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Blocks from the Heart creates homemade personalized items

Cincy Chic: Tell us more about the concept behind Blocks from the Heart!
Katie Patton, Owner of Blocks from the Heart: The concept behind Blocks From The Heart is bringing back the simplicity of wood and creating something meaningful and beautiful with your photos. It’s about getting rid of all those picture frames and taking everyday things you have in your house, like a tissue box, to create a piece that will be finished to hand down for generations. There is something unique and special to hold a block in your hand with your loved one or to give a gift that is personalized just for that person. No one can explain how it grasps the inner core of your heart and brings out the good, heartfelt moments. We live in a very busy world and to bring back those special moments is an unforgettable creation.


Cincy Chic: Who’s behind Blocks from the Heart and when did it launch?
Patton: I started this business out of my home in 2012. I started creating and perfecting my technique and decided to start selling my creations. It took off like crazy from that point. My brother, David Huffer, who lives two hours away in Stoutsville, Ohio, is a woodworker by hobby. I collaborated with him to build all my wood items – we work well together. He loves to build and does not enjoy the finish. I don’t enjoy to build but I love to finish and bring it to life. My husband, Jeff Patton, has been a huge help, supporter and encourager. Jeff helps me on the little things. He cuts all my blocks by hand, helps me with the hardware and much more. All the creations I gather in my head, my brother and my husband are a huge help to build and bring it to life. I design and give measurements and they do it without being able to visualize what I am trying to accomplish sometimes.


Cincy Chic: Where can we find Blocks from the Heart?
Patton: I opened my store in Western Hills in January 2013. Then, in September 2013, I was robbed and my car was stolen. So I then decided to move operations to my home. It’s continued to grow like crazy so now I get to work out of my home located outside of Cheviot.


Cincy Chic: What was your inspiration for starting Blocks from the Heart?
Patton: The inspiration behind the business started after three deaths of people I was very close to. My husband’s uncle was first, then a month later my dad passed away and five months later my “Cincinnati mom” passed away (I’m from Stoutsville). She was my neighbor and became and family and I took care of her for 16 years. I couldn’t believe how these deaths impacted my life. It was forever changed and I found that looking through pictures and holding onto memories was a huge grieving process. I wanted to create some Christmas gifts and capture those special moments. I decided to quit my orthodontic career of 20 years and start creating memories. I wanted to create good heartfelt creations. Every being on this earth should feel important and valued. We are God’s creation. We are important. We are his masterpiece. I started this business to bring back this very simple concept of touching someone’s heart again and validating a human life. To receive and give value to someone’s life. I had a customer from Wisconsin call me the very day her dad had passed away and thanked me for making a couple stars in recent months to remember their dad as he was declining and let me know he passed on. There is a closeness with my creations that is not easily explained and because of this, I have made many new friends in this process. I value each picture, every story and I pray over every creation before it is mailed or picked up. The name Blocks From The Heart came about because I started with creating the blocks and these creations are truly from my heart.


Cincy Chic: How has the business grown since launching?
Patton: My business has grown a ton since I launched it. When someone receives my creations, they remember how it felt to see it for the first time. Then it presents a chain reaction as they want someone else to feel that too. What is challenging is getting someone who has not received one of my creations to stop, take the time to send a few pictures and have their creation made. Time is not our friend these days, but I encourage everyone to stop and take the time because the impact of your 10 minutes lasts for many lifetimes ahead of you.


Cincy Chic: What makes Blocks from the Heart different?
Patton: You can go to any store and buy a gift, but to take 10 minutes of your time to order one of my creations is a huge reward. Most of the time my creations brings those good heartfelt tears to life. We don’t experience that enough. What my customers do not know is that I create each piece with their future in mind. I vision the great-great-grandchildren finding this treasure in a box of their belongings one day and feeling the importance and value in it. I see them setting it out as part of their decor and creating the conversation piece to talk about their history and family. These will never go out of style as these are personalized to each individual. I’ve already had some of my items at funeral homes after loved ones have passed away. I finish each creation with the utmost care and respect. Handmade perfection is the goal! I coat every creation so I know it will last to hand down from generation to generation. My Pet Urns have became a top seller this year. I just received this response from a new customer: “I don’t know what I would have done if I had not come across your website. Every other website I had visited or catalog that I have flipped through did not come close to reflecting the beauty of our pets or the loving expressions of how we feel when a treasured pet is gone.”


Katie Patton, Founder of Blocks from the

Cincy Chic: What kinds of items do you offer customers?
Patton: I offer my customers the choice to be very involved with my creations while some choose to say, “do your magic.” I offer a line of wood products from baby mobiles, tissue boxes and much more that I’ve created to personalize anyway they choose with pictures, quotes, poems, dates, colors and themes. If they can’t find what they are looking for, I offer anything they need customized.


Cincy Chic: Can you give us some price points?
Patton: I offer items from $6 up to any amount if you need a customized piece of furniture. I’ve made coffee tables and end tables with photos on them.


Cincy Chic: Is there anything new on the horizon for Blocks from the Heart?
Patton: Last year I created the Totem Blocks! My daughter named them because Totems tell your story. These are amazing! The Totem blocks are my personal favorite. I’m always thinking and my brain doesn’t stop. I am always creating new and exciting pieces! Here’s what’s coming this year: I am bringing back the old Silhouettes and bringing them back with a special twist! All I can say is, I got a projector, some wood and they will be amazing!


Cincy Chic: Where can readers go to learn more?
Patton: You can find me at or on Facebook. I’m also on Etsy, Pinterest and Twitter.

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    A local lady recently developed a retreat to bring conversation and companionship to female creative business owners. See how her inspiring idea can help you make 2019 your best year yet.

    Amanda Donaho wanted to find a way that brought together female creative business owners. As a photographer and business owner herself, she’s been attending events and creative workshops for years. But these gatherings were always full of people sitting in boardrooms and taking notes. 

    Illuminare Retreats are hosted in a private mansion just outside Louisville KY

    “I found myself craving something more intimate,” she says. “About five years ago, I attended a retreat that was on a much smaller scale and that struck a chord with me. I know the power that comes from a group of women having conversations late into the night and sharing ideas over meals. I wanted to pull all of those pieces together in a way that would give creative business owners the opportunity to dig deep for a weekend, and create new friendships as well.”

    That concept became Illuminare Retreat, an intimate, 3 day/2 night conversation with female creative business owners. Italian for “to light up,” Illuminare is designed to help attendees move past fears or mental roadblocks, and navigate to high places both personally and professionally. 

    “The retreat focuses not just on strengthening each woman’s business, but her heart, too,” says Donaho. 

