily in the utopian Arendelle with her sister Anna (Kristen Bell), her wanting-to-pop-the-question-but-unsure-how-to-do-so boyfriend Kristoff (Jonathan Groff), his beloved reindeer Sven and everyone’s favorite one-liner cracking snowman Olaf (Josh Gad). But not everything is as peaceful and happy as it seems.

As a flashback will reveal, the sisters’ parents told them of Northuldra, a forest where the people of Arendelle were enjoying a nice time with the natives until something happened and the two groups found their lives forever changed. And now, as fate would have it, a mysterious voice is calling Elsa, who has become more and more curious about the origin of her powers. Could the voice have something to do with her powers? Could there be a connection to Northuldra? 

There’s only way Elsa, Anna, Sven and Olaf are going to find out … Looks like a new adventure awaits! 

THE REVIEW: Sometimes a sequel is better than the original. Sometimes it’s worse. And then there are times where the sequel looks to deliver pretty much everything the first film had that made it successful … even if the second go round, while solid, lacks the magic of the original.The last option is the one that describes the collection of jokes and songs collectively known as Frozen 2.

Frozen 2 is not a bad movie. But if you are not a major fan of Disney’s princess collection of films, the plot is not likely to hook you in. Likewise, while some will undoubtedly find the collection of songs – especially Kristoff’s somewhat hilarious homage to 80s power rock ballads – entertaining, others may find them to be a bit repetitive in both tone and execution. (If you are not an opera fan, some of the jokes may feel a bit long in the ear, er, tooth.) Gad’s Olaf character gets to take center stage for much of Frozen 2 in terms of delivering a much needed levity to the affair, which is balanced by the cuteness factor of Bruni, the salamander representation of fire in the enchanted forest.

Frozen 2 adheres to the longstanding adage of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” by making sure that if was in the first film, try to wedge it into the second film. While Elsa and Anna’s sibling rivalry has subsided, there’s still plenty of bonding in the story, as well as the idea of self-discovery, teamwork … and of course, good ol’ Olaf. Frozen 2 isn’t here to break new ground as much as it is to keep it nice and chilled as fans sing the songs long after they leave the theater. Whereas the first Frozen felt special and unique, 2 is like a slice of pizza from your favorite restaurant: satisfying but extremely familiar.

Thus, while it might be better suited for young children and Disney die-hards only, those two groups will love it … Even if everyone else might be happier if they just let it go and stopped before there is a part three.

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

 

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Take a behind-the-scenes look at Cincinnati’s Human Trafficking multi-media art installation coming January 2020.

A new experiential exhibit will shed light on a dark topic. On January 10, 2020, Motel X, a multi-media art installation, will be on exhibit at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. The purpose of the exhibit is to bring awareness and prevention to Human Trafficking within the Greater Cincinnati area. 

The inspiration behind the exhibit is something very close to creator, Christine Shrum Marque. “I came across the words ‘Human Trafficking’ at 14 years old while I was researching a paper for school. I didn’t understand what it meant and thought it was a type of highway violation. After searching for the definition, I found that it means modern day slavery,” says Marque, “I had no idea as a 14-year-old female in Ohio that I was most at risk for being Trafficked, I had to do some about it. I created Motel X as an interactive experience for visitors to uncover clues and information about Trafficking that happens in our backyards.”

The name of the exhibit derives from both the anonymity and location of Trafficking. The letter “X” has an anonymous feel bringing attention that it can happen anywhere. In 2018, Ohio was reported as the state with the 5th most reported trafficking cases. In 2016 alone, 1,000 were identified in the state of Ohio. Human Trafficking is the highest-grossing industry worldwide, seeing as it has affected 24.9 million people and counting, according to Marque.

When visitors plan to attend, they will be welcomed by a 70’s motel meets Alice in Wonderland visual inspiration. The experience will be unlike anything you could ever imagine. “Motel X will allow participants to touch anything and everything. You’ll look for clues hidden in the furniture following an aggregate story of a sex traffic victim and a labor traffic victim, intended for all ages,” says Christine. Visitors are intended to take away practical information about the Human Trafficking that happens in front of our very eyes, a conversation starter to start the process of preventing this act within our own circles.

