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Jessica Kopena

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See how a Cincinnati-based organization is helping local youth dramatically improve academics and social skills through movement and mindfulness.

 

One local organization is on a mission to improve our next generation – inside and out – one movement at a time.

“Mission 2 Move strives to improve academic performance and the social emotional behavior of children through movement and mindfulness. We improve the PE curriculum at schools by training teachers and health professionals,” says Sarah Habib, Founder of Mission 2 Move. “We work with local organizations to directly teach kids how to move and be mindful. We do this by running after-school programs and helping to train teachers to incorporate movement and mindfulness into the school day.”

There are locations that run after-school programs at Cincinnati Public School elementary schools: Oyler, Robert’s Academy, Mount Airy, Mount Washington, Sayler Park, and the Academy of World Languages. They also help with the PE programs at Woodford Paideia and John P. Parker. “We have been in Cincinnati since May 2017, but started in San Francisco in 2016,” she says. The business has 10 health professionals that run after-school programs, as well as part-time employees that are in charge of marketing, communications and fundraising efforts.

The inspiration behind starting Mission 2 Move started in San Francisco, California. “After coaching basketball for middle school girls in San Francisco, I noticed so many girls could not do simple exercises like running up and down the court because of weight or inactivity. When I saw them eating ice cream and skittles before practice, I knew something had to be done to improve their overall health, which will only help them perform better both on the court and off,” Habib says. “I designed and implemented a program into their school that fuses mindfulness and Z-Health, a brain-based physical education program. Last year, I decided to move home to Cincinnati and bring the program with me, all while helping to tackle the city’s growing crisis around childhood obesity. Here in Cincinnati, 1 in 3 under the age of 18 are obese, compared to the national average of 1 in 5.”

Mission 2 Move offers a variety of Professional Development services to schools and teachers, as well as after-school programs. “No other non-profit in Cincinnati is focusing on academic performance, social/emotional behavior and childhood obesity through movement and mindfulness.” The organization defines success by showing children the joy and excitement of movement in their every day lives. “If we can inspire active lives, improve academic performance and help with emotional and social health in at least one student, that is success.”

Habib’s favorite part of working for Mission 2 Move is sharing her love of fitness. “Sharing my love of fitness with kids who have never been exposed to it before, brings a real sense of accomplishment,” she says. “Fitness is the key to living a long and healthy life so the more kids we have moving, the better for their own lives and their future.”

To keep up with what Mission 2 Move is doing, follow them on Facebook, Instagram, and their website.

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Want to live a more balanced life in the new year? A new Hyde Park-based business with a range of wellness services can help you do just that.

 

BLISS Heart Mind and Body Collective is an integrated holistic Center in Cincinnati.

Do you want to learn about a business that helps center your heart, mind, and body? “BLISS Heart Mind and Body Collective is an integrated holistic center in Cincinnati,” Robin OK, Certified Laughter Yoga Leader, Active Dream Teacher and Creative Completion Coach, says. “We are a diverse, multi-professional collective of practitioners dedicated to enhancing an individual’s inner and outer well-being to live into their optimal potential- physically, psychologically and emotionally.”

The business opened last month on December 2, 2017. The inspiration behind starting the business was Arlene Aranzamendez. “She grew up in the Philippines and learned from her mother how to conceptualize, execute and operate a business. She has founded and run multiple businesses, most recently, ADORN USA, which has showcased her passion for jewelry design,” OK says. “In the past few years, she began to practice meditation on a regular basis and was also inspired to begin a chakra jewelry line. She recognized that she has a gift for intuitive healing practices and began to study alternative modes of healing. She was given a vision of creating a holistic healing space in what was once her retail store and over the past year, has attracted the team members and converted the previous retail space to house BLISS Heart Mind and Body Collective.”

The name of the business came from a discussion between the people of the business. “As a Collective, the team discussed what it was that the group was seeking to manifest in their work- both in the community and beyond,” she says. “Although each practitioner has their own modality, and skill sets, we determined that the ultimate goal was to help individuals connect more deeply with the experience of BLISS in their daily lives.”