    Amanda Donaho, Founder of Illuminare Retreat

    Guests to the event are pampered with an in-house cook preparing meals while also being treated to massages and yoga instruction. “Women walk away inspired, hearts and bellies full, and with a house full of new friends,” adds Donaho.

    Donaho recently hosted the first Illuminare Retreat that was completely sold out. “We sold out every spot rather quickly,” she says. 

    Donaho says that because it was the first Illuminare Retreat, she wasn’t quite sure what to fully expect. 

    “I knew that for it to go as I had hoped, the attendees would have to be willing to be vulnerable with each other and really open up about their own journey as a creative entrepreneur,” she says. “Thankfully, the group was incredible and the weekend was everything I had hoped for plus some. Some new (big!) dreams were laid out over that weekend, really beautiful friendships were made – there were lots of tears and laughs. It was pretty perfect.”

    In addition to food and pampering, guests at Illuminare Retreat also receive swag bags and feel taken care of the entire weekend. 

    The retreat features private in-house cook and pastry chef, Olivia Tew

    “We will dive deep into conversations over a glass of wine about fears, goals, and mindsets,” says Donaho. “We’ll tackle topics that every small business owner faces, like social media and branding. We will hear from a financial advisor on how to be healthy financially, and learn how to take care of our bodies through a nutrition demo and yoga instruction. We really strive to cover the mind, body, and business.”

    The goal of the Illuminare Retreat is to focus on intimacy and the whole person. 

    “When we’re talking about creative business owners, we’re often discussing individuals who work alone frequently,” she explains. “It can be a lonely path to walk, and the beauty found in finding others to ‘get’ you is so important. Alsoo, as a creative entrepreneur retreat, we’re bringing together women from various industries who can give a different perspective, which is incredibly helpful – versus photographers just meeting other photographers, for instance. Doing all of that under one roof in an intimate setting really accelerates those friendships and the amount of personal growth. Finally, we use the line of ‘mind-body-business’ to explain our take on the importance of having a healthy mind and body – not just a functional business. All three working together will create the best, not just for you as a person, but for your brand.”

    The next Illuminare Retreat will be held at the Retreat House in Louisville August 9-11, 2019.

    To learn more about Illuminaire Retreat, visit There you can register for the next Retreat and take advantage of Early Bird pricing. You can also follow along on Instagram

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    Business is booming in Over-the-Rhine and a nationally-known eyeglass chain just opened its doors in the heart of the neighborhood. Read on for the eye-catching details.

    Warby Parker recently opened its first Cincinnati store in Over-the-Rhine.

    Warby Parker recently opened its first-ever store in the Queen City. Located in the heart of Over-the-Rhine, this store is the third in the state.

    “We’re excited to join the community in Over-the-Rhine,” says Co-Founder and Co-CEO Neil Blumenthal. “There are so many neighbors we’re eager to meet and there’s tons to take in. We’re especially happy to be just blocks away from Washington Park.”

    Since its launch in 2010, Warby Parker now has more than 75 stores across the U.S. and Canada with more than 1,500 employees.

    “Warby Parker was founded with a rebellious spirit and a lofty objective: To offer designer eyewear at a revolutionary price while leading the way for socially conscious businesses,” says Blumenthal. “It all began when four friends wondered why buying glasses was so expensive and oftentime tedious. They set out to make the whole thing easy, affordable, and way more fun.”

    Warby Parker allows customers to go around the traditional chain of purchase glasses. Instead, they design glasses in-house and work with customers directly to ensure that they receive high-quality, better-looking prescription eyewear that starts at $95.

    “We can’t wait to have you over to our new Cincinnati home and keep the good times going,” he adds. “We believe that buying glasses should leave you happy and good-looking, with money in your pocket.”

    The store is decorated with classic designs, much like you’d see in a library. It’s also similar to other stores in offering an atmosphere that is inviting and welcoming for customers.

    Of course in a fashion-driven world, you want to look fashionable in every aspect of the word. And that’s where Warby Parker comes in. Their glasses are easy to fit, affordable, and fun.

    The main identifier of the store is a larger-than-life-sized blue-footed booby (yes, you read that right), the company’s beloved mascot. It’s located in a sidewalk alcove just outside the store. Warby Parker says that the booby is there because the company identifies with its curious expression, charming tuxedo-esque plumage, and sense of playfulness.

    To celebrate the opening of the store in Cincinnati, Warby Parker designed a pair of sunglasses that’s special to the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood.

    OTR Warby Parker opened Oct. 27, located at 1419 Vine St.

    “We took our roundlenses Flynn in Smoky Quartz Crystal and made it over with Flash Mirrored Pacific Blue lenses,” says Blumenthal. “This Cincinnati-exclusive frame won’t be around forever, so check it out soon.”

    Also available in the store are glasses for kids. “We’ve taken some of our favorite grown-up frames in a rainbow of hues and miniaturized them for tinier faces,” he adds.

    The glasses are available in two sizes: Jr. (for ages 8 and up) and Jr. Jr. (good for kids ages 4-7).

    Customers who aren’t quite sure of the frames they’d like to order can check out the custom-built app in what the store calls Point of Everything. There, you can get an overview of the glasses you tried on and even see any of the measurements taken in the store.

    Prescription glasses from Warby Parker are shipped within days, and non-prescription pairs are immediately available to take home, and thanks to free lifetime adjustments, customers can stop in any Warby Parker for a “tune up.”

    And because Warby Parker knows that dealing with insurance can be confusing, the team is there to make your experience goes as smoothly as possible. They accept certain UnitedHealthcare and Spectera vision plans that can often lead you to get a new pair of glasses for the cost of your copay. Additionally, there are other ways to save at Warby Parker including out-of-network reimbursement, FSA, or HSA.

    Warby Parker also has a Buy a Pair, Give a Pair program, and have distributed more than 4 million pairs of glasses so far. Through the program, every time a customer purchases a pair of glasses or sunglasses, Warby Parker donates a pair to someone in need. To learn more about the Buy a Pair, Give a Pair program, click here.

    Warby Parker is located at 1419 Vine Street in Cincinnati. The store is open Monday through Saturday from 11 am to 7 pm and Sunday from 12 pm to 6 pm.

    To learn more about the Cincinnati location, click here. You can also follow Warby Parker on Facebook and Instagram.

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    Named one of the best workouts in the country, The Barre Code just made its way to the Tri-State. See how it can give your fitness a boost in 2017.

    The Barre Code will soon be opening its doors in Cincinnati after making a statement with its body sculpting workouts across the country.

