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    This local news broadcaster’s story is nothing short of astounding. See how she’s pushing forward and encouraging others with the inspiration that can only be found in a second chance at life.

    Alanna Martella was given a new lease on life and is now inspiring others with it.

    Alanna Martella’s journey in this life is nothing short of a miracle, and adventurous. 

    As a little girl, she remembers just how much she loved watching the news, a love she inherited from her mother, who, she recalls, always had the news on the television.

    “She was so interested in knowing what was going on in the community,” says Martella. “Through that, I grew to love the news, too. I loved watching the anchors at the desk and how they developed a rapport with viewers they didn’t know – and how they can seem like your friend without ever being introduced in-person.”

    As a person who also found interest in curiosity, Martella says that her love for the news and for being a “Curious George” meant that it only made sense for her to become a broadcaster. 

    The journey from being a little girl with dreams of becoming a broadcaster to actually becoming a broadcaster had some bumps along the way.

    According to Martella, her health story began her senior year of high school.

    “I was visiting my grandma at her nursing home and felt this extreme pain in my abdomen,” she explains. “It felt as if my insides were on fire. I have never felt anything like this pain and hope to God I never will again.”

    She says the pain continued for hours and she recalls laying in bed that night in the fetal position, in a pool of sweat, and looking out at the moon almost wishing for death. “I felt that would be the only way to relieve myself of the utter anguish that I was experiencing,” she adds. 

    She eventually made it to the bathroom,where she then passed out. Martella hit the ground hard enough that her dad heard and found her on the bathroom floor. With a pulse of 167 beats per minute, 911 was called and she was rushed to the hospital. 

    “Upon arrival at the Emergency Room, I had to go to the bathroom,” she says. “I asked my mom, who had driven to meet me there (since nobody could join me in the ambulance), to help me because I was in so much pain and was so lethargic that I couldn’t walk or hold myself up. So, with my mom’s help, I went into the bathroom. And this is when it happened – I thrashed about a couple of times and then just went limp.”

    Then, it happened. Martella died. 

    A nurse who rushed to the room to provide assistance called a double code and Martella was rushed to the operating room. 

    While her death experience is another tale in itself, she made it back to this side of consciousness and remembers the following events rather vividly. 

    “The doctors were in the zone and rattling off medical terms that didn’t make any sense,” she says. “I remember looking at the back of the room and seeing my mom, dad, and stepdad bawling their eyes out, and I was so confused as to what was happening! I looked to the doctor to my right and asked if I was going to be okay — in which he responded, ‘We’re going to do the best we can.’”

    Even while laying on a gurney, Martella understood the impact of those words, and didn’t see such a bright future for herself. But, she made it through with a newfound love of life and passion for ensuring her own health.

    It turns out that Martella’s small intestines had been twisting around each other. “They had twisted for so long, circulation was cut off and created sepsis, which is how I died,” she says. “The intestines were so dead and necrotic that when the doctors went in to see what was wrong, they actually crumbled in their hands.” 

    The surgeons removed 15 feet of her small intestines, and the remaining intestine were still rather dead, so she was given an ostomy bag. “Let me tell you what, it is not pretty,” she says. “That thing would break open and spill its contents all over my body at any given time. But it did make for a nice conversation piece.” 

    Fast forward through months of IVs full of TPN and lipids, some jaundice, and a chest port, Martella received her high school diploma and her parents were leaving her behind at Ohio University where she was enrolled as a journalism major at E.W. Scripps School of Journalism to pursue her dream of being a broadcast journalist.

    A few more bumps on the long road to a healthy life and Martella found herself on the other side, promising herself to truly, fully live her life.

    “I vowed to myself that I would go skydiving, that I would make every life dream I’ve ever imagined become a reality, that I would tell the ones I love that I love them and nothing would ever go unsaid, that I would go on vacations and not get so caught up with running or exercise,”she says. “I vowed that I would open my heart to find love and eventually get married. But most of all, I vowed to live. To enjoy life and to experience it moment by moment and not get so caught up in the logistics.”

    And since Martell made that vow to herself, she hasn’t looked back. 