Arlene Aranzamendez, Founer of BLISS

There are a variety of services that BLISS offers. These services include: Coaching, Reiki Healing, Ancient American Indian Healing, Chakra and Crystal Energy Healing, Rebirthing Breathwork, Mindfulness Meditation (Group), Laughter Healing (Group), Kundalini Yoga (Group), Shimmey Angels Belly Dance (Group ages 9-18), Blue Moon Gypsy Caravan Tribal Belly Dance (Group Adults), Sacred Satsung (Group), Creative Completion Coaching, Holistic Life Coaching, Dream Guidance, Master of Ceremony Guide, Spiritual Guidance and Aromatherapy.

BLISS defines success by having the members of the team living a balanced life in their heart, body and mind. “We believe that as we do our own work as individuals and experience this in our own lives, then we continually expand our capacity to share, heal, teach, serve and lead others in doing the same,” OK says. “It may sound counter-culture and counter-intuitive, especially as a group of healers to focus on our personal healing, well-being and transformation; however, how can we expect to help others grow if we are not ourselves, continually seeking to expand?”

OK’s favorite part about being a part of the business is connecting with the clients that come into BLISS. “Being given the honor and privilege of seeing people who are willing to address their pain and suffering and seek modalities to make a lasting beneficial change for themselves and their loved ones,” she says.

BLISS Heart Mind and Body Collective is located at 2716 Erie Avenue, 2nd Floor, Cincinnati, Ohio 45208. To learn more, visit their website and follow along on Facebook.

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A local business is in the weeds with new products to make it easy to incorporate healthy, therapeutic hemp into your everyday lifestyle. Read on for more.

 

Queen City Hemp sells a variety of CBS products made from the therapeutic hemp plant.

You’ve probably heard about the health benefits of hemp, but are leery to try. That’s the inspiration behind why Queen City Hemp was created, says CEO Nicholas Balzer.

“We know that in the current unregulated alternative health and wellness industry, products can have ingredients and effects you don’t expect or want,” Balzer says. “Our goal is to set the industry standard in transparency and quality, and we ensure every product has the exact ingredients listed and delivers the precise potency promised, each and every time. Infusing social change through science.”

Queen City Hemp manufactures a variety of CBD products derived from therapeutic hemp. The business was formed in October 2015, and their first product, manufactured in Over the Rhine-based Findlay Kitchen, was available in May 2016. “We currently have three employees with efforts to bring on new hires in 2018,” he adds.

Balzer says he helped to co-found the business because he knew about the healing aspects of cannabis, but products delivering those benefits were not regulated or readily available.

“We wanted to bring our experience and integrity into the industry. Our philosophy is based on an understanding that hemp is a medicinal plant and should be treated as such,” Balzer says. “We want to be a voice of change and give a percentage of our sales to local communities and national charitable organizations that builds awareness of the healing benefits of products like ours. Additionally, a percentage of our sales are donated to scientific research related to the alternative health and wellness community.”

Queen City Hemp offers a variety of delivery systems of the cannabis: sublingual tincture, vape e-liquids, topical salve and their newest product, an infused seltzer water.

Success, for Balzer, is measured by their client feedback. “We have amazing people that reach out to use with testimonials on how our products have elevated their quality of life,” he says. “These stories never get old and are at the center of why we do what we do.”

Balzer loves what he does and looks forward to going to work everyday. “We believe in our quality of products and believe in the healing properties of hemp,” he says.

Balzer also feels that Queen City Hemp is important for the community of Cincinnati. “More and more people are seeking natural products. They may be suffering from an overwhelming amount of side effects from pharmaceuticals or are desperate for something that works,” he says. “There is no one-size-fits-all for starting cannabinoid therapy. We spend the majority of our time on education with our retailers and one on ones with individuals surrounding the benefits and legalities of hemp-based CBD products.”

To learn more about Queen City Hemp, follow them on Facebook, send an email, and visit their website.

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See how one local woman and her husband turned their struggle with fertility into a unique resource for other couples trying to become parents.

 

Jennifer Bross, Founder of Parental Hope, with her family.

