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Our life coach columnist offers advice that’ll help unclog your mind so you can be more effective in your personal and professional life.


I recently attended a fundraising event where I didn’t know a number of people. When it was time to sit down for lunch, I worked my way over to a table of all new faces. I introduced myself to the person on my left and then turned to my right. With a smile on my face, I told my tablemate my name and began to make conversation.

The next thing out of my mouth was the following: “So what do you do?” With a stern look on her face, and a negative tone to her comment, she replied, “I work really hard.”

I like to think of myself as fairly perceptive when it comes to people and the communication process. However, this time, I was confused. In the next few seconds I attempted to figure out what was going on in the interaction. My tablemate seemed irritated and I knew that I hadn’t said anything out of the ordinary. I searched my memory to see if I was supposed to recognize this woman and I had disappointed her. I came up with nothing. I needed to figure out why she was reacting to me in such a negative manner.

My next move was to agree with her. “I’m sure you do work hard.” Then, it occurred to me that maybe she took offense to the question, “what do you do.” So then I asked her in a light way what she works hard DOING. She began to share how she works at home with her teenage children. After we got over that hump, she began to loosen up. She shared a little about her life and we proceeded to get along just fine.

Apparently, her decision to work from home was colored with much emotion. Of course, I had no idea that I was walking into such a landmine. I had just met her! However, I’m imagining that in her mind, I had a lot of nerve to ask her what she does. In her mind, she feels that people are looking down on her because she isn’t working. In her mind, she’s angry that I had the audacity to ask her that question and act like she doesn’t work hard.

In her mind, she thinks I’m judging her.

Of course you know that’s not the truth. I was innocently trying to make conversation with a tablemate. However, from where she sat, the judging seemed very real.

There have been times that I’ve misinterpreted other’s actions and words because of what I was grappling with in my own head. My negative thoughts misconstrued the actual message that the other person was trying to convey to me. I’m also pretty positive that the same thing has happened to you on more than one occasion. You have had mistakes in thinking fueled by some “unfinished business.” I’m referring to that “stuff” that triggers you to react and respond inaccurately to the sent message. That stuff triggers you to not only misinterpret the message, but also can negatively impact the outcome of the situation. Your behavior at these moments can squelch opportunities for your future.

That unfinished business will continue to haunt you until it gets addressed and dealt with head on.

So, do yourself a favor and deal with what’s clogging up your brain so you can be more effective in your personal and professional life!

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Emily Blunt is back in theaters this weekend as a FBI agent who gets embroiled in ongoing border wars. Is Sicario is a must-see or one that’ll have you running for the border? Click to see.


‘If I keep doing all these movies where I play a tough chick holding guns, they’re never gonna let me do a bad romantic comedy … Hey – maybe I should keep this up!” Kate Macer (Emily Blunt) goes deep down underground in a hectic scene from director Denis Villeneuve’s SICARIO. Credit: Richard Foreman, Jr. SMPSP. © 2015 Lionsgate. All rights reserved. 


KEY CAST MEMBERS: Emily Blunt, Josh Brolin, Benicio Del Toro, Daniel Kaluuya, Jon Bernthal, Victor Garber and Maximiliano Hernández

WRITER(S): Taylor Sheridan 

DIRECTOR(S): Denis Villeneuve 

60 SECOND PLOT SUMMARY (OR AS CLOSE TO THAT TIME AS ONE CAN MAKE IT): Kate Macer (Emily Blunt) is a FBI agent who specializes in kidnapping cases who has just made the biggest – and most grim – discovery of her career. This earns her the attention of Matt Graver (Josh Brolin), a special agent looking her to volunteer to join an elite task force looking to go after Mexican cartels and Miguel Diaz (Bernardo P. Saracino) in particular. Kate’s partner Reggie (Daniel Kaluuya is none too trusting of the setup, however, a fear which only intensifies when the mysterious Alejandro (Benicio Del Toro) is introduced as a consultant to Matt’s efforts.

