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photo courtesy of Emma Schmidt /

Emma Schmidt, sex therapist

“Sex” is sometimes a difficult word to say out loud – it’s intimate, it’s emotional and it’s not something people like to talk about. Emma Schmidt is a practicing sex therapist and has pulled the plug on sex talks here in Cincinnati. Schmidt became interested in the field of sex therapy while studying for her undergraduate degree in psychology as she volunteered for the Women Helping Women organization in Cincinnati.

 

“Health and human sexuality are things I have a passion for,” she says. Pulling from this passion, Schmidt went on to gain a Master of Arts in counseling from Cincinnati Christian University as well as a sex therapy education degree at the Institute for Sexual Wholeness at Richmont Graduate University in Atlanta.

 

“There are a lot of skewed messages in the world about sex and who we are as sexual beings,” says Schmidt. “I wanted to be able to help people find a better side of that, a side that includes beauty and intimacy.”

 

Schmidt began her own private practice in May 2011, working everyday toward her goal of creating more healthy images of sex. She also continues to work in areas such as sexual addiction, which was the basis for her interest in sex therapy. Also in her repertoire is ProjectRespect, which focuses on the importance of sexual education.

 

“Child psychologist Jeffrey Prather and I empower parents to help their kids develop a deep understanding of how respect is an essential ingredient in self-esteem, relationships and sexuality,” says Schmidt.

 

Sexual dissatisfaction and dysfunction are two of the most common reasons people seek counseling from a sex therapist. “The role of a sex therapist is to help guide a client through their sexual concerns,” says Schmidt. By working on behavioral techniques such as communication styles and consulting with other physicians, sex therapy can help alleviate components of sexual dissatisfaction or dysfunction and create progress toward the client’s sexual goals.

 

“I provide a very open and non-judgmental atmosphere that I find helps a number of people who haven’t experienced a lot on the topic of sex,” states Schmidt.

 

When it comes to sex, there is one thing that everyone wants to know. What is the secret to a healthy sex life?

 

“I think what makes a healthy sex life is also what makes a healthy relationship,” Schmidt says. The first guideline is simple: Take adequate time for weekly date nights or a monthly weekend getaway. Second, create intimacy with your partner with compliments or a kind and thoughtful gesture. Third, communication is key — talking with your partner about each others’ needs and desires is sure to bring the two of you closer in as well as outside of the bedroom.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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It takes a village! Learn how to care for your sexual health with the help of these specialists.

 

Christy Haas, a psychotherapist specializing in sex therapy and couples counseling.

As a psychotherapist specializing in sex therapy and couples counseling, I am always surprised and a little disheartened at how little people know about their own sexual health. When I ask my clients about their sexual history I tend to get a very vague response. Growing up we are taught how to brush our teeth, take care of our skin, and go to the doctor, but very few of us are taught how to manage and maintain our sexual health. In fact, I find that most of the clients I see come from families where sex is a taboo subject. This lack of communication often leads people down a path of shame, isolation and creates a pattern where they forced to try to figure things out on their own.

Working with one or all of the following sexual health specialists can provide valuable knowledge that can help you maintain healthy sexuality on a physical, mental and emotional level. Below I give recommendations for local specialists, as well as descriptions of how to best utilize each specialist. The goal is to become an active participant in your sexual health.

Gynecologist

WHAT: A gynecologist is a medical doctor who specializes in women’s health and reproductive systems. Oftentimes, gynecology and obstetrics (pregnancy/ childbirth) will overlap.

WHEN: Ideally, patients see their gynecologist on a yearly basis for the annual pap smear and checkup.

WHY: Being proactive can lead to early detection of STIs or cancer, help identify issues causing irregular periods, or vaginal pain, as well as answering any questions you have about women’s health or fertility issues. Gynecologists can provide education and resources for sexual issues outside of what a primary care doctor can provide.

WHO do I recommend:

Dr. Somi Javaid & Associates (Sex Medicine)

Dr. Ted Lum, MD  (Obstetrics & Gynecology)

Sex Therapist

WHAT: Sex therapy is a form of talk therapy that can be helpful when addressing sexual dysfunction, low desire, sexual trauma, pain during sex, intimacy issues, lack of orgasm, or simply a need for sexual education.

WHEN: Unfortunately, many people seek out sex therapy or counseling as a last resort. While therapy can still help at these dire times, treatment is much more beneficial when clients come as they begin to see problems arising. I tend to see most of my clients on a weekly basis for a limited time. Depending on the issue, length of treatment could be between 1 session to over 20 sessions.

WHY: Because our gynecologists are the ones looking at our vulvas we tend to turn to them with all of our sex questions and issues. It is important to understand that while gynecologists have extensive training in women’s health, most have little or no training in sex. When there are underlying issues complicating our sexual health, it can be a good idea to seek out a sex therapist.

WHO do I recommend:

Christy Haas, MA, LPCC Relationship + Sex Therapy

Emma Schmidt, MA, PC, Sex Therapy

Pelvic Floor Physical Therapist

WHAT: I refer almost all of my clients to a pelvic floor physical therapist. The response I have gotten from 99% of them is “what’s that?” A pelvic floor physical therapist specializes in therapy and rehabilitation to treat pelvic floor dysfunction and pelvic pain. They utilize biofeedback, external and internal manual therapies, trigger point release, micro-needling and at home exercises to rebuild and strengthen your pelvic floor muscles.