For the past three years, Christine has been pouring her heart and soul into this exhibition and she is very excited to see it come to life. Along the way, she has received a lot of support from many partners in the Cincinnati community. “We have been lucky enough to partner with the Intercommunity Justice and Peace Center since the beginning. We have also worked with Kim Belew, The Freedom Center, US Bank Haile Foundation, Deerfield Construction, and so many more to allow the exhibition become what it is today.”

January 10, 2020: The sponsor-inclusive Premiere Night event will be at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. 

January 14, 2020 – April 4, 2020: Open to the public during Freedom Center’s operational hours. 

If you would like to snag opening tickets or donate to Motel X and the mission, please visit https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/themotelx/motel-x. Follow them on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook or visit their website for more information.

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Wish packing lunches could be easy, healthy AND something they’ll actually eat? Check out this new option now locally available.

Local hairstylist and fashion blogger, Kandace Walters, shares a candid of her kids enjoying Freeli

Cincy Chic: What is Freeli Foods?
Jennifer Eagen from Freeli Foods: Freeli Foods are healthy, convenient grab-and-go meals that kids love and mom can feel good about. Freeli Foods contain no artificial preservatives, flavors, or colors, no added sugar, with less sodium and saturated fat than traditional pre-packaged lunches. They are nutritionist-optimized for sustained energy throughout the day.

Cincy Chic: What’s the inspiration behind the brand?
Eagen: Freeli foods are hunky goodness kids can sink their teeth into—real foods, not purées in four flavors kids love: Mac ‘n’ Cheese, Pasta & Meat Sauce, Noodles with Chicken & Veggies, and Fiesta Bowl… beef, rice, beans, and cheese.

Cincy Chic: What makes Freeli Foods unique?
Eagen: Freeli Foods are wholesome, yummy grab-and-go meals for lunch, after school, or anytime. They are ingeniously packaged in convenient grab-and-go pouches (the first ever!), ready to eat in 45 seconds with no cooking and no mess. No utensils needed and they are BPA Free and microwave safe.

Cincy Chic: Where can readers find Freeli Foods meals? Are they in stores near Cincinnati?
Eagen: Freeli Foods are available in Kroger stores in Cincinnati, Dayton, Lexington, Louisville and Nashville. Click here to use our store locator.

Cincy Chic: Where can readers go to learn more and follow along?
Eagen: Visit https://www.freelifoods.com. Freeli Foods is also on Facebook. Click here for a look at coupons and promotions. 

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Why put off until tomorrow what you can do today? Melissa explains how to bring your goals (and energy to get started on them) out of hibernation.

As we are officially moving into the holiday season so let the festivities begin. With Thanksgiving right around the corner and quickly followed by Christmas and New Year time begins to slow day. For many, it’s the time of year for reflection. The colder weather and darkness falling earlier you may find yourself in hibernation mode. No need to do anything and just begin thinking about your new year’s resolutions and what you have or have not completed or accomplished over the past 11 months.

Why put off until tomorrow what you can do today was a statement that took me time to really understand. I get it do it now but why can’t I wait until tomorrow? 

A couple of reasons! One you may not be here and two you want to start now creating your future. By waiting you are only delaying what you truly desire and want. You keep putting it off to where months have passed, and you still can’t understand why you’ve not received what you said you wanted.

How can you begin to start today towards your goals rather than waiting until tomorrow and why?

Here’s my best advice:

– Setting the desire in motion today will allow you to reap the benefits and results faster.  Like the seed being planted in the ground.  The earlier it is planted and nurtured with sunshine and water the faster you will reap the harvest.
– Excitement builds when you know that every day in every moment you are working towards a goal that is going to change you and/or your life for the better.  When those tiny wins show up daily it will keep you moving forward and looking for the results knowing they are building upon one another. Before long you’ve gotten the results and thrilled with the outcome.
– Course correction is important when putting things in motion.  Much like a plane or a boat having to course correct constantly otherwise it will veered off into the wrong direction and miss its destination, your course correcting allows to see daily what’s working and what’s not.  If you feel things need to change you can make those decisions now rather than getting months into your goals and realize it really isn’t going as planned.  Having the opportunity to course correct can get your there faster and get the results you desire.

