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    Have some high hopes for 2021? See how this professional development powerhouse started a movement to help women across the state expand their potential, make big connections and reach lofty goals.

    Behind every successful woman is a group of women who are cheering her on. In an effort to provide women with a supportive and inspiring community of fellow leaders and entrepreneurs, The Diva Movement was created.

    “The Diva Movement is a community of women leaders and entrepreneurs where we provide support, tools, and resources to help women grow as they are growing their business,” explains CEO and Founder Noni Banks. “We offer online personal and business development resources, networking, events, entrepreneur workshops, and opportunities for women to connect in our private Facebook group.”

    Banks says that she was inspired to launch The Diva Movement off a quote by W.E.B. Dubois: “There is no force more powerful than a woman determined to rise.”

    “I was at a place in my life where I was tired of waking up every day and not being fulfilled,” explains Banks. “I was going through a divorce and I realized that I consistently placed my hopes and dreams on the back burner, while I pushed and [helped] build someone else’s dream.”

    In an effort to help build the dreams of the women around her, Banks launched The Diva Movement, which serves hundreds of womens, entrepreneurs, and followers.

    “What started as a book club with 15 people has now grown into an organization with hundreds of members,” adds Banks.

    While 2020 has been a challenging year for everyone, Banks says that she finds motivation and inspiration in her day-to-day life by focusing on her goals. 

    “My purpose fuels my passion and keeps me motivated,” she says. “In order to have a clear vision for your life, you have to know your purpose. The two greatest days of your life is the day you were born and the day you find out why.”

    Banks says that her “why” is directly tied to her purpose.  “When you tap into your why and your purpose, you become an unstoppable, purpose-driven force of positivity,” she adds.

    Banks’ company and the events it hosts in addition to the products it creates and the services it provinces, are bigger than her, her dreams, and her goals.

    “I get up everyday knowing that there are women out here that are struggling to grow their companies,” she says. “Having the ability to sow seeds into the lives of these women and into their businesses is what really keeps me going everyday.”

    With a tumultuous year behind her, Banks is looking forward to her continued offerings in providing tools, support, products and services that women grow as they are growing their business.

    “We are on a mission to help women grow and market their business with confidence,” she adds.

    In the midst of the pandemic, Banks has changed some of her offerings so that she can continue to provide her services in a virtual manner. 

    “We moved our Conversations and Connections to a virtual platform this year and we will continue to host livestream conversations with women entrepreneurs, influencers, and industry leaders from around the world,” she says.

    One of those offerings is a Hustle & Grow Content Club. “The Hustle & Grow Content Club is a 12-week series for female entrepreneurs who want to improve your content, cashflow, and conversions,” says Banks. “This is a membership for entrepreneurs who want to build high-quality content and market your business with confidence.”

    The membership for this club includes: weekly content strategy sessions, private Facebook group, exclusive digital products and content, monthly training and demos.  

    Banks says that she and her business are looking forward to 2021, when they’ll be offering several new options for members.

    These new offerings include a new website with updated product pages and easy, one-click shopping for the new digital products and services. The Hustle & Grow Digital Boutique is a new store that offers business and marketing solutions for entrepreneurs.

    Also new are a variety of memberships that will help you increase your income, impact, and influence, according to Banks.

    Other new offerings include easy-to-use graphics that are simple to customize templates that will help you create eye-catching social media posts to increase engagement, sales, and business growth. “Each month new products are added to the shop,” says Banks.

    Business and marketing templates are available to help you take the guesswork out of creating a business and marketing plan by providing templates that will help you reach your social media and marketing goals.

    Banks is planning on offering marketing and social media coaching to help entrepreneurs market their business with confidence. She says she plans to also offer one-time strategy sessions as well.

    Additionally, be on the lookout for The Diva Movement to offer social media management services. “We help entrepreneurs manage their social media presence to effectively engage with the audience and get the maximum value from social media,” she says.