Just a few short years ago, Jennifer Lynn Bross was in a dark place in life. It’s a place in which many people — one in eight, to be exact — struggling with infertility find themselves.  

Today, she’s the founder of Parental Hope, to be a beacon of light for others struggling with the issues she faced, as this Cincinnati-based 501c3 non-profit organization is dedicated to serving the infertility community.

“Infertility is a disease of the reproductive system defined by the failure to achieve a clinical pregnancy after 12 months or more of regular unprotected sexual intercourse,” Bross says. Some of the most common infertility diagnoses include: Endometriosis, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), quality of embryos, multiple unexplained miscarriages, etc. Infertility impacts both men and women. “Infertility does not discriminate and can have devastating long-term effects; physically, emotionally and financially,” she says. According to Bross, “one in eight couples (12 percent) have trouble getting pregnant and suffer some form of infertility.”

Jennifer and her husband, David Bross, know all-too-well the suffering caused by infertility. David actually began his journey with infertility before the two even met. “A couple years before David and I had our first date, he was diagnosed with male factor infertility,” Jennifer says. “His primary issue was the morphology, or to put it in simple terms, less than one percent of his semen were complete and normal (a healthy male has greater than four percent). This classified him as ‘sub-fertile.’”

In February of 2012, the couple started dating and decided to get a second opinion from the Urologist. David was tested, and the doctor called to tell him he was infertile and wasn’t likely to have children. “He was absolutely devastated,” she says. A few days after David heard the news, Jennifer helped him to realize he wasn’t the person to give up easily or lose hope. However, after more testing and ultrasounds, David discovered he had a varicocele, “which is basically an issue in the vein that increases the temperature to the point that it affects sperm development,” Bross says. After finding out the information, he decided to undergo a procedure on the affected veins and began a routine of taking about 30 vitamins a day.

Six months later, the couple met with with Dr. Michael Schreiber at the Institute for Reproductive Health, “hoping he could fix our broken hearts,” she says. “We were told that David’s morphology had increased to 1%, which was high enough to do IVF with ICSI. Finally, some good news.” IV, or In Vitro Fertilization, is “a technique where a women’s eggs and man’s sperm are combined in a special laboratory in order to create an embryo,” she says.

However, Jennifer was diagnosed with Polycystic Syndrome, which means I don’t ovulate. “We had no idea how we would pay for IVF, we didn’t care, as it was the first time we had been told parenthood was even a remote possibility given our diagnoses,” Jennifer says.

Over a year later, “after David’s morphology issue, my PCOS diagnosis, three negative Intrauterine Inseminations (IUIs), one egg retrieval, a bout of Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome which resulted in 10 days of bed rest and a liter of fluid drained from my ovaries, and two negative frozen embryo transfers, our miracle finally occurred on our third frozen embryo transfer,” Jennifer says. “Now, we are the proud parents of 3-year-old twins, Violet and Logan, who are the loves of our lives.”

Going through the experience of infertility inspired Jennifer to spread the message of hope to the Parental Hope is a unique organization that in the community of Cincinnati. Bross and her passionate board of directors are “ dedicated to serving the infertility community in the Greater Cincinnati area and all across the country,” she says.

Parental Hope offers a variety of services to get through the struggle of infertility. The organization offers Parental Hope Family Grants (PHFG), Advocacy and Public Outreach and Peer-Led Support. “Parental Hope believes that every person should have the opportunity to achieve their dream of parenthood, and a lack of financial means should not be an impediment to pursuing this dream,” she says.

The ways that Parental Hope raises awareness and educates people about infertility are: events, like Journey to Parenthood: An Evening of Hope; social media, like Warrior Wednesdays, which is Parental Hope highlighting someone battling or has overcome infertility; and other media platforms, like news outlets.

The organization is not a paying job for Jennifer. “We are a 100% voluntary organization. None of our board members and volunteers receive a salary and most have full-time careers outside of Parental Hope,” she says. “Personally, Parental Hope is more than a hobby or ‘second job.’ It’s my passion.”

You can get involved with what Jennifer and Parental Hope is doing by attending their Journey to Parenthood event, fundraising, volunteers, and media opportunities.  You can keep up with what the organization is doing by following them on Facebook, Instagram, and their website.