    “September 8th, 2008 could have been my last day here on this Earth, but I was blessed enough to get the opportunity of a second chance,” she says. “And you can bet I won’t let any of my life goals, dreams or wishes go unrealized. But more importantly, you can bet I will live and love and enjoy this beautiful gift of life we’ve all been blessed with, because trust me, I know all too well that it can be taken away from us in an instant.”

    Along with the promises Martella made to herself, she also finds plenty of inspiration in the world around her as she navigates her day-to-day life.

    She says that seeing people put themselves aside and go out of their way to make life easier for others is something that encourages and inspires her.

    She’s also inspired by the freedom to do anything and everything we want to do or accomplish in life. “We are so blessed to be presented with endless opportunities, we might as well take advantage of that,” she adds.

    Martella, like most people, says she also finds inspiration in her mom.

    “This woman is the greatest human on Earth,” says Martella. “She truly is sunshine in human form. She’s always in a jolly mood and she always has a smile on her face. If you know Linda Lohrer, I can guarantee you agree with what I’m saying right now. She will drop what she’s doing at any given moment to be with anyone and everyone who needs help or guidance. She donates to countless numbers of causes because she has such a beautiful heart. She is just so selfless and so giving. I can only pray to be one-quarter of the woman she is some day. She is truly my best friend in the whole world and I am so proud to be her daughter.”

    In addition to her work she does at WLWT, Martella does speaking engagements and outreach efforts, although COVID has put a damper on the in-person speaking world. 

    One of those outreach efforts is a 5-step model called the “Rise Up” model. “It’s proven to help people overcome extreme obstacles and seize opportunities,” she says. “I like to share this model with others, in hopes that it can help them as well.”

    While COVID has halted in-person events, Martella says that she’s been able to utilize technology to do virtual speaking events and continue to share her story with others.

    Additionally, Martella is on the Board of Directors for Make-A-Wish Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana’s southern Ohio Region and, as a Wish Kid, she enjoys being able to sit on the board for an organization that also helped her. 

    To continue her outreach, Martella is launching a podcast with her friend Nicole Dambro. The podcast, she says, is geared toward breaking down any information barriers that people with chronic illness might experience and to help people know they are not alone.

    “Ironically, Nicole has the same type of illness I have,” says Martella. “How we met was fate: She lives in LA, I live here in Cincinnati, and we were seated at the same table for a mutual friend of ours’ wedding a year and a half ago. We got to talking, and realized we deal with the same situation. We stayed in touch and through the last year and a half, we have both undergone emergency surgeries related to our illness.”

    Martella credits Nicole with making it through some of her health obstacles this past spring, and appreciates the support system she has found in her friend. Those shared experiences inspired them to create the podcast “Girls With Guts Podcast.” 

    Martella says the podcast will be launching in the New Year and their Instagram page is currently available for you to stay tuned to for announcements.

    You can find Martella on WLWT Channel 5 Monday through Friday from 4:30-7am. 

    “I work with some of the most talented and incredible people and journalists in the entire world,” says Martella. “They are such hard-working individuals. Though they are co-workers, they are also friends and family. I love the WLWT team so much and am so proud to be a part of it.”

    To learn more about Martella, you can keep up with her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter

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      Staying in is the new going out - especially in a COVID world. Click here to read more about a husband and wife team aiming to make stay-at-home orders more enjoyable and a lot more memorable.

      This year has been rough. We’ve been separated from extended family for months, unable to enjoy the things we usually do – including sleepovers and family vacations. 

      Megan Redmond is no exception to the sadness the year has caused when it comes to travel.

      “We had a family vacation planned this past summer that ended up being cancelled due to COVID,” she says. “As Option B, we decided to do a family staycation at our parents’ house with our kids and their three cousins. We were all so disappointed that we couldn’t get out of town, so we set out on a journey to make the staycation as fun as it could be.”

      The family reserved a Kona Ice truck, blew up a bounce house in the backyard, got a pinata, and had a fun family meal catered. 

      The fun they were able to create in the backyard with their children’s first sleepover inspired them to do something more – launch their own business.

      The Redmonds are the founders behind Cincy Sleepovers, a luxury sleepover rental company.

      “We provide all the supplies and decor you need to throw an epic sleepover for your kids or family in the comfort of your own home,” explains Redmond. “We offer various themes and each theme comes with all sorts of supplies and decor items like large canvas tents, inflatable air mattresses, themed throw pillows, tray tables, lanterns, strand globe lights, banners, garland, and other fun accessories.”