Soon thereafter, Kate finds herself overwhelmingly embroiled in a world of crime where no one is what they seems they are, knowing who to trust can be deadly if the wrong choice is made and the end may or may not justify the means …

WHO WILL LIKE THIS FILM THE MOST? Benicio Del Toro fans, Emily Blunt fans, people who enjoy old school (think 70s) intrigue gun battle flicks, anyone interested in the Mexico/Texas/Arizona cartel wars, people enjoy a movie with a great, tense soundtrack, Donald Trump and his supporters

WHO WONT (OR SHOULDN’T) LIKE THIS MOVIE? People who fear it will play into immigration war debate, those who hate graphic depictions of violence, Donald Trump and his supporters 

SO, IS IT GOOD, BAD OR ABSOLUTELY AWFUL? Bolstered by intense, edge-of-your seat gun battles and staredowns, a pulsating soundtrack and terrific performances in taut, unflinching settings, Sicario is easily one of the best films of 2015 and one that has plenty to say about its subject matter.

The movie has yet to open officially nationwide, yet Lionsgate is already planning a sequel to Sicario focusing on Del Toro’s character; watching the film, one can tell why the studio is eager to explore the story further as plenty of material exists to be explored. However, until that film drops, director Denis Villeneuve deserves all the accolades he receives as Sicario features flawless camera work that ensnares you from start to finish. 

Blunt is fantastic as Kate, a young FBI agent who is the epitome of the person who wants to do things by the book and believe in the system only to discover she’s nowhere near equipped to play the game into which she is thrust. As Villeneuve throws her into every head-scratching moment, horrifying discovery and near death experience feel as if is happening right in front of your face, Blunt unearths the little remaining humanity in them all. As she’s trying to make sense of it all, you will find yourself doing the same thing, both in terms of what’s happening to her and how it’s affecting her as she tries to cling to her ideals before becoming consumed by it all. This is only possible, however, because Brolin delivers his best performance in a while as Graver, an amoral man who is charming as a snake oil salesman concerned only with his bottom line. Using his Texas cowboy shtick here much more effectively than he did in his other September appearance Everest, Brolin gets to play the role of the devil-in-the-details with great aplomb and relishes in the opportunity. 

Given that his character is the one getting the sequel, it should come as no surprise that Del Toro walks away as the most interesting character in the entire production. Staring with a seemingly innocuous beginning, Del Toro brings his character full circle in a manner that at times is humorous, engaging/cool to outright terrifying in a performance as nuanced as his character. He is able to make you laugh, respect and ultimately fear his character with a performance that is the definition of an anti-hero to a “T.”

Working with a well-crafted script penned by Sons of Anarchy alum Taylor Sheridan, Villeneuve mixes in his characters as different parts of a large system of crime and punishment where there is blood on everyone’s hands. Every single moment connects in plausible fashion that makes many of the age old questions – Does the end justify the means? Is anyone innocent in the drug war? Is what our government does any worse than insert-potential-criminal-they-are-fighting? – feel fresh and relevant in regards to depicting a hot button topic without taking a clear side. 

Del Toro has said Sicario is a film about choices … If you enjoy great thrillers, the only choice you have with Sicario is when and what theater at which to see it. 


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A local beauty expert shares her thoughts on mascara, and what she says is her secret to getting long, full and beautiful lashes.


Mascara. The makeup that over-promises and under-delivers. A daily disappointment that every woman knows. It would be virtually impossible to find a woman out there who has never touched a tube of mascara or a curler to help enhance their natural lashes. Thankfully, there is a solution for all ladies out there who struggle with their lashes!

A before and after of a client at The Blink Boutique

The Blink Boutique helps satisfy that burning desire for long, beautiful lashes with lash extensions. Tell us what you want your lashes to say about you, and our lash artists will personalize a set of sassy, classy, but still natural looking lashes. A variety of curls, lengths, and thicknesses can give normally lifeless lashes a vivacious second wind. Toss your stock of poorly performing mascaras in the trash and let us give you the lashes you’ve always envied from models in magazines, celebrities and men who have all the luck with long, beautiful lashes.

Women of all ages look drop-dead gorgeous with these lashes, and simple cleansing and brushing is all it takes to keep them looking brand new. The need to grab your curlers, liners and mascaras will no longer cross your mind each day. If you care for your extensions correctly, they can last up to six weeks! They make vacations and holidays a breeze and do nothing but accentuate your natural beauty 24/7. Honestly, once you see them, there is no going back! They are completely healthy for your lashes long term and the extensions shed with your natural lash growth cycle. We suggest that you get them filled in about once a month to keep them looking fabu-lash!

