The only online publication for women in Greater Cincinnati
Authors Posts by Sara Sybert

Sara Sybert

Sara Sybert
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Editor & Director of Strategic Communications - Sara is a graduate of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, with a bachelor's degree in English literature. When she's not working she enjoys spending time with her husband and two children. To contact Sara, send her an email at selliott@cincychic.com.

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Bringing together fashion and feminism is the idea behind Laura Wize’s blog, Oh Wize One. Learn more about this life and style blog that’s on a mission.

Laura Wize, Founder of the blog Oh Wize One
Laura Wize, Founder of the blog Oh Wize One

Cincy Chic: What is Oh Wize One?
Laura Wize, Founder of Oh Wize One: Oh Wize One is a life and style blog.

Cincy Chic: What inspired you to launch the blog?
Wize: My love of writing and style inspired Oh Wize One. I wanted style to feel achievable and accessible, style isn’t a privilege, it’s a choice. Women and their style are so multidimensional I wanted to shed light on how intelligence and fashion go hand in hand. I am a poet, a spoken word artist and my last name is actually Wize so my friends from time to time would call me “The Wize One” so when it was time to name my blog it seemed fitting.

Cincy Chic: Is there anyone who helps you with the posts?
Wize: I am a one woman shop right now. I do call in favors from my friends to proofread my work before I publish a post, it’s always nice to have second set of eyes. Blogging is very time consuming, it takes a lot to make the finished product look effortless. I create the content, I style the looks and I run my social media. The only thing I can’t take credit for is photographing my style looks, my daughter is my photographer.

Cincy Chic: When did you launch Oh Wize One?
Wize: I launched in March 2015.

Cincy Chic: What types of topics do you cover on the blog?
Wize: I cover fashion, DIY projects and I also talk about issues affecting women. I like to think that my blog is the place where fashion and feminism have fun. What you wear and how you think about yourself as a woman go hand in hand. Style is so undeniable because when you look good you feel good and when you feel good you want to look good. I also have a secret agenda to change the perception that the Midwest isn’t fashionable.

Cincy Chic: What do you enjoy most about running Oh Wize One?
Wize: The conversations that I get to have with women. I love that I get to interact online with women from all over the world. It’s really rewarding when someone tells me that they were inspired to take a risk because of something I suggested and that can be anything from adding leopard print to your wardrobe or breaking up your boyfriend.

Cincy Chic: What’s been your favorite post thus far on the blog?
Wize: I wrote a post on “How A Crop Top Ruined My Relationship” that is my favorite post. I felt like I really encompassed how style affects your everyday life. Sometimes just having the confidence to get dressed is the first step to moving in the right direction.

Cincy Chic: Is there anything new on the horizon for Oh Wize One?
Wize: I really want to expand the conversation on style and collaborate with other stylish ladies in Cincinnati.

Cincy Chic: Where can readers go to learn more?
Wize: Readers can learn more at www.ohwizeone.com or by following Oh Wize One on social media: Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

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    It’s not easy being a mom, but one local woman is lessening the load by launching Soul Work For Moms. It’s a place where moms let down their guard, share, and help each other navigate the bumpy realities of motherhood. Read on for all the details.

    Soul Work For Moms, launched by Michelle Duncan-Wilson, is a new community resource that lets mothers find
    Soul Work For Moms, launched by Michelle Duncan-Wilson, is a new community resource that lets mothers overcome the emotional difficulties of being a parent.

    Motherhood can introduce you to a lot of unexpected obstacles you never thought you’d face, but perhaps one of the biggest ones may be the emotional difficulties you run into along the way.

    To help you get over those bumps, Michelle Duncan-Wilson launched Soul Work For Moms, a new community and online resource for mothers who are looking to grow spiritually through motherhood.

    Duncan-Wilson was inspired to launch Soul Work For Moms through her own personal struggles in motherhood. “I became a mother 17 years ago, and after the birth of my second child 9 years later, I found myself wondering why I could find any emotional support resources besides therapy sessions and articles about postpartum depression,” she explains.

    At a time when she needed these support resources the only thing she was able to find online were blogs about how to organize your baby’s closet and recipes for gluten-free cookies, which isn’t what she was looking for.