    To learn more about The Diva Movement, visit https://www.thedivamovement.org/. You can also follow along on Facebook and Instagram. To contact Banks and The Diva Movement, call 614-259-7526 or email info@thedivamovement.org.

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    This week's Listing of the Week is a Hyde Park gem! Keep reading for a peek inside!

    This is a spacious, updated, classic Hyde Park home with architectural character and modern amenities. It’s in a fantastic location, features a newly painted exterior, a plaza stone circle paver driveway, two car garage, amazing outdoor entertaining space, and an updated interior with great room and master addition. This 5 bedroom, 2.5 bathroom home is listed at $839,900.

    This listing is sponsored by Ron Erdmann at Guaranteed Rate, the official mortgage professional of Cincy Chic.

     

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    See how a new fitness studio in West Chester, specializing in Electrical Muscle Stimulation-based personal training sessions, gets the results of 90 minute workouts in only 20 minutes.

    FITOPIA EMS is powering up a workout like no other with the grand opening of its first-ever location in West Chester. The concept provides Electrical Muscle Stimulation (EMS) to a 20 minute workout, guided by a personal trainer, which gets a 48-hour calorie burn and the results of a 90 minute conventional workout.
     
    “We’re really excited to bring this cutting edge technology to Greater Cincinnati. It’s unique and more effective than other fitness options because it burns, on average, 1130 calories with just 20 minutes of exercise,” says founder Bharat Kakar.
     
    “Now, clients can tone muscles and lose weight with a short, deceptively easy weekly workout.”
     
    FITOPIA EMS has been scientifically proven to be effective for a wide range of fitness levels and age groups. “One of our greatest joys is seeing how this helps so many different types of people,” says Kakar. “Busy moms are losing 25 pounds and feeling like themselves again. Athletes are getter faster and breaking performance plateaus. Older adults are building strength and stability which keeps them independent longer.”
     
    In light of COVID-19, the private, or semi-private, workout sessions at FITOPIA EMS offer a safer alternative to a busy gym or impersonal at-home options. With each session pre-scheduled, only two clients permitted in the facility at a time, complete sanitization of all equipment before each session, a MERV-13 air filtration system, among many other precautions, “We’re going above and beyond to make this a safe, healthy space for clients to improve their fitness and wellbeing,” says Kakar. 
     
    FITOPIA EMS is located at 7604 Cox Lane, West Chester, OH. Those interested can sign up online to receive a free week of personal trainer-led low-impact workouts can visit https://fitopiaems.com.

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    A Covington-based personal training and group fitness studio now offers a wide variety of in-person and live streamed classes that aim to get results while having fun.

    A fitness studio in Covington recently rebranded and went high-tech to offer award-winning live streams of workouts in addition to their wide variety of in-person classes. 

    “MVMT Cov is a Personal Training and Group Fitness Studio. We are fully committed to creating a space for people to grow and thrive on their fitness journeys with a variety of classes and class times lead by top certified instructors, training methods that adhere to results, individualized attention and an encouraging, supportive and fun community,” says Nicole Abruzzo, Owner of The Movement Studio Covington. “When COVID hit back in March, we took all our regular group fitness classes and live streamed them all via zoom. Since then, we are open to in-studio at a minimum of seven people and our classes are still live streamed, so you can join from the comfort of your living room! We were even listed as ‘Best Zoom-Powered Workout’ in Cincinnati Magazine’s 2020 Best Of Edition!”

    Located in the Heart of Covington at 118 W. Like Street, Covington, Kentucky 41011, on the second floor, the studio space has been open since November 2018, but Abruzzo has been a personal trainer since 2012. When she first started, she was completely mobile, meeting clients at their home or in parks.

    The business used to be called Nicole Leisen Personal Training and Fitness, until the business recently rebranded. “When I first opened, it was only me, but now there are six other amazing trainers and fitness instructors leading classes. The business also used to be mainly personal training and now it is about 70 percent group fitness classes and 30 percent personal training,” Abruzzo says. “It evolved from just me to a community of instructors and clients who all come together under one roof to move, feel good physically and mentally and have formed genuine friendships. I wanted the name to reflect what it’s become!”

