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Thinking of becoming a foster parent? Our experts share the different types of fostering options to help you make the biggest impact on a child's life.

So you are thinking about becoming a foster parent. As a foster parent recruiter, that is music to our ears! Truly, the need for foster parents in Ohio has never been greater. Throughout the state, there are more than 16,600 children in need of the care of a foster family – including 2,000 in Franklin County and 1,200 in greater Cincinnati.

What’s important for everyone, especially interested foster parents, to understand is that children are placed in foster care due to no fault of their own. The reality is, no child or teen is perfect. Think back to when you were a child. Did you disobey your parents or teachers on occasion? Did you have mood swings or just want to be alone sometimes? Did you have bad days? We’re willing to bet the answer is yes.

Youth experiencing foster care are no different. They unfortunately often get a bad reputation simply because they are in foster care. The truth about youth in foster care is they are just like other kids. The only difference is often times, they’ve had to endure traumatic experiences that no child ever should. But like all kids, they deserve a loving, supportive family to help them grow, thrive, and live up to their full potential.

As you consider taking the next step to becoming a foster parent, it’s also important to understand there are different types of foster care. The most common are traditional fostering and therapeutic fostering.

Traditional Foster Care

Traditional foster care is what most people think of when they think of foster parenting – this is when a child is temporarily placed with a licensed foster family when their biological parents cannot, for whatever reason, adequately care for them. Foster care is typically arranged through the court system and various social service agencies. A child can be in foster care for a short period of time, or even months or years. The goal is for the child to be reunited with their birth family. But in some cases, a youth in foster care may become eligible for permanent adoption if it is determined the child cannot be safely reunited with the birth family.

Therapeutic Foster Care

Therapeutic foster care, sometimes referred to as treatment foster care, takes traditional fostering to the next level by considering the additional social, emotional and behavioral support needed to help youth experiencing foster care who are working through the impacts of trauma. 

With therapeutic foster care:

  • Foster families receive specialized training for trauma healing and behavioral coping skills to support youth’s mental, physical, social and emotional well-being. 
  • Becoming a licensed therapeutic foster parent can require additional training hours, and the reimbursement rate is often higher to accommodate the additional training and care needed

SAFY is a therapeutic foster care provider, and we are proud of the support we provide our foster families to ensure they are equipped to help children of all ages experiencing foster care overcome trauma and thrive for however long the child is in their care.

For more information about ways to give, becoming a foster parent or supporting youth experiencing foster care and vulnerable families, visit www.SAFY.org. You can be the difference in the life of a child!

By Charisse Penn, SAFY Columbus Foster Parent Recruiter and Toneia Williams, SAFY Cincinnati Foster Parent Recruiter 

Specialized Alternatives for Families and Youth (SAFY) is a child and family nonprofit preserving families and securing futures services that help families and children heal, have hope, and thrive through a model of care that includes therapeutic foster care, adoption, family preservation, behavioral health and supports for older youth. Learn more at www.SAFY.org

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Read about a West Coast girl turned Midwest photographer offering family and lifestyle sessions for clients.

Cincy Chic: What is Allen Photography? 
Kristin Allen, Owner of Allen Photography: Allen Photography is a photography business based in rural Sidney, Ohio, near Dayton.

Cincy Chic: What’s the inspiration behind it? 
Allen: My inspiration for starting this business was to capture authentic moments of people’s daily lives. When I first started photographing my own children and documenting our daily lives, I would frequently post the photos to social media. Soon I had many people commenting about how they would love photos of their own loved ones showing the emotion, love and authenticity they saw I was able to capture.

Cincy Chic: Who’s behind it? 
Allen: I’m Kristin Allen! I’m a born and raised West Coast girl turned Midwest farm girl once I met and fell in love with my real life farmer! I am a mom to 3 gorgeous children who like to keep me busy 24/7 and the most loyal dog you could ever meet. We also own our own farm where we raise beef cattle, chickens and crops and have a tendency to obsess over sunsets and quiet time together.