    So, the Cincinnati native and now mother of three children decided to set off on her own and launch Soul Work For Moms, which officially launched on February 29 when the Soul Work For Moms Podcast went live.

    While it may seem like launching an online community and resource for mothers was the easiest conclusion, Duncan-Wilson says that the creation of this emotional support tool came after she talked with a girlfriend about her dreams of creating a workshop for moms. “I wanted to create something that would give mothers a chance to get together and talk about the realities of mothers, identify the parts they are struggling with and create a map of how to work through those struggles,” she says. “In the nicest way possible, my friend demanded that I create the workshop and even challenged me to email all the mothers that I knew to invite them to my home to participate.”

    Duncan-Wilson says it was just the thing she needed and the accountability that arose from knowing that 15 women would be at her house in 8 weeks to go through the material forced her to create what it was she’d been dreaming of.

    When it comes to soul work, Duncan-Wilson says that she wants to help others use the hardest parts of their life and use them as personalized tools for growth. “For example, if you look in the mirror every day and cringe, that is an opportunity for soul work,” she explains.

    “Our society tells us if we don’t like what we see in the mirror we need to work out more, eat less or book a consultation with the plastic surgeon,” says Duncan-Wilson. While she says she isn’t against any of those things, she sees it as an opportunity for more.

    Why do you cringe? What beliefs do you adhere to that make you think you are less than beautiful? Is it trying to be a reminder that you aren’t prioritizing time for self-care, like exercise and healthy food preparation? Or are you hearing words that were spoken to you in the past from people who were unkind or needing to grow themselves? Does it trigger a fear of abandonment or not being loved? These are all questions that Duncan-Wilson challenges mothers to ask themselves when they aren’t liking what they see in the mirror.

    Duncan-Wilson wants to help you heal these wounds of the past and help you grow into your potential so that you can live the life you were put here to live. “I call it ‘evolution through mothering,’’ she says.

    Duncan-Wilson hopes that Soul Work For Moms encourages and empowers mothers to see that the hard parts of mothers are happening for them, not to them. “If you make a conscious decision to grow personally and spiritually through these experiences, there is a whole other world available for you to access, one that you can’t experience by living in fear,” she says.

    On the Soul Work For Moms website, you’ll find a podcast, a blog and other gifts. Duncan-Wilson says that the podcast is a direct result of the workshop. “The mothers all reported having great experiences with the content, but the biggest surprise for me was the feedback that one of the most healing parts of the day was hearing the struggles and strengths of other moms,” she says. “I wanted to create an outlet for more of that; a way to connect with other mothers while you’re doing the laundry, driving to work or stuck on the couch with a napping baby on your chest.”

    The podcast is a combination of interviews with expert guests offering ways you can grow in mothers and interviews with mothers from all different backgrounds, sharing the ups and downs of their journeys in motherhood.

    Soul Work For Moms also features a blog, where there are announcements of live events, new podcast episodes and Duncan-Wilson occasionally sharing her own experiences of motherhood.

    Duncan-Wilson also wanted to give back to mothers in other ways, so she offers free gifts on the Soul Work For Moms website: Morning Meditation for Moms, her favorite quote and Soul Work Sheets.

    The morning meditation is a quick way to get grounded and start your day with intention. “Listen to this track in the morning to be reminded of the power and importance that you hold as a mother,” says Duncan-Wilson.

    Duncan-Wilson’s favorite quote, “You Cannot Disappoint Me,” is also on the site. “I have it hanging in my boys’ bedroom, and nothing reminds me more of what I want to convey to my children,” she says. You can download and print it out to hang in your home, or save to your phone as your wallpaper.

    Each week, Duncan-Wilson puts up Soul Work Sheets. You can download a free worksheet with journaling questions specific to that week’s podcast. “It’s a great way to take the information from the podcast and apply it specifically to your own life,” she says.

    Aside from being a source of support for other women, Duncan-Wilson says that through Sould Work For Moms she’s learned a lot about her own journey. “I would say the most impactful areas have been learning how to connect with my children from a place of unconditional love, learning how to handle intense feels when they arise, learning how to communication with my husband in a healthier way and learning that my self-worth is so much more than my job, my bank account or matching today’s standards of beauty,” she says. “The other thing I’ve learned through Soul Work For Moms is that as mothers, we all want the same thing: for our children to be healthy and happy, and to know that what we do makes a difference.”