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A pizzeria in OTR specializes in palate-pleasers made with local and organic ingredients. Keep reading for all the delicious details.

 

Harvest Health Pizzeria makes locally grown, organic, and health food.

Finding locally grown, organic and healthy food at a pizzeria. That’s the unique idea behind a restaurant that recently opened its doors right across from Findlay Market in OTR.

“At Harvest Pizzeria Over-the-Rhine, we strive to source local and organic ingredients whenever possible,” says Seth Barnes, General Manager of Harvest Pizzeria. “Serving a menu consisting of traditional, standard and seasonal pizzas, as well as lovely small plates, thoughtful salads and homemade desserts. Great beer, wine and cocktails too.”

Grow Restaurants, the parent company of Harvest Pizzeria, has been in business for 23 years. The Harvest Pizzeria Over-the-Rhine location, which opened in Sept. 2017, is located at 1739 Elm Street, at the corner of Elm and Elder at the west entrance to Findlay Market. The business has a total of 24 employees at their Cincinnati location; 137, including the three Harvest Columbus locations; and 187 people, including all of their Grow Restaurants.

The inspiration behind starting Harvest Pizzeria came from a lifelong passion. Chris Crader, CEO of Grow Restaurants, had a lifelong love for pizza and an inspiring trip to Mario Batalis’ Pizzeria Mozza in Los Angeles. “We were also inspired, and continue to be, by the bounty of Ohio’s farmlands,” Crader says. “It really makes for amazing menu options and amazing fresh flavors.”

Something else that makes Harvest unique is its pleasant and friendly environment. “Harvest provides a warm environment, where community and neighbors can come to enjoy casual, friendly service, world class pizza, small plates, salads and burgers crafted with the care and the best local ingredients available,” Barnes says. “In addition, we have a full bar with craft cocktails, craft beer and a great wine list curated by owner, Chris Crader.”

There are a variety of items on the menu, including: Cast Iron Brussel Sprouts and Butternut Squash with Tellagio Cream Sauce, Panko Bread Brumbs and Spiced Honey; Buffalo Cauliflower Fried Pickle Chips; and burgers made from Columbus Heritage Lifestock provided by the butcher and grocer, etc. Barnes’ favorite item on the menu is the mushroom pizza made with local Kentucky-grown mushrooms.

Barnes’ favorite part about working for Harvest Pizzeria Over-The-Rhine is serving others. “I love my staff and my guests. I really enjoy seeing my staff gaining valuable skills, learning life lessons and growing as people, my job would not be complete without this,” Barnes says. “I love seeing a new guest enjoy a new experience and I love having regulars come back to enjoy our food and comfort.”

To learn more about Harvest Pizzeria Over-The-Rhine, follow along on Facebook and Instagram.

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Learn about a local yoga and meditation studio with two area locations that specializes in transforming beginners into expert yogis.

 

Pamela Quinn is the Founder of Elemental OM, a yoga and meditation studio in Cincinnati.

Do you want to learn about a place to do yoga in the Cincinnati area? “Elemental OM is a yoga and meditation studio with two locations serving Greater Cincinnati,” Pamela Quinn, Founder of Elemental OM, says.

“We specialize in making yoga and meditation accessible to those who have never tried yoga or feel they are inflexible or suffering from physical or emotional situations.” Elemental OM has been in business for 11 years with locations at 9510 Montgomery Road, Montgomery, Ohio 45242 and 11928 Montgomery Road, Symmes, Ohio 45249, with one employee and 55 independent contractors.

Elemental OM started from a personal injury that Quinn dealt with. “I personally suffered a debilitating back injury and turned to meditation to manage my pain,” she says. Quinn learned how to meditate and learned about yoga and Ayurveda. “I healed physically in a short period of time and became passionate about sharing the teachings with others,” she says.

The name of the business comes from “Elements,” which is based on the five-element theory of Ayurveda. This is a mental-based yoga on the tantric nature of yoga. Then there is Om, “the sacred vibration that created the universe,” Quinn says.