Cincy Chic: What makes Allen Photography unique?
Allen: In a world full of amazingly talented people who are both professional and amateur photographers, I often question whether or not I am good enough to have this business and be entrusted with such a monumental task of capturing memories for others.  Self-doubt is a bitch.  But then I remember, oh that’s right, I was raised with the understanding that we each have our own strengths, gifts and talents.  Even though these talents may look the same from the outside, we are all unique.  Allen Photography is unique because I see what nobody else can. My vision for your photos and what I capture will be based on who I see in YOU and that’s what I will want to spotlight in your photos.

Cincy Chic: What do you enjoy the most about what you do? 
Allen: At first, I would say the thing I love the most about what I do is meeting new people. And even though I do enjoy that, I truly get energy from making people happy. The real smiles from kids, the laughter and excitement from an engaged couple, or the intimacy I can help reignite between an exhausted mom and dad who may have lost sight of their “why”…..THAT is what gives me energy.

Cincy Chic: What do you hope clients take away after a photo shoot with you?
Allen: I always, always, always hope a client walks away from a session feeling beautiful, valued, confident and excited. There should be no doubt of how amazing your photos will be if you FEEL amazing after spending time with those you love!

Cincy Chic: Are you planning anything new for your business? 
Allen: My husband and I are currently in the process of renovating and making changes to the farm. I would love to add a location by the creek with some beautiful scenery to match our sunsets so that clients wouldn’t have to be inconvenienced with finding a location for their session. I would also like to collaborate with other artists and offer that space for their sessions or projects as well.

Cincy Chic: Where can readers go to learn more and follow along?
Allen: I can be found on Instagram, Facebook or readers can visit my website at kristinallenphotography.com!

*Kristin photographed the writer’s family, and the photo of the two children are her daughter and step-son.

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Have big goals but feeling exhausted, unfocused and unmotivated to reach them lately? Our life coach columnist has helpful advice.

What happens when you lose your drive before you hit the finish line? How can you find your own drive when all else fails? Lately, this is one of the most common concerns with my clients and I wanted to offer some support. And, yes, it happens to me as well.

You begin by striving to reach a goal, you set the intention, you see the outcome, you visualize what happens and as you move from day to day you become really exhausted, unfocused and unmotivated. BUT you are so close to getting what you desire and yet you lose your drive. Why? And what can you do?

First, you can stop all together. Yes, stop putting pressure on yourself to achieve that goal. If it just doesn’t seem attainable or you just don’t want to keep moving forward, then stop. Then give yourself permission to reevaluate. Maybe this isn’t the true goal you desire. Perhaps you are misaligned with what you want to achieve.

For example, relate this to health and wellness. You may want to reach a weight to be a certain size or for an event, and you do so but soon after you find your way back to the weight you started.  Why is that? Because you were aligned with the energy of wanting it for only a specific time. If you realign and consider being healthy and well not only aligns with being at a healthyweight it also is for longevity and vitality.  The bigger focus. 

How can you align your energy?  Think about something you did that brought you so much joy and happiness – marriage, baby, college degree, bought a home – and when you remember that with the joy and excitement, how you felt good, and others were cheering you on, that exact energy level is what you want to match in this new goal. The inspiration, jazz and motivation you felt when you reached that goal is the secret sauce.

This goes back to how you do one thing is how you can do all things.  When you align with your energy of what you do welland bring that energy into your new goals, you’ll see how you can keep your drive all the way to the finish line.

As a mantra you can say “I am good at -this- so I am even better at -that-!” Start today and get the clarity and support that will keep you focused and motivated to drive confidently to that finish line.

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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:

Kadosh Aroma’s: Start your week off today filled with yummy smells! @kadosharomas specializes in hand poured soy candles and more! They have all their amazing scents for not only candles, but room sprays, car diffusers, and more! Just click the link in their bio and get your hands on these goodies today! Plush make sure to check out their website to see why having soy wax not only burns longer, but is healthier for you!

A.B. Underwood Co: How adorable are these string art signs 😍 Get your hands on one of @abunderwoodco beautiful creations today! They make the perfect gift, decoration, and more! Click the link in their bio to get your order started!