The Blink Boutique offers two styles, Luxurious Classic lashes and our Russian Volume lashes. The Classic style is for clients who want a very natural look, and this is achieved with one extension per natural lash. A lot of women start out with Classic because they are slightly toned down compared to the Russian; however, almost all of our clients come back wanting more extensions that are longer, curlier and thicker! Russian lashes have two to six lashes fused together at the bottom and that fan is attached to one of your natural lashes. Worried about them being too heavy or damaging your lashes? Worry no more… Russian lashes are specially designed to be lighter and fluffier so they don’t hold you back or weigh you down.

All of our Blink Lash Artists have countless hours of extensive training and know exactly how to achieve a certain look. Just like it is with getting your hair cut, you tell them what you want and they will ask you questions about your lash health and routines to effectively give you the lashes of your dreams!

Say goodbye to your long makeup routines and daily morning struggles. These lashes will completely change the way you get ready, not to mention, give you the spunk and self confidence you need to get you through the day. Come visit and let us bring out your inner lash diva!

Check out our website,, or our social media pages to see before and after shots of all of our services. We don’t just stop at lashes. We now have threading, brow tinting and extensions, teeth whitening and tanning! Give us a call at 513-280-6550 or email us at if you have any questions.

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    As the weather gets cool, there’s nothing better than curling up with a good book by the fireplace. Don’t get too cozy, though, because you’ll want to head to the ninth annual Books by the Banks! From the Kid’s Corner and Teen Scene to publishing how-to panels and author meet-and-greets, read on for all the page-turning details about this year’s event.

    The 9th annual Books by the Banks will be held Oct. 17 at the Duke Energy Center.
    The 9th annual Books by the Banks will be held Oct. 17 at the Duke Energy Center.

    For bookworms, there aren’t too many things more satisfying than sitting down with a good book; except maybe attending one of the best book festivals in the Midwest.

    Books by the Banks: Cincinnati USA Book Festival is an annual celebration in the Tri-State that has one goal: To entertain and enrich of lives of those living in Southwest Ohio/Northern Kentucky by presenting and promoting authors while celebrating the joy of literacy and lifelong learning through reading.

    “The day-long festival (taking place on Oct. 17), which is free and open to the public, features more than 150 national, regional and local authors and illustrators, book signings, panel discussions and activities for the entire family to enjoy,” explains Books by the Banks Planning and Operations Team Leader Sandy Bolek. “The festival is one of the biggest and most prestigious events of its kind in the Midwest.”

    Bolek adds that in addition to many local and regional authors, best-selling national authors are also in the lineup, including Rainbow Rowell, Anthony Marra, Kevin Kwan, Sharon Draper, Tad Hills, James and Kimberly Dean and John and Sherry Petersik.

    “Activities for the entire family to enjoy will take place in the Kids Corner and Teen Scene,” adds Bolek. “Panel discussions will take place throughout the day as well.”

    While you can meet all of the authors in the Author Pavilion, some of those attending will discuss their work and other musings in rooms 206, 211 and 212 at the Duke Energy Center. Panel discussions and sessions at 10:00 a.m. including Memoirs, Liftoff: Writers with 1st Books and Cookbook Conversations. The 11:00 a.m. sessions include Thrillers, African American Leaders in the Fight for Civil Rights and Kevin Kwan while 12:00 p.m. sessions are John and Sherry Petersik, New Fiction and True Crime. The 1:00 p.m. sessions will feature Rainbow Rowell, Cincinnati Then and Now and Spirited Libations. The final sessions of the afternoon, which begin at 2:00 p.m., include Notable Nonfiction, Children’s Middle Grade and Anthony Marra.

    Bolek says that the Author Pavilion will not only include these special sessions, but it’s also an opportunity to purchase books and even get them signed by the authors in attendance.

    The local organization Women Writing for (a) Change will be hosting the popular “Writing & Getting Published” series, which includes panel discussions covering hot topics for writers as well as workshops to help you hone in on the craft of writing.