      The husband and wife team behind Cincy Sleepovers additionally work full-time jobs, but enjoy the fun they’re able to create for others, especially during these trying times. 

      Cincy Sleepovers just recently went live and are touched by the response they’ve seen thus far. “We thought maybe we would get one or two reservations a month,” says Redmond. “Ha! We sold out the entire month of December in our first 48 hours!”

      When booking a sleepover with Cincy Sleepovers, the first step is to decide how many kits you need. A kit is a tent/mattress/decor combo as well as your theme. 

      Then, you can reach out to the team at Cincy Sleepovers and choose a date to get a quote. Once your date is set and your deposit is receive, you can pick up your supplies the day before the event and bring them back the day after your event. 

      “We provide setup resources like photos and checklists so that you know exactly how to style everything,” says Redmond. “Setup is super simple and can usually be done in less than an hour.” 

      Currently there are seven themes to choose from with Cincy Sleepovers. These are: ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, Pretty in Pink & Gold, Rainbows & Unicorns, America’s Past (Bed) Time (Cincinnati Reds), Who Day Huggle (Cincinnati Bengals), Harry Potter, and Fortnite. 

      “We also offer clients the ability to create a custom theme,” she explains. “So if parents don’t have a specific theme or color combo in mind that we don’t currently offer, we can curate the accessories specifically for them!”

      Because Cincy Sleepovers was born out of COVID caution, and because the Redmonds have a high-risk child, they understand and take this pandemic seriously.

      “Cincy Sleepovers is a way to celebrate safely in the comfort of your own home,” she says. “We have very specific processes in place to ensure all of our materials are thoroughly cleaned and disinfected before and after each rental. This is important all the time, but especially important right now.”

      The disinfection process with Cincy Sleepovers includes: laundering in hot water all sheets, removable pillow covers, and blankets; steamign with a commercial steamer all pillows, plush items, tens, fabric garland, and rugs; disinfecting all hard surfaces like wood, trays, signs, and lanterns with products listed on the EPA’s list of approved SARS-CoV-2 disinfectants; temporarily suspending all in-person services such as kit delivery and pickup and operating under a contactless model until COVID is better controlled; and temporarily limited packages to five tents maximum to encourage gatherings remain small and safe, except for family-only gatherings. 

      Cincy Sleepovers is a first of its kind in the Queen City. “We are the only company that helps make staying home and partying in your living room better than going out,” says Redmond. 

      And the couple is only looking up as we head into 2021. Redmond says they’ll be adding new themes like Slumber Spa, Jungle, and Outer Space. They’ll also be offering “add-on” products soon. 

      “While all of our standard kits come with everything you need, add-ons are extra special items that can really take the party over the top,” she adds. “Think of a projector for watching a movie on the big screen, craft kits, and themed games.” 

      To learn more about Cincy Sleepovers, visit www.cincysleepovers.com. You can also follow along on Facebook and Instagram to see photos of new themes, updates on last-minute reservation openings, and host giveaways. 

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        The holidays are here and we’re sharing some of the must-haves from a locally-based online boutique. Click here to see more!

        Allie Meyer’s experiences as an entrepreneur have only further ignited her passion for empowering women of all ages through her fashionable boutique.

        As the owner of Two Twenty Two Market, Meyer has always had a love for shopping and styling. 

        “I started in the blogging world about 12 years ago, sharing outfits I would create and my favorite shops. Once I became a new mom, I quickly realized how much I missed the connection with other women who shared my same love of fashion. TwoTwentyTwo Market was born.”

        TwoTwentyTwo Market is an online boutique bringing stylish clothes for women of all shapes, sizes and walks of life. Their main mission is to inspire confidence and provide empowerment. The trendy boutique offers unique clothing, jewelry and small ticket items such as coffee cups, koozies, wristlets and candles. 

        The boutique’s unique name derived from Meyer’s desire to include her two kids. “It just so happened that my kids both have birthdays on the twenty-second and the name was born,” says Meyer. “They are the reason I strive to become the best.”

        When it comes to the holiday season, Meyer wants to help you check off as many of those names on your list that you can. 