    Based in Chicago, the fitness franchise will open its first Ohio location thanks to Michelle Ziegler.

    When The Barre Code was established back in 2010 by Ariana Chernin and Jillian Lorenz, it was a women’s-focused exercise regimen that aimed to change the way women perceive their own strength. The workout also came with a full-bodied program that was driven by empowerment, positivity, and community.

    “The Barre Code is not your typical ‘barre studio,’” says Ziegler. “It brings the area a one-stop-shop of cardiovascular conditioning, strength training, and restoration class formats.”

    Ziegler was inspired to bring an exercise program like The Barre Code to Cincinnati after a heartbreaking experience of her own. She lost her dad after a long battle with cancer and was looking for an outlet to help her heal.

    “Little did I know that I would find a community to not only help me find peace, but also a place that reignited my passion for dance and fitness,” she says. “The Barre Code became like a second home to me and I knew I wanted to create this same community for women in Cincinnati.”

    The Barre Code is a new barre workout coming to Cincinnati.

    “The Barre Code is a very special community,” adds Ziegler. “With an extremely loyal following across the country.”

    The Barre Code will opens its doors in Cincinnati in early 2017. “It offers a health and wellness community in the heart of downtown,” adds Ziegler. “It will also foster a community that supports and motivates members to be the best versions of themselves.”

    When you join The Barre Code, you’ll find that you can meet a number of fitness needs in one place. “The program promotes personal growth and self-acceptance and it promotes the importance of the mind-body connection,” she says.

    Workouts at The Barre Code are fun and high energy, and is specifically engineered for a woman’s body with new routines each week as well as a variety of class formats.

    Ziegler says The Barre Code is the perfect fitness facility to visit in the New Year because it’s something that you will become a part of. “You will be challenges and you will have a support system to cheer you on along the way – it’s an environment where women support one another,” she says. “De-stress from a hectic work day, prepare for looking and feeling your best for your upcoming wedding, stay active and healthy during your pregnancy, or just take some well-deserved time for yourself. Whatever your reason, The Barre Code will become your go-to place.”

    When the studio opens, it will offer traditional barre classes as well as classes focused on HIIT (interval training), strength (boot camp), and restoration (stretch). The concept behind The Barre code is rooted in innovation that continually introduces new formats that will keep classes interesting and challenging.

    Ziegler says that pricing for classes has not yet been finalized, but everyone’s first class is free. “There will be options to purchase class packs or monthly-unlimited memberships,” explains Ziegler. “We can say, however, that ‘founding members,’ or those who sign up for the unlimited monthly membership before or at the grand opening, will receive special pricing.”

    The Barre Code will be located at 615 Main Street, just a few blocks from Fountain Square and on the streetcar line.

    Keep an eye out for The Barre Code in 2017 as it opens its doors to downtown Cincinnati in late March or early April. Ziegler says they will also be announcing additional details on grand opening events. Ziegler says that you can also feel free to reach out at any time by emailing

    To learn more about The Barre Code, click here. You can also follow the Cincinnati studio on Facebook.

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    Learn about a local health practice, headed up by a Wall Street power player turned reverend, that focuses on self-healing and spiritual well-being to help clients achieve life goals.

    Rev. Ria is the founder and owner of Ria Wellness.
    Reverend Ria Roth is the founder and owner of Ria Wellness.

    Reverend Ria Roth, once a power player on Wall Street, took a unique career turn into health and wellness by focusing on the spiritual aspects of well being. It was during Rev. Roth’s journey of self healing that she began to trust her own intuition. This gave her the courage to pursue her own passions and open Ria Wellness to assist Tri-Staters with their spiritual well-being.

    Rev. Roth’s strong passion for a holistic approach to well-being lead her to seek training in an assortment of spiritual and physical wellness practices that her business offers. As an ordained minister Reverend Roth officiates weddings, is a Oneness Trainer, Certified LIIFT ( Life Improving Internal Focus Technique) Healer, Associate Polarity Practitioner and Licensed Clinical Massage Therapist.

    Living in New York, Rev. Roth was draw to a Taoist Coach to heal certain aspects of her past that she felt were holding her back in life. During this time she was introduced to self-healing techniques. Rev. Roth was encouraged to practice on others as well as herself in order to build skill and experience and a unique thing began to happen. “I started to get feedback that when I worked on people, they could feel warmth, shifts, and healing happening. This led me to believe that maybe I wasn’t born to work on Wall Street,” Rev. Roth explains, “but maybe I was here for something else – to partner with people and help them discover and create balance and well-being in their lives.”

    The unique approach that Ria Wellness takes is to focus on the inner self as an approach to well-being “So many people focus on diet and exercise for wellness. They focus on their physical body but forget that inner wellness is just as important as physical fitness to a happy and healthy body and life,” Rev Roth says. While Ria Wellness offers services that focus on the physical body like massage therapy, a majority of her offerings are focused on the internal.

    One such offering is LIIFT Therapy which Rev. Roth describes as an “effective tool that can change unwanted behaviors and patterns that keep us from leading our best lives. LIIFT utilizes simple techniques to quickly pinpoint the source of the issue and correct it. LIIFT accesses the subconscious mind and the thoughts that are stored there, and gently removes the hidden blocks that are holding us back from experiencing happiness and fulfillment in our lives. It can help with career, relationships, self-worth, physical, emotional and spiritual health, financial success and abundance, truly every aspect of a person’s life.”

    A LIIFT session generally lasts 45minutes to one hour, the person lists three things in their life that they would like to improve and then “utilizing what we call mind-body communication, we pinpoint where the issue began and work to gently release the hidden blocks,” Rev. Roth says. The overall goal of LIIFT healing is to release subconscious thoughts the self beliefs they lead to that are holding us back in life. Rev. Roth explains that LIIFT Healing is customized to each individual.

    Ria Wellness offers another customized healing practice called Polarity Therapy which removes blockages that occur due to past or present trauma, stress, and general hurt. “In Polarity we seek to remove the blockages,” Rev. Roth explains, “so that energy can flow freely and balanced health can be restored, leading to overall well-being. A Polarity Therapy session takes place on a massage table, and the person wears comfortable, loose-fitting clothing. The person leaves feeling refreshed, unburdened, and at ease. I have had clients say that they feel like they have been on a mini-vacation after their session.”