Arnold’s Bar and Grill: Mark your calendars!! looking for a fun way to spruce up cooking dinner? @arnolds_cincinnati has you covered! TONIGHT at 6pm Chef Kayla Robinson is hosting a Facebook live cooking class!

Check out their latest post for more details on what you’re making and what ingredients you’ll need! PLUS: don’t feel like cooking? Let them do it for you! Enjoy their delicious menu out on their patio or order it to-go!

Mavi: @mavijoyas has a mission to “highlight your beauty” through their beautiful and unique creations! All their jewelry is handmade just for you! Click the link in their bio or head over to their shop to get your hands on these amazing pieces!

True Nature Dog Treats: Guess what today is…International Dog Day! Give your furry friends extra love today with @truenaturedogtreats doggy treats! The best part? All their treats are handmade with natural ingredients with no preservatives and non GMO!

To help you celebrate today they are giving a DISCOUNT! Use code “dogday” to receive 15% off! PLUS: make sure to post pics of your adorable doggys and tag them so they can repost and share all your amazing four legged friends 😍

Oakley Wines: How are you celebrating your #winewednesdaytoday? Stop by @oakleywines to enjoy not only delicious wine, but delicious food as well! Want to stay home? Order for carry out or delivery!

Open:
Tuesday-Thursday 3-9
Friday-Saturday 3-10
Sunday 2-6

GO(O)D Company Apparel: Happy Thursday! Get your hands on some amazing discounts today with @goodcoapparel🤩 Every Thursday, stop in their shop and spin the wheel! This wheel gets you cash or percentages off your purchase! Stop in from 12-7 today through Saturday!

Big Ash Brewing: Celebrate thirsty Thursday tonight with @bigashbrewing Party In The Parking Lot! Sip on a delicious cocktail or brew and enjoy some live music! See the schedule for all their fun events happening until Sunday!

Mt. Adams Bar and Grill: Need some Friday night plans? Check out @mt.adamsbarandgrill !! This historical landmark serves up not only their delicious pub food, but their famous signature cocktails as well! Stop in tonight and get your hands on their amazing food and drinks!

Open:
Monday-Thursday 11:30-9
Friday-Saturday 11:30-11
Sunday 11:30-8

High Five Salon: Looking to switch up your look just in time for the start of fall? @highfivesalon has you covered! Freshen up your look with colors, a cut, and more! Just click the link in their bio to book your appointment today!

Witchy Woman Boutique: This weekend @witchywomanboutique wants to celebrate YOU! They are having a “thank you” customer appreciation sale THIS WEEKEND! Get your shopping on and receive 10% off all their sterling silver rings!

Brink Brewing: It’s the weekend! Get out tonight and enjoy a nice night with @brinkbrewing !! Sip on their delicious craft brews out on their patio or enjoy from the comfort of your home with carry out!

 

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Two local creatives teamed up to open a gift shop experience unlike any other. Read on to catch the buzz about this blossoming business and learn about their upcoming grand opening.

Morgan Merk and Chelsea Mead,  Founders of Honey Collective. Photo: Amanda Donaho

When it comes to gift giving, Honey Collective is the newest place to go. “Honey Collective is a one-stop-shop for modern, local gifting and decor,” explains Co-Founder Morgan Merk of Honeybee Creative. “Our products are thoughtfully chosen, and curated with love.”

Merk co-owns the Newton-based shop alongside Chelsea Mead of Honey Designs Jewelry and together they offer an interactive shopping experience for each customer that walks through the door.

“Clients can find quality choices from building your dream ring, assembling the perfect bouquet at our bloom bar, to personalizing a sweet note at our custom greeting card bar,” says Merk. “For any items not created with our own hands, we source as many as possible from women-owned businesses.”

The inspiration for such a shop came after the duo met at a wedding-styled photo shoot. Soon after, they became fast friends and decided to open a space where they could spread joy and love through intentional gifting for the relationships that mean the most.

“We enjoy spreading thoughtful gifting in our community, and creating and building relationships with those both in and out of our industry,” adds Merk.