    The inspiration behind starting the business came from her personal training. “It was so incredible being able to work with my in-home or park personal training clients, but I wanted to be able to help more people by offering group classes as well,” she says. “It is also great to be a part of the growing Covington community!” 

    The name of the business came from Abruzzo’s passion for movement and her clients. “In addition to the exercise routines done in personal training or group sessions, daily life movement outside of our one-hour sessions are so important too,” she says. “We want movement to be a part of a lifestyle and we are here to provide the guidance and recourses for people to do just that.”

    There are a variety of services offered through The Movement Studio Covington and they include: 

    • One-On-One Personal Training: “Individualized program based on clients’ individual goals,” Abruzzo says.
    • Duo Personal Training: “Same as above, but often duos are couples or friends who want the more individualized setting,” she says.
    • Group Fitness Classes:
    o TRX Suspension Training (main format)
    o Boot Camp
    o Pilates Boot Camp
    o Yoga

    The business defines success through keeping her clients on track through going virtual during the pandemic. “Due to our ability to pivot our business model to all-virtual using top notch equipment to livestream our classes with no down time during the COVID-19 shutdown, we have kept our members moving and on track despite the global  pandemic in the past nine months,” Abruzzo says. “That is something we never imagined would happen, but our ability to keep everyone healthy physically and mentally during this trying time, is certainly a success in our eyes!” 

    Her vision for The Movement Studio Covington is continuing to offer in-person and live-streamed classes for now on. “2020 has thrown many curveballs, but we’re finding the silver lining is brought with the virtual opportunity and running with it!”

    The Movement Studio Covington is unique because of the way they are offering their classes. “We are one of the few studios offering all classes in-person and live-streamed. We do not have an on demand library for the purpose of accountability,” Abruzzo says. “We also use TRX Suspension Training as our main equipment in training sessions and classes and we are the only studio in NKY to offer that and one of a couple in the Cincinnati area.”

    The business is important for the community because “We are bringing people together to better their lives through fitness,” she says. Her favorite part of the working for The Movement Studio Covington is “bringing people together to better their lives through fitness,” Abruzzo says.

    If you want to keep up with what The Movement Studio Covington is doing, follow them on their websiteInstagram and Facebook.

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    Learn about a yoga studio in Anderson helping people experience a healthy body and mind in the midst of the pandemic.

    Practice Yoga Cincinnati is a yoga studio and community focused on making steps toward a healthier body and mind with each practice.

    The Anderson-based studio was previously called Simply Power Yoga (SPY) Central, but is now called Practice Yoga Cincinnati. “SPY Central was started in 2012 and took over at the end of 2014,” says Bridget Henson, Owner of Practice Yoga Cincinnati. “We recently transitioned names just a few months ago to Practice Yoga Cincinnati.”

    The inspiration behind the business came from her being a teacher. “I had just finished a teacher training and was still very nervous about teaching and the opportunity presented itself to take over, or the studio may close. I took a chance and haven’t looked back since,” Henson recalls.

    There are many classes offered through Practice Yoga Cincinnati. Classes are offered that are private and public, as well as virtual and in-studio. These classes include:

    • Yin Yoga and Restore: “A fun class for all levels with body work, mobility and myofascial release,” she says.
    • Flow Classes: “Flow classes may be what someone would think of if they heard “yoga.” Movement and posturing up and down, back and forth on the mat. That being said, we offer faster paced versions called ‘Power Flows” and more subtle classes called Slow Flows.”

    There are many health benefits associated with yoga, but one of the main ones Henson said was hydration. “Our bodies are complex, amazing beings and our tissues need to move in order to absorb and hydrate properly,” she says. “It’s not just about drinking water…although, keep up with that, too! At the end of class, there is that mental clarity one gets after practicing that just feels good and that mental ease is such a beautiful gift as well.”