    Ria Wellness holds LIIFT Healing, Polarity Therapy, and Clinical and Therapeutic Massage out of Rev. Ria’s home office. Fees are based on the package purchased and packages begin at $70. She also leads a meditation group at her home office on Sunday mornings at 10:30am in which all are welcome. The meditation group “is on a love offering basis, typically $10-20 but any amount is accepted from the heart,” Rev. Roth explains. In addition Rev. Roth conducts wedding ceremony services in the Tri-State at a variety of venues.
    To find out more about Ria Wellness please visit their Facebook Page You can also download Rev. Roth’s guided meditation CD Chakra Dhyana on or for live streaming on Apple Music.

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      You don’t need to travel far for a relaxing vacation. For this week’s Staycation issue, we chat with the owners of local inns, B&Bs and castles nestled in the ‘Nati’s nooks and crannies that will have you feeling like Queen City royalty.


      Whether you have vacation days to burn, or you just need a break from the holiday hustle and bustle, you don’t need to look far for your next getaway. Instead of booking a plane ticket, try booking a room at one of these local inns and B&Bs.

      The Glendalia is a six-room boutique hotel in the heart of downtown Glendale, Ohio
      The Glendalia is a six-room boutique hotel in the heart of downtown Glendale, Ohio

      The Glendalia
      Just 12 miles from downtown Cincinnati in Glendale is The Glendalia, a six-room boutique hotel that offers large apartment-style rooms overlooking the city’s Village Square.

      “The downstairs is a culinary studio featuring culinary adventures such as hands on cooking classes, 4-course gourmet dinners created in a group environment and then served restaurant-style in our dining room and chef Demo Wine Dinners,” explains The Glendalia’s Owner Robin Thomas.

      In addition to the culinary options, the Culinary Studio at The Glendalia is available for private parties, special events, team building events and just about anything else associated with food, according to Thomas. Also on the property of the hotel is an 800-square-foot off-site meeting space decorated in a bright, thought-provoking color palette.

      Thomas purchased the building that would become The Glendalia in 2008. She renovated and opened the hotel in 2010 and opened the Culinary Studio in 2013.

      There are plenty of amenities offered to guests staying at The Glendalia. “The rooms are large suites with kitchens, and some having washers and dryers,” says Thomas.

      Rooms at The Glendalia can be reserved nightly, weekly or monthly. Guests also enjoy a continental breakfast. Each room also has a full-size coffee pot and microwave oven.

      Thomas says The Glendalia is a great place for a staycation because of its location near Village Square, which resembles a European village. There are several attractions nearby including Ikea, Jungle Jims, Kings Island, local bakeries and wine bars, Grand Finale Restaurant and all that the heart of downtown Glendale has to offer such as Cock & Bull English Pub, Bluebird Baker, Meritage Restaurant and Piccolo Wine Room.

      “The Glendalia offers a getaway package that gives you your room and one our culinary experiences at a discounted rate,” she adds. You can opt for a room with a Queen-size bed for $129, King-size bed for $139 or a 2-bedroom suite for $169. The cost to add a culinary adventure for two is $70.

      The Glendalia is located at 11 Village Square in Glendale. To learn more, visit

      Big Rock Cabins in Beaver Township is a secluded getaway that many couples favorite for their anniversary getaway.
      Big Rock Cabins in Beaver Township is a secluded getaway that many couples favorite for their anniversary getaway.

      Big Rock Cabins
      Approximately two hours from Cincinnati, in Beaver Township, are Big Rock Cabins. These unique, romantic getaway cabins in Southeastern Ohio are perfect for a couple looking to escape for the weekend to celebrate anniversaries or just to enjoy some time alone together.

      “Each secluded cabin features interesting decor and fixtures, a hot tub on a covered deck, gas fireplace, gas grill and a fire pit,” says Big Rock Cabins Operator Erin Hoskins.

      Because it sits at the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, Big Rock Cabins are surrounded by trees and private trails lead to incredible rock formations and breathtaking views atop Big Rock, Prophet’s Peak and Turkey Rock.

      “After operating for 11 years, most of our guests are repeat customers that return every year for their anniversary,” says Hoskins.

      Hoskins, who operates Big Rock Cabins alongside Val Wolf, says that despite the cabins being in the “middle of nowhere,” there are several restaurant and shopping options just a 15-20 minute drive from Beaver Township.

      Rates at Big Rock Cabins range from $125 to $209. A weeknight stay with 2 or more nights Sunday through Thursday is $125 per night. A single weeknight Sunday through Thursday is $165. Weekend nights include a 2-night minimum for $209, with one of those nights being a Friday or Saturday. As for holiday weekends, there is a 3-night minimum at $209 each.

      To learn more about Big Rock Cabins, click here or “like” them on Facebook.

      With a hardworking history, The Inn and Spa at Cedar Falls is located in beautiful Hocking Hills.
      With a hardworking history, The Inn and Spa at Cedar Falls is located in beautiful Hocking Hills.

      Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls
      Hocking Hills’ Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls offers a relaxing getaway about 2.5 hours from Cincinnati. Innkeepers Ellen Grinsfelder and Terry Lingo describe the Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls as a “Country Inn” that they’ve been operating for 27 years.

      “We are a Country Inn in a peaceful, natural setting where people can connect with the earth and universe,” says Grinsfelder. “We are dedicated to high standards – standards of excellence. We have committed ourselves to quality food, quality surroundings, quality service and quality employees.”

      The Inn, located in Logan, Ohio, was first a vision of Anne Castle, who wanted to build a place where urban dwellers could escape to a natural setting.

      “After two and a half years in the making, the vision became a reality when The Inn opened in 1987,” says Grinsfelder. “Those two plus years were not without struggle.”

      That’s why in each room of the Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls is a brief history of The Inn. This brief history states: “This is not a Pollyanna-glad-girl story, however, the struggle to withstand backbreaking work, mind-bending discouragement, seemingly countless physical, emotional and financial blocks, is a long tale…”

      Grinsfelder, who is the daughter of Anne Castle, eventually married Terry Lingo, who was hired as a contractor to finish the construction phases of The Inn. Today, Grinsfelder and Lingo, as well as their children, are carrying on Anne’s dream, helping to establish a place where guests can, according to Grinsfelder, “come home.”

      Cabins, cottages and rooms are available at The Inn with prices ranging from $329 per night for a guest room, $379 per night for a cottage and $429 per night for a cabin.

      In addition to the room offerings, The Inn also has a babymoon experience, a romantic weekend getaway, workcations and slumber parties. The spa menu features facials, yoga, massages, hand and foot treatments and reflexology.

      The green-certified property is also where you can find The Gathering Place, a 5,000-square-foot, fully handicapped-accessible space featuring an open layout and space for meetings and social events including weddings, anniversary parties or celebrations for men, women, couples and groups.

      To learn more about The Inn, visit

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      The Ark Spark is a children’s art studio that aims to boost imagination and creativity.