    Those who are planning on bringing little ones with them will love the Kids’ Corner. Children’s book authors James and Kimberly Dean, Tad Hills and more will be in attendance as well as book characters and library mascots including Bad Kitty, Curious George, Paddington Bear, Rufus the Reading Dog, Wild Thing and Shakespurr the Library Lion. Musical crafts, Playhouse in the Park, face painting, a music lab, balloon twisting and a performance by The Singing Library Joel Caithamer will also be at Books by the Banks.

    Teen Scene, a space designed just for teenagers, will feature interactive author events including the Iron Chef of Writing, Lip Sync Battle Royale and a VIP meet and greet. Other activities at Teen Scene include 3-D printers, Egg Bot, LED throwies, cassette tape notebooks, trivia and locker bling as well as a photo booth, arcade games, a juke box, an interactive chalkboard and a collaborative coloring wall.

    There’s also a new offering to this year’s festival: cash prizes. “For the first time ever, the festival will award cash prizes to authors selected for its inaugural Author Awards, sponsored by the Scripps Howard Foundation,” says Bolek. “Fans can vote on the Books by the Banks website for several People’s Choice categories. Separate awards for a short story writing contest sponsored by The George and Margaret McLane Foundation will also be awarded to selected adult and teen entrants.”

    There are several sponsors for this year’s event including: Ohio Humanities, George & Margaret McLane Foundation, The Louise Taft Semple Foundation, the Scripps Howard Foundation, The Carol Ann and Ralph V. Haile, Jr. US Bank Foundation, Northern Kentucky University and The Library Foundation of Cincinnati and Hamilton County.

    The 9th annual Books by the Banks will be held on Saturday, Oct. 17 from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. at the Duke Energy Center. Admission to attend is free.

    To learn more about Books by the Banks, click here.

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    A Cincinnatian turned Los Angeles filmmaker shares the story of his experience with a musician in Mexico who inspired the story for his film The Amateur. Read on for more.

    The Amateur, written by Cincinnati native Carlton Sugarman, is based on a story about an encounter with a musician in Mexico. Image: Kickstarter
    The Amateur, written by Cincinnati native Carlton Sugarman, is based on a story about an encounter with a musician in Mexico. Image: Kickstarter

    If a tree falls in the woods and no one is around to hear it, does it still make a sound? While that’s a familiar question for many, and one that inspired Carlton Sugarman’s film The Amateur. “In the case of the phrase, the tree is the musician and the forest is Hollywood,” he explains.

    Sugarman was on a 6-week road trip through Mexico when along the way he stopped in San Miguel de Allende. There, he met an architect who had been on the tail end of a beat movement and moved to San Francisco to join the psychedelic/Merry Prankster movement. “I immediately began bombarding him with questions about my literary and artistic heroes of those eras,” Sugarman recalls.

    But there was one answer that stuck out to Sugarman: “The one thing that all of the people you’re asking me about share, is that they never gave up.”

    Of course, when you hear of Hollywood, you think about all of those who move there with the dreams of becoming an actor, singer or musician but never quite make it. There are some, like the individual Sugarman spoke with, who give up on their dreams or give up on art for whatever reason.

    “It reminded me of my circle of friends in Los Angeles,” he says. “Who will be remembered? I wanted to pay homage to them all—whether they’re conventionally successful or not, whether I agree or disagree with choices they make along the way—they have made my life richer and inspired me in ways I could’ve never imagined”

    And it’s that inspiration that Sugarman hopes to bring to those who view his film. The Amateur: Or (Revenge of the Quadricom) is, according to Sugarman, a gritty, naturalistic musical drama exploring the chaotic journey of artistic pursuit in contemporary Los Angeles.

    Joey, the film’s main character, takes his music very seriously. However, it’s the rest of his life that he isn’t quite as serious about.

    The Amateur tells the tale of Joey, a broke and sometimes broken, artist trying to navigate the Los Angeles music scene. “Riding the highs and nursing the hangovers, his journey leads him through various experiences, both personal and professional, that shed new light on the things that really matter,” explains Sugarman.

    Sugarman, who hails from Cincinnati, grew up in Clifton and attended Doherty and Seven Hills High School, is the writer, director and producer of the film, there are other Cincinnatians who helped him out along the way. Evan Boymel (also a Seven Hills alum) plays the role of the main character’s manager Barry Johnson. There’s also Scott Ivers (VFX and colorist who went to Sycamore High School) who also made significant contributions to the project.