WHEN: You should see a pelvic floor PT whenever you are having any sort of pelvic floor dysfunction. Also, go after giving birth! In Europe, most women go to the Pelvic Floor PT for up to a year after giving birth- this is the standard of care.

WHY: Pelvic Floor PTs can help with issues related to bladder and bowel disorders, pain during sex (vulvodynia, vaginismus, etc.), pelvic pain, post-trauma pain, and rebuilding pelvic floor muscles and control after having a baby.

WHO do I recommend:

The Center For Pelvic Floor and Core Rehabilitation

Stacey Clarke, DPT, WCS

Certified Yoga Instructor

WHAT: I know, I know… You’re probably thinking, “what the heck does yoga have to do with my sexual health?” A lot! Yoga is a spiritual practice that combines breath work, meditation, mindfulness, relaxation and bodily postures. Different benefits can be attained depending on the class or style. Hot Power Vinyasa is an intense, calorie burning practice that will challenge your physical strength, balance and flexibility. A Restorative Yin practice allows you to stretch deeply, calming the mind and becoming deeply aware of the way your mind and body are connected.

WHEN: Everyone can benefit from the benefits of yoga at any age. Find a class, teacher and style that suit your needs.

WHY: As a certified yoga teacher I have seen the improvements that yoga can provide to people struggling with anxiety, depression, body image issues, those struggling with a mind-body connection or people with pelvic pain or pain during sex.

WHO do I recommend:

It’s Yoga

Simply Power Yoga

Elemental OM

Educating yourself and being an advocate for your own sexual health is one of the most empowering things a woman can do. Challenge yourself to be proactive and do not be afraid to ask questions. Being curious is what life is all about! If you have any further questions feel free to contact me at Christy@christyhaas.com or visit my website www.christyhaas.com.

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We chat with the founder of a local organization that’s raising awareness and hosting a fun event that helps you “jump” in on the cause.

Lady's Sparrow Foundation will host an event to raise awareness on vagin
Lady’s Sparrow Foundation will host an event to raise awareness on vaginismus.

Cincy Chic: What is Lady’s Sparrow Foundation?
Elaine Hoffman, Executive Director at Lady’s Sparrow Foundation: Lady’s Sparrow Foundation is focused on a woman’s sexual disorder called, vaginismus. I like to explain vaginismus as a panic attack in the pelvic muscles. It can be caused by sexual assault, being raised that sex is dirty, menopause, cancer, or even something as simple as a yeast infection. This can result in painful sex but also the inability of receiving gynecology exams, and creating a family. These women often struggle with relationships, low confidence, self-worthlessness, and, often, depression. The numbers of women suffering are astounding and they come from all walks of life. With the severe lack of awareness and education surrounding vaginismus, many women feel like they are all alone and with no answers or treatment options.

Cincy Chic: What’s the inspiration behind the foundation?
Hoffman: The inspiration behind LSF is my own personal journey. In my efforts to find answers and help, I was stumbling upon forums filled with women and their heartbreaking stories. Stories of avoidance in life, stories of them cringing any time their husband would just touch her arm because she knew she could not provide him intimacy, stories of honeymoons turning into a week of tears, and stories of women contemplating causing a severe car accident so they would either be paralyzed or dead and then there would be an excuse. There were also stories of the men grasping to every last straw they could to save their relationship, men struggling with depression because of the pain and turmoil in their relationship.

Every story was unique but what they all had in common what the lack of accessible resources. The great thing about vaginismus is that it is 100% treatable, we just need to create a world that acknowledges this very real problem and provide help. That is what Lady’s Sparrow Foundation is setting out to do! Since we launched in January, I have meet such incredible women and all with their own story of pain but after we talk you can hear this excitement and relief in their voice that they now know they are not alone, that someone understands them, and help is available. It never gets old and bring tears of joy and excitement knowing that they are getting ready to finally have their life back and experience the passion that it is.

Cincy Chic: Who’s behind Lady’s Sparrow Foundation?
Hoffman: I’m the Founder and Executive Director for LSF, but I could not have gotten this far without my amazing board. The determination and heart they have is unrivaled. We intend on shaking things up in amazing ways. We also work with two professionals that leave me at a loss of words on how wonderful they are. Dr. Javaid, a gynecologist who truly gets it. When you walk into her office you would think you were walking into a spa and then when you speak with her you know her heart is completely in it. This is such a crucial piece for these women who suffer with high anxiety. We also work with Emma Schmidt, who is a sex therapist. She has a way of making you feel like you are talking with your best friend, yet has a wealth of knowledge to elevate the recovery process.

Cincy Chic: Are there any upcoming events for the Lady’s Sparrow Foundation?
Hoffman: Yes! Our first annual Fly Free Jump Event. On June 18 we will be hosting a skydiving event and party up in Middletown at Start Skydiving. People will have a chance to self-fundraise for their jump and then celebrate it afterwards with food, drinks, music, and friends. Not only will all proceeds be going straight to LSF but it will be empowering the women suffering to seek help and conquer their fears. By these women seeing individuals show courage and jump out of a plane for them, they are seeing that they are not alone in this world and they have a large group of people stepping up to support them as they being this new journey.

Cincy Chic: How are you aiming to help women in the Greater Cincinnati area?
Hoffman: We are helping the Greater Cincinnati women in numerous ways. I regularly sit down with women who have been struggling with vaginismus. The first step for these women is knowing they are not alone, there are many others standing in those same shoes, and we are here to help and be a friend to them. We are with them through the entire process if they want us to be. From the first step of reaching out for treatment, through the journey of recovery, and then as their life finally falls back into place. We are hear to listen with absolutely no judgement and full of compassion.