      In 2010, Jacquelyn Graff and Emily Otte were recent college graduates trying to pave their new career paths. While both in search for teaching jobs, they bonded over a mutual love for education, art and children.

      Eventually, they realized that their calling was to start a business, and The Art Spark was born. “We decided to open our own children’s art studio after working at a similar business during summer break in college,”

      Otte and Graff explain. “We love being able to provide children with lasting memories that instill imagination and creativity into their future endeavors.”

      Today, The Art Spark has been providing Cincinnati’s children with a creative outlet for five years. The business has grown to provide different age-targeted programs that encourage problem solving, independence and individual creation. Their offerings include pre-school classes, after school classes, home school classes, birthday parties, summer and winter camps and personalized events.

      The Art Spark is a bright spot for children among other academic curriculum. “It’s important that children can feel free to carry out their own ideas and [learn] to problem solve in a creative way that they may not be getting during their school day,” say Otte and Graff. At The Art Spark, every class and camp session begins with a brainstorming session. “This allows the child to contribute their ideas – it’s very exciting and makes a child [gain] self-worth and a sense of accomplishment,” Otte and Graff add.

      At The Art Spark, creation is more than a finished product. “It’s an investment in the future of every child,” Otte and Graff explain. Every project helps children to develop fine motor skills by using a variety of different supplies and techniques. “We challenge our children to think outside the box and solve problems creatively,” say Otte and Graff. “The kids see it as a fun puzzle but ultimately it’s helping them develop skills that they can use in their daily life.”

      An instilled sense of imagination helps children from grade-school age and beyond, according to Otte and Graff. As they grow, a flare for creativity, “helps them to be more confident, have exceptional leadership skills and to not give up when they may hit road blocks,” they add.

      The Art Spark offers programs and opportunities to fit every lifestyle. Summer and winter camps are divided up by ages and all have a unique theme. Activities include both individual and collaborative team projects.

      Age ranges for camps are 3-4, 5-9 and 7-11. Birthday parties are another way for children to experience The Art Spark. Families can choose between different packages according to their wishes.

      “Our Play and Create package offers games, activities, and two art projects that each child takes home with them,” says Otte and Graff. “Our Exploration package offers activities within an elaborately build, full-emersion environment and also includes two take-home projects.”

      Birthday parties are also customizable, with the activities and projects based on a theme chosen by the child.

      Playing a role in the development of a child is a rewarding experience for Otte and Graff. “We always stick to our guidelines of inspiring imagination, solving problems creatively, and helping children gain independence and confidence,” they said, “We are always inspired by our students’ creativity and each day is a new adventure!”

      The Art Spark is located inside Rockwern Academy at 8401 Montgomery Rd. Visit for more information.

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      Music has an impact on fitness and performance, and is a useful therapeutic tool. Our new health expert explains.

      Kevin shares his tips on getting fit.

      Overture. Beethoven, The Beatles, Palestrina, Led Zeppelin, Morten Lauridsen, Pearl Jam, Bach, Rush(!), Mendelssohn, some cool hip-hop artist that I will not pretend I know, Enya—the continuum of musical artists and genres are vast and diverse. Depending on context and the individual’s mood, music has a way of tugging on his or her heartstrings. Music is a gatekeeper into our mind and soul, which becomes expressed physically through emotion or action. Music can profoundly affect us in many ways, whether that is comfort after a messy break-up or to provide a quick pump before a sporting competition. Music, as a therapeutic tool, can positively and negatively impact our mood and behavior.

      Subsequently, as it relates to exercising performance, the style, rhythm, and tempo of a song can affect our intensity level. Music, health, and fitness go together like a C-major chord, so hands in playing position, head up, take a deep breath, and start on the count of four…

      Verse I. Music is well recognized for its physical, cognitive, and spiritual connection. After all, that is the essence behind music therapy. There have been many times in my career as a Nurse Practitioner where the use of music as a therapeutic modality has improved a patient’s mood or cognitive status. Sometimes music can trigger a final passing memory the patient experiences shortly before taking his or her last breathe, or an Alzheimer’s dementia patient to reminisce about a fond memory from 50 years ago. Through musical involvement in the therapeutic context, patients’ abilities are strengthened and transferred to other areas of their lives, providing an outlet for expression of feelings. From a physical rehabilitation standpoint, research has shown music to be quite effective in facilitating movement by encouraging patients to be engaged in their treatment plan. Music is powerful any way you listen to it.

      On a personal perspective of music and its therapeutic effects, my mother suffered from a hemorrhagic stroke in 2014. She has no significant past medical history, takes no medications other than fish oil and a multivitamin, is a nonsmoker, maintains a healthy weight, is a cautious eater, and is extremely active. Clearly she had minimal risk factors other than her age. The first moment I witnessed her, after her craniotomy, everything was blur. I am sure she could say the same.

      Despite being heavily sedated, she could squeeze my hand in response to simple commands. I asked her how comfortable she was. She squeezed my hand once or twice respectively to answer my question. Understandably so, she was not comfortable; she was scared in fact. Trying to maintain my composure, all I could think about was to play music to help her relax. I pulled out my iPhone and ironically the first song on shuffle was “In My Life” by The Beatles, the song my mother and I danced to at my wedding. I played the song, and her handgrip softened. Her squeezing became less frequent. For that remaining time we spent together in the ICU, we held hands and she was relaxed. She was comfortable, and so was I.

      Verse II. Music obviously can have a positive impact on cognition and mood, but how does it affect exercise performance and behavior? The use of music in exercise training has attracted considerable interest from researchers in recent years, and it has long been considered effective for enhancing the exercise experience. Researchers have proposed four factors contribute to the motivational qualities of a piece of music: 1) rhythm/tempo response; 2) musicality; 3) sociocultural impact; and 4) personal association. Considering these four factors when creating your ideal playlist, have you noticed changes in your mood or performance? As for myself, I am boring because I prefer to exercise with no music, or distractions I should say. My wife could tell me the house is burning down and I would not acknowledge what she said. I am focused—eyes on the prize.

      Chorus. Out of the four factors discussed, tempo is considered to be the most significant determinant of musical response. The listener’s physiological arousal and the context in which the music is heard may affect the tempo preference. This means that as physiological arousal increases, such as during exercise, one should, accordingly, prefer higher tempi. This observed phenomenon is called synchronization. The implication during physical activity is there will be stronger preferences for fast tempo music, owing to increases in physiological arousal.