    When it comes to the future, Duncan-Wilson says that there are currently a few workshops and retreats in the works, but no dates have been scheduled yet. However, those who want to be in the know of future events can join the mailing list at soulworkformoms.com or follow along on social media.

    Learn more about Soul Work For Moms at www.soulworkformoms.com. You can also follow along on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. The Soul Work For Moms Podcast can be found on iTunes and Stitcher (for Android). There’s also a place on the website that allows you to listen to the podcast.

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    Learn about a luxury fashion brand that’s helping local women feel empowered and stylish, through their clothes and business opportunities.

    W by Worth offers
    W by Worth aims to empower women through its private label direct clothing sales.

    W by Worth is empowering women to feel spirited, sexy and smart through its private label direct clothing sales.

    Sold only through stylists across the country, W by Worth was inspired by a passion for excellence, luxury and sophisticated style, according to W by Worth Director of Business Development Patty Browning. “W by Worth combines fashion-forward style with unique looks for every occasion,” she says. “There is always an eye-catching yet no-fuss solution to the ‘what do I wear’ dilemma.”

    What makes it unique is that W by Worth offers one-of-a-kind personal shopping experiences through its stylists. Each experience is held in a private, one-on-one atmosphere. “We carefully curate a wardrobe to fit your tastes, your figure and your lifestyle for effortlessly chic dressing,” she adds.

    Styling services from W by Worth give consumers a fun and highly personalized shopping experience. There’s wardrobe-building and event-specific dressing available, with stylists available who understand the fashion demands of your lifestyle and guide you to solutions that you’ll love. “It’s a unique, intimate approach to shopping that keeps women in the know looking effortlessly chic,” says Browning.

    If you’re interested in meeting with a Stylist, you can do it in person or online through a virtual shopping appointment. Browning adds that the more a Stylist gets to know you, the better she can tailor your wardrobe season after season.

    W by Worth also offers a Travel Trunk program, which allows you to host a private selling event with your friends and earn generous hostess rewards and benefits, according to Browning.

    Browning says the W by Worth collection starts at $78 and goes up up around $398 for specialty pieces, including leather.

    In addition to fashion, W by Worth believes in giving back. “We strive to improve the lives of all women through our philanthropic program, Every Woman Has Worth, which gives back to the causes closest to our Stylists’ and consumers’ hearts by donating clothing,” says Browning.

    In the five short years since its debut, W by Worth has quickly grown. Browning says that this year the company is hoping to increase the number of stylists by leaps and bounds with a great business opportunity. “W by Worth is an opportunity unlike any other – one that combines social skills with business skills, creativity with strategy,” according to the W by Worth site. “At W, you have flexibility, unlimited earning potential and the opportunity to work with amazing women, not to mention an incredibly stylish wardrobe. Regional support teams help you get up and running and ongoing training strengthens your business and fashion savvy alike.”

    Click here to learn more about Sarah Lauren Allen, Showroom Director at W by Worth, and her work as a Stylist for the company. “We’re looking for lots of fabulous women like Sarah to be stylists,” says Browning. “I encourage women to contact me if they have any questions or want to get additional information about the opportunity!”

    To learn more about W by Worth, visit www.wbyworth.com. You can also contact Browning directly via email or by calling 502-424-2528.

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    Not only is she the founder of the “Oh My Heart” blog, but this local lady is also a mother of five and owns a floral and event design business. Read on to learn more about her.

    Courtnee Garr, Founder of Oh My Heart blog, and her son Rowan.
    Courtnee Garr, Founder of Oh My Heart blog, and her son Rowan.

    Cincy Chic: What is Oh My Heart?
    Courtnee Garr, Founder of Oh My Heart: Oh My Heart is a life and style blog.

    Cincy Chic: What’s the inspiration behind it?
    Garr: I’d forgotten how hard it can be mothering small kids! I really think the inspiration behind it was to rediscover the things that were important to me. Yes, I’m a mom in the trenches of raising a toddler but I’m also someone that loves fashion and reading novels and pop culture I’d forgotten that I’m allowed to be a whole person separate from being a wife or mother.