        “While we are mostly a women’s clothing boutique, we like to offer fun accessories and giftables, too,” she says. “Our 12oz tumblers make for a great gift for that coffee or wine lover in your life. These insulated cups keep your drink hot or cold and fit perfectly into a cup holder.” 

        You can find a variety of colors and prints to choose from in the tumblers. Matching slim can koozies are available for beer or spiked seltzer lovers. 

        If your gift list includes those who aren’t quite into fashion but still appreciate a good accessory, Two Twenty Two Market also carries a variety of jewelry and winter accessories.

        Currently, some of the top selling products at Two Twenty Two Market include the Here For Your Jogger Pants and Merry Holiday Sweatshirt. “People are staying in this holiday season, so we want to make sure you look great while being cozy,” she adds. 

        Other must-haves from Two Twenty Two Market include the winter beanies. “These are a must for the cold winter days ahead,” says Meyer. “These are fleece lined, with a fun pompom on top, and come in a variety of popular prints, like animal print, buffalo plaid, and tie dye.”

        First-time shoppers with Two Twenty Two Market can save 10% off their purchase with code CHIC. You can also join the email list to get a first look at the new arrivals and exclusive deals. 

        While Two Twenty Two Market doesn’t have a physical store, you can shop online at www.twotwentytwomarket.com and save on shipping by choosing contactless pickup in Deer Park, Ohio.

        To follow along with Two Twenty Two Market, find them on Facebook<https://www.facebook.com/twotwentytwomarket> and Instagram<https://www.instagram.com/twotwentytwomarket/>.

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          In a world where there's an increasing demand on moms to be parent, teacher, coach and all the other things, one Ohio-based business is here to help.

          Juggle LLC was founded by two sets of sisters, from left: CEO Annie Kentris Arthur; Amber Lear Nolan, chief recruiting officer; COO Ashlee Lear Giannetti; and Emily Kentris Music, chief communications officer

          In a COVID-19 world, moms throughout the country have been tasked with working from home, teaching from home, cleaning (even more than usual), and a plethora of other duties that have only been heightened as stay-at-home orders and quarantines seem never-ending. 

          To help alleviate the struggle many moms are facing, pre- and post-COVID, there’s one mobile childcare app that’s here to help: Juggle. 

          “We offer childcare, pet care, and homeschool help,” explains Juggle Co-Founder Amber Nolan. “Juggle connects local families to college students, recent grads, and young professionals who have been recruited, vetted, and interviewed by a mom.”

          The Juggle app and website allows you to see who their friends have used and reviewed, acting as an instant friend referral. Juggle allows families to look, book, and pay through the app.

          “We strive to make finding reliable and trusted childcare easy for families,” she adds.

          The inspiration for Juggle came from four Ohio moms: Amber Nolan, Ashlee Giannetti, Annie Arthur, and Emily Music. They are two sets of sisters and best friends who all ran into the same childcare problem and decided to find a solution together.

          The four founders behind Juggle all grew up in a small town in Northwest Ohio. 

          “Raised by four hard working parents and entrepreneurs themselves, they taught us that we could do anything if we put our minds to it,” says Nolan. “That is exactly what we did!”

          The four of them say that without the support of their parents and the rest of their family and friends, they wouldn’t have been able to launch Juggle and make it what it is today. 

          While Juggle prides itself on helping to alleviate the childcare problems encountered by many moms, the organization also offers support to the communities it’s a part of.

          “We love to be a part of school, church, and community philanthropies and events,” says Nolan. “We are a female-founded company and love to partner with other female founded companies to share our passions.” 

          To help with the increased demand on parents this year, Juggle has adapted its services to accommodate those needs.

          “When the pandemic hit in early March, Juggle had to pivot,” explains Nolan. “We considered ourselves a date night app but quickly adapted and evolved into a service to essential workers for childcare and homeschool help. We formed corporate partnerships with hospital systems to help their families during this time. The need and demand for consistent care increased as well as the demand for homeschool help with so many schools shifting to hybrid and virtual.”

          As the New Year approaches, the team at Juggle says they’re looking forward to a healthier 2021 for all Juggle users and expanding to more markets to help even more busy families.

          To learn more about Juggle, visit www.whyjuggle.com. You can also follow along on Facebook and Instagram.