    To Henson, success is being able to help people. “If we can help even one person, I feel like we’ve succeeded. The benefits of this practice are long lasting and deep. They can also be profound and temporary,” she says. “I think it all matters and it’s important to note that it can be so much more than a physical practice, but the body is where we begin.”

    The pandemic has really affected the vision for Practice Yoga Cincinnati. “Before the pandemic — the week before shutdown — we moved into our new space. My vision was to grow and expand offerings: more classes, Reiki, cupping and other bodywork modalities. What it looks like today is much different. Fewer classes and no face-to-face body workers are scheduled at this time,” Henson says. “Having moved locations a few weeks before having my first kid, we are playing it safe and just going with what is at the moment. I know we’ll get back to it someday soon, but who knows what it will look like! My personal practice is to detach from those expectations.”

    Henson says everyone who teaches at Practice Yoga brings their expertise and compassion to the business. “I am really proud of that. What makes us unique is that we are all individuals bringing our experiences and lives to the practice,” she explains. 

    Practice Yoga Cincinnati is important for the community because of how it changes lives, Henson says. “The point of this practice is not about looking good in your yoga gear. It can really change people’s lives for the better,” she adds. 

    If you want to keep up with what Practice Yoga Cincinnati is doing, follow them on FacebookInstagram and their website. You can also book classes via Mindbody.

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    One of Cincinnati’s very own has been named a top small business owner in the state. Learn more about her and how she’s adapting in a changing industry.

    Nestled among the streets of Findlay Market in Over-the-Rhine is Spruce Nail Shop, a neighborhood nail salon specializing in manicures, pedicures, and skin care services.

    The owner behind the shop is Molly Nagle, who also works in the nail salon as a nail tech and nail artist. Also behind the scenes of the business is a team of managers, front desk coordinators, nail technicians, nail artists, and estheticians. 

    Spruce Nail Shop will celebrate its five year anniversary in February, thanks in large part to its unique concept of focusing on non-toxic products and services that are good for you.

    “We carefully choose products that are free of toxic materials and we select our services based on research for what is best for your nail and skin health,” says Nagle. “The foundation of our business is based on having Good. Clean. Fun. – both for our clients and employees.”

    The mission behind Spruce Nail Shop is to use the safest alternatives for polishes, products, and practices while creating one-of-a-kind manicures and nail art designs for every client who walks through the door.

    Nagle knows that the beauty industry is constantly changing, and she embraces that evolution and change. “It’s so fun to follow trends you see in design, art, and fashion and incorporate them into our nail art designs,” she says. 

    Those changes and adaptations have been especially difficult for many local businesses during COVID.

    When COVID arrived, Nagle says that Spruce Nail Shop went back and worked from scratch during the lockdown to streamline as much as they could. 

    “We reworked our booking system, purchased sneeze guards, face shields, and masks,” she says. “We created a separate entrance and exit, new protocols for check-in and check-out, new systems for our technicians, and so much more.” 

    In addition to new safety protocols, Spruce Nail Shop has also had to adapt to a smaller capacity.

    “We are running at 50% capacity, which has been a challenge, but, thankfully, we have our new space that is almost twice the size of our old one so we are able to socially distance much easier,” she says. “We keep getting creative and thinking of new ways to bring in revenue. Launching our online shop has been a huge help for us, and we are so thankful for the support we have received. Things are not easy, but our team has stayed so positive and encouraging, and that is truly what keeps me motivated.” 

    Spruce Nail Shop is proudly women-owned and operating. In addition to the staff in the storefront, the product vendors at Spruce Nail Shop are also women-owned. 

    More recently, Nagle was named as the top small, woman-owned business person of the year in Ohio, something that she says is humbling.

    “I am so appreciative,” she says. “I often get caught up in working day-to-day and pushing Spruce, so it’s really nice to be able to take these moments to pause and look back on how much we have accomplished. There are so many incredible women-owned small businesses in Ohio, and I am so honored.” 

    Nagle says that what keeps her motivated as a small business owner is her team and clients. 