Also, by working with Dr. Javaid and Emma Schmidt we have a place here in Cincinnati that understands vaginismus and the treatment process. This is extremely hard for women to find and I believe we have one of the best treatment programs in the country. We will continue to elevate our outreach insuring each individual can get the help they need regardless of circumstances.

Cincy Chic: Is there anything new on the horizon for the Lady’s Sparrow Foundation?
Hoffman: We have a lot of exciting things developing! Currently we are working on developing a program called the “Vagi-What?” Tour. This program will travel across the country to universities, colleges, and women’s groups, educating them on vaginismus. We strongly believe that our college generation is our future everything. Our future physicians, therapist, mothers, sisters, husbands, and best friends. If we can educate our future on vaginismus and the treatment options that are available, we a can start to build a world with a better support system for the millions suffering. We also want to start the conversation and inspire it to continue beyond the program. If we can get our general society acknowledging vaginismus then these women will be release from the feelings of isolation and worthlessness.

Currently we have 26 drugs for men’s sexual health. Women only have one and that has been a very recent endeavor. By shining a light on women’s sexual health and empowerment we can change this. We also have several exciting and unique events coming up throughout this year. At Lady’s Sparrow Foundation, we are determined to be different and stand out from the crowd. The events are going to be something Cincinnati hasn’t seen before. They are going to be a blast and there will be something for everyone. With our events will create a voice so loud the silence surrounding vaginismus will be shattered and we will also be having a ton of fun doing it!

Cincy Chic: Where can readers go to learn more about Lady’s Sparrow Foundation?
Hoffman: Visit us at our website, on Facebook, or on Instagram. Our website has a wealth of knowledge on vaginismus, the foundation, contact information to us as well as Dr. Javaid and Emma Schmidt, and a blog that continues to educate our audience. You can also learn more about the Fly Free Jump Event on our website or on Facebook.

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Sarah has a low libido and does not want to have sex with her partner. Instead of getting help, she pushes her partner away emotionally and physically due to feeling guilty about her lack of desire. Sarah starts to blame herself and begins to create a negative self-identity in her relationship. Although Sarah is a fictional character, her pattern of feelings, thoughts and behaviors is a typical example of what is commonly seen among many women going to sex therapy.

 

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Sexual difficulties can often be a taxing, overwhelming time in a woman’s life. Often enough most women are not sure where to turn to or who to discuss these issues with and so their sexual health gets put on the back burner. However, healthy sexual functioning is important because in many cases sexual dysfunction is related to how we feel about our self-identity (ex: “How can I feel wonderful about myself when I do not feel fine about my sexuality?”). In Sarah’s case by getting help, she might find out that her life is too busy. Overly exerting oneself cannot only zap one’s energy but it also prevents the body from being able to feel desire due to exhaustion. The solution to Sarah’s problem may be as easy as having to say “no” to some activities in her life and saying “yes” to more self-care and dates with her partner.

 

Life is busy for most people these days. Finding time to take care of oneself is important. Everyone deserves to have great sexual health. Being proactive about sexual concerns might help prevent a small issue from snowballing into something bigger. Most of all, it is important to not give up hope. Sometimes the process can be about trial and error before finding something that helps. Provided below is a list of people and places in the Cincinnati area that specialize in helping women through discouraging sexual times.

 

Gynecologists
For many women the first place for help that comes to mind when experiencing sexual difficulties is their gynecologist. Gynecologists have education, knowledge and experience with what a woman might be dealing with. They also have the resources to either help guide her or refer her to someone even more specialized. This should be the home base for getting help with sexual issues. Some of the top gynecologist practices in the area are:
Dr. Amy Brenner and Associates
Seven Hills Women’s Health Center

 

Pelvic Floor Specialists
Physical therapists who specialize in the pelvic floor area are a great resource for helping women with sexual pain and/or discomfort. A woman might contact a pelvic floor specialist if she is struggling with pain during sex, pain in the pelvic area, post trauma pain and strengthening up the pelvic floor area. Techniques used include biofeedback and at home exercises among others. The place to go in the Cincinnati area is:
The Center For Pelvic Floor and Core Rehabilitation

 

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Sex Therapy
Sometimes sexual issues are cognitive and behavioral based. Sex therapy is a form of counseling led by trained professionals in the field of sex therapy for the benefit of individuals, couples and groups. Therapy can be helpful in talking through the dynamics of life that could be contributing to one’s current or past sex life. Concerns such as low sex drive, conflicts over frequency of sex, addictions, problems with orgasm, sexual abuse, sexual pain, and intimacy issues are some of the many reasons people seek out help from a sex therapist. In the Cincinnati area, sex therapists to check out are:
Emma Schmidt, MA, PC, Sex Therapy
Jill Bley, Ph.D
Thomas Kalin, Ph.D

 

Crisis Hotlines
In the unfortunate event when sexual abuse has occurred, 24-hour hotlines can be a good way to get quick answers in a time of crisis. Many times crisis hotlines have the resources to guide a survivor in the next steps after the abuse. Hospital accompaniment and court advocacy are usually provided as well. Typically, crisis organizations often have intervention and prevention programs for the community to utilize surrounding sexual abuse. A 24-hour crisis hotline to take advantage of in the Cincinnati area is:
Women Helping Women

 