           

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            Shop local one bite at a time for your Thanksgiving this year thanks to a long-standing tradition in Hyde Park known as the Harvest Celebration. See how you can support local farmers and artisans with this upcoming market.

            Times may be unprecedented, but the Hyde Park Farmers’ Market Harvest Celebration is continuing on with tradition, in the safest way. 

            Also known as Turkey Tuesday, the Harvest Celebration is a traditional farmers’ market but with a focus on the Thanksgiving weekend. 

            “Farmers and food artisans will curate their offerings to enable shoppers to have easy access to local food for their Thanksgiving table and holiday weekend,” says Hyde Park Farmers’ Market’s General Manager Liz Stites. “Buy with confidence from local farmers and food artisans knowing that Hyde Park Farmers’ Market vendors adhere to rigorous, regenerative, and humane farming practices and responsible production standards.”

            The story behind the Harvest Celebration, hosted by Hyde Park Farmers’ Market and endorsed by Green Umbrella, started when regional farmers delivered their freshly processed, pasture-raised turkeys on a Hyde Park neighborhood side street the Tuesday before Thanksgiving.

            “That morning, turkeys were rounded up on the farm and driven to the processor,” says Stites. “By that evening those turkeys had been delivered to eager cooks and were ready to be the centerpiece of Thursday’s meal.”

            With the help of Hyde Park Farmers’ Market, the event now enables fresh turkeys plus many other regionally grown and produced meal ingredients to be delivered in a pop-up farmers’ market on Hyde Park Square. 

            However, Stites says that this year all turkeys will be frozen for the 2020 Harvest Celebration due to COVID-19.

            When you visit the Harvest Celebration, you’ll find that the event offers all that the regional food system has to share for the upcoming holiday including pre-ordered whole turkeys and other pastured meats; fresh, seasonal produce; food artisan delights; flowers, holiday arrangements, and holiday decor; and hostess gifts.

            This unique celebration is the only regional farmers’ market focused solely on Thanksgiving and the weekend to follow. “In the spirit of the holiday, the market is designed to enable Greater Cincinnati families to enjoy the bounty of our regional food system,” adds Stites.

            While many are looking forward to the idea of attending the Harvest Celebration, the Hyde Park Farmers’ Market is working to offer guests a safe shopping experience. “The market appreciates patrons’ ongoing support and cooperation during the COVID pandemic,” she says. “The market’s COVID protocols are based on requirements and best practices from local, state, and federal authorities. Proper placement of masks and social distancing is required at all times while at the market.”

            This year’s Harvest Celebration will take place on November 24 from 6:30-8:30pm on Hyde Park Square. New for this year’s event includes new vendor Pavel’s Garden.

            “Pavel’s Garden is a family-run market garden in Oldham County, Kentucky, that cultivates year-round utilizing sustainable growing methods to produce the healthiest food possible,” says Stites. 

            Additionally, the event is starting later this year in order to accommodate rush hour traffic. 

            To learn more about the Harvest Celebration, click here. You can also follow along on Facebook and Instagram

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              Looking for ways to support local businesses this holiday season? Check out this initiative that’s aimed at showcasing local businesses, artists, and restaurants.

              (Photo: Twin Spire Photography)

              The holidays are just around the corner and one local organization wants to help showcase local, Cincinnati-area based businesses for the occasion. 

              “FOUND is a city-wide holiday initiative designed to showcase all of the holiday programming created by our arts organizations, small businesses, and restaurants,” explains Andrew Salzbrun, Managing Partner at The AGAR Agency.

              The inspiration behind FOUND comes from the idea of rediscovering the urban core and the businesses, artists, and people that make it go round.

              “As we continue to dig out of COVID, it’s critical to support our small businesses during the holiday season by shopping local, dining out safely, and participating in all of the exciting things our city offers during the holidays,” he adds.  

              FOUND is a project with several people working behind the scenes. This joint initiative includes 3CDC, Downtown Cincinnati Inc., and The AGAR, and seeded by those at The Haile Foundation.

              When you visit foundcincinnati.com starting November 20, you’ll find the most complete, ad-free repository of holiday programming all in one place.

              “Readers will be able to see what’s going on that day and what supporting art activities are taking place downtown,” says Salzbrun. 