And when you learn to start each day by feeling into your heart what you truly desire and want to have, you can create a business and life that you love by design.  It’s like magic and feels so good to the system. You’ll wonder why you didn’t do this sooner! So, I challenge you not to put off until tomorrow what you can do today!  

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Tom Hanks portrays Mister Rogers in a timely story of kindness triumphing over cynicism, based on the true story friendship between a jaded magazine writer and America's most beloved neighbor.

 

“Hey kids – if this was a Yeezy 350 Boost, I might tell you how to toss it on eBay to make a profit with which you could start a nice savings account!” Fred Rogers (Tom Hanks) strikes a familiar pose in a scene from director Marielle Henner’s inspired by true events biopic A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD. Credit: Lacey Terrell © 2019 CTMG, Inc. All rights reserved.

 

WATCH THE TRAILER(S) HERE:


 

KEY CAST MEMBERS: Tom Hanks, Matthew Rhys, Chris Cooper, Susan Kelechi Watson, Christine Lahti, Wendy Makenna, Enrico Colantoni, Tammy Blanchard, Noah Harpster and Maryann PlunkettDIRECTOR(S): Marielle Heller

 
THE BACK STORY: Lloyd Vogel (Matthew Rhys) is a journalist for Esquire magazine who’s used to doing hard-hitting, investigative pieces that often leave the subjects of his stories, much like a James Bond martini, a bit shaken if not internally stirred. So, when his boss (Christine Lahti) assigns him to write a 400 word piece on children’s television show host Fred Rogers (Tom Hanks), he’s a bit miffed to say the least. 

Then again, Lloyd’s negative predilection to get to dig deep to find the dirt on people might have something to do with his own issues. He’s still very mad at his dad (Chris Cooper) – whom he prefers to call by his first name of Jerry – for what he did when his wife/Lloyd’s mom got sick. And now that he’s got a newborn son of his own with his wife (Susan Kelechi Watson), he’s feeling a bit of pressure not to pass along any of his own pain to his offspring. 

Thus, what happens when a cynical, depressed reporter is asked to spend extended time with perhaps the most upbeat, positive person in the world? Something that is definitely going to not fit into 400 words but definitely may touch plenty of hearts in theaters nationwide. 
 
THE REVIEW: Inspired by true events biopics often take liberties with the facts of their subject matter, omitting certain controversial details, adding characters or sometimes straight up just diverting from the facts for the sake of the story the filmmaker wants to tell. And given the success of 2018’s documentary Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, putting a well-known actor like Tom Hanks in the role of playing a beloved cultural icon like Fred Rogers could be a recipe for disaster if not done well with a compelling story.Anyone debating whether or not to see A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, however, should have no such concern – for the film is easily one of the finest releases of 2019.

Neighborhood‘s storytelling, under the direction of Marielle Henner (2018’s Can You Ever Forgive Me?), is almost like watching an episode of Rogers’ beloved television show itself – a simple yet genius move that brings the story to life. Instead of digging deep into its subject’s personal life (that aforementioned documentary does exist, after all), the film shows how the relationship between Vogel – based on Esquire writer Tom Junod who’s article served as a basis for Neighborhood – and Rogers. In doing so, it showcases the reasons Rogers became and remains an inspiration to millions of people throughout North America: In talking with Vogel about what drives him, Rogers works Vogel through his myriad of problems, making the writer learn about him but more importantly, himself.

