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Homemade meals are yummy and nutritious, but they rarely fit in your busy schedule. That’s where Meals from Scratch can help.


A father and son team, Matthew and Phillip Hayden launched Meals from Scratch, a division of Scratch Food, in November 2011. Then, in 2014, Jason Haught, owner of Bathfitter in Southwestern Ohio, recognized the potential of Meals from Scratch and also jumped on board.


Meals from Scratch focuses on creating convenient, nutrient dense prepared meals for those who have busy schedules. Additionally, Meals from Scratch also helps those who need assistance with lifestyle disease management because of diabetes, heart disease and cancer.


According to Matthew, the inspiration for Meals from Scratch came from a notice of the lack of nutrient dense alternatives in the foodservice industry. “We were just beginning to develop our product when we met The Pink Ribbon Girls,” explains Hayden. “We decided straight away that this local charity would demand our full effort, and would ultimately become our primary focus and our inspiration.”


Since nearly one in three Americans suffers from a lifestyle and/or dietary associated disease, Matthew and his father knew that they would be serving a significant need by starting Meals from Scratch.


Today, most people know someone who suffers from or has died from a lifestyle of poor nutrition, whether it is diabetes, heart disease or cancer. This includes Hayden. He says that he lost his mother to cancer and even he had to undergo multiple heart bypass surgeries to repair the damage a poor diet in his youth had caused, despite maintaining a fit appearance throughout his life.


What makes Meals from Scratch unique, according to Matthew, is that it’s a diet that makes sense. “The American Diet is based on a model that is extremely flawed,” he adds. “Meals from Scratch is not interested in following a traditional model, we simply combine the right foods for a perfect diet.”


It’s also the taste of the food that makes Meals from Scratch so different from its competitors, Matthew says. The food is created by executive chefs who focus on taste, because as Hayden laughs, “how sustainable is any diet if the food does not taste good?”


Meals from Scratch started with a single client knocking on the door and asking if they had any prepared meals to take home to her family. They’ve since grown to preparing more than 600 meals every week and shipping them all over Ohio.


There’s also the partnership with Pink Ribbon Girls of Dayton. “The Pink Ribbon Girls asked us to prepare meals for their clients that included late stage breast cancer patients in need of domestic services,” says Hayden. “In the beginning, we were preparing a few dozen meals a week and hand delivering them to these deserving women.”


Hayden says there are plenty of plans for the future. He adds that with the addition of Haught, they plan to take their product directly to customers. They’ll start working with their friends in the healthcare industry to expose clients to the convenient, nutrient dense products offered by Meals from Scratch.


“We’ll also be making our meals available to the general public on our website and at our headquarters in Centerville,” he says. “We are confidence that our strong, locally sourced, processed ingredient-free meals are a perfect fit for those in need of a healthy meal as well as those seeking lifestyle disease state management.”


Meals from Scratch is located at 767 Miamisburg-Centerville Road in Centerville. To learn more, visit or “like” them on Facebook.

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shari How is 2015 going to be bigger, brighter and more successful than the previous year? If you haven’t given this much thought, let me make some suggestions. I have a few good ideas that might help you start developing a plan.

Give yourself the gift of Forgiveness
Have you been carrying around some extra luggage that you need to let go? Maybe, just maybe it’s time to move on. It could be that you are finding it hard to forgive yourself for something that has happened in your past. Even though you try to convince yourself that you have “moved on”, this incident has colored everything else in your present and future. So, in essence, you haven’t really moved on at all. Until you make a decision to finally let go of this albatross, life will continue to be less than you desire. Make a pact to forgive yourself and wipe the slate clean. Realize, once and for all, that life is not perfect, and you’re human. Make your amends and go forward.


Give yourself the gift of Acceptance
Do you struggle with being enough? Do you constantly compare yourself to others and come up short? Maybe it’s your friend’s salary, their great career, perfect kids, beautiful home or great spouse. Whatever it is, I’ve come across some folks that make a lifetime habit of feeling that they just don’t stack up. The thing is, while you’re wasting energy thinking about how you don’t have the perfect body, you could be actually changing your life. No one has a perfect life— period. People only allow you to see what they want you to see. Work on improving your own life and becoming a better person. Refrain from beating yourself up to get there. Accept you for you and appreciate your gifts.


