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Cincy Chic

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Learn about the online business a local lady launched to help you gift thoughtfully, accessorize yourself fashionably, and decorate your home with a personalized touch.

 

From monogrammed plates and platters to jewelry and stationery, Cincinnati-based Classic Prep Monograms has all of your personalized home decor, fashion and gift needs covered.

Michelle Brinker, owner of Classic Prep Monograms, has “always loved a good monogram” and was inspired to start her business by “the new and creative ways they [monograms] can be used to showcase personal style.”

Being an Ursuline Academy Alumna, Brinker is no stranger to being surrounded by color-loving preps. And if you’ve ever asked yourself if you can go overboard with monogramming, the answer is “no!” she laughs. Brinker proudly displays Reese Witherspoon’s quote on her website, “My sheets are monogrammed, so is my silverware and pretty much everything else I own. My rule is, if it’s not moving – monogram it.”

Classic Prep Monograms will be at Cincy Chic's 8th Annual Seasonably Chic Showcase on November 5!
Classic Prep Monograms will be at Cincy Chic’s 8th Annual Seasonably Chic Showcase on November 5!

Now that the fall season is underway, Brinker has a few trend forecasts for the upcoming winter season. Monogrammed Blanket Scarves continue to be big for 2016 as well as our Pom Pom Hats. They just make me smile,” says Brinker. “Also, our Beaded Monogrammed Bags are perfect for Holiday parties. Believe it or not, the camo is our best seller!” She adds that their Game Day clutches are a close second.

If you plan on hosting a holiday party this year, or at least attending a few, Classic Prep Monograms has all of your party needs covered! “We love personalized frost flex cups for Holiday parties and they make great gifts as well,” says Brinker. “We also offer monogrammed napkins, drink stirrers, and super fun Disco Drink Tumblers which would be terrific at a New Year’s Eve party.”

With the season of giving right around the corner, Brinker says she loves giving monogrammed gifts because it shows the recipient that you didn’t run out and get their gift last minute. That doesn’t mean getting a monogrammed item is time-consuming, though – at least not at Classic Prep Monograms. Brinker says her website allows you to easily find what you’re looking for, quickly personalize it with your favorite fonts and colors, and then it’s shipped to you in no time.

Her holiday gifts include Monogrammed Ornaments, which Brinker suggests for stylish stocking stuffers. Or, for your co-workers, Brinker recommends a monogrammed travel tumbler or coffee mug (because work is tough enough – you may as well have a cute coffee cup to brighten your day). Prices on the Classic Prep Monograms range from $30-200.

To learn more, visit Classic Prep Monograms’ website or get social with them on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. You can also shop with them in-person at Cincy Chic’s 8th annual Seasonably Chic Showcase this Saturday, Nov. 5, at The Phoenix downtown from 10am-2pm.

Click here to learn more and RSVP for this holiday shopping event featuring 40+ local vendors, refreshments, free 10-minute back massages, an interactive ornament decorating area for kids, a freeze modeling fashion show, and more than $3,000 in prizes randomly awarded to attendees! Bring a canned good and get in FREE!

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Learn about a local accessory retailer with lots of looks for less and an upcoming holiday shopping event you won’t want to miss!

I told you last week about how I hosted a Virtual Party with Miss Em’s and now that all of my items have arrived, I’m soooo happy! Not only because I love all the pieces I bought (and it helped donate funds to my friend’s cause) but I also saved a TON off of the designer look-alikes.

I wanted to be prepared with an example of how much I was saving when my Miss Em’s package arrived, so the hubs wouldn’t give me a hard time and I was SHOCKED to see how much I actually was saving! Just to give you an idea of how affordable (yet on-trend) her items are,  below are seven side-by-side comparisons of my favorite pieces and then the designer pieces that look super similar but are MUCH more expensive. Hey, even the husband was impressed, so I know I did well! haha!

You can buy online, host a Virtual Party like I did, or shop in person this weekend at her Holiday Bazaar Nov. 5 & 6. Click here for more info!