              Submitting content and events to Found is easy as Salzbrun says that retailers, producers, event planners, and arts organizations can submit their event, sale, show, and experience for free to be a part of the complete listings on November 20.

              Salzbrun says that what makes FOUND a unique concept is that it takes all of the hustle and bustle out of the holidays and makes it easy to rediscover Cincinnati this holiday season.

              In addition to the events and other ways to support local businesses this holiday season through FOUND, Salzbrun says they’ll also be launching a 40week long free scavenger hunt on November 30 at 9am. 

              “The Hunt For the Key to Losantiville will be a weekly challenge of clues and wayfinding with weekly cash prizes and one lucky winner receiving $2,000 cash and $2,000 to donate to a charity of their choice,” he says. 

              To learn more about FOUND, visit foundcincinnati.com.

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                In a world where celebrations are more important but complicated than ever, one local planner launched a business to offer easy ways to make a big deal out of the smallest milestones.

                If we’ve learned anything this year while trying to navigate a deadly pandemic, it’s that life can be short. We never know what the next day will bring, and that’s why Rachel Maley wants to encourage others to enjoy the journey and pause to celebrate life’s moments along the way.

                Rachel Maley, founder of Foster the Fun

                “I believe in celebrating those important milestones: birthdays, weddings, anniversaries – you name it and it can be celebrated,” she says.

                Maley has been in the fun-making business for years, and she’s learned that sometimes people just need an extra hand in making those celebrations and fun moments happen. 

                That’s why she created Foster the Fun.

                “Foster the Fun is both a resource to help you plan or prepare for your next celebration, or, for those of you that are just looking for someone to help you make those Pinterest dreams come true, I’m here for that, too,” she says. 

                The inspiration for such a party planning business came from Maley’s grandmother. “It’s a testament to my Grandma Judy,” she explains. “She always believed in putting every ounce of energy into our birthdays and holidays. She was known for having the most American Flags in her yard for the Fourth of July and packing so many beautifully wrapped presents under the Christmas Tree.”

                The name for the business, Foster, encourages extra homage to Maley’s grandmother as Foster is the family name. 

                In addition to paying tribute to her maiden name, Maley says that “Foster” also means to encourage or promote. “So here I am living and breathing her legacy, every day, and aiming to make it easy for you to celebrate too,” she says. 

                Rachel Maley, Founder of Foster the Fun

                When you turn to Foster the Fun for your celebration requests, Maley says that she can customize and adapt to any customer’s needs. “With a background in Early Childhood Education and a career in Corporate Communications, I have had a hand in kid parties, weddings, and corporate events,” she says. “I also have a background in Technology, making those virtual celebrations easier and meaningful.”

                As we head into the most celebrated time of the year, Foster the Fun is ready to roll out a plethora of options.

                She says that for the holidays you can expect to see an Elf on the Shelf Kit, a New Year’s Celebration Box, and so much more. 

                “I am also able to support you in curating a gift to the ones you love – just let me know your budget,” she says. 

                She can also offer Zoom support and the ability to customize the background set up so that it’s special for all those who join in. 

                Maley says that she’s most looking forward to getting her start with this venture. “I love when customers ask for help on their events because it may open a new opportunity for others,” she says. “I hope to help cater to all the future holidays and make it easy to celebrate the ones you love.”

                Maley adds that she’s also interested in partnering with local businesses to offer workshops, collaborations, and more. “I’m excited to see where this might go,” she says. 

                You can learn more about Foster the Fun at www.fosterthefun.co. You can also follow along on Facebook and Instagram.

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                  From the basement of her home to an internationally-known brand named after her, a local entrepreneur is changing the faux fur and bridal game. Her Covington showroom is changing now, too, to new demands, behaviors, and even some rockstars. Read on for all the details.

                  The story of Donna Salyers, her faux fur and bridal stores goes back to when she first opened their doors in 2003 and 2005, respectively. 

                  Donna Salyers


                  “With the city teetering on bankruptcy, surrounding storefronts were either boarded up or dramatically under-utilized,” says Salyers. “Opening a ‘luxury bridal boutique’ was somewhere between idiocy and a leap of faith. But thanks to amazing local and regional support, Fabulous-Bridal developed a stellar reputation for beautiful gowns and outstanding customer service.” 