Give yourself the gift of Reinvention
How do you feel about change? Hopefully, you’ve made peace with it and have incorporated this concept into your day-to-day life. You should always be looking for the ways that you can learn and grow. When you’re feeling unhappy, chances are, you have allowed yourself to get stuck. You’ve gotten comfortable with doing things the same way time after time. You are no longer challenging yourself. Think of reinvention and change as an ongoing process. It never stops. Push yourself to do at least one new thing everyday— no matter how small it appears to be. For example, try a different restaurant, take a different route to work, talk to someone that you have never talked to. When changing your job seems overwhelming, just take one little step at a time. One change leads to another and to another and eventually you’ve successfully reinvented yourself.


Give yourself the gift of Authenticity
On the surface, it doesn’t seem so difficult to just be yourself. However, for some individuals, this one goal can be extremely challenging. Being “you” means that you may have to disappoint other people and this can be intensely painful. Maybe you have incorporated a belief system where pleasing others is way more important than ever pleasing yourself. You may have a battle going on in your head that isn’t exactly the most rational discussion. That’s the thing— those battles rarely make sense. Having authenticity and being yourself means that you live true to your own values, beliefs and goals— not someone else’s set of expectations. When you live your life this way, you find the happiness and success that you’ve been searching for.


My hope is that you will do an honest self-assessment and are able to make 2015 a fantastic year.

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A picture, it is said, is worth a thousand words. But two years ago, when Mary Price first saw the picture of her with her newborn grandson, Ronan, the words that crossed her mind were relatively few, but decidedly urgent.


For as long as Price could remember she had struggled with her weight. And, the diminutive 5-foot-tall nursing manager had a lot of successes, losing 30 or more pounds each time she dieted.


But then, she always gained those pounds back and many more, until late 2011 when she received that telling photo when she weighed 210 pounds.


It was simply far too much weight for her tiny frame. And, as a nurse who trains other nurses, Price knew all too well what all that extra fat meant for her health. In fact, she could feel it in every fiber of her being.


Every joint in her body ached. She couldn’t stand for long and became easily winded. She was pre-diabetic, and even though she took medication, her cholesterol levels were too high. Even her asthma had worsened as her stressed and overweight body worked ever harder just to breathe.


The Florence mother and grandmother knew she had to do something radical about her weight or she probably wouldn’t be around – or at least wouldn’t be healthy enough – to really enjoy her three children and their five youngsters.


“So, I did my research and went to all the information sessions for the different programs at the Weight Management Center at St. Elizabeth Florence,” she recalls. “I went to the surgical weight loss program and learned about the sleeve gastrectomy. That’s when I just felt this huge – excuse the pun – ‘weight’ come off my shoulders because I remember thinking that this is my answer – that surgery. And the thing that really sold me on it was that it cuts off the part of the stomach that creates most of the hunger hormone. So I just thought, ‘Bingo! This is my answer.'”


That was October 2011. By the following February, Price was signed up and beginning preparation for the surgery – like all Weight Management Center patients – by undergoing several months of medically supervised dieting, nutritional and psychological counseling, physical evaluation and pre-operative education.


Both Price and the weight management experts at the center say that pre-operative preparation period — which typically lasts three to six months — is critical to long-term success with bariatric surgery.


“I think that this is a major strength of our program that is not offered at other surgical programs in the area,” says Weight Management Center Clinical Psychologist and Behavioral Therapist, Dr. Laurie Little.


“Effective weight management should address biological, nutritional and behavioral issues, and St. Elizabeth is the only center that addresses all of these areas,” Little explains. “Healthy weight management is not just about what you eat, but a great deal about how and why you eat. Although the surgery is an incredibly powerful tool that helps restrict the amount of food one can eat in one sitting, if a patient does not address any underlying maladaptive eating patterns, they will not lose the amount of weight they want to lose, or they run the risk of regaining it back over time.”


A surgery that removes the source of hunger-triggering hormone
By the day of Mary Price’s Aug. 15 surgery, she said she was very well prepared and ready to dive right in to a new lifestyle. And that she did, immediately dropping 15 pounds the first month and about 10 pounds monthly after that until, by this past August, she had shed almost half of her body weight.


Part of her success can be attributed to one of the key benefits of this popular form of bariatric surgery. As her surgeon, Dr. Magued Khouzam explains, sleeve gastrectomy takes both the stomach’s capacity and source of hunger triggers away.