Research and Education
When given a diagnosis or experiencing negative sexual symptoms, it is easy to feel overwhelmed and confused. Reaching out for more information can help alleviate some of those anxieties and worries. Utilizing research can also benefit in finding out ways to cope with the situation in one’s daily life such as helpful exercises, groups to attend, and the prevalence rate. More often than not, sexual difficulties are more common than people might realize. For more information on local research and educational organizations, go to:
Patty Brisben Foundation
Planned Parenthood

 

These suggestions are to help guide you in your journey to living a more fulfilling sexual life. If you are experiencing any sexual difficulties, I encourage you to seek help. In many cases a number of these resources will be used at the same time. By letting each resource know about the other, you can create a team mentality and have an even more effective approach to your situation. If you have any questions or comments about what you read, feel free to e-mail me at Emma@Emma-Schmidt.com

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    On Nov. 2, Cincy Chic hosted its fifth-annual Seasonably Chic Showcase. Guests were given the opportunity to visit 40+ local boutiques and vendors to check off a few gifts from their holiday shopping lists. If you missed it, don’t worry, not only does Cincy Chic have another holiday shopping event on Dec. 6, but we also compiled this “editor’s choice” list of Seasonably Chic Showcase vendors who will make the seasons a little brighter for everyone on your “nice” list.

     CarCacheISA

    Nest Gifts 
    Nest Gifts is nestled on the quaint street of Michigan Avenue on Hyde Park Square. The store opened in 1999 and has the concept of a retail boutique born out of Heather Schmidt’s love of all things beautiful. Schmidt comes from a fine art background and in the gift business as a partner at Studio Vertu.


    The Over-the-Rhine based Studio Vertu makes and sells artistic decorative tiles to boutiques all over the world, including Nest Gifts as one of their retailers.

     

    “Nest Gifts has evolved quite a bit in the last 13 years,” says Schmidt. “In the beginning I offered interior design service and custom furniture in addition to gifts for the home.”

     

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    Nest Gifts has super cute and unique items 
    for everyone on your holiday gift list.

    After opening Nest Gifts in 1999, she opened an annex called “Heaven” in 2004. It was a beautiful little shop, Schmidt says, that offered designer jewelry and women’s accessories. In 2007, she consolidated the two boutiques and eliminated the furniture to make room for more jewelry and gifts.

     

    “For many of my customers, Nest is a special place there they can get their ‘dose’ of aesthetic surroundings,” says Schmidt. “It is a relaxing and comforting place. It isn’t unusual to have customers come for retail therapy.”

     

    Nest always offers complimentary gift wrap and caters to customers with special custom orders. Schmidt shops for products in all major wholesale markets including New York, Atlanta, Dallas and Las Vegas. “I also travel overseas to find items that no other shops have,” she says. “My last buying trip was to Paris and Nest definitely has an eclectic Parisian vibe for the holidays.”

     

    Customers rely on Nest for special gifts and unique accessories for their homes as well as one-of-a-kind jewelry and accessories, Schmidt says.

     

    Learn more at www.nestgifts.com or on Facebook.

     

    Churchill’s Fine Teas 
    Kathleen Kern opened Churchill’s Fine Teas because she was having trouble finding good loose leaf teas in Cincinnati and in most of the country. “I was ordering tea from overseas,” she explains. “The tea that was available here in the United States was the fanning of tea – or the pieces that fall off during the drying process.”

     

    It’s the fanning of tea that gives you the flash of color but not the flavor you’re looking for, so Kern decided to do something about it. Churchill’s Fine Teas now has the largest selection of loose tea in the Midwest with 265 varieties and a unique wall display so customers can open and investigate the ingredients and aroma before choosing what they’d like to purchase.

     

    “Many choose to browse a specific category of tea or all of the teas for extended periods of time,” Kern shares. “Some like to have a recommendation. We cater to all choices because the focus is finding a tea you will love or a gift your recipient will love.”

     

    When Churchill’s Fine Teas opened, they had a team room for serving tea and the little delectables that come with the ceremony of Afternoon Tea. There were also events designed and created by Kern and her team that included a tea theme. They were also part of a tour group and Kern would offer an exhibit of all her Princess Diana memorabilia and talk about her. She even had Earl Spencer, Princess Diana’s brother for Afternoon Tea where he spoke about continuing the work of Diana.

     

    In 2009, the Kerns moved their location from 4th St. downtown to Findlay Market. Then, in May 2013, Churchill’s Fine Teas announced the opening of a second location after outgrowing its space in Findlay Market.

     

    Now that Churchill’s Fine Teas has established itself as everything tea, the business has evolved other aspects of itself into a separate business called Design-Bazaar.com. “This business is all about event design, tabletop, decor, jewelry items and of course anything related to a tea party,” says Kern. “Molly Rowland runs the daily operations of this business for me.”

     

    Design-Bazaar.com specializes in antique and vintage items from Europe, which is a big passion for Kern. “I visit Europe a few times a year and continue to establish sources for product,” she says. You can get free delivery of anything you order from the website for free within 25 miles of downtown Cincinnati.

     

    As we move into the new year, Churchill’s Fine Teas will offer a series of interactive education classes about tea, blending it and the various health benefits. “We’ve seen a dramatic increase int he consumer interest in a more holistic approach to their health and the powerful benefits of combining tea with fruit, herbs, spices and botanicals,” explains Kern.