    Cincy Chic: Who’s behind the life and style blog?
    Garr: Me! Courtnee Garr. I’m a wife and mother of 5 kids from 24-2 years old. I also own a floral and event design business, paperwhites&whimsy.

    Cincy Chic: When did your launch Oh My Heart?
    Garr: I started this blog last year although I have been blogging for 8 years. Before Oh My Heart I had a style blog.

    Cincy Chic: What do you hope to accomplish through your blog?
    Garr: I hope to inspire readers to try new things!

    Cincy Chic: What’s been your favorite post on Oh My Heart so far?
    Garr: I think my favorite post was Rowan’s birth story.

    Cincy Chic: What do you enjoy most about writing the blog?
    Garr: I enjoy writing about my little one and our family adventures the most!

    Cincy Chic: Can you tell us more about your floral and event design company paperwhites&whimsy?
    Garr: paperwhites&whimsy is my floral and event design company. While I do lots of large events and weddings this year I’m focusing on other things(workshops, popups ,etc) that allow me more time to spend with my family.

    Cincy Chic: Are you planning anything new for Oh My Heart?
    Garr: I’d like to incorporate more posts about home decor and decorating. I’m going to do a monthly flower series and I’d love to feature more local businesses and things to do around the city.

    Cincy Chic: Where can readers go to learn more?
    Garr: Visit www.ohmyheartblog.com or like my blog on Facebook.

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      In a world that’s often torn by its differences, one local lady is bringing Cincinnati together through a mixed media installation that shares stories of those who live in it, and why they love it. Learn more about the project and how you can get involved to share your story, too.

      1 Degree of Separation is a mixed media installation that's sharing the stories of Cincinnati residents and why they love the city.
      Kailah Ware, founder of 1 Degree of Separation

      Six degrees is all that separates us from everyone and everything by way of introduction, according to Frigyes Karinthy. That’s why a new mixed media installation was created, with a goal of bringing the city closer, as it introduces you to various Cincinnatians and why they love living here.

      1 Degree of Separation, a projected launched by Kailah Ware and sponsored by People’s Liberty, MidWest Grip and Lighting and Electric Art, uses community-sourced stories to ask and answer the question, “What do you love about Cincinnati?”

      “At the installation site, 1 Degree of Separation will use touch screen technology to activate films, photos and motion graphics that tell engaging stories of Cincinnati residents,” explains Ware. “While viewing a silhouette of Cincinnati’s skyline, viewers will be able to select and view the stories of their choosing, and at the end of the installation, viewers will have the opportunity to film themselves and share their own experiences with the city.”

      Ware was inspired to launch a project like 1 Degree while she was taking photos during the Washington Park free concert series. “I saw a man in a suit and a man who has possibly experienced homelessness sitting on the same bench enjoying the same concert,” she explains. “At that moment, I realized that these two individuals probably don’t have anything in common other than the fact they both live in Cincinnati and they were both enjoying the city.”

      Ware says she was moved to initiate the project because there plenty of things tearing communities apart right now, and she wanted to create something that counteracts that. “I made this project to bring people in Cincinnati together,” she adds.

      According to Ware, 1 Degree of Separation will travel to multiple locations throughout Cincinnati, placing the spotlight on diverse stories. “These community-sourced stories focus on people’s positive experiences in Cincinnati and foster a spirit of inclusivity that will make the city of Cincinnati a thought leader in the use of storytelling as a model for strengthening its communities.”

      With the help of People’s Liberty, MidWest Grip and Lighting and Electronic Art, Ware says that she aims to create community with her project and to help those in Greater Cincinnati feel more connected to each other through the mixed media installation. “I also want to show the cultural, economic and racial diversity of Cincinnati,” she says.

      Ware says that she wants to hear your stories, too. “1 Degree of Separation will be booking shoots until April 1,” she adds. If you or your business would like to be represented in the installation, send an email to 1degreesep@gmail.com.

      For more information on the project itself, visit www.1DegreeofSep.com. You can also follow along on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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      After losing her mother to pancreatic cancer, this local lady created a fashionable way for donors to turn a $5 donation into designer shoes while supporting cancer research.

      Andrea Turner, Founder of Your Mood, Your Shoes and d'Rea's Style Sense.
      Andrea Turner, Founder of Your Mood, Your Shoes and d’Rea’s Style Sense.