“We remove the portion of the stomach that allows it to stretch,” says Dr. Khouzam. “So, instead of having a big stretch of stomach, this sleeve gastrectomy procedure gives you a very limited volume stomach that doesn’t stretch. When we remove this [stretchable] part, we’re also removing the part where it’s believed the hormones are secreted that create your appetite in your brain. So patients are no longer hungry.”


The procedure – the most popular bariatric surgery at St. Elizabeth – worked so well for Price that today she is not only a svelte 122 pounds, but she’s much healthier and energetic. For instance, she walks everywhere she can because the pain that plagued her joints is completely gone.


She’s no longer looking to a future with diabetes because her blood sugar levels are normal. And even though cardiovascular disease runs in her family, she has been able to cut her cholesterol medicines in half. Even her asthma has greatly improved.


In short, Price is on track to live a long and active life. And that’s something that many people in her extended family are very thankful for this New Year.


“I can get down on the floor now and play with my grandchildren and I don’t have to look for the nearest piece of furniture to grab to get back up. I can take a walk with them and be on my feet enjoying life,” she says. “I just feel more confident and better about myself. In fact, I can even jump. I couldn’t do that before, but recently I was somewhere with my grandsons and I jumped. It’s funny, but I just remember thinking, ‘Oh, my gosh, I can jump now! I can jump!'”


To learn more about the St. Elizabeth Weight Management Center, a Bariatric Center of Excellence certified by the American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, call (859) 212-4625.


This is a special advertising supplement, paid for by St. Elizabeth Healthcare

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Cincy Chic: What is English Traditions?
Casey Cordill, Co-Owner of English Traditions: We’re a unique, timeless, quality European antiques, replica furniture, upholstery, lighting and accessories store. English Traditions is a family-owned and operated business in O’Bryonville.


Cincy Chic: Who’s behind the business?
Cordill: My mother Mary started the business in O’Bryonville in 1992. We’re now co-owners together.


Cincy Chic: What’s the inspiration behind the business?
Cordill: My mother was inspired by antiques while she lived in Connecticut, specially by an antique store that’s nice was English and Irish Pine furniture. When her family moved to Cincinnati, she was compelled to bring Cincinnati what she missed and grew to love in Connecticut.


Cincy Chic: What types of products do you offer customers?
Cordill: We sell unique and custom home furnishings you won’t find anywhere else. At English Traditions we offer our customers one-of-a-kind hand-selected European antiques and accessories. In addition to our European antiques, we also work directly with replica furniture workshops in both the United Kingdom and France that can customize the perfect pieces for our customers’ homes.


For our customers who want comfortable and well-crafted custom upholstery, English Traditions has a wide selection of options. Our upholstery and fabric lines have hundreds of styles and thousands of fabrics to choose from. Our customers are sure to find the perfect sofa, chair, ottoman or fabric by the yard, all of which is proudly produced and build in the U.S.


If our customers already have those staple pieces that make a house a home and they are just looking to freshen things up, we have a vast selection of lighting and other accessories that will do just that. From the little treasures found abroad, to our pewter collection, hand-embroidered pillows, artwork, both antique and locally-made, our customers are sure to find something unique that speaks to them.


English Traditions also offers design services to our customers. With so many options, we understand that things can be overwhelming, but we can help. If our customer just needs assistance with getting pointed in the right direction or if they want a scaled room plan developed, our goal is to make designing as easy as we can.


You can also find our products on our website,


Cincy Chic: Is there anything new on the horizon for English Traditions?
Cordill: Our French shipment just arrived! We’re expected our latest shipment from the U.K. this month with more one-of-a-kind English antiques as well as a beautiful representation for our Replica Furniture Collection.


Cincy Chic: Where are you located?
Cordill: We established our roots back in 1992 at 2041 Madisonville Road in Cincinnati. We also have a second location at 340 Fifth Avenue South in Naples, Florida.


Cincy Chic: Where can readers go to learn more?
Cordill: Readers can visit one of our stores, call 513-321-4730 or visit our website You can also subscribe to our blog and follow us on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and Houzz.

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Make a resolution to watch your calories, but not ready to give up your social life? Check out the world’s first calorie-free cocktail offered exclusively at Obscura Cincinnati.


According to Shawn McCabe, Media Relations Director of Obscura and President of McCabe Media, this exclusive concept means you can have cocktails without the calories. “No calories, no carbs, no impurities and the effects of consuming alcohol are immediately felt, making it easier to responsibly imbibe,” he adds.