     

    You can learn more about Churchill’s Fine Teas by visiting their website for tea information, products and to sign up for the newsletter that brings information about the education classes. To see the latest shipment of items available and information about design, visit Design-Bazaar.com. In fact, they’re offering a special discount (18% off!) for Cincy Chic readers on Design-Bazaar.com. Just use the code cincychic at check-out to redeem your discounted pricing. Plus, click here to learn about Churchill’s Fine Teas new Themed Tea Gift Sets now available!

     

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    Dia Rose, who owns the local European Wax Center
    stores in Crestview Hills, Ky., and Hyde Park.

    European Wax Center
    If you want a place that specializes in hair removal and “revealing beautiful skin,” then the European Wax Center is the place for you. This franchise is founded and based in Aventura, Fla., and is the world’s largest wax center with more than 300 locations across the country.

     

    “I bought this franchise because I love businesses that empower women,” explains Dia Rose, who owns the local European Wax Center stores. “European Wax Centers reveal beautiful skin, helping out guests feel sexy and confident!”

     

    She says when many clients leave, their confidence goes through the roof and they feel great about themselves.

     

    Rose opened her European Wax Center location in Crestview Hills, Ky., in April 2013 and another in Hyde Park in March 2013. She’ll soon be opening two more in Clifton and Anderson.

     

    What makes European Wax Center so unique is that the wax comes from Paris. “It is proprietary and no one else in the world has our specific wax formula,” Rose explains. The wax is also alcohol free so when it’s applied it only adheres to the hair rather than the skin, making it a cleaner and less painful process.

     

    Not only is European Wax Center reasonably priced, first-time guests get to choose from a free select service such as eyebrow, underarm or bikini line. “Many of our services are half the price that high-end salons charge,” says Rose. “For example, our Brazilian Wax Service is only $42 and takes just 15 minutes rather than the 50 minutes you’ll likely spend somewhere else.”

     

    Rose says that when the Crestview Hills location opened, it had the highest guest count in the first month of any European Wax Center in the franchise’s history. Guests are continually coming back again and again, making it easy for Rose and her team to create relationships with clients and make it a comfortable, fun and trusting environment.

     

    Rose says it makes for a great gift idea because groups often come in together for a “girls night in” to get primped and pampered before a big event such as a wedding, gala, holiday party, or just because. They offer gift cards, which can be purchased in any amount between $10 and $2,000. Plus, they never expire and aren’t subject to any fees.

     

    To learn more about European Wax Center, visit www.waxcenter.com.

     

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    Tote bag from the Orginal Depler line 

    Original Depler 
    The story of Original Depler goes back to the 1950s when Constance Depler Coleman’s father’s close friend introduced her to her first drink – a White Russian. From there, she found the inspiration to sit in bars and become the pet portrait artist she is today. She began sketching people as various breeds of dogs that she found within each individual’s unique personality.

     

    Amanda Voss, the president of Original Depler, is the daughter of Constance Depler Coleman. The business launched two years ago and offers customers a great selection of items featuring four-legged fun.

     

    Voss says she was always surrounding by artwork portraying dogs drinking or playing cards while growing up and wanted to share their mother’s images, designs and paintings in a unique and usable product line.

     

    Through Original Depler, Voss wants to bring smiles to our customers and remind them that life should be about fun and full of laughter, especially during the holidays. “We’re currently working on our holiday line for next year,” she says. They also plan to offer ice buckets, which will spice up any party and will be ready in winter 2014.

     

    Learn more about Original Depler by visiting www.originaldepler.com.

     

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    Catherine Seifert launched Car Cache to help
    women stay safe while driving.

    Car Cache
    Catherine Seifert launched the Car Cache website and Facebook Page on June 3, 2013 with a Fox19 News appearance with Tracey Johnson. “Tracy used the Car Cache and said, ‘I love it!,’ and asked when I wanted to launch it on her show,” Seifert explains.

     

    She officially launched the business at the end of September and started getting orders from all over the United States. Even Amazing Headquarters in Seattle contacted her to find out if they could set up a store on their site for her.

     

    Seifert has had her purse stepped on, sliding out of the way so she can’t reach it and in the way of passengers. In order to solve her purse dilemma, she founded Car Cache.

     

    Car Cache is a way to keep your purse out of your way while driving, yet safely within reach so you aren’t reaching down to grab it or trying to pull it back toward you after it slides away.

     

    “Women feel less stressed while driving when using the Car Cache because the amount of distracted driving that comes with your purse being loose in the car is greatly reduced,” Seifert says when asked about the uniqueness of her product. “It eliminates the need to stretch to grab your purse off the floor, the far side of the passenger seat or deal with spilled contents.”

     

    Most importantly, Seifert explains, the Car Cache provides easy access to your purse’s contents without ever having to take your eyes off the road.

     

    The Car Cache Facebook page has reached more than 500 likes and the orders are currently on target for projects. “The business now has a sound foundation for it to grow quickly upon,” she explains.

     

    Seifert says Car Cache is starting to provide embroidery for groups such as schools, organizations and companies to display their logos and names. “We’re also about to launch a beautiful black faux leather Car Cache that is soft, water resistant and durable,” says Seifert.

     

    You can learn more about Car Cache by visiting the company’s website www.getcarcache.com, purchasing on Amazon, liking their Facebook Page, or watching the video below to see how it works.

     

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    Sex is something to be enjoyed, a way to connect with your partner and also a way to release certain chemicals in the brain that allow you to feel happier and more relaxed than prior to sex. However, when you are too stressed, thinking about having sex isn’t typically on the radar. To be your best self, it is important to know how to have balance in life. If you are struggling with knowing how to de-stress, try tackling some of these stress management tips.