Of course, this wouldn’t happen without Heller’s excellent direction that incorporates elements of both Rogers’ show and Hanks’ full immersion into the role. From his voice affectations and mannerisms to his legendary calm tone of speaking and self-deprecation, Hanks does about a fine a job as you’d hope for in a portrayal of a beloved figure without crossing into saint territory (which the movie directly addresses). Hanks’ ability to channel Rogers own approach to tough subject matter shows how his wisdom rings true for both children and adults to this day.

Rhys, however, may arguably deliver the strongest performance in the film, giving his reporter a layered depth to serve as the canvas on which Rogers’ true magic is fully revealed. Rogers hoped to create healthy positive adults instead of the type of adult Rhys’ character is: angry and wrongs done to him and unable to let it go, cynical, distrustful and afraid they’ll screw things up worse than their parents did. (Sound like anyone you know in your own life?) In showcasing the juxtaposition between the two, Heller crates a walking, talking exercise in a lesson typical of an episode of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood with her two male leads playing their parts perfectly. Strong supporting turns by the always strong Cooper and Watson further complete the exercise, the latter’s enthusiasm for life and peace playing well against Cooper’s apologetic manchild father trying to make amends.

All things considered, the thing that will stay with you after the film is over is how dedicated Rogers was to making the world a better place, no small feat in a world where so many of us let so many things destroy our happiness. An atypical film in a cinematic landscape filled with remakes, the perennial sex and violence and hokey family fare that often misses the mark,  A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood proves that good people still exist in the world – and good movies about them do, too.

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

 
 

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Take a day off and enjoy all the sights, attractions, restaurants, and activities the region has to offer with this new go-to guide.

Cincy Chic: Tell us about Day Off Cincy!
Chris Birkmeyer, Founder of Day Off Cincy: Day Off Cincy is focused on making the most out of the limited time hard-working families in Cincinnati have with the people they love! From the featured events, entertainment venues and restaurants all the way down to the writing style of our original content the focus is to maximize value and minimize your time spent finding the information you want.

Cincy Chic: What inspired Day Off Cincy?
Birkmeyer: As a parent and a working photographer in Cincinnati I can attest to how the time I spent on assignments in places like the Central Business District and OTR is often disproportionate to how my own family operates. My Cincinnati family isn’t reached by articles posted solely about places we’ve never been but rather by meeting us where we are. The places I have worked for existing publications is vastly different than where I spend time with my wife and especially my daughter. I am inspired by easy-to-read content that highlights people but doesn’t feel like an advertisement. A few of my inspirations are apps like Yarn and Hooked as well as mediums such as “My Next Guest…” and “Between Two Ferns.” On a more personal level I have always been highly inspired by Amy Scalia and her story in building Cincy Chic, who I have worked with for many years!

Cincy Chic: Who’s behind Day Off Cincy?
Birkmeyer: Day Off Cincy’s managing editor is myself. I also own my original company, Twin Spire Photography.

Cincy Chic: What makes Day Off Cincy unique?
Birkmeyer: A few things stand out to me that make Day Off Cincy unique. First, our territory is large so as to include all communities and townships in Greater Cincinnati and northern Kentucky! Basically, if there is a story or a brand that we want to highlight or cover we can because we don’t limit ourselves to downtown Cincinnati. Second, the writing is truly something anyone can read in just a couple of minutes and with many articles being in interview format, such as this one, readers have the option to find what they want quickly and move on with their day! Lastly, as the editor and primary stakeholder of Day Off Cincy you might expect that my commitment to creative images is extremely high. My goal is for Day Off Cincy to have visuals unlike anything you have ever seen from a family-focused publication.

Cincy Chic: Where can readers find Day Off Cincy? Is it print, digital?
Birkmeyer: Currently, Day Off Cincy is only available digitally and can be found on Facebook, Instagram, and online at www.dayoffcincy.com!

Cincy Chic: Where do you see Day Off Cincy in the next year or so?
Birkmeyer: There are so many exciting possibilities currently being considered however within the next year we certainly plan to add additional writers and photographers, developing relationships with those who will have a continual spot on our content calendars for years to come, and overall making sure that with each month that passes we learn and evolve to meet the needs of our communities and clients.