1. Miss Em’s Cream Opal Earrings $10.99
Ross-Simons Opal Chandelier Earrings $595

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2. Miss Em’s Geometric Earrings $12.00
Lenox Geometric Dangle Earrings $334.95

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3. Miss Em’s Filigree Tassel Pendant Necklace & Earring Set $18.00
Ben-Amun Y Tassel Necklace $238

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4. Miss Em’s Earring/Necklace set from my virtual party $24
Oscar de la Renta Flower Necklace $690

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5.Miss Em’s Earring/Necklace set from my virtual party $24
Lord & Taylor Tri-Toned Pave Statement Necklace $176

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6. Miss Em’s Flower Bracelet $9.00
Chanel Vintage Caged Camellia cuff $1,885

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7. Miss Em’s scarf from my virtual party $24
Lord & Taylor Plaid Blanket Scarf $129

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Get a peek into this Friday's Schools Back Moms Relax event and fashion show with some helpful styling tips from Styling with Amy!

Amy Elberfeld from Styling and Ava Gray Direct NY shares some styling tips and some sneak peeks into Friday’s fashion show at the FREE Schools Back Moms Relax event! Click here to RSVP to the event. To learn more about Styling with Amy and Ava Gray Direct NY, contact Amy Elberfeld at 513-260-2696, amy@stylingwithamy.com or you can visit her website at www.stylingwithamy.com.

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Amy Scalia with Cincy Chic and Amy Elberfeld from Styling with Amy discuss one of their favorite brands: Ava Gray Direct NY.

Amy Scalia with Cincy Chic and Amy Elberfeld from Styling with Amy discuss one of their favorite brands: Ava Gray Direct NY. To learn more about Styling with Amy and Ava Gray Direct NY, contact Amy Elberfeld at 513-260-2696, amy@stylingwithamy.com or you can visit her website at www.stylingwithamy.com.

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Amy Scalia with Cincy Chic and Amy Elberfeld from Styling with Amy share four fab ways to do dresses (even if you don't think you like them).

Whether you don’t want to show your legs or arms, not everyone likes dresses. Amy Elberfeld from Styling with Amy shares four ways to wear these wardrobe staples — even if you have a dress phobia. To learn more about Styling with Amy and Ava Gray Direct, contact Amy Elberfeld at 513-260-2696, amy@stylingwithamy.com or you can visit her website at www.stylingwithamy.com.

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Read on as our Editor-in-Chic writes to her daughter about an inspiring moment when a crowd’s attitude toward an unexpected power failure turned an ordeal into an adventure.

Our Editor-in-Chic shares a story about overcoming challenges and "dancing in the rain."
Our Editor-in-Chic shares a story about overcoming challenges and “dancing in the rain.”

Last night, at our annual Red, Pink and Blue event, we had a truly incredible experience that I’ll never forget. Not because we had a beautiful night, hundreds of attendees, or tons of awesome sponsors. It was because things went wrong. Horribly wrong, actually.

This is a picture of right before it happened. I was in the middle of my presentation at the event. Had just recognized our charities’ survivors, thanked our sponsors, was seconds away from starting the fashion show, and then … our generators blew. Out went the lights, the music, my mic. Everything. With everyone looking at me. There wasn’t anything we could do, so I said in the loudest voice I could “We just recognized some incredible survivors who overcame adversity with rockstar resilience. Let’s be inspired by that and make the most of this! YOU, our audience will now be our music and energy for the models to work this runway! Let’s do this!”

And wow did they work it! We had hoots, hollers, claps, and standing ovations to cheer the models down the runway. About halfway through, someone found a way to hardwire electric to the DJ’s music and the mic so we had sound to finish the show.

But I was almost in tears at that point. Not because I was mad that the generators failed, but how everyone was rallying in support — not focusing on what had gone wrong, or that it wasn’t what they initially expected. Instead, they were making the best of the situation, living in the spontaneity, and having fun with it.

Reminds me of one of my favorite quotes… “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s learning to dance in the rain.”

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    Activity and adventure run in her blood, which is even more inspiring when you learn that this vibrant 31-year-old was diagnosed with diabetes two decades ago. Learn more about her trials and triumphs, what she’s doing to empower and educate others - with and without diabetes - and the upcoming event where she’ll be honored.

    Leah Fuller was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at age 11.
    Leah Fuller was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at age 11.

    This September will mark 20 years since Leah Fuller was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. “As any person with diabetes will tell you, it has been a journey filled with many highs and lows,” says Leah Fuller, one of the honorees at Cincy Chic’s upcoming Red, Pink & Blue event.