     

    Acknowledge sources of stress. Do you have relationships that cause more stress than benefit? Try being more assertive or place strong boundaries around them. What about not enough time in the day to get everything accomplished? Maybe there are some things on your schedule you can start cutting back on. Identifying some of those sources of stress and dealing with them directly can greatly impact your stress management.

     

    Exercise. Stress can at times create excess energy. Physical activity can allow the body to use that energy in a healthy way. By allowing the body to use that energy, the body can return back to a more normal state, physiologically. You may also be interested in investing in a stress ball that can help throughout the day. As stress builds, utilizing a stress ball is a way to engage in smaller doses of physical activity and releasing that build up stress.

     

    Have Fun. In the midst of a stressful time, we sometimes forget to disconnect and do the things we love. Think about a hobby or something creative that engages your mind in a different way, but allows you to settle down.

     

    Time. Managing your time can be a huge part of stress management. Having every moment in a day booked isn’t very conducive to a stress free environment. Sit down and make a schedule of all the things you do in a day and how long you think they take you. Then throughout the week write down how long each thing actually takes you. You might want to look over that list and find items that you can start living without, to create more free time in your day to engage in self care.

     

    Procrastination.For those of you who are avid procrastinators, you know how stressful it can be to wait until the last minute to perform a task. This in itself can produce a lot of pressure and unnecessary stress. Try working on that assignment or task a little bit each day, so that it doesn’t overwhelm you when the task slowly creeps up to the deadline.


    Sleep. This can be a difficult step, since many people can’t sleep well when they are stressed. Try and get as much of the normal eight hours of sleep as you can. Even one hour of missed sleep can affect your stress, concentration and memory.


    Rewards. Taking time to celebrate completing a task can be a great way to feel good about your accomplishments. These don’t have to be big rewards. Think about watching a movie, taking a bath, going for a walk, or even playing a game.


    The biggest piece in decreasing stress is relaxation. Relaxing helps the body reverse the stress response. Schedule yourself a massage, attend a yoga class, take a nap or engage in an activity that you find allows you to fully relax. In the end your body will be more able and willing to want to have sex when you decrease your stress.


    These suggestions are to help guide you in your journey to living a more fulfilling sexual life. If you are experiencing any sexual difficulties or concerns, I encourage you to seek help. If you have any questions or comments about what you read, feel free to e-mail me at Emma@Emma-Schmidt.com .

     

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    “Let’s talk about sex, baby. Let’s talk about you and me. Let’s talk about all the good things and the bad things that may be. Let’s talk about sex. Let’s talk about sex.”

     

    Salt N Pepa provide great wisdom in this chorus that so many couples forget to do in their relationships. Though sex happens (or doesn’t happen) between couples doesn’t mean sex is always talked about between them. I am sure you have heard that communication is extremely important in relationships. The same is true for your sex life. However, sometimes talking about such an intimate topic can feel silly, inappropriate, embarrassing, scary and simply feel unnecessary. Why is that? It can be due to many different variables, such as messages that were taught to you growing up, experiences that led you to believe these things, even culturally coming from a community that taught you it was improper or rude, among others. Nonetheless, talking about sex with your partner is actually very important to the overall satisfaction of your sex life. How do you know what your partner wants? If they are enjoying the process? If they would like to try something new? If they are turned off by something or turned on by something? There are also the underlying questions of “ What if I ask them to do something and they reject me, or think I am totally crazy?” Sometimes asking the hard questions can take you to a new level of intimacy and trust with your partner.

     

    How does one even go about talking about sex? Try and set aside time to talk about it. This could be on a date night or even over dinner (without kids). Think about some items that have been stewing in your mind that you would like to bring up. Talk about these issues by using “I” statements. For example, say you would like more of a certain behavior to happen. You might say “I really enjoy it when you provide _______. I wonder if you would mind if we spend more time on that in the future?” or different example in how to lead into sex might be “I love that you want to have sex with me, I wonder if when you want to initiate sex you could kiss me, or rub my back instead of just asking if I want to have sex. I think that would feel less aggressive to me and help me feel more affection.” What’s happening is you’re communicating not only your wants and desires but also fine tuning what you like and could live without.

     

    Occasionally even verbalizing these statements can still provide lots of anxiety. It’s okay to work yourself up to talking about these items. Try starting with sitting at a table and writing notes back and forth to each other about this topic. Writing can at times feel non-threatening. Eventually you want to be able to then transition into talking about your sexual behaviors. What is important to note is that if you don’t talk about the behavior, it will probably stay the same.

     

    Another way to talk about sex is what some people like to call “pillow talk.” This is while you are in bed talking about the day, or even cuddle time after sex. Talking about what you liked and didn’t care for after the sexual session could be helpful for the next sexual interaction. Even talking about if providing that feedback during sex would be helpful. For instance, if you like or don’t like what the other one is doing, then verbalize that at that time. What we don’t want to happen is that the time you are having sex becomes very analytical and looses that natural intimate connection. No one wants to feel overly criticized during sex.

     

    There can definitely be an ebb and flow to learning what fits best for your relationship. Try and process why you might be avoiding talking about sex. Sometimes even talking to a trained professional, such as a sex therapist, might be a great place to start if you are finding sex difficult to talk about.