                  Then, following up on her passion for ludicrous ideas, Salyers and her family decided to open Hotel Covington in 2016.


                  “It was a great complement to The Madison Event Center, which my husband Jim opened in the early 90s under similar circumstances, and our son-in-law Guy van Rooyen persevered,” she says. 


                  From there, the Salyers brand and their businesses were thriving and growing right alongside the Covington community by 2019. 


                  Now, following years of growth among their brands, Cincinnati-based First Financial Bank tapped Salyers and her team to purchase their Fabulous-Bridal building.

                  “With Fabulous-Furs a few blocks away on 11th Street, it made sense to combine two specialty luxury stores into one glorious space, and so the planning began,” she says. 


                  There was a slight hiccup in the plans, however, when the manager from KISS called to schedule a shopping visit. The band was going to be delivered to the (now empty) showroom from Lunken. 


                  Quickly the Showroom was re-merchandised and we anxiously awaited their arrival,” says Salyers. “KISS guitarist and songwriter Paul Stanley, wearing our Spotted Wolf jacket, led the group of nine! They shopped until nearly 4 pm, just hours before their evening concert. As they paid for their purchases, Paul turned and invited everyone to tonight’s performance, promising front row seats, parking next to their equipment trucks and backstage access.” 


                  The team gave a final goodbye to their showroom before its remodel as they headed to Lexington for a once-in-a-lifetime experience. 

                   

                  KISS band members shopping at Fabulous-Furs before its showroom remodel

                  Fast-forward to living in a global pandemic and Salyers’ newly remodeled showroom is located at 20 West Eleventh Street, showcasing sections from both Fabulous-Bridal and Fabulous Furs.


                  Salyers is excited about the future of her Fabulous brands.
                  “I began Fabulous-Furs three decades ago in the basement of our Cincinnati home with a single product: a faux fur coat sewing kit,” says Salyers. “Today, with customers in 46 countries, our products have evolved and are successfully sold in boutiques, hotels, and design stories throughout the United States and Canada.”


                  High-end accounts with the Fabulous brands include Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue. “We’re ShopHQ’s largest apparel brand and, in 2016, we added TVSN, Australia’s leading TV shopping network, where I continue to do seasonal appearances,” adds Salyers. 

                   

                  The newly remodeled showroom for both Fabulous-Furs and Fabulous-Bridal

                  Fabulous has also been featured editorially in everything from O Magazine and UK Vogue to Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition and the WSJ. Fabulous-Furs have appeared in hundreds of Broadway productions and TV shows including Beautiful – The Carole King Musical, Frozen, Empire, Today Show, Miss USA/Universe, The View, CSI Las Vegas, Sopranos and Gossip Girl. 


                  “With that said, every day brings an exciting, unexpected new client account or amazing customer,” says Salyers. “And with our humble beginnings, no one is more surprised, grateful and thrilled than me!”


                  Are you newly engaged? Ready to buy a bridal gown? Fabulous Bridal is offering Cincy Chic followers an exclusive deal through the end of the year: Buy a wedding gown and get a free Donna Salyers Fabulous-Furs Throw. Click here to book your appointment.


                  You can learn more about Fabulous-Furs here,
                  and Fabulous Bridal here. You can also follow along on social media:

                  Fabulous-Furs Facebook

                  Fabulous-Furs Instagram

                  Fabulous-Bridal Facebook

                  Fabulous-Bridal Instagram

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                    Need a change of scenery? For this week’s staycation issue, we explore two new downtown locations that blend the boutique hotel experience with all the comforts of home.

                    In the time of COVID-19 and when travel outside the state isn’t what it was, The Guild wants to give you a home a short drive from home for your next staycation. 

                    The Guild launched in March 2016 and opened its doors in Cincinnati in 2018. It offers travelers, and locals, the opportunity to stay in a space with distinctive design and extra space, like what you get in an Airbnb but the amenities of an upscale boutique hotel.

                    According to Brian Carrico, CEO and Co-Founder of The Guild, the original location of this unique experience started in Austin, Texas.

                    The inspiration behind the business, and its expansion into other cities, came from the founders’ own passion for traveling.