Cincy Chic: How are you meshing Day Off Cincy with your photography career? Or are you keeping them separate?
Birkmeyer: Great question, I believe there are a number of positive crossover opportunities for clients to not only request coverage from Day Off Cincy but also hire a photographer. That said, I have no intention of limiting or preventing those opportunities for the clients or our staff of photographers. 

Cincy Chic: Is there anything new on the horizon for Day Off Cincy other than its recent launch?
Birkmeyer: We are currently recruiting additional writing/experiential contributors with a focus on mothers in the area who would like to join our team to help give their feedback regarding their experience at select events or brands.  If you wish to become a contributor, please apply at https://www.dayoffcincy.com/be-a-contributor.

Cincy Chic: Where can readers go to learn more and follow along?
Birkmeyer: Follow us on Facebook and Instagram where we will feed all information from the website!

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Too many stumbling blocks thrown on your path? Our life coach columnist explains how to turn them into stepping stones instead.

Life sure can come with uncertainty. All the out-of-the-blue stumbling blocks that knock you flat are super challenging. Have you experienced stumbling blocks in your life?  They come in many situations including loss of a job, ending a relationship, or even poor health and money issues — nothing is off limits.  

Yet what happens when the stumbling block seems too big to manage? It’s torn down all your confidence and has emotionally taken you down to your knees, and it seems like there is no way out?  

If you recall as a child learning to walk you did stumble and fall flat AND you kept getting up and trying again, being encouraged and supported by others. As an adult, you don’t always have that support and encouragement. You navigate the stumbling blocks the best you can with what you know to do.

The key to overcoming stumbling blocks is to change your perspective and looking at the situation as a stepping stone where opportunities that you may never have known existed become evident.

By referring to the blocks as stepping stone, knowing it’s a temporary setback moment, ask yourself how you can step over or around in order to get to the next place of new opportunity. Perspective of going over and around a block may look something like this:

– Health report isn’t good, you don’t have to give up. You can seek answers and solutions.
– Financial circumstances seem bleak you don’t throw your hands up and quit. You find ways to save and make extra money.
– Lost connecting in a relationship, someone else will show up who loves you even more.

The way you manage the stumbling blocks is all based on the decision you make in the moment.  

Simply ask: “How does this support me in moving ahead?” and start doing what you can to get past the block knowing it is there as a steppingstone, moving you into something better.

Oh, and by the way, in those moments of the abrupt ending to a job, relationship, or opportunity –remember it can be the Universe’s way of pushing you out of your current circumstances so it can bring you to something better and greater then you ever imagined. Trust in the process!

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 Photo by Matthieu A / License

Mind sports are based on intellectual ability rather than physical ability. Unlike physical sports, mind sports do not require the physical strength, agility or hand-eye coordination that traditional sports require. They do, however, demand strategy, skill and practice. 

While some mind sports enthusiasts prefer silence over sound, others have found that certain types of music enhance (rather than breaks) their focus. In fact, silence can be very distracting for some. That is why you may have heard people say the words, “It’s too quiet in here.”

Besides serving as a source of personal enjoyment, some say music has positive scientific effects on the brain. The “Mozart Effect” is a term that was coined to describe classical music having the ability to enhance one’s intelligence. Some research also suggests that listening to music while studying helps people better retain information.

If you have never tried listening to music while doing a focus-oriented activity, such as mind sports, it may be time to give it a shot.

Deciding on the type of music you should listen to while engaging in mind sports largely depends on which one you are playing. Here are some tips for building the perfect playlist tailored to your game of choice. 

Photo by jeshoots.com / License

Chess: Take a strategic musical approach

Brainwave Power Music created a special Chess playlist on YouTube, filled with binaural beats. Binaural beats are a form of music therapy. They are said to induce positive neurological side effects – including relaxation, meditation, pain management and, apparently, chess-playing abilities.