According to Obscura mixologists, five minutes after the vessel containing the spirits is placed on the base, it is ready to consume. One inhales through the straw and holds their breath for a moment, then exhales. It’s as simple as that. “As for the effects of the Vaportini, they don’t last as long as traditional consumption – but this can certainly be a positive aspect,” says McCabe.


“The New Year’s resolution, health-conscious, true liquor/bourbon connoisseur, share-with-friends, the most social drink, the unique experience, the classy/slick/modern feel of the method are all elements we are proud of,” says McCabe. “The ability of our mixologists to customize the experience with your favorites and guide you on a journey of flavorful, luxurious and breathtaking experiences is second-to-none.”


Sound a little sci-fi? Give it a try, says McCabe, because it’s the future of cocktails. “Considering the nature of the Vaportini approach to the consumption of alcohol, it can be intimidating,” he adds. “However, it is simple, natural and enjoyable.” Another benefit of the Vaportini is that it gives patrons more control. According to McCabe, shortly after exhaling all of the effects of the alcohol consumed are felt, as opposed to the 20 to 30 minutes it takes to feel the full effects of traditionally consumed spirits.


Obscura, located at the corner of Seventh and Walnut Streets downtown, aims to fill a niche for business people, art lovers and those interested in networking using a forgotten classic, “the cocktail lounge,” says McCabe.


Inside, you’ll find a grand space, modeled after a French Chateau that would make even Napoleon proud, with deep wing back armchairs, marble top bistro tables, a grand player piano, floor-to-ceiling window treatments, French Empire crystal chandeliers and white Italian Table lamps.


“The Obscura brand is synonymous with our very high quality expectations and we protect it with the same passion we mix into our drinks,” says McCabe.


Their drink menu is focused on mixology with fresh fruits, spices and unique ingredients. The Vaportini, however, is providing guests with a revolutionary way of consuming alcohol. Inhaled rather than swallowed, the smooth and flavorful vapors are absorbed directly into the bloodstream.


“There is a great tie-in to feature our exclusive bourbon barrel memberships coinciding with delicious Vaportini experiences,” continues McCabe. “This experience happens only in the most luxurious, subtly sexy and refined venue in Downtown Cincinnati amongst the power-brokers of our region and the most fashionable entertainment seekers.”


To learn more, call (513) 421-3800 or visit

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My Polka Dots & Pleats blog started three years ago as my resolution. I was determined to convert from a consumer to a prosumer of content. Standing there in front of a closet full of clothes uninspired to get dressed, I took a step towards a more stylish self.


How many of us have ever been faced with the timeless dilemma of having “nothing” to wear? Start by waking up every morning and wearing the best version of yourself. Let’s agree that style is an expression, not definition of self. In reality you probably have plenty to wear but haven’t uncovered new looks with existing pieces. Here are a few suggestions to ramp up your style in 2015.


Define your own personal style and flatter your figure.
Whether your personal style is classic, chic, or glam, know what flatters your figure and shop for these pieces. Fit always trumps trend. Identify and highlight your best feature. Focus on what you want to draw attention to instead of what you are trying to hide. For example, I wear pencil skirts and dresses with patterned tights to draw attention to my legs. Select earrings that compliment your eye color or tops that highlight your curves.


Remix your wardrobe.
If your closet were a store, would you shop there? Shopping your closet begins with organization. Donate items that no longer fit or you dislike. Dress for Success is a great way to give back while accomplishing this goal! Next, select 3 items that need more love and style a look around each one. Keep in mind that it doesn’t have to match as long as you have a similar color concept or balance of prints. Mix it into your wardrobe in a new way. Your plaid scarf goes with much more than just your black dress. Try it with a chunky sweater, chambray shirt, bright blazer, studded sweatshirt or white blouse. Tie it in a different way or layer it with a necklace.


Finally, take a trip to the mall.
You caught me! I typically advocate for online shopping because it’s more convenient. But every season, you need to put on some comfy shoes and physically go shopping. Update your collection by selecting a few new items to add to your wardrobe. January is an amazing time to find deals on winter wear. Look for anything in marsala (Pantone’s color of the year) which is similar to a red wine. Good buys include: faux-leather ANYTHING, sheer tops and statement clutches.


Most importantly, have fun with fashion by wearing sparkly jewelry, incorporating prints, and experimenting with color. When in doubt, add one extra texture or detail to your look.