      The choice of music tempo has also been shown to impact aspects of exercise behavior, most notably initiation and adherence of a program. Given that the arousal potential of stimuli determines preference and individuals often require a moderate increase in arousal to initiate physical activity, it follows logically that listening to music of a preferred tempo prior to exercise will assist participants in attaining an optimal mindset. Furthermore, if such music content also contains lyrical affirmations pertaining to motivation aspects, it will have an even more potent effect. Music that induces positive affect and mental imagery and promotes enjoyment is likely to increase levels of adherence.

      Verse III. That’s enough about pre- and intra-workout, so what about post-workout? Can music really have an impact? One study revealed motivational qualities of music used during exercise provided a sense of comfort to participants post-workout; it created a shared experience within the gym setting. Thus, this exemplified the building blocks of intrinsic motivation, which leads to increased levels of enjoyment and adherence. Music functioned as a conditioned stimulus within an exercise or gym setting, which became amplified over time owing to a gradual reinforcement process. It is even possible that music may influence individuals on a cognitive level, leading them to evaluate themselves more favorably and their own ability to meet their health/fitness goals. (Go to coda). Music is inspiring and motivating. It influences our mood, cognition, and health/fitness goals by making it more enjoyable and enables us to increase our intensity, ultimately improving long-term performance. Whether you are an individual just starting your health journey, or fitness professional, we are motivated by positive results, and playing music while exercising can assist in reaching that outcome. Various personal characteristics influence the response to music during exercise. Hence, personality, sociocultural relationships, and attitude towards exercise should all be considered when selecting a music playlist to accompany exercise. The beauty of music is its diversity, and not one tune will resonant identically with someone else. Encouraging exercisers of any level to create and listen to their own music playlist may be one of the most critical aspects of keeping individuals motivated towards long-term health sustainability. Create your own personal soundtrack that builds you up, that defines you, and something that empowers you.

        by -

        Media Kit

        About Us

        Launched in 2006, Cincy Chic is the premier online lifestyle publication for women in Greater Cincinnati. Each week, this dynamic digital resource publishes a feature story, Q&A with a local newsmaker, various columns written by local experts, and five editorial departments in the following topics: health, beauty, fashion, social and career.

        More than 25,000 opt-in subscribers receive our free, weekly Cincy Chic e-newsletter, which notifies them of new editorial content, exclusive promotions and event invites via e-mail. also provides an active event calendar, which includes female-friendly events that Cincy Chic is either hosting or promoting, such as “lunch and learns,” fashion shows, expos, and fundraising events across the Tri-State.

        Amy Scalia, founder of Cincy Chic, is also on-air talent for local news stations, Local12 and Star64. She keeps a blog on to share promotions and behind the scenes looks at events, reviews of businesses/products/services, and gain greater exposure for Cincy Chic partnerships and promotions.

        This online-only publication has been honored with the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber’s “Best New Product or Service” and “Marketing to women” We Celebrate Business Award. In addition, Cincy Chic’s CEO, Amy Storer-Scalia, is the recipient of the Cincinnati Business Courier’s prestigious “40 Under 40” Award. She has also been honored with a Web Award for site navigation from the Web Marketing Association, a national Web-writing award from ASHPE and a national feature writing award from ASBPE.

        Cincy Chic offers the unique ability to reach a key demographic of “posh professional,” digital savvy, local women with disposable income. Because it is an online publication, the successes of your advertising efforts with Cincy Chic are easily trackable and customized to maximize results. Please utilize our media kit to see how Cincy Chic can leverage its powerful, targeted audience to grow your business.



        Subscribers: 25,000
        Gender: 89% Female
        Education: 81% with a bachelor’s degree or higher
        Visitor Statistics:
        More than 200,000 page views annually
        More than 195,000 unique sessions annually
        Average Income:
        50% $61,000-$100,000
        25% $101,000-$150,000


        39% live or work in a 5-mile radius of Downtown (45202)
        18% live or work in a 5-mile radius of West Chester (45069)
        14% live or work in a 5-mile radius of Montgomery (45242)
        12% live or work in a 5-mile radius of Hyde Park (45208)
        Age Range:
        35%: 26-35
        30%: 46-55
        20%: 36-45
        Family Life:
        58% married
        57% have children
        41% have pets
        11% engaged


        Editorial Calendar

        January 6 – Revamp, Renew, Revitalize
        January 13 – Celebrations Issue
        January 20 – New Businesses
        January 27 – Under The Radar
        May 4 – Mother’s Day
        May 11 – Arts
        May 18 – Au Natural
        May 25 – Summer Trend Report
        September 7 – People to Know
        September 14 – Entertainment
        September 21 – Pets
        September 28 – Books
        February 3 – Your Health
        February 10 – Love
        February 17 – Get Active
        February 24 – Girlfriends
        June 1 – What’s New
        June 8 – Boutique Week
        June 15 – Kids
        June 22 – Survivor
        June 29 – Men’s Issue
        October 5 – Blogger
        October 12 – Perfect Pairings
        October 19 – Geek Chic
        October 26 – Sweets
        March 2 – Spring Trend Report
        March 9 – Weddings
        March 16 – Go Green
        March 23 – Best Kept Secrets
        March 30 – New Niche
        July 6 – Up & Coming
        July 13 – Beyond City Limits
        July 20 – Adventure
        July 27 – Real Estate/Home
        November 2 – Holiday Gift Guide
        November 9 – Winter Trend Report
        November 16 – Thanksgiving
        November 23 – Food Issue
        November 30 – Working Moms
        April 6 – Did You Know?
        April 13 – Entrepreneur
        April 20 – New Businesses
        April 27 – Your Health
        August 3 – Discover New Places
        August 10 – Out of the Box
        August 17 – Education
        August 24 – Fall Trend Report
        August 31 – Career
        December 7 – Winter Weekend Getaway Guide
        December 14 – Cool Issue
        December 21 – Inspiration
        December 28 – Women of the Year


        Web Site Advertising attracts more than 100,000 unique visitors to the site annually.
        Advertisements on the site click directly through to your site, and are easily trackable. Prices per month.

        • Masthead (run of site – top ad, premium placement) 765×110 – $500
        • Top Leaderboard (run of site – above feature blocks): 1074×120 – $500
        • Lower Leaderboard (below feature blocks): 1074×120 – $400
        • Skyscraper (run of site, top side ad): 330×550 – $500
        • Tower (run of site): 330×450 – $400
        • Pillow (run of site): 330×350 – $300
        • Coupon: 530×530 – $400
        • In-Story Ad: 184×256 – $50/department

        In-story Ad in Biweekly “Chic Mom” Column This in-story ad in the biweekly “Chic Mom” column reaches your targeted demographic, links directly to your site, and has a cannot-be-missed placement in the story! Graphic design and monthly ad changes included.