      Cincy Chic: What is Your Mood, Your Shoes?
      Andrea Turner, Founder of Your Mood, Your Shoes: Your Mood, Your Shoes is a charitable campaign that I created through my personal styling company dRea’s Style Sense. It is a way to raise money and awareness for Pancreatic Cancer by giving women a chance to win designer shoes with a small $5 donation. It really is a way for me to help fight against the effects of this terrible disease through my passion for fashion and women’s styling.

      Cincy Chic: What’s the inspiration behind the campaign?
      Turner: My mother, Darlene Turner, passed away 5 years ago from complications of pancreatic cancer. She always had a flare for fashion and loved shoes, even sewing a lot of my older sister and mine’s clothing when we were growing up in Shady Grove, Louisiana. I decided to help my mother’s passion stay alive with dRea’s Style Sense and Your Mood, Your Shoes. It allows my clients and audience a chance to win shoes they may not be able to afford on their own while helping a great cause that is very close to me.

      Cincy Chic: Who’s behind Your Mood, Your Shoes?
      Turner: Me! Andrea Turner, the owner of dRea’s Style Sense, which is a complete wardrobe and styling small business. I have clients all over the United States and have traveled to teach women how to dress for their body type. I believe that each woman is unique and has different needs in dressing to look and feel their very best. It is my passion and gift to style women.

      Cincy Chic: When did you launch Your Mood, Your Shoes?
      Turner: Your Mood Your Shoes launched at the beginning of 2016 and since it’s launch, we have been able to give away 2 pairs of designer shoes, one pair of Gucci Studded platforms and a pair of Jeffrey Campbell Shay lace-up flats. Our hope is to bring awareness to Pancreatic Cancer and teach women/men about this disease through fashion.

      Cincy Chic: What makes the Your Mood, Your Shoes campaign unique?
      Turner: Most women love shoes and men score big when they purchase shoes for their ladies. Most people, however, are not very aware of Pancreatic Cancer and it’s effect on thousands of people each year. Your Mood Your Shoes is a unique way to combine the two audiences and raise awareness for this terrible disease. During the month of May, we will be offering a chance to win a pair of men’s shoes as well so Your Mood Your Shoes is relatable to all audiences, not just women. This is the first effort of its’ kind, offering value to our audience while also donating to a worthy cause!

      Cincy Chic: Is there anything new on the horizon for the organization?
      Turner: We are constantly working on new ways to expand and get the message out to a wider audience. Right now we are working on offering designer purses and other giveaways as well. Our main goal is to make the public aware of pancreatic cancer with this fun new idea.

      Cincy Chic: Where can readers go to learn more about Your Mood, Your Shoes?
      Turner: A new website of dRea’s Style Sense with all the information for Your Mood, Your Shoes and more about Pancreatic Cancer is under construction. For now you can find us on our Facebook company page.

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        We’re going green and getting healthy for this week’s Go Green issue! Read on as we chat with a local woman who launched a food and wellness consulting practice that helps women take control of their health through education and empowerment.

        Janelle JohnsonGrove, Founder of SageFire Wellness.
        Janelle JohnsonGrove, Founder of SageFire Wellness.

        When Janelle JohnsonGrove NTP, MSEd experienced first-hand the healing powers of healthy food, she was immediately inspired to help other women do the same. That soon sparked (pun intended) the launch of SageFire Wellness in January 2012.

        “SageFire Wellness is a food and wellness consulting practice,” says JohnsonGrove. “I work with women who want to take charge of their health practices so that they can regain their vitality – or find it for the first time.”

        Information is key, JohnsonGrove says. “I wanted to educate and empower others in their health journeys through teaching transformative health and food practices,” she adds.

        JohnsonGrove helps clients implement transformative food habits, explore new recipes and cooking techniques and build in gradual lifestyle changes. With every client she works with, JohnsonGrove brings her own passion for health and wellness to help them achieve optimal well-being.

        SageFire Wellness offers personal and customized one-on-one wellness coaching, Whole Foods tours, teleconference calls, guest speaking and education services.

        Through SageFire Wellness, JohnsonGrove says that her hope is to help others know how to take charge of their health so that they can feel confident in how to support their own well-being through the food they eat and the lifestyle habits they implement.