The business offers yoga classes for beginners and those who are more advanced; corporate wellness solutions; massage, Reiki and healing touch; and has certification as a yoga teacher and Holistic Health Educator.

Elemental Om wants to create a safe environment for her clients. The business is about “creating an atmosphere where someone who has never done yoga or who feels it just isn’t for them and falls in love with yoga,” she says.

The yoga studio is an addition to the Cincinnati area where people can relax. The place “offers a place where folks can come in, kick off their shoes, get a hug and relax,” Quinn explains. “Mothers come to exercise, but learn to be more patient with their children. School teachers who come to de-stress and take the teachings back to their pupils. Business people come to relax and learn to connect more intimately into meaningful work and purpose.”

Quinn says other folks come suffering from the emotional pain isolation, loneliness, anxiety, depression and grief and learn the tools to manage and heal.

“Most people come in for exercise, but leave with so much more,” she adds, saying that she loves coming back to work everyday. “Our team and our students are incredible. They light up my every day and make me feel so purposefully,” she says. “I am incredibly lucky to be surrounded by such talent and love.”

To keep up with what Elemental OM is doing, check out their website, where you can sign up for their newsletter. 

 

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The holidays can be busy and stressful. Learn about a local yogi’s upcoming retreat for women to enjoy yoga, friendships, and refreshing relaxation time.

 

Julie Lusk’s Yoga Slumber Party is a bi-annual event that brings women together for yoga, friendship, and relaxation.

Do you want to experience an event with a community of women where you get to feel relaxed? Julie Lusk’s Yoga Slumber Party is “a bi-annual sleepover for women to enjoy yoga, friendships, and refreshing relaxation time,” Lusk, President of Wholesale Resources, says. “It’s a time to get replenished with joyful energy. We have people come with no yoga experience to those who are accomplished yoga teachers.”

Lusk says they started having two per year starting in 2003. “That’s 15 years and 30 yoga slumber parties,” she laughs. With space for only 36 women, the event is happening at the Jesuit Spiritual Center, which is located 17 miles east of Cincinnati in Milford.

“The Jesuit Spiritual Center gives us almost 40 acres of magnificent acreage along the Little Miami River. There is a labyrinth and walking paths to enjoy,” she says. “Our building has a beautiful room for yoga, and a lounge with a fireplace to enjoy. Delicious food is served in the dining hall — they even do dishes for us! Everyone gets their own private bedroom with a sink. It’s perfect!”

Julie Lusk of the Julie Lusk Yoga Slumber Party

Lusk has more than 40 years of expertise in stress relief, yoga, relaxation training, guided imagery and meditation as an international author, recording artist, and workshop leader. She is the author of “Yoga Nidra for Complete Relaxation and Stress Relief, Yoga Meditations, two volumes of 30 Scripts for Complete Relaxation, Imagery, and Inner Healing, and Desktop Yoga®.” She also has several CDs out, including Yoga Nidra Essentials, Wholesome Energizers, Power of Presence, Blue Moon Rising, and many others.

There is a lot that goes into planning the Yoga Slumber Party. “A theme is selected. Then yoga sequences, music, readings, and creative activities are specially planned to complement the theme,” Lusk says. “Taking out time foroneself is always encouraged.” The theme has not yet been selected for the upcoming yoga slumber party for January 27-28, 2018. There will also be another Yoga Slumber Party happening August 11-12, 2018.

For the Yoga Slumber Party, people can expect “a break from one’s routine to gain a new perspective, inspiration and motivation to live life more meaningfully and fully,” she says. The event is great for the community of Cincinnati because it’s nearby,” she adds. “The Yoga Slumber Party is the perfect way to get all the benefits of a retreat without the expense and time needed to travel.”

If you want to register for the Yoga Slumber Party, visit the Wholesome Resources website.

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We chat with the woman behind an important organization that’s giving people better access to local food, boosting business for local farmers, and promoting a more environmentally sustainable region.

 

Thanks to the work of one local organization, the Ohio Valley Region will soon enjoy better market opportunities for local farms while people and institutions will have better access to fresh, healthy, local food.