    The Amateur has shown at several film festivals around the world and was the closing film at the Dances With Films Festival in Los Angeles, where it sold 417 or 450 seats at the Chinese Theater Complex. It also showed at the Madrid International Film Festival, On Location Memphis Music and Film Festival, Underground Film Festival in Cork, Ireland, Lake Erie Arts and Film Festival and the Cincinnati Film Festival.

    For more information on Sugarman or his film, visit and

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    Learn about the local entrepreneur who opened a soap shop in Lebanon where the products she sells and makes on-site are, quite literally, plum natural.

    The Plum Natural Soap Company offers several products that
    The Plum Natural Soap Company offers several products that are handmade on-site by Mary Beal and her husband Del.

    Starting a business can seem intimidating, but that didn’t stop Mary Beal from pursuing her goal of having her own natural soap shop. Diving into entrepreneurship takes courage, determination and passion. Plum Natural Soap Company was built to expand Mary Beal’s experience with owning her own business as well as build self-esteem and share what she knows with others.

    Starting her business in Lebanon, Ohio, two years ago this December, Plum Natural Soap Company has moved to a new home on 20 N. Broadway next to Lebanon Citizens National Bank. The name of the company originated from when Mary Beal and her husband, Del Beal, were sitting at the computer with LegalZoom kicking possible names around. Finally, Del said, “It’s natural soap, just plum natural,” and it was then that the name was formed.

    Sharing her knowledge is not something she only does at the soap shop, but also at her full-time job. When she’s not running her shop, Mary Beal works as a supervisor at Sallie Mae and helps students with their student loan issues. Dividing her time between her business, full-time job and family, she and her husband have taught themselves how to make their soap on-site. Even when the soap didn’t turn out to be the color they wanted, they kept trying and donated the extra soap to the shelters.

    The Plum Natural Soap Company team at their location in Lebanon.

    Since the soap is made by Mary and Del Beal on-site, customers can actually see the soap being made and the ingredients they use. The soaps are designed using the latest technology and real ingredients. Computer programs are used to help design the soap, while real fruits and natural items are in the soap. For example, they use the real avocado while other soaps typically use the oil from it.

    Even with making over 150 soaps, customers don’t need to worry if they have sensitive skin or allergies. Mary Beal herself is sensitive to allergens, so customers can rest assured that they can use Plum Natural Soaps too! Their most popular soaps are Man Soap, Pine Tar, Sea Weed and Avacado. Their salt bars are also a well-liked item due to their exfoliating nature. They offer a wide variety of soaps for all holidays as well. With the autumn season in full swing, they have pumpkin and leaf shaped soap and also make pumpkin bath bombs and lotions. They also noticed that the Pumpkin Spice soap is popular year round, and the men love it.

    As for starting a business, Del Beal offers some simple advice, “Set high standards and keep them there. Never put something on the shelf that you don’t feel 100 percent about. If you’re not happy with the results, scrap it.”

    To learn more about Plum Natural Soap Company, LLC, visit their Facebook page.

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    Follow along with 8-year-old Lauryn’s fun-filled imagination, as she describes how to put her friendly little hands to work and make life easier in My 100 Hands.

    My 100 Hands is a children's book written by Lauryn Marie Burks.
    My 100 Hands is a children’s book written by Lauryn Marie Burks.

    What if you had so much to do that two hands simply were not enough? Well, Lauryn Marie Burks knows – she would have 100 Hands do it for her.

    The story behind My 100 Hands, a product of Lauryn’s vivid imagination, all began one morning when she was just 5 years old. “We were in a hurry and I was barking out orders for Lauryn to get dressed,” says Lauryn’s father, Robert Burks, Jr. “I could see that she was in ‘la-la’ land – then she suddenly blurted out ‘daddy, I wish I had 100 hands.’”

    “The next time we were getting ready, I recalled her comment and I asked her, ‘what would you do if you had 100 hands?” Burks continues. “She looked at me, almost a-matter-of-fact like, and said, ‘well, I could get dressed easier if I had 100 hands.’”

    In this moment, Burks knew he had the making for a children’s book, however, he had no idea where to begin. As a graduate of the University of Cincinnati, he decided to call down to the DAAP program and ask an art professor if there were any students who would be willing to do some illustrations for a children’s book.