Local wedding vendors will be at Honey Collective for a soft opening on Thursday, September 10. The Grand Opening of the store, and the first time they will open their doors to the public, will be on Friday, September 11, and Saturday, September 12. 

You can learn more about Honey Collective at www.honeycollective.co or by following along on Instagram

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One local lady just launched a new resource to help you get plugged into area connections that will take your personal and professional lives to the next level.

Cincy Chic: Tell us about The Plug with Toyia T.!
Toyia Montgomery, Executive Producer of The Plug with Toyia T.: The Plug with Toyia T. is a platform to introduce people to resources and connections that help them get wherever they want to me in life.

Cincy Chic: What’s the inspiration behind it? 
Montgomery: I am a firm believer that everyone is one connection, one resource away from reaching their dreams. I just want to be the catalyst that helps people make those connections.

Cincy Chic: Who’s behind The Plug?
Montgomery: Me, Toyia Montgomery, and Producer Timikal Bobo. 

Cincy Chic: What topics do you cover on The Plug?
Montgomery:  We cover a broad range of topics; the goal is to reach the whole person. The 7 categories we cover on the Plug with Toyia T. are:

  • Health & Wellness
  • Finance & Business
  • Education & Social Justice
  • Love & Relationships
  • Entrepreneurship & Entertainment
  • Leadership & Career
  • Passion & Purpose

Cincy Chic: What makes The Plug unique?
Montgomery: The uniqueness to the plug is the fact that we cross over socio-economic and racial lines to truly connect people at the core of who they are as a person.

Cincy Chic: Can you tell us what your favorite episodes have been thus far?
Montgomery: Education during a pandemic was our first episode and we are excited to keep growing from there! 

Cincy Chic: When do you premiere new episodes?
Montgomery: Our episodes air on YouTube and Facebook the third Wednesday of every month at 6:30pm!

Cincy Chic: Is there anything new on the horizon?
Montgomery: Our next episode is about entrepreneurship and thriving in our new normal on Sept 16th at 6:30pm.

Cincy Chic: Where can readers go to learn more and follow along?
Montgomery: The Plug with Toyia T. on Facebook or YouTube

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We often hold back from sharing what's truly on our minds and hearts for fear that it won't be agreeable with others. Our life coach columnist shares how one pivot can unleash your true potential.

Have you ever been in a conversation with someone and you speak your truth, only to get a reaction that it was not well received? You desperately wish you would have kept that inside, but now it’s out in the open. Yikes! Most often, we pivot in that moment to make things more agreeable.

Isn’t it interesting as women, how we want to make our voices be heard but at the same time we are limiting our authentic selves for the sake of others? And yet there will still be those who criticize and judge you for your actions.

What I mean by speaking your truth is saying what you really feel and mean. Being able to express yourself in a manner that is received by others in love and light and not in disapproval or disbelief.

Recognizing what you speak about creates the future, by aligning your truth with what you desire and how you want to feel, and you share that in conversation. Others may react in a manner of giving a look of surprise, be shocked, or even appalled that you would even think what you said is possible. 

Anytime you find yourself in a conversation that you speak your truth of how you want to live your life, what you want to have,or what you believe and cherish, and someone gives you that look, don’t take it personal. Oftentimes it’s just a reflection of their own insecurities and only wish they could have the courage to speak their truth.

You may be inclined to want to apologize or make excuses for what you shared based on their reaction, but don’t.  Smile knowing their reaction is evidence they are dealing with their own insecurities and admire you for speaking confidently about yourself and your life.

Keep shining your light, my friend. Keep speaking your truth and know you are safe in creating your life by design. Oh, and don’t be surprised if others fall away who aren’t in favor of your up-leveling.  Know this is how you make room for new supporting and appreciative individuals who show up to support you fully without judgement, fear, or criticism. 

Sending Love & Light,

Melissa

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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:

Abby Lou Illustrations: Have a favorite place you want to remember forever? Have @abbylouillustrations capture the beauty and love for you! She creates line drawings of your favorite places or things just for you! Check out her page to see all the beautiful past creations and click the link in their bio to head over to their website and get your order started today!