The science behind binaural beats centers around sound wave frequencies. BPM’s playlist features tracks with beta waves ranging from 11-15Hz, which is said to improve focus, attentive abilities, active thought processes, concentration and intelligence. Simultaneously, BPM goes on to say that the carrier frequency of 144.72 Hz supports strength of will, focused energy and achievement. 

Some musicians to check out for binaural beats are Noah Hornberger, I-Doser Labs and Brainwave-Sync.

Poker: Easy does it

Like Chess, Poker is an intellectually challenging sport that requires constant strategic thinking. The stakes can be high when you are playing this classic competitive card game and the atmosphere can be a factor in your performance. Choosing the right music to create an ambiance that stimulates your brain will help make you more likely to play your cards right. 

Calming, slow-paced instrumental music is popular among Poker players. Because words can compete for your focus, choosing purely instrumental options is a good strategy if you are easily side-tracked. Classical and jazz are ideal genres.

If you prefer music with words, choosing songs with lyrics that are not in your native language may be a good choice. You will still enjoy the vernacular, but will not be able to make out discernible words and thoughts. For English-speaking players, the French Cafe Radio station on Pandora is one to check out, as it has easy-listening music au français. 

eSports: Spotify can help

The ideal musical genre for playing eSports is as diverse as the types of games that exist. So, if you are playing a game centered around warfare, something that matches that energy (such as heavy metal) could be your best bet. Upbeat electronic dance music (EDM) can also give you an energetic jolt while putting you in the zone – or a focused head space. 

When playing something less extreme, such as golf, you probably will not gravitate toward tracks that sound like DJ club music. Something more low-key would better suit the situation.

If you need help deciding which gaming music will work best for you, Spotify can help. The music platform incorporated a gaming category that can be accessed by navigating to Browse > Genres and Moods > Gaming. 

There is no one-size-fits-all approach for mixing tunes and mind sports. A trial and error factor definitely exists, so determining which genre will work best for you may require some experimentation. Use these suggestions as a helpful place to start. 

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A local women’s organization is helping everyone feel included through its choral community. Read more about them and their upcoming UNCHAINED performance.

MUSE, Cincinnati’s Women’s Choir, wants everyone to feel welcome. Whether performing or watching in the audience, the organization is an inclusive and feminist choral community advocating for peace and social justice. 

The mission behind MUSE is this: We unite our voices to raise awareness and inspire changes in ourselves, our audiences, and our world through partnerships that honor the humanity and enduring spirit of all people. We will create a more peaceful and just world through song.

The “herstory” behind MUSE dates back to 1984 when the organization was founded by Dr. Catherine Roma. 

According to the MUSE website, within six weeks of the first rehearsal, the group made its debut on International Women’s Day. “Twenty-four women performed three songs at the Cement Mixers Union Hall in the Walnut Hills area of Cincinnati,” the website states. “From the first, MUSE chose repertoire that reflected the lives of women and fit women’s voices. MUSE commissioned choral works by women composers and crafted choral arrangements from contemporary women’s movement singer-songwriters.”

The unique values, beliefs, and foundation of MUSE will be put on-show with its upcoming performance UNCHAINED on November 23 at 4 pm at SCPA, located at 108 W Central Parkway in Cincinnati. 

“UNCHAINED will be an experience like no other, as MUSE partners with Pones, Inc. to tell the stories of survivors who have been subjected to or continue to be plagued by the world of human trafficking,” says Jillian Harrison-Jones, Music Director. “At this concert, MUSE will premier a new work entitled ‘Have You Forgotten,’ a poem by Roxanne Buck set to stunning music by Emily Cooley, a Philadelphia-based composer. MUSE will also feature artwork by an artist from the Syracuse Cultural Workers and so much more, all of which will help set the stage for an unforgettable performance.”

Although MUSE’s performance is just around the corner, they are already planning for their spring concert on May 30, for a celebration of suffrage. Then, in June, members of MUSE will travel to GALA Festival 2020 in Minneapolis. 

To learn more about MUSE, visit www.musechoir.org or follow along on Facebook and Instagram. To purchase tickets for the upcoming UNCHAINED performance, click here.