Green Umbrella, the leading alliance working to maximize the environmental sustainability of Greater Cincinnati, was recently awarded a USDA Local Food Promotion Program grant to increase sales for local farm producers through the region’s largest food hubs by 65% by 2020.

Green Umbrella helps increase sales for local farm products.

“We drive collaboration to fuel measurable improvements in key areas of sustainability,” Kristin Weiss, Executive Director of Green Umbrella, says. “Our vision is to have the region recognized as one of the top ten most sustainable metro areas in the nation by 2020. Our vision was actually realized this year, when Greater Cincinnati was ranked the nation’s #1 metro area for sustainability in Site Selection’s 2017 Sustainability Rankings.”

The Green Umbrella project, which was originally launched in 1998, has been relaunched under the Collective Impact Model. “It was the first time our region agreed on a shared vision and success indicators for the environment,” she says. “It was a key turning point, too, that our region was recognizing environmental sustainability as a significant path for making Greater Cincinnati a highly desirable place to live, play and work.”

There are a variety of different projects that Action Teams in Green Umbrella are in charge of, which drives progress toward their sustainability goals, and they include: Red Bike, Outdoor Adventure Clubs, Produce Perks, Ohio Valley Food Connection, Tri-State Trails, Greater Cincinnati Food Policy council, Midwest Regional Sustainability Summit, and Great Outdoor Weekend.

For the third time, Partners for Places is providing Green Umbrella and 11 other cities with grants, and Cincinnati is receiving the largest one.  Partners for Places is “a national matching grants program, which pairs city governments with philanthropy to support sustainability projects that promote a healthy environment, a strong economy, and well-being for residents,” Weiss explains.

The grant will fund strategic, and collaborative activities to prevent, recover, and recycle food waste. “Locally, this project will help address two community issues-the need to improve access to healthy food for the one in four residents that are food insecure, and the need to reduce the amount of  ‘waste’ going to the landfill-currently averaging more than five pounds per person per day,” Weiss says. “Specifically, the grant will be used to expand sharing tables in schools, work with institutional kitchens to reduce food waste and recover surplus food, foster neighborhood composting through policy advocacy, and educate the public on best practices related to food waste issues.”

Weiss says this is her dream job and it’s helping her have the exact impact she wanted for her hometown. “When I was starting my career, my dad passed away quickly of brain cancer, and that taught me to appreciate the time I have, and spend it with people and doing work that I love,” Weiss explains. “I know that I can make a significant difference working on this project, and that’s what gets me excited for work everyday.”

With nearly 400 members, over 6,000 email subscribers, and 10,000 social media followers, Green Umbrella is growing. To learn more, visit www.greenumbrella.org or “like” them on Facebook. For information about how to source locally this Thanksgiving, visit www.greenumbrella.org/localthanksgiving.

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Learn about a local business that makes the tastiest treats with all-natural ingredients, free from preservatives and additives.

 

Davis Cookie Collection specializes in gourmet cookies and is based out of OTR’s Findlay Kitchen.

Tasty treats aren’t usually known for their guilt-free ingredients. That’s not the case for one local business.

“Davis Cookie Collection LLC specializes in delicious gourmet cookies,” says Christina Davis, CEO of Davis Cookie Collection, a business that operates out of OTR-based Findlay Kitchen where they make their cookies. Their cookies are made from all-natural ingredients that are free from preservatives and additives. “We work diligently to ensure that we utilize the best ingredients for our product,” Davis says.

“Our product is currently sold at the Cincinnati Zoo, French Fry Heaven, Conscious Kitchen, and we have recently received an opportunity with Izzy’s on Elm Street,” she explains. “Our cookies will go live at Izzy’s on Monday [Oct. 27, 2017].” Davis and her husband are the dynamic duo behind the brand, doing all the sweet tooth satisfying work at the moment. “But we are blessed to also have the support of family and friends who help us in the kitchen when needed,” Davis adds.

Davis Cookie Collection has been in business for 3.5 years. The business was launched in 2014 while Davis was a graduate student at the University of Cincinnati studying social work. “I would bring samples of our cookies to my workplace and people raved about how delicious they were,” she says. “People offered to pay for the cookies and that’s when a business was born.”