    Fuller says that she remembers vividly when she was 11 and crying in the parking lot of her doctor’s office while she waited for her parents to check out so they could head to the hospital.

    Being a young child, Fuller didn’t really understand what the condition she’d just been diagnosed with was, but when a nurse told her it meant she wouldn’t be able to have cake at her upcoming birthday party she was devastated.

    Activity has always been a major part of Leah Fuller's life - despite having Type 1 diabetes.
    Activity has always been a major part of Leah Fuller’s life – despite having Type 1 diabetes.

    Soon, Fuller was taking insulin injections, counting carb servings, and testing her blood sugar. She credits the team at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital with teaching her everything she needed to know and do when it came to treating her Type 1 diabetes.

    As with anything in life, Fuller encountered obstacles following her diagnosis. “I struggled with my weight,” she says. “Initially, I needed to gain some weight but then I couldn’t stop. With my new medications and a strict diet of three meals and three snacks per day, I steadily gained about 20 pounds a year through my adolescence, despite playing five sports.”

    This particular challenge led Fuller to encounter good doctors and bad ones. She says that some would tell her to do better but not tell her how. “They would make me feel like a ‘bad’ diabetic because I couldn’t always get my blood sugar under control, despite my best efforts while still trying to live as normal a life as I could,” she says.

    Fuller has encountered her fair share of scary low blood sugar moments. She even got to the point where she slept with a baby monitor in her room so that her parents could hear her as she slept.

    Leah Fuller completed a Tough Mudder as well as other obstacle races and half marathons.
    Leah Fuller completed a Tough Mudder as well as other obstacle races and half marathons.

    Throughout the years, Fuller missed her share of sleepovers and events, and plenty of times of not feeling well. But she adds that there were always people who were there to support her, including her parents. They were people walking and riding with her, and donating money in her name to the American Diabetes Association (ADA) to fund research and education, which she says meant a lot.

    “Now there are better insulins and technology available that have made life easier, and my control better,” she says. “There are still struggles – insulin pumps and continuous blood glucose monitors alarming, or even falling off at inopportune moments, and my parents still calling me every morning to make sure I made it through the night OK.”

    “Diabetes has made me a stronger person, and taught me a lot about healthcare and medicine at a young age,” she says. “And it made me want to help other people with diabetes, so that their path could have fewer or smaller obstacles than mine did.”

    Fuller hopes to help inspire other girls with diabetes that they can do anything they want to do.
    Fuller hopes to help inspire other girls with diabetes that they can do anything they want to do.

    Through her journey, Fuller says that she’s learned a lot about herself. She learned that she’s a smart, fun, adventurous, compassionate woman who happens to have diabetes. “I have learned that diabetes is a big part of my life, but it doesn’t define me,” she says. “I have learned that I am resourceful, creative, and strong, because diabetes can create all kinds of obstacles to complicate the simplest of tasks. And I have learned that I’m not alone in this, and I have loving friends and family who support me and do what they can to help me manage my diabetes if I need them.

    Following high school, Fuller decided to head off to college and become a pharmacist. She also spent a year of residency specializing in diabetes management and eventually accumulated enough experience and education to become a certified diabetes educator.

    “It is amazing to have patients come in with their walls up and then be able to tell them that I’ve encountered the same struggles, and we work together to make their experience better,” she says.

    Fuller currently works at Kroger pharmacy as well as at the University of Cincinnati. She sees people with diabetes and teaches other pharmacists and students so they can also specialize in diabetes management.

    When asked about how she hopes to inspire other young girls who are diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, she says she wants show them that a diagnosis isn’t shameful or embarrassing and that they can do anything, with or without diabetes.

    “I used to hesitate to tell people I have diabetes, or not seek help if I needed it because I didn’t want to put people out and I didn’t want to be ‘different,’” she says. “To be honest, up until last year, I was still strategically planning what I would be doing and wearing for the next few days so I could place my insulin pump and continuous blood glucose monitor in places on my body that wouldn’t be visible.”