        In-Story Ads- More real estate; targeted to specific audience; commands more attention; longer shelf life as these ads don‘t expire and will always appear in archived stories.

        Ad Inside Story (184×256)- Readers literally can’t miss an in-article ad! ($50 per story/$200 per monthly department/$200 all stories in one issue (6 stories))





        E-Newsletter Ads

        Weekly e-newsletters, sent to 25,000 opt-in subscribers via e-mail and archived on
        • Leaderboard (550×72)-Top Banner Ad. ($600)
        • Coupon- (800×517) Call to action. ($300)
        • Skyscraper (158×400) Tallest side banner. ($500)
        • Tower (158×180)- Medium-size side banner. ($400)
        ž• Pillow (158×91)- Side Square Ad. ($300)

        Dedicated E-mail- Exclusively send out your own message to our entire database of 25,000 opt-in subscribers; great for an event, special offering or sale; immediate call to action; availability is only one per week. Graphic development included. ($750/each)



        Sponsor an Issuesponsor

        If one of our weekly issues highlights your industry, get out in front by sponsoring an issue. This sponsorship positions you as a subject matter expert in your field by giving you the most visible placement during that particular issue.
        Sponsoring an issue is $350 per weekly issue and includes:
        ž• In-Story ad in one issue’s feature story and five department stories
        ž• Sponsorship Leaderboard in one e- Newsletter distributed to 25,000 opt- in subscribers, and archived in Newsletter Archive on
        ž• Targeted leaderboard in one feature story
        ž• Graphic development included for all three ads








        lunch-n-learnsMedia Sponsorships

        Have a big event and want expert promotion to a niche audience of local women? A media sponsorship is the best way to go! The Media Sponsorship Level 1 is $1,000 per event, and includes:
        ž• Dedicated email event invite sent to our 25,000 subscribers
        ž• Event listing on calendar
        ž• Company name listed in 1,000 postcards distributed to targeted area around event venue
        ž• Graphic Development of event invite included
        ž• Event listing on Cincy Chic’s event calendar partner sites
        ž• Event listing on Cincy Chic’s social networking sites (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter)
        ž• Link to event listing from one e-newsletter in “upcoming events” section
        ž• Pictures taken at event and posted in Cincy Chic’s photo section with your company name listed and link back to your site
        A Media Sponsorship Level 2 ($400) includes all of the above, minus the dedicated e-mail. An à la carte event listing is $200 per event. An à la carte dedicated email is $750.






        Lunch ‘n’ Learns

        This unique opportunity not only gets your name out in front of our niche audience with various digital marketing vehicles, it also gets you physically in front of them! Held once-monthly at the Cincinnati Chamber’s downtown location on 4th St., in their beautiful Learning Center that holds up to 120, Cincy Chic covers all room rental/AV/catering/planning/promotion/production. A lunch ‘n’ learn sponsorship is $3,000 per event, and includes:
        ž• Dedicated email event invite sent to our 25,000 subscribers
        ž• Event listing on calendar
        ž• Company name listed in 1,000 postcards distributed to targeted area around event venue
        ž• Graphic Development of event invite included
        ž• Event listing on Cincy Chic’s event calendar partner sites
        ž• Event listing on Cincy Chic’s social networking sites (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter)
        ž• Link to event listing from one e-newsletter in “upcoming events” section
        ž• Venue rental (Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce Learning Center, downtown) and catering services



        Unique Opportunities

        These outside-the-box marketing initiatives will grab attention in a whole new way!unique_opportunities
        • Photo Backdrop- Includes custom advertisement module on all photo albums, a logo on photo cards and logo on the photo backdrop we take to at least three events a month. ($1,000/month)
        • Advertorial- 400-600 word paid editorial story, approved by client prior to publication. Includes  2-3 minute video shot on a green screen in our HD studio. Click here to see examples. ($350/story)
        • Storyteller-400-600 word paid editorial story, approved by client prior to publication. Includes  2-3 minute video shot on-site with our professional videography team. Click here to see examples. ($1,500/story)
        • Logo Development: No logo? No problem! Our expert design team can help develop a logo for your business at a cost-effective price! ($300/ logo)
        • Partner Page: No Website? No problem! Cincy Chic will develop a page that looks and feels like a website with your logo and contact information so readers have a place to click when you market your business ($200/partner page)
        • Graphic Development- We can develop your ads and Webmercials at a cost-effective pricepoint:
        • Static Ad Development- Full color, static ad. Made to order. ($50/ad)
        • Animated Ad Development- Full color, animated ad. More to order ($100/ad)






        Social Media Campaigns

        Fanpage Cincy Chic will promote this campaign through its social media sites (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter – audience totaling 25,000+). Includes 10 mentions on Cincy Chic’s Facebook and 10 mentions on Cincy Chic’s twitter account. The concept: Cincy Chic readers and fans on social media will be encouraged to “like” the ___ Facebook fanpage and comment on the post to enter in to win a ___. Event Promotion Cincy Chic will promote ___ on its social media sites (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter – audience totaling 25,000+) to increase awareness, drive traffic and increase sales. Includes 10 mentions on Cincy Chic’s Facebook and 10 mentions on Cincy Chic’s twitter account. Concept: “Share the ___ event and comment on the post and one participant will be selected at the end of the month to win a ___”


        A social media campaign is only $350!


        Cincy Chic’s Online Brand Manager manages this campaign for the client. The client chooses the duration of the campaign, and the date on which the winner is selected. On the selection day, Cincy Chic’s Online Brand Manager collects data on all participants, imports them into a numbered list, and randomly selects a winner from that list. The winner is announced on all Cincy Chic social media and the winner is instructed to pick up their GC from you. You are provided with the winner’s contact information, as well as stats on how many people participated to gauge exposure of the campaign.



        Social Engagement Campaigns

        Would a virtual tour or product demo from the perspective of a happy client help your brand? Our Social Engagement Campaign package ($500) is for you! Here’s what it includes:

        • Cincy Chic develops an organic, self-produced video testing out your product/service with a positive review
        • Post video on Cincy Chic’s Facebook page (13,500+ fans) with short blurb (75 max) about your business/what we did in the video/call to action.
        • Boost post via Facebook Ad Manager (Targeted to the demographic of your choice; estimated reach: 23k-60k people)
        • Video also posted on Amy Scalia’s two blogs (blogger for and Star64)
        • Links to blogs included in Cincy Chic newsletter (sent to 25k subscribers)

        The most successful example of one we’ve done recently is this one which has over 37k views, 470 shares, and 80k in total reach. Click here to view!