    “We had a lot of resumes and proposals, but we chose Alexandra Hananel, 2011 graduate, who perfectly denoted the colorful images of a young child’s universe,” says Burks. “As for content, I left the words just as Lauryn said them so I could protect the integrity of it being her book.”

    After seeing her first story come to life, Lauryn couldn’t stop there. In the first book, we are introduced to three characters: Happy Hand, Pretty Hand and Helpful Hand. In her second book, My 100 Hands Go To School, we get to know an additional five hands. The third book she created, Pretty Hand Goes to Paris, hones in on adventure to Paris where Lauryn and Pretty Hand take up some art classes while helping a little girl along the way.

    Lauryn Marie Burks, author of My 100 Hands
    Lauryn Marie Burks, author of My 100 Hands

    “These hands set the stage for parents, teachers and adults in general to teach kids life lessons,” says Burks. “For example, Helpful Hand is about teaching manners and Happy Hand is all about having a positive outlook, while Pretty Hand helps talk to kids about self-esteem and charisma.”

    For Lauryn, her passion for writing is simple. “I love seeing my stories come to life and all of the colors on my books!” she says. As for Burks, the most rewarding part of it all is seeing Lauryn get excited about her stories. “I’m proud that she’s imaginative and creative,” he says. “As adults, we limit ourselves to what’s possible, but Lauryn’s dreams are coming out through these books – and I find that to be wonderful.”

    Although children are at the forefront, Burks stresses that he hopes there is something parents can get out of these stories, too. “I almost missed the opportunity to bring Lauryn’s stories to life because I was in a hurry,” he says. “We, as adults, get caught up in the daily life cycles, causing us to miss some of the magical moments that our children have. We want to inspire parents to pay attention to their children while also inspiring children to be creative and imaginative.”

    “My goal is for my stories to become more popular, because I would really like to be an actor someday,” says Lauryn. “I also want to show kids that there are some life lessons to learn before they start their own big life of becoming whatever it is that they want to be.”

    For more information about the book, visit Books are also available for purchase on,, Books A Million and as an eBook on Kindle or Apple iBooks.

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    From rustic French décor to sparkling accessories, a new local shop wants to help you live beautifully. Read on for all the details.

    Brad Price is behind the newly opened Villa Sanctuary located in Milford.

    Brad Price is no stranger to beautiful things. After working with custom, vintage and estate jewelry for nearly three decades with Krombholz Jewelers, he decided to chase a dream and open his own store.

    Recently opened on Aug. 2, 105, Villa Sanctuary is located in Old Milford. The interior fashion boutique specializes in carrying an eclectic mix of new, vintage and antique home furnishings, lighting, tabletop center pieces, gifts and jewelry. This is the twist that separates Villa Sanctuary from most other competing retailers, Price says.

    And while the store just recently opened, Price says it’s been in the world for more than three years. after being in the works for the past three years. “The transition from 27 years at Krombholz Jewelers to Villa Sanctuary is really as simple as an extending my love of beautiful jewelry to other beautiful things,” he says. “At Krombholz Jewelers, getting to know my clients taste and lifestyle, then designing pieces or selecting stock to share with them was my favorite part of the job. At Villa Sanctuary, it is the same thing – only I have a broader selection of categories to share.”

    Price believes you should live your life “beautifully” – and beauty is in the eye of the beholder. That’s why Price gets to know his clients on a personal level. “Because your home should be your personal sanctuary,” he explains. “Interior design is about elevating your spirit and centering yourself in this fast past world through how you feel at home.”


    After 27 years in boutique style retail, Price says he developed a love for special events and trunk shows. That’s why, on Nov. 6 from 4-8pm, he will host the first official show of the season at his boutique that will be featuring Garnier Thiebaut linens and French cookware from Revol. According to Price, both of these brands are leaders in home furnishings and décor.

    “We will be sharing French wine and cheese while having the opportunity to see some of France’s finest table décor,”Price says. During the show, he adds, they will be offering 20% off all items ordered at the event and your newly selected treasures should arrive from France in time for Thanksgiving.

    Villa Sanctuary is located at 32 Main Street in Milford, adjacent from 20 Brix in Old Milford, which according to Price “has been a wonderful experience,” as it gives the store an opportunity to build excellent foot traffic.