Pretty Petals Co: Step up your accessory game with @prettypetalsco beautiful earrings! So simple yes bold and guaranteed to make a statement! Each earring handmade right here in Cincinnati! Get your hands on these beautiful creations by clicking on the link in their bio and get your order started today!

Cultivar: Calling all my plant lovers! How beautiful are these plant babies from @cultivarcincinnati😍 Get your hands on these beauties coming up! They will be at @the86uptown 8/28-8/29 so mark your calendars! Friday will be from 2-5 and Saturday 11-2!

Corkpolis: Guess what day it is… Wine Wednesday! Looking to try out some new wines to celebrate your #winewednesday tonight? Check out @corkopoliscincy !! They have a variety of all different wines so you are guaranteed to find one perfect for your tasting!

Witchy Woman Boutique: “Witchy Women Boutique is about encouraging women to continue to seek their inner powers and strength.” Feel empowered and confident when shopping with @witchywomanboutique!! They have beautiful clothing, jewelry, accessories, and so much more! PLUS: their currently having a bag sale! Head over to their website to receive 20% off all their bags!

Good Plates Eatery: My mouth is watering just looking at these delicious creations 😍 @goodplateseatery is NOW OPEN serving up all their yummy food for you! Stop in for dinner or enjoy their food to-go with carry out! Open: Tuesday-Saturday 11-8

Two Twenty Two Market: Anyone else not able to function before coffee?🙋‍♀️ Then you’ll definitely need to get your hands on this adorable Coffee First sweatshirt! @twotwentytwomarket is a boutique bringing you all the latest trends and more! Check out their page for all their adorable goodies today! And make sure to click the link in their bio to get your shopping on!

Dead Low Brewing: Happy Friday everyone!! Relax this evening and get your #happyhour on with @deadlowbrewing ! PLUS: starting today, teachers have been added to their Beer It Forward program! See more details below!
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#repost:

We’ve had several teachers pop into the brewery this week and it got us thinking…..what we can do to thank them? Starting this weekend, Friday August 21 till Sept 30 We are adding the essential teacher to the Dead Low Brew BEER IT FORWARD program! Pre-Purchase a pint of beer or a growler to go And we will get it into the hands of a local teacher. TEACHERS: Stop in any time with the school ID for a Beer It Forward from a grateful guest! And as always, our First Responders, Police, Fire, EMT, Active and Retired Military will always have a Beer it Forward at Dead Low!

LouLou’s Boutique: SOCIAL MEDIA TAKEOVER! @shoploulous is going LIVE on Facebook today with @cincychicmag to reveal all their new fall arrivals! Starting at noon today so make sure to check it out…you’re not going to want to miss this! After the takeover find them at the link below to get your hands on all their amazing new goodies! This is one of the only women’s boutiques on the west side of Cincinnati. They carry national brands you love as well as several locally-based designers like @fennofashion! 💕http://bit.ly/orderloulous

Frenchie Fresh Burger Bar: Happy Saturday and Cincinnati Burger week! Burger week ends this weekend so make sure to get your ya dis on these amazing deals before they’re gone! Try out some of @frenchiefresh delicious burgers like these for just $6! PLUS: don’t forget your drink! Check out their $4 Braxton beer special with any burger!

Nostalgia Wine & Jazz Lounge: NOW OPEN! @nostalgiaotr has opened their doors for you to enjoy! Stop in for their fun atmosphere and sip on some wine tonight! They have over 30 selections of wine and 85% are either owned or produced by women or minorities 🤩

Fleet Feet Cincy: Where are all my runners at?? @fleetfeetcincy is here to bring you all things running that you need! From shoes to gear to training equipment they have it all!! PLUS: looking for an amazing and supportive group to run with? See how you can join their running club on their website! Just click the link in their bio!

 

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A new local company just launched to put yummy food in bellies and smiles on faces despite trying times.

This year has been all about enjoying the simple joys at home. That’s the idea behind a new locally-based business, Britton Boards.

Launched July 23, 2020, Britton Boards “creates custom cheese boards, candy boards, dessert boards and theme boards for any occasion,” says Stephanie Sheakley, Owner of Britton Boards. 