        “So many are lost in a sea of nutritional facts and cannot discern what it is that their body needs,” she says. “SageFire Wellness helps women tune in to their bodies, discern their unique health imbalances and get sold in what it is that they need to specifically address that need.”

        As an instructor with the Nutritional Therapy Association, JohnsonGrove says that she’s currently doing personal research and developing her skills as a nutritional educator. “This personal development infuses my practices by the education I offer the women I work with with the most up-to-date knowledge and information available,” she says.

        To learn more about SageFire Wellness, visit sagefirewellness.com or send JohnsonGrove an email. You can also like SageFire Wellness on Facebook.

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        Urban farming is a great way to cultivate sustainable practices in a city setting. Read on for more on OTR Homegrown, an urban farm that’s providing local access to healthy foods for the Tri-State.

        The team behind OTR Homegrown.
        The team behind OTR Homegrown.

        Cincy Chic: What is OTR Homegrown?
        Mark Stegman & Tevis Foreman, Co-Founders of OTR Homegrown: OTR Homegrown is an organic urban farm, which cultivates ecological stewardship and social welfare through sustainable practice. We work to provide local access to healthy, local foods for the Greater Cincinnati area.

        It is our mission to provide education on healthy, sustainable living through community involvement and investment, strengthen the community through partnership, and foster good citizenship and inter-group tolerance.

        Cincy Chic: What’s the inspiration behind the organic urban farm?
        Stegman & Foreman: There was an idea that lived in all of the founding members: We believed that through urban gardens we could strengthen a community by growing the bonds and relationships of the people in a community while working to grow and cultivate our own food. The original iteration of OTR Homegrown was to see if an urban farm could be sustainable as a business model for people who are not farmers yet to make a living doing on an average size urban lot. After two years testing this we became a pure community garden growing organic (not certified but grown organic) food and allowing the community to come in and harvest what they want. We wanted to train and encourage local individuals on how to grow their own food with the intention of increasing the community’s access to good food, the community’s sustainability from owning seeds that grow every year, and the beautification of the community by continually cleaning our surrounding area.

        OTR Homegrown would like to work toward creating specified and secured locations for urban individuals to grow their own food around the city. The need for preservation of agricultural land in the City and the urban fringe is imperative for the long-term sustainability and viability of Cincinnati.  A healthy regional food system is essential to the health of our region’s social, ecological, and environmental systems.

        Cincy Chic: Who’s behind OTR Homegrown?
        Stegman & Foreman: OTR Homegrown was founded in 2009 by Sarah Saheb, Sheila North, Michelle Dillingham, Tevis Foreman, Quentin Koopman, Kelly Gillen, Chelsea Powell and myself. Joshua Jones is a strong component over the last several years and John Ford painted the mural of Mother Earth at the Pleasant Street garden.

        In 2009 the City of Cincinnati launched the Urban Agriculture Program (UAP) under the leadership of the late David Crowley, which currently still supports urban agriculture within the City. It was through the UAP that OTR Homegrown was formed. Our site was recently sold for development interests. Other contributing partnerships include the Civic Garden Center and Findlay Market. Additionally, local garden gurus Peter Huttinger and Charles Griffin provided on-going mentorship and resources (tools, seeds, soil amendments, etc.) as available.

        There have also been many engaged neighbors and volunteers who have contributed time and work to growing free vegetables for the community.

        Cincy Chic: Where is OTR Homegrown located?
        Stegman & Foreman: The first OTR Homegrown garden is under the new Barcade on Walnut Street in OTR. We moved to Pleasant Street between Liberty and Greene streets in 2011.

        Cincy Chic: What types of plants are you growing on the farm?
        Stegman & Foreman: Organic non-hybrid fruits and vegetables. Tomatoes, potatoes, squash, kale, lettuce, spinach, arugula, asparagus, peppers, okra and more. Non-hybrid varieties allow us to save the seed from our plants and replant them each year. Replanting acclimates the plants to our Cincinnati environment of heat, humidity, fungus and insects. We have lettuce seeds that are 6 seasons old now, I like to call it the OTR Homegrown Variety.