    To learn more, visit

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    A national initiative is making a stop in Cincinnati to inform female business owners about federal contracting and procurement. Read on for more.

    ChallengeHER is a national initiative stopping in Cincinnati next month to help female business owners secure federal contracts.
    ChallengeHER is a national initiative stopping in Cincinnati next month to help female business owners secure federal contracts.

    On Friday, Oct. 16 from 8:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. the ChallengeHER event will take place at the Cincinnati Metro Housing Authority’s Cincinnati Contemporary Learning Center. The Ohio River Valley Women’s Business Council is the local sponsor for the ChallengeHER event, helping to bring the powerful program to Cincinnati.

    ChallengeHER is an initiative from the U.S. Small Business Administration, Women Impacting Public Policy and American Express OPEN. The events, which are held all across the country, aim to help women business owners understand the Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) Federal Procurement Program, the federal procurement process and to connect you with the right people to help you succeed.

    The event will feature special guest the Honorable Steve Chabot, U.S. House of Representatives and Chairman of the House Small Business Committee, who will provide additional information on the federal contracting industry and how you can secure federal contracts.

    ChallengeHER also offers a webinar on the Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contract Program to help you better understand the program before attending the ChallengeHER event in Cincinnati.

    Although admission is free, seating is limited. Click here to reserve your spot! The Cincinnati Metro Housing Authority is located at 1635 Western Avenue in Cincinnati. Light refreshments will be provided during the event.

    For more information on ChallengeHER events, email

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    There’s a book lover’s paradise located right here in the Tri-State, complete with five floors of rare volumes and a book repair department. Read on for more.

    The Ohio Book Store is a five-floor bookstore that features a rare book repair department.
    The Ohio Book Store is a five-floor bookstore that features a rare book repair department.

    Cincy Chic: What is the Ohio Book Store?
    Mike Fallon, Bookbinder at Ohio Book Store: Ohio Book Store is a used, rare and new bookstore located at 726 Main Street in Cincinnati. We have five floors of books covering all subjects, mainly used volumes, but some new volumes on local/Cincinnati history. We actually have published over 20 books on Cincinnati history! We carry books that sell from 50 cents on up to high priced, very rare volumes. We have approximately 300,000 books to choose from in our inventory.

    We also have a book binding department, where we repair/restore books such as bibles, cookbooks, children’s books and many family heirlooms. We also bind brand new books such as family genealogy, personal journals, business presentations, etc. We offer custom debossing (imprinting names/initials) on many items such as bibles, albums, leather goods and other items that are brought in.

    Cincy Chic: Who’s behind the bookstore?
    Fallon: The Ohio Book Store is owned by James T. Fallon, who has worked here since the age of 13. He purchased the business from the original owner in 1971 and now has almost 60 years working here at the bookstore.

    Cincy Chic: What makes the Ohio Book Store unique?
    Fallon: The bookstore is unique because of the fact that we’ve been in business since 1940, the size of the store, all the subjects you could think of and our bookbinding department. We have customers from all around the country, and the world now with the Internet sales that we mail books to on a daily basis.

    Cincy Chic: What do you enjoy most about working at the bookstore?
    Fallon: What we enjoy most about working at the store is meeting all of the customers and friends that come in, some on a daily basis. It’s nice to see such a diverse group from teenagers to business folks, college professors and so many from other areas of the country that are traveling through our great city. And working in the bindery, it is a wonderful feeling to restore items that mean so much to a family. The most common book we repair is the Holy Bible. Whether it is a newer hand-held bible that someone has spent a few years making their notes in and then it falls apart, to large family bibles that are hundreds of years old that have been passed down for generations and are filled with handwritten notes about their family’s history.

    To make our customers smile or laugh, find a volume that they may have been looking for for years or restore a family treasure, making someone happy with their experience at our business is extremely rewarding for us.

    Cincy Chic: Is there anything new on the horizon for the Ohio Book Store?
    Fallon: As far as something new here, we are buying books all the time, so our inventory changes quite often. We are also updating our lighting and have just finished our third floor with all new energy efficient and brighter, automated lighting, and will be beginning on our first floor shortly.

    Cincy Chic: Where can readers go to learn more about the Ohio Book Store?
    Fallon: To learn more about us, our website is