                    “Chris Herndon, my co-founder, and I reflected back on our most memorable trips, and each of them combined the comforts of home with the thrill of discovering local gems,” says Carrico. “We wanted to provide that consistently delightful experience to every traveler.”

                    The experience offered by The Guild is unlike other boutique hotel stays that can be found in the Queen City, he says. “While many other design-led apartment hotel brands have emerged in recent years, no company has our obsessive commitment to guest experience,” he adds. “While many of our competitors seek to leverage technology to reduce labor costs, we have taken a contrarian view.”

                    According to Carrico, the guest service team at The Guild consists of the best and brightest in the industry, including alums of the world’s leading hotel brands like Rosewood and the Ritz-Carlton. “Our team has applied those elevated standards of service to a category that otherwise lacks the human touch,” he adds. 

                    Today, The Guild can be found in Austin, Dallas, Miami, Nashville, and Cincinnati. 

                    Those staying at The Guild can enjoy a safe experience and a customized stay, including special requests and groceries ahead of your arrival, as well as a contact-free check-in. 

                    As far as The Guild’s Cincinnati locations, there are two different spots – The Current at The Banks and The Provident on Vine Street. 

                    When bringing their brand to Cincinnati, Carrico and Herndon wanted to encourage visitors to explore the city, whether they’re local or from out of town. 

                    “We would like travelers to enjoy their experience so much that it compels them to travel more frequently, which we believe will make the world more connected and empathetic,” says Carrico.

                    Carrico and his team also understand that the idea of traveling may be uncomfortable to some. “While COVID-19 has been a challenging experience for urban hospitality brands like ours, we’ve been inspired by the team’s tenacity in the face of adversity,” he says. “We’ve doubled down on our commitment to guest service by keeping our guests safe and comfortable.”

                    Carrico says that The Guild is looking to expand into new markets, including Denver, Boston, Chicago, and Philadelphia. 

                    To learn more about The Guild, visit https://theguild.co.

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                      A local hair stylist turned blogger turned jewelry and fashion designer recently launched her own line. Read on to learn more about this dynamo and her flattering designs.

                      Kandace Walters wears many hats — all with style. She co-owns a salon with her mother-in-law, is a blogger, a jewelry designer, wife, and mother.

                      She’s taken her love of all things glamorous and her passion for fashion to create something that will help others feel just as fabulous as she does.

                      “I recently teamed up with Robin James Jewelers and launched my own jewelry and fashion accessory line in March 2020 called Gingham and Glam,” she says. 

                      “Gingham and Glam started because I wanted to take my passion for fashion and jewelry and curate a collection for my growing following on social media,” says Walters. “Fashion is my life and I naturally found myself working with local businesses to help promote their fabulous products. One business, in particular, Robin James Jewelers fell in love with my passion for fashion and partnered with me to bring my dream of having my own fashion line to fruition.”

                      The Gingham and Glam line offers a variety of necklaces, earrings, rings, and even anklets, to help you amplify the glam in your wardrobe.

                      Price points for items in the Gingham and Glam jewelry line range from $15 to $550. Some of the items can be customized, but many of the products found in the line are named and inspired by people in Walters’ life. 

                      Walters, who considers herself an optimist, says that she’s positive about just about everything, and this jewelry line is something that makes her feel both positive and proud. 

                      The line, which launched in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, is something that Walters says she can’t help but have a positive outlook on, even during trying times.

                      “I’m a firm believer in having a positive outlook on life,” she says. “Life is a balance and I enjoy balancing this act called life. I’m just out here trying to spread kindness like glitter, one day at a time.”

                      Since the launch of her jewelry line, Walters has taken another leap of faith and launched an apparel line through Robin James Jewelers. 

                      The line, which launched this summer, includes tops, sweaters, dresses, and bottoms. Regular and plus sizes are available through the Gingham and Glam apparel line and prices range from $10.50 to $75.

                      “Gingham and Glam apparel is here,” says Walters. “There are so many great options, from off the shoulder tops, bodysuit blouses, sleeveless turtlenecks, to high waisted pencil pants, with so much more to come.” 

                      “I have something for everyone and every size,” she adds. “Passion is my fashion.” 

                      To learn about Gingham and Glam, click here. You can also check out updates on Facebook and Instagram

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