Davis Cookie Collection is starting to offer additional services as well. “We also offer a delivery service to our customer’s home, workplace, school, etc.,” Davis says.

What gets Davis to come back to work everyday is her love for pleasing her customers. “Being able to create delicious product that my customers love, motivates me to come back to work everyday,” Davis says. “It’s a pleasure knowing that I’m able to satisfy each customer’s sweet tooth.”

Davis’ definition of success for her business is meeting goals. “Some of our goals are to have our product located in numerous business locations within the City of Cincinnati, opening a brick and mortar location, working toward maintaining a profitable status, and giving back to the community,” Davis says. They feel like their business is important for the community of Cincinnati. “Everyone loves cookies. Our product warms our customers’ hearts and delights their taste buds,” she says. “Our business can also eventually help the community by creating employment opportunities.”

Davis Cookie Collection has also allowed Davis to experience memorable moments. “My most memorable moment thus far was being invited to Mayor Cranley’s State of the City Address last year where he shared a snippet about our business during his speech. Mayor Cranley then allowed us to serve samples of our cookies to the attendees,” she says. “It was a dream come true, as we were able to meet several CEOs and business owners of well-known organizations.“ Davis was also able to receive a tour of the Busken Bakery production location by Brian Busken, the Vice President of Busken Bakery, earlier this year.

If you want to keep up with what Davis Cookie Collection is doing, follow them on Facebook and Instagram and their website.

 

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A local woman launched a caters an urban cuisine with a variety of culturally inspired and traditional dishes, with a twist! Read on for all the delicious details.

 

Salimah Abdul-Hakim, Owner of L. Mari Catering

It’s urban, but also organic, locally sourced, and grass fed. It’s traditional and culturally inspired, but also with a twist. It’s L. Mari Catering.

“L. Mari Catering specializes in delicious urban cuisine through our catering services, weekly meal preparation, and specialty events, Salimah Abdul-Hakim, Chef and Owner of L. Mari Catering, LLC. “We created urban cuisine as a good concept that engulfs a variety of culturally inspired and traditional dishes, sometimes with a twist!”

Mari Catering is primarily located out of Findlay Kitchen in Over-The-Rhine in Cincinnati, Ohio, and launched in October 2016. “This has been an exciting and busy year for us as we celebrate year one serving the community,” she says.

The inspiration behind starting the business came from a vision she had. “I had a vision of being able to select entrees and dishes that either are not available anywhere else, or not available all on one menu,” Abdul-Hakim says. “Whether it’s jerk chicken, an Indian-inspired dish, a vegan item, or baked Ziti; I wanted to be able to provide food to a wide variety of people.”

There are a variety of events that L. Mari Catering covers for its clients. “We provide catering services; whether it’s an intimate affair for ten people, a corporate luncheon, or a larger scale event of 300 people-we are able to accommodate you,” she says. “We also provide weekly meal preparation to clients who may find it easier to free up sometime and allow us to cook their meals for the week! Lastly, we have hosted events and have done many pop-up events, along with festivals!” Some of the foods that L. Mari Catering offers is butter chicken, blackened salmon, spiced Hennessy wings, seafood pasta, Cajun shrimp and pepper medley, Halal options, vegan black bean chili and more.

The business defines success by growth. “We’ve learned a lot in year one and look forward to the years to come! The business is growing rapidly, our next mission is to purchase a food truck and eventually a storefront location,” Abdul-Hakim says. “Growth is being able to offer more menu items, serve more customers and hire more people.”

She believes that L. Mari Catering is important for the community of Cincinnati. “We believe that the food we ingest plays a role with our overall health mobility. Many of our menu items are organic, locally sourced, and meats are grass fed,” Abdul-Hakim says. “We’re also working on our hiring plan for 2018 and looking to recruit interns from local colleges and universities, along with high school students learning the value in cooking and the why’s behind the health benefits.” She is passionate about her job. “I love cooking and creating new dishes, but I also love interacting with new and returning clients and customers.”

If you want to keep up with what L. Mari Catering is doing, follow them on their website, email, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

 

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