        Cincy Chic: What do you enjoy most about working with the urban farm?
        Stegman & Foreman: We enjoy engaging with the people that stop in all day. Showing kids where food comes from originally. We literally were asked “Where do Cheetos grow?” We also enjoy the calm energy of the garden amid the hustle and sounds of the city.

        Cincy Chic: Is there anything new on the horizon for OTR Homegrown?
        Stegman & Foreman: This off season our Pleasant Street gardens have been sold. We are now looking for new locations and considering the next iteration of OTR Homegrown.

        Cincy Chic: Where can readers go to learn more about OTR Homegrown or to get involved?
        Stegman & Foreman: Like us on Facebook for schedule and information or check out our blog articles that talk about gardening on Pleasant Street in OTR. We’ve also got an Urban Garden Google+ Community.

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          For our annual wedding issue, we chat with a local wedding concierge to learn about the biggest bridal trends, best local vendors and a big wedding expo coming up this week at Great American Ballpark, complete with a grooms workshop at the batting cages. Keep reading for all the big day details.

          A Bride's Mafia will be hosting its annual Afterhours Bridal Show this March 10 at Great American Ballpark.
          A Bride’s Mafia will be hosting its annual Afterhours Bridal Show this March 10 at Great American Ballpark.

          This year’s wedding season is upon us. If you’re planning a wedding, then you know that there’s a lot of work behind the words “wedding planning.” Whether you’re doing it on your own or with the help of a planner, you’ll quickly learn that there are different wedding trends every year.

          That’s where Nidhi Bedi, founder and owner of A Bride’s Mafia, a Cincinnati-based wedding concierge business, can help. She says with expansive visual resources like Pinterest, brides are following fewer trends and mass-produced concepts, and instead, finding inspirations that uniquely create their her own vision. “Brides aren’t going by what’s trends or the colors they saw at the last wedding,” she adds. “This year is about designing their vision and making it a reality.”

          Nidhi Bedi
          Nidhi Bedi

          For example, Bedi says, while metallic is very popular among brides, they’re bringing this style out in their own unique way. “Some brides to them to make their event over the top, some use a sparkle to make it whimsical and others use it to make it complete earth tones,” she says.

          Bedi says brides are taking Pinterest ideas and customizing them. “They will take lighting, chandeliers, linens and centerpieces, to name a few, and give it their own personality stamp,” she says. “They aren’t just using up-lighting, but brides are turning to gobos with monograms and customized designs.”

          When and where a bride is having her wedding also plays into the design, theme and colors she chooses. That’s why she recommends booking a venue as one of the very first steps in planning, as it sets the tone for many other wedding day decisions.

          The trends that Bedi says makes her most excited for this year’s wedding season is all the variation. “I just love the different weddings we’ve been seeing – from metallics, earth tones, bright color fusion and greenery,” she says. “There’s so much variation and I love them all because it makes each event so unique.”

          Bedi and A Bride’s Mafia are helping brides meet with the vendors of their dreams at the upcoming Afterhours Bridal Show at Great American Ballpark on March 10 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. “This show is absolutely my favorite of the year,” says Bedi. “It’s so fun! It’s at the ballpark and we have 90 amazing vendors in this show.”

          From table linens to photographers and videographers, florists and DJs, the Afterhours Bridal Show lets you meet with those vendors to let you see the latest trends up close and personal.

          Bedi says that A Bride’s Mafia took extra steps this year to help get the groom involved. “I think we’ve hit a home run there,” she says while discussing the new Grooms Workshop.

          The workshop, hosted by Hey! Mr. DJ, allows grooms to get pointers on how to make their day unique and how to be involved in the finer details of the planning process. Plus, after the workshop they get to go to the batting cages.

          Brides who attend the show can enter to win a $20,000 wedding. The winner of the grand prize will get married at the ballpark, and A Bride’s Mafia covers the rental, dress, tuxedo, DJ, photographer, videographer, hair, makeup, florist, limousine, cake and a coordinator. “It always makes my day to meet the winner and see how excited they are,” she says. “The team of vendors that do the giveaway are so amazing and incredible.”

          Bedi says A Bride’s Mafia also has some big things planning for this year. “We’ve got some things up our sleeves we are working on – we just can’t say it yet, so stay tuned,” she adds.