        When you or your company is mentioned in Cincy Chic, custom reprints are a great way to increase visibility, extend your brand, motivate prospects and inform your target audience about your products and services. Highly credible, influential and cost-effective, your reprints will show that your company is published and a reliable expert in the field.

        Our art department develops an electronic PDF version of your story so you can tout your exposure in many ways, such as media kits, plaques, trade show materials and sales presentations.







        “Thank you for making the event for my client, The Limited, a stellar success! I am looking forward to working with you on many more programs for our clients!”
        – Sharon Mandler, Director, Marketing, Digital Strategy & Business Development, Harrison & Shriftman

        “At Stone Creek we believe, based on our research, that when a decision is made on where a family or couple will dine out, 80% of the time it the decision is made by the women. This means reaching women about our restaurants are a key part of our marketing strategies. Our relationship with Cincy Chic is considered our key partnership in reaching women for our Cincinnati restaurants. We have done events sponsored by Cincy Chic, as well as advertising and sponsorships. We have jointly supported fund raising events for several non profits. We started our marketing relationship with Cincy Chic at the end of the year 2009 and going into 2010. Our Montgomery location is up 14.02% this year over last and while we do many other marketing promotions we are up 33% higher than any of our other locations in Indiana, where we have 6 other restaurants of which 4 are Stone Creeks. We even opened a second location in West Chester because our rapid brand recognition in the Cincinnati market. The only real difference in our marketing programs between Cincinnati and Indianapolis is our relationship with Cincy Chic. Now some would say our location is the best of the group of locations but I definitely feel Cincy Chic has helped us reach our customer. We definitely plan to keep our relationship with Cincy Chic and will look at expanding it where it makes sense.
        – Tom Cunningham, Partner, CRG Dining Company

        “Working with Amy and the Cincy Chic staff has been great. They are very accommodating to work with, and provide fresh and exciting ideas. We have worked with Cincy Chic on two events, and have seen a positive response from both.”
        – Andrew Shipp, Business Development Manager, Busam Auto Group

        “You really delighted me with the response that I received from the Cincy Chic lunch and learn that I sponsored. When you told me that the event was sold out within three days I was amazed. Your team handled everything; all I had to do was show up. The food was great, the Chamber was a perfect venue and I got 2 new clients from the presentation. I am also still in contact with several business women who attended.”
        - Laurie F. Althaus, Owner, ActionCOACH


        2020 Events

        Jan 17 – New Year, New You (The Madison, Covington) A new year’s resolution themed event that features local products and services to make 2020 your best year yet! Event features a shopping expo area and fashion show. 
        Feb 7 – Lady in Red (Macy’s Tri-County) Cincy Chic partners with the American Heart Association and Macy’s to hold a fashion show and fundraiser event with exclusive pop-up shops of local businesses throughout the store, fundraising activities and a runway fashion show.
        Mar 20 – Shop ’n’ Swap Fashion Show (location TBD) A fabulous, eco-friendly event that features resale and new retail in the shopping expo area as well as a fashion show featuring new and resale items styled with the latest trends. 
        April 17 – Night in White (21c) A fashion show and gala to raise funds for a local nursing scholarship. Event features a shopping expo area and fashion show; all attendees encouraged to wear white cocktail chic attire. One of our higher ticket priced events of the year.
        May 16 – Women’s Health Expo (The Phoenix, downtown) 8th annual women’s health expo with a variety of health, wellness and beauty businesses with pop-up shops, dance and fitness demos and classes, brunch ’n’ learns with local physicians and experts, free health screenings, etc
        June 26 – Vintage Fashion Show – 6th annual event with a shopping expo area and fashion show featuring vintage fashion designs
        July 24 – Cincinnati Fashion Night  – 5th annual event with a shopping expo area and fashion show featuring emerging local fashion designers
        Aug 22 – Women in Business Expo (21c) – 2nd Women in Business Expo with a shopping expo area featuring a variety of woman-owned businesses, as well as an area with business development resources, brunch ’n’ learns with local business experts/coaches/consultants, etc
        Sept 18 – Cocktails & Couture (Cincinnati Art Museum) – 6th annual event with a shopping expo area and fashion show featuring high-end designers
        Oct 9 – Fall Fête (Liberty Center) Inaugural event with a shopping expo area and fashion show featuring new fall trends
        Nov 14 – Seasonably Chic Showcase (The Phoenix, downtown) 11th annual holiday shopping expo with a variety of businesses so you can shop for everyone on your nice list while sipping mimosas, pampering and more. Free entry, swag bag and gift wrap with canned good for Freestore Foodbank.
        Dec 4 – Holiday Glam – 7th annual holiday shopping event with a shopping expo area and fashion show featuring glammed up holiday/New Years-ready attire




        by -


        Shane M. Pergrem, director of “The Almond Tree” and owner of True Artists Studio

        Danny and Leslie Engle were your typical high school sweethearts. They went everywhere together, attending the same school, church and even the same youth group. After years of dating, they married and bought a home together. Starting a family was the next step for this American Dream.


        But after multiple attempts to become pregnant, the Engles learned they had a very slim chance of conceiving. The news was devastating and nearly tore the couple apart.


        “There were times in our marriage when we both wanted to give up,” says Danny Engle in the trailer for the film. “We both said it’s not working. The pain, the money, the difficulties. We can’t even complete a family.”


        But the couple eventually learned how to turn their stumbling blocks into stepping stones and discovered what true love is.


        Shane Pergrem, owner of True Artists Studio, was commissioned by Berachah Baptist Church to make a short, 5-minute film about the couple and their unique story. Pergrem says after doing a few interviews with the couple he knew there was a bigger story to be told.


        “Their story tugged at my heart strings. They had been through so much and five minutes didn’t do them justice,” says Pergrem. “I knew I could do more for them.”


        So, after completing the 5-minute project for the church, Pergrem volunteered an additional 10 months of filming and editing to shoot a full documentary called “The Almond Tree” that showcases the journey – good and bad – the couple endured to complete a family.


        “Other than the musical composition — composed by ‘Starving in the Belly of the Whale’ — and for the graphic design, it was all me and I couldn’t be more proud of how it turned out,” explains Pergrem.


        “The Almond Tree” was given an official selection at the Appalachian Film Festival, the Awareness Film Festival West, and the Hamilton Film Festival. It also won the Best Documentary award at the American International Film Festival.


        To learn more about “The Almond Tree,” visit or purchase the film here on Amazon. Watch the film’s trailer below.

        This is a special advertising supplement, paid for by True Artists Studio.