Still lacking inspiration? Join Pinterest or Instagram to follow fashion bloggers who share style tips and daily wears. Determine your favorite store and study their style via the website, catalog, and mannequins. Ideas are all around so you never have to fret about what to wear again!

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    Vanessa Freytag says her inspiration comes from seeing and listening to other people.


    “I’m inspired by those take-my-breath away moments when I see such unexpected kindness,” she says. “I am always mindful of the fact that what I do every day would not be possible without the choice that so many donors make – a choice to support research, programs and grants that touch people whom the donor will never meet.”


    Freytag is the Executive Director at The Women’s Fun of The Greater Cincinnati Foundation. She arrived at the Foundation almost 15 years ago when she started out as a volunteer and donor.


    When she entered the scene at The Greater Cincinnati Foundation, she owned two businesses, so the Foundation was her largest volunteer activity.


    Vanessa Freytag

    She moved up the ladder from volunteer to Leadership Council member to Chair of the Leadership Council back when The Women’s Fund was an all-volunteer entity.


    “In late 2006, we saw that scope of important work for women’s economic self-sufficiency was so large that we needed a staff person,” she explains.


    That’s when she had her epiphany. Freytag says the 20 hours a week she was spending with the Foundation were the best hours of her week, so she made the decision to step away from the corporate business world and put her talents to use at The Women’s Fund.


    “I love what I do,” Freytag smiles, adding that she’s always believed each individual person has the ability to make things better. “Some of us may change the life of one person, some may change a neighborhood and some may change the world,” says Freytag. Thankfully, her position at the Foundation allows her to have a finger on the pulse of the city’s philanthropic community.


    Freytag says she describes herself as a realistic-optimist. “I recognize that at some point challenges, problems and crises happen with all organizations,” she adds. “That’s the moment to step back, gather the best and brightest wherever you can find them, take a fresh look and find the path to move forward.”


    She emphasizes that there’s always a path forward, although it may take a different shape than you expected. “As long as you look hard enough you’ll find it,” she says.


    As for Freytag’s path forward, she’s working on several projects at The Women’s Fund. She’s particularly excited about research The Women’s Fund is doing to identify the jobs and income levels women are projected to hold as the Cincinnati region’s economy grows. “‘Research’ and ‘exciting’ may not be two words you’d think of putting together but we have seen that part of the challenge in addressing poverty is understanding the barriers that push hard working families down the ladder of economic prosperity,” Freytag says. “So far we know that 4 out of 7 job women will be in by 2020 do not pay enough to support herself and one child.”


    After the research is complete, the next step involves working to understand all of the barriers – childcare costs, transportation gaps, livable wage issues and skills gap – and how The Women’s Fund can bring the community together to create solutions that provide long term systemic changes so the world can be a better place for women.


    Another big project coming up for The Women’s Fund is called “A Conversation With…,” an event that features award-winning journalist Lisa Ling, who was chosen for her ability to bring the stories of issues that impact people to life.


    Freytag says she sees Ling as the person that takes the statistics and makes them human. When she comes to the Queen City on March 25 as part of celebration of Women’s History Month, it will be the largest event of the year.


    Freytag adds that she believes Ling coming to Cincinnati is a compliment to the progress and innovation in the region, as she receives many requests and chose to come here.


    “The future of The Women’s Fund is looking bright,” Freytag says, adding that they’ve worked hard in the last two years to bring the work they do – helping women and their families reach self-sufficiency – into the forefront of the community’s focus.


    “Traditionally, this topic has been seen as a ‘women’s issue’,” she explains. So the attention the topic has gained in the community has shown that it’s something that more than just women will care about or support.


    Freytag adds that two out of three children in poverty live in female-headed households. “Greater Cincinnati will only make progress on poverty, on many of the education challenges and on many low-income health concerns if we change the economic future for households who are headed by women.”


    While this may sound like bad news, Freytag says that she’s excited about the community leads, businesses and everyday men and women who are getting involved in the work that The Women’s Fund does.


    By helping families reach self-sufficiency, everyone wins, Freytag says. “Employers will have enough skilled workers to fuel their job growth, families have enough income to thrive, children have the tools and support they need to blossom and the region will flourish,” she adds.


    To learn more about Freytag or The Women’s Fund of The Greater Cincinnati Foundation, visit or send her an email at