    However, that changed when she spent a few days volunteering as Camp Korelitz, a camp put on by the ADA for kids with diabetes. It was here that Fuller was inspired. The kids at camp didn’t have to think twice about having their pumps out where they could be seen. “I ended up putting mine on my arm just so I could fit in,” she says. “Wearing your equipment in a visible place might invite questions, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.”

    Fuller adds that since she stopped hiding her Type 1 diabetes, she’s met many other people who also have the condition. She says she enjoys empowering, encouraging and maybe even surprising those she meets. “I had a few people tell me I wouldn’t be able to do or be involved in certain things growing up because I have diabetes, but I’d like to think I’ve proved them wrong at this point,” she says.

    Fuller has completed century rides on her bike, finished a Tough Mudder race, many obstacle courses, run half marathons and countless other competitions, hiked/paddled boarded/toured several countries around the world for weeks at a time on her own, and participates in eight sports throughout the year. “Sometimes it will take a little more preparation and though, but don’t ever let your diabetes keep your from accomplishing one of your dreams,” she adds.

    “It’s been 20 years of struggles and triumphs, and I’m thankful that I’m standing here today with no complications,” says Fuller. “If there ever was a good time to have diabetes, I think this would be it. There is so much exciting research going on right now, I’m looking forward to seeing what the future brings.”

    That future includes Fuller’s own research to explore ways to prevent and reverse type 1 diabetes. There’s a lot of new technology that’s currently being tested to make controlling blood sugars easier than ever. She’s also signed up to participate in several studies.

    Fuller also hosts at least two fundraisers each year to support her 100-mile bike ride for the ADA Tour de Cure, which takes place every summer. To learn more about how to donate, click here.

    Fuller is one of three survivors who will be recognized at Cincy Chic’s upcoming Red, Pink & Blue event on Friday, June 24. Learn more about the event by clicking here.

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      Cincinnati-based Geetha Minton is a clothing designer with local roots, internationally-inspired designs, and a global vision to end human trafficking. Read more about her clothing line, GKM Design, and how she’s infusing Indian textiles and colors with Western silhouettes to create a stylish (and lifesaving) fashion empire.

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      Geetha Minton, Founder of GKM Design.

      Human trafficking is a worldwide epidemic that has impoverished thousands of women across the world. This concept of modern day slavery isn’t just limited to one country or one particular part of the world.

      From the U.S. to the Middle East, the fight to stop human trafficking has emerged in a number of ways. Geetha Minton, Cincinnati-based founder of GKM Design, is doing what she can to help women in Moldova who have been rescued from human trafficking.

      “GKM Design is a Freedom Business that helps support women who have been rescued from the red light districts of India and Moldova,” she explains. A percentage of the sales from GKM Design go to the organization Freeset, a fair trade business that helps to employ women who have been rescued from the sex trade.

      Photo by Sherri Barrber P
      Photo by Sherri Barrber Photography

      When working on the designs for her own dress line, Minton says she wanted to create something similar Western cut dresses but with the look of a sari or lehenga.

      “The Indian fabrics and embroidery are incredibly unique and the detail is like no other,” she says. “However, growing up in America I really admired the the style and drape of Western cut dresses. So I thought, why not marry the two?”

      So, with that idea in mind, Minton was able to fuse Western cut dresses with Indian textiles, colors and accents to insure a one-of-a-kind creation that you can’t find anywhere else.

      She knows all too well that you can’t find this design elsewhere, as she was first inspired to create this unique style when searching for bridesmaids dresses for her wedding. Frustrated in her search, Minton, with no formal design background, ended up designing her five bridesmaids dresses, each unique to their body type and personality.

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      That, she says, is where she found her passion for fashion design. Soon after, she began designing her own dresses for events and special occasions. Then, she began researching fabrics, embellishments, and regions where she could source her products and skilled workers.

      Today, while the majority of material needed for her dresses is sourced from India, Minton says that anything she can’t get from there is purchased from local businesses.

      Minton officially launched her business in Spring 2016, and her first collection will debut at the second annual Cincinnati Fashion Night on July 22 at Performance Lexus Rivercenter, in Covington KY. “We will be showcasing our signature dress line, which currently consists of 6 dresses, as the fashion show sponsor at the event,” she says.

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      More photos, details about the line, and information about Cincinnati Fashion Night event will be posted soon on her GKM Design Facebook page. Minton says she hopes to have the website launched by the end of July.

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