     

    These suggestions are to help guide you in your journey to living a more fulfilling sexual life. If you are experiencing any sexual difficulties or concerns, I encourage you to seek help. If you have any questions or comments about what you read, feel free to e-mail me at Emma@Emma-Schmidt.com 

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    Have you even noticed how glamorized Hollywood tends to make sex out to be? Sex is something that can be done anywhere, anytime, at the drop of a hat and the woman is ready and excited to go, right? Yet that is so far from reality. Hollywood sets women and men up for these high expectation sexual experiences, and once those expectations aren’t met, many are left feeling like failures or as if something is wrong with them. Then to make them feel like they are going even more crazy, you through on a sexual dysfunction and many times they start to feel broken. Have you seen many (if any) movies or shows depicting women having a sexual dysfunction? I haven’t. The truth is, is that in America over 20 million females will face painful sex (Goldstein, Pukall & Goldstein, 2011). Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (2012) approximated that one in five women will experience sexual pain.

     

    That’s a lot of women struggling with the same thing. I see that woman often in my office. If you are struggling with sexual pain here are some terms to help you identify what you are going through and ways to help yourself have that healthy sex life that you deserve.

     

    The overall term for painful sex is called dyspareunia (dis-puh-ROO-ne-uh). Painful sex can appear in many different forms. Sometimes the pain presents its self in the following ways:
    – pain upon penetration or while putting in a tampon
    – pain with certain people or during certain times,
    – new pain after not having pain during intercourse,
    – deep pain during thrusting and burning or aching pain.

     

    The most common discomfort described are categorized but not limited to Vestibulitis, Vaginismus, and Vulvundynia.

     

    Vestibulitis affects the entryway of the vagina called the vestibular. The sensation has been described as feeling like someone is cutting the vestibular with a knife, or a sharp, intense, burning pain. Researchers are not sure why this happens. Some theories predict that it could be due to an allergic reaction, the vulva being dehydrated, not enough lubrication or a hormonal or chemical cause. Clinical observations in California have been looking at the correlation between high progesterone birth controls contributing to the thinning of the vestibule, which would make that area easier to tear or become tender. Treatments include:
    – topical medications such as lidocaine, cromolyn and estrogen,
    – some anti-depressant pills such as amoxopine and clomiparemine,
    – cognitive therapy from a therapist.

     

    Though these might not take care of the problem fully, they can help the pain subside some and prevent the pain from worsening.

     

    Vaginismus could also contribute to vestibulitis. This is when the muscles in the pelvic floor and the vagina tighten up and make penetration difficult or impossible. In recent studies Vaginismus Help found that the prevalence rate for vaginsmus was as high as 47% making it a problem that affects many women in society today. The research went on to say that 50% of women who reported attending sex therapy had been dealing with vaginismus. There are many reasons vaginismus could occur, one being vestibulitis.

     

    When there is a pain on our body, the body learns to defend that part by tensing up, which is what the vagina is doing too. One of the biggest components to vaginismus is anxiety. Anxiety could heighten around sex if there has been sexual abuse in a persons past, being told not to have sex, negative sexual experiences, low self esteem, among others. In using vaginal dilators, talking with a sex therapist about the concerns and also discussing the situation with a medical professional (i.e. gynecologist and/or pelvic floor specialist), this problem can be reduced or alleviated. One of the main interventions used in sex therapy for vaginismus is called sensate focus. This allows the client to work not only on the relaxation component of her pelvic floor, but also the psychological component that could contribute to the reflexive tightening. Pelvic Floor Specialist can provide great help in using biofeedback allowing the woman to see her muscle contractions on the computer screen. In using exercises, pelvic floor specialist can help women become more aware of muscle tightening in their vulva and vaginal area and over time allow for intercourse to become less painful and even pain free. Below is a diagram of the cycle of vaginismus provided by vaginismis.com.

     

    Vulvodynia is pain in the vulva region while vaginismis and vestibulitis are central to the vagina. This type of pain can be due to a skin condition leaving the nerves ten times more receptive because of unexplained inflammation. The sensation can feel like burning in different parts of the vulva. Pain can occur after or during sitting too long, wearing tight clothes, pressure to the area, and sometimes just from wearing pants. The pain can stretch to the inner thighs and the perineum.

     

    Though still being researched, speculations point towards this list (but not limited to) of what could cause vulvodynia:
    – injury
    – increased nerve sensitivity
    – abnormal response to infection or trauma
    – genetics
    – hypersensitivity to yeast or a different organism located in the vuvla
    – weakness or spasms in the pelvic floor

     

    Treatment options include:
    – oral medications to stop the pain
    – topical medications
    – pelvic floor muscle therapy
    – modifying diet
    – surgery
    – nerve blocks

     

    Living with painful sex can feel very lonely and embarrassing. In the midst of working through the pain remember to work on the intimacy with your partner. Go on dates, affirm one another, utilize more foreplay and don’t keep having sex if there is pain. Continuing to have sex through the pain can create more physiological difficulties along with physical damages.

     

    Disclaimer: I am a licensed professional counselor, sex therapist. With any pain or changes, it is always good to seek medical advice such as a gynecologist, pelvic floor specialist, general practitioner, dermatologist, vulvovaginal specialist, or pain management specialist. Please feel free to email me with any questions. Emma@Emma-Schmidt.com.

     

    Resources:

    • Vaginismishelp.com
    • Center for Pelvic Floor and Core Rehabilitation Center
    • National Vulvondynia Association
    • The Centers for Vulvovaginal Disorders
    • Vaginismus.com
    • “The V Book” by Elizabeth Stewart
    • “When Sex Hurts” Goldstein, Pukall & Goldstein

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    I received a question on how loved ones could respond when a family member or friend discloses their sexual addiction. What a great question! There are certainly more resources that could be developed for the area surrounding what to do if and when someone confides in you about their sexual addiction.