The inspiration behind the business came from her education. “I went to school for Interior Design, so I have always been interested in making things look pretty, which includes making food look pretty,” she says. The Britton part comes from her name. “Britton is my middle name that comes from my dad’s side of the family,” Sheakley says. “I thought it sounded catchy!”

Britton Boards provides a variety of different food boards, according to how many people there are. There are cheese and charcuterie boards, candy boards and theme boards. “I can create them with any special requests or color themes, etc.,” she says.

Sheakley got her experience for making food boards from hanging out with her family. “I have been making cheese boards for family get togethers for several years and people always complimented them, so I thought it would be a fun business,” she says. 

This business venture is unique in the Cincinnati area. “I have turned the standard cheese and charcuterie board into a whole fun experience through themes, color schemes and all sorts of goodies that many people may not think to use,” Sheakley says.

The business is important for the community. “I bring people together, whether it’s two people or several people,” she says. Her favorite part of her job is “creating new and fun ideas that make people smile,” she says.

Sheakley’s most memorable moment of Britton Boards so far is being recognized for her business. “Honestly, it all has been so amazing in this brief period of time, but being asked to be in an article has been a really amazing moment for me,” she says.

If you want to keep up with what’s going on with Britton Boards, follow the business on Facebook and Instagram. You can also contact them through email at: brittonboards@gmail.com

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Read about a new limited-time exhibition that touches on humor, fear, friendship, and protest.

Cincy Chic: What is The Masks We Wear?
Sara Vance-Waddell, Contributor to The Masks We Wear: The Masks We Wear is a first-of-its-kind exhibition examining the symbolism of face coverings amid the COVID-19 pandemic and is now on view at Pendleton Street Photography. 

The exhibit is a mix of protest, humor, fear, friendship and sometimes even creative whimsy designed to explore the multitude of feelings and experiences that the world is rapidly barrelling through. Submissions from artists around the world mixed with local art speak to both the similarity and the complexity of this time across ethnicity, gender and age.

Cincy Chic: What’s the inspiration behind it?
Vance-Waddell: In the weeks and months since shelter-in-place orders by government and public health officials were lifted, face masks have become politicized. This has occurred despite recommendations to continue their use when entering public spaces, rapidly transitioning from a Westernized stigma of illness or frailty to political affiliations or assumed personal beliefs. The designation of Wuhan, China as the point of origin for the virus brought disdain and hostility toward Asian populations, who had been wearing masks for decades. Additionally, African-Americans, long under the duress of police scrutiny, fear both for their health and personal safety if masked. Even the way a mask is constructed became an issue of personal privilege and financial ability.

Curator Ena Nearon said her personal inspiration was, “to curate the exhibit came as a result of having seen how artists responded positively to an increasingly foreboding future. They found a way to shine in the midst of the fear and encouraged others to see life through a different lens. I wanted to be a part of that. Sara’s generosity made that possible for me.”

Cincy Chic: Who’s behind it?
Vance-Waddell: The exhibition is curated by Ena Nearon, features the contemporary mask collection of Sara M. Vance Waddell, cast face masks by artist Leslie Daly, and is hosted at the gallery of Jens Rosenkrantz Jr. The Masks We Wear also features two of the gallery’s Bridges Not Walls artists from Cuba, Osy Milian’s large acrylic paintings and Zarza’s series of lithographs featuring African witch doctor masks.

Cincy Chic: Where can readers view The Masks We Wear Exhibition?
Vance-Waddell: Pendleton Street Photography is located at 1310 Pendleton Street in Cincinnati. They are open Wednesday through Saturday from noon to 5pm, and the exhibit is on view through September 10.

Cincy Chic: What makes this project unique?
Vance-Waddell: This is truly a first-of-its-kind exhibition putting the pandemic on display in a new creative way as we continue to adjust to a “new normal” in an uncertain time. 

Cincy Chic: Where can readers go to learn more and follow along?
Vance-Waddell: Readers can learn more about the show by visiting, and following Pendleton Street Photography’s Facebook page

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