          To learn more about this season’s wedding trends, local vendors and how to hit the ground running with your wedding planning, visit www.abridesmafia.com. You can also get complimentary tickets to the Afterhours Bridal Show here.

          by -

          A local designer and entrepreneur took inspiration from her father to create natural wedding decor, jewelry and wooden bow ties. Read on for all the details.

          Lindsey Estes of Lucca Laser Workshop creates natural products such as bowties for weddings.
          Lindsey Estes of Lucca Laser Workshop creates natural products such as bowties for weddings.

          Cincy Chic: What is Lucca Laser Workshop?
          Lindsey Estes, Owner of Lucca Laser Workshop: Since I was a very young girl, I always knew that I wanted to have a retail store. I wasn’t sure what it was going to be, but I knew I wanted to be an artist, and I knew I wanted to run my own show. Lucca is where that dream began. I went to college at the Columbu College of Art and Design for a year, but I quickly realized I wasn’t going to be able to afford to continue going there, and I already felt a yearning to be doing something else. I already felt I would be able to transform my trade into something useful.

          Growing up in my father’s machine shop, I was raised on the power of entrepreneurship. I was taught the trade of machinist and, most importantly, I was taught diligence, efficiency and perseverance. No idea was too small or too minuscule. Now all three daughters own their own businesses as well! So I quit school, moved back to Cincinnati and I bought my first laser machine. Working from the top floor of my home, I had a small studio where I would work on my off hours. After my first craft show at The City Flea, my business hit the ground running. I quit my day job, and I focused solely on designing, creating and developing new products. Once I created my first item, there was no stopping my creativity there.

          A bowtie created by Lucca Laser Workshop.
          A bowtie created by Lucca Laser Workshop.

          Cincy Chic: What’s the inspiration behind it?
          Estes: My main inspiration? My father. Hands down my father. Or should I say my family. My father raised me on the power of entrepreneurship, precision design and love for the constant search of knowledge and expansion. He taught me to never ignore my instinct or deny an idea or design no matter how simple or obscure or difficult. He also ingrained in my mind that sometimes you need to relax your brow, step away from what you’re doing, and grab an ice cream cone!

          My inspiration and drive also comes from my passions outside of my business. The importance of maintaining an active social environment outside of my work really allows me to approach each day with a new feeling of exuberance. Moving my studio to the heart of the city allows me to take daily walks to adore the architecture of the city, take my shop dog to the dog park or allow myself the relaxation of opening my large shop doors and sketching new designs on the couch. A weekly visit to the neighboring small shops allows me to explore what is on the market, converse with other educated business owners and observe how others find their passion and motivation!

          Cincy Chic: When did did you launch your business?
          Estes: I started Lucca Laser Workshop in 2013. After 2 years of working from my home, I realized I needed to get another machine and more studio space, so I found a space downtown and I opened my first retail store in June 2015.

          A hair piece created by Lucca Laser Workshop.
          A hair piece created by Lucca Laser Workshop.

          Cincy Chic: What makes Lucca Laser Workshop unique?
          Estes: My store features all of my natural gifts, supplies and decor created by natural wood and paper. I also feature a few other artists who create items from natural materials. My space is split between my studio and my retail space. So when you come in to shop, you can see me working as well, and you can hear the faint whir of the laser machines. Smells of all kinds of wonderful cut wood in there! Lucca began creating natural wedding decor, but I have since expanded immensely!! I really pride my business on focusing on natural and handmade products. People think laser design is all machine made, but it is far from that. I can spend up to 30-40 hours drawing and designing a product, then long hours and gritty hands are used to clean, sand, stain and package each and every item.

          Cincy Chic: Where can readers purchase your products?
          Estes: Right now I am not only selling on three online websites, including Etsy and on my website, but I sell wholesale all across the world! Lucca is currently in 30 states and 6 countries across the world.

          Cincy Chic: Is there anything new on the horizon for your business?
          Estes: New on the horizon for my business? Expansion! I plan to eventually have 5-6 machines working all day. This summer I have a new assistant who will be working with me to help produce items faster, and help with daily work and tasks. Right now it is just me! My goal this year is to expand my wholesale product line and hire new employees. My 5 year goal is to get an 8′ laser machine where I will be creating furniture as well!

          Cincy Chic: Where can readers go to learn more?
          Estes: Readers can visit my Etsy store or check out my website.

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