     

    Around three to six percent of the population is affected by sexual addiction with one in three of those being women. That is to say, sexual addiction is among us and doesn’t seem to be going anywhere fast. This is for sure not an easy conversation for the one presenting the addiction or the one listening. Though there are many emotions and concerns and even shock values to consider for the one listening, nevertheless the part where the addict reaches out for help can sometimes be overlooked. Just like with any addiction, seeking help for a sexual addiction is a very difficult step. This step is oftentimes felt as very shameful and embarrassing for the person experiencing the addiction. Here are a few tips that can help you or a loved one get through a time of confusion, pain and help with the recovery process:

     

    1. Listen – This is probably not easy for the person disclosing the information. Maybe this is one of the first times the person with the addiction is talking about what has been happening. Listening attentively might be a great starting point for what they need.

     

    2. Be supportive – Though this might not be the most ideal conversation, being supportive of them wanting to change and reaching out for your support can be therapeutic to the person with the addiction.

     

    3. Know your limits – Recognize that you cannot change the person. Only they can change themselves. They need you to be loving and non-judgmental during this time, not the “fixer.”

     

    4. Educate yourself about the myths of sexual addiction – “It’s the partners fault”, “Women are not sex addicts” and “Sex addicts are always rapists” are a few of the wide spread misperceptions.

     

    5. Research – Understanding what the sex addict is going through can help you understand, break down your own assumptions and better empathize. Some great resources are Out of the Shadows by Patrick Carnes, No Stones: Women Redeemed From Sexual Addiction by Marnie Ferree, Your Sexually Addicted Spouse by Barbara Steffens and Marsha Means, Sexhelp.com.

     

    These suggestions are to help guide you in your journey to living a more fulfilling sexual life. If you are experiencing any sexual difficulties or concerns, I encourage you to seek help. If you have any questions or comments about what you read, feel free to e-mail me at Emma@Emma-Schmidt.com.

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    Teenage love seemed so easy, right? You walk down the halls of your high school, locking eyes with your secret crush, and for the rest of the day you fantasize about what could be. It is an exciting adventure to get lost in.

     

    This is one example of why women love romance novels (Fifty Shades of Grey, anyone?) and hopelessly romantic movies. Internally many women long to be wanted and desired. The chase is alluring and exciting. When we get in to long term relationships or marriage, commonly that chase ends and sex and the adventure become about “quickies” and when can we fit time as a couple into our busy life styles. Just like in most good things (though quickies do not have to be bad) slowing things down can be very beneficial.

     

    0712GRETA WITHAD_2

    One of the key ingredients to sex is foreplay. Foreplay amps up the excitement for what’s to come. I’m not talking about the kind of foreplay in the bedroom, but the kind that takes place throughout the day. Great sex starts outside of the bedroom. When foreplay is practiced outside of the bed, women often times find their desire again, the intensity of the sex increases and you’re able to have fun and be playful as a couple. The inner teenagers emerge. Try these tips throughout your day to enhance your sex life.

     

    Compliments and Affirmation
    Who doesn’t like to be told something nice or be built up? Becoming aware of ways your partner likes to be praised or admired and tell them can enhance positive feelings for one another. A good exercise to practice that coincides with compliments is called the “I appreciate game.” In this game you and your partner tell each other two things you appreciated about them that day or that week. If you want to take it a step further you can then add on one thing you did not appreciate that they did. For instance,“ I appreciate that even though you were exhausted, you took the kids to all their sporting events. I appreciate that you made me a bubble bath when I got home from teaching all day. I didn’t appreciate that you left the toilet seat up last night.”

     

    Seduce
    Build each other up sexually throughout the day. Send e-mails about exciting sexual things. Fantasize about one another. Buy some lingerie and let your partner know about it. This allows you to get your head in the “sex game” and out of the business of life. You’ll start to get excited to see and/or spend time with that other person.

     

    “Because I Love You”
    Do things for the other person that helps them feel loved. Another activity you can intertwine in your day is called the “Because I Love You” card created by Building Intimate Marriages. When you decide you want to do something for your partner such as buying lingerie, sending flowers, writing a sweet note, making their favorite meal, you can attach this “Because I Love You” card to it so your partner knows they were thought about.

     

    Connect
    Connect as two people who love each other. What are some ways you are playful together? Where do you have the most fun? What brings out that spark in you as a couple that brought you together in the first place? Engage in those activities that bring you closer to each other.

     

    Men and women’s sexual responses can be very different. Typically men can be ready to have sex at the drop of a hat, while women need a little more prep time. Women don’t usually get from zero to 60 in a minute or less like men can. Not only can these exercises help excite you for sex, but they can bring back the environment of being desired and wanted like you were when you were younger. Flirting and being playful with each other allows your body to be at a different stage in the sexual response cycle than without.

     

    Don’t neglect physical foreplay once you do begin engaging in sexual behaviors. Start out with soft kisses and sensual touching. Avoid touching genitals and breasts at first to increase that tease, desire and excitement. Most importantly, don’t forget to have fun and focus on each other.

     

    These suggestions are to help guide you in your journey to living a more fulfilling sexual life. If you are experiencing any sexual difficulties, I encourage you to seek help. If you have any questions or comments about what you read, feel free to e-mail me at Emma@Emma-Schmidt.com.

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