    “I am so proud of the team we have at Spruce,” she says. “The talent is unparalleled, but what I really love are the teachers. We hire a lot of techs straight out of nail school, and most have not done nail art before. We have a nail art educator and all techs work together and teach each other nail art. Seeing the growth in this skill set is one of my favorite things.”

    Nagle says that Spruce Nail Shop is looking forward to a lot in the new year. “I know that we will be operating without current COVID standards for some time still, but I look forward to hopefully being able to bring back our Spruce Mobile and plan some more events and collaborations with other local businesses,” adds Nagle. 

    To learn more about Spruce, visit https://sprucenailshop.com. You can also follow along on Instagram.

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    A local finance guru has a passion in helping women succeed personally, professionally. Read on to learn more about her.

    Cincy Chic: What is Swain Consulting LLC?
    Stevie Swain, Founder of Swain Consulting LLC: Swain Consulting is a Financial Consulting Firm with an emphasis on the Federal Work Opportunity Tax Credit program. My staff helps clients reduce their annual tax liabilities who hire selected individuals who face significant barriers to employment. I also serve the Federal Government as a Federal Government Benefits Specialist leading a team of Specialists, assisting all branches of Federal Government employees across 28 states with their benefits and retirement planning.

    Cincy Chic: What’s the inspiration behind your business?
    Swain: I have always felt the need to help others as they navigate through life, as many others have helped me. With my business, helping companies see the benefit of hiring those less fortunate who would otherwise have a hard time securing employment, while being rewarded for doing so by reducing their annual tax liability seems like a win-win for all. In addition, helping people understand their financial benefits and their own retirement options is another wonderful way for me to serve others. I get such joy when someone who has understood the importance of a retirement plan and worked the plan gets ready for a happy and secure retirement.

    Cincy Chic: Can you share more on your work with the Cincinnati Collaborative Women’s Network?
    Swain: I began this organization to educate women on topics that we as women need to understand in both work and in life. I wanted this organization to be a resource center for the women of Cincinnati to help them grow as a community to help others as well. 

    Cincy Chic: What inspired your efforts there?
    Swain: Our mission is to awaken the passion of aspiring women entrepreneurs and women in transition through strategic workshops and meaningful networking to achieve professional development and growth. This organization was created with five pillars in mind (Professional Development, Health, Lifestyle, Wealth and Special Needs) to form the whole career centered person. From understanding one’s own professional development and particular wealth strategies, to the importance of our health and taking time for creative lifestyle interests to finally understanding those with special needs in our lives. We ask every member to take part in a specific pillar and lend their talents, knowledge, and time to help others in the organization to grow and realize their full potential.

    Cincy Chic: What keeps you motivated and inspired in your day-to-day work?
    Swain: Knowing that every day is a fresh start full of opportunities to connect with someone who needs to know what I have to share, making an impact on someone’s life every day is my goal. To be a well-rounded servant!

    Cincy Chic: What do you hope to accomplish through your work in 2021?
    Swain: Like everyone in the world, I want to get back to some normalcy in 2021! I want to see hundreds of people who have been out of work to get hired by companies who use WOTC! I’d love to show more companies how hiring from certain target areas can help their bottom line, while they help those who might be needing a second chance. WOTC is one of the most under-used Federal programs available to both nonprofit and for-profit companies. It’s crazy!

    In the Federal Government side, I want to make an impact on the employees we serve by making sure we are consistently educating them with the financial information they need to lead totally happy, comfortable lives during retirement. It thrills me to get that call from a soon-to-be-retired Federal employee who has consistently put money away and is looking forward to a stress-free retirement.

    Cincy Chic: What are you looking forward to the most next year?
    Swain: The ability to spend time with my family and people I love without the fear of COVID-19 being spread. Perhaps going out to eat, celebrating birthdays, and going on vacation. This year has truly been a trying time for a lot of people. Like many small business owners, however, I have been blessed to have the ability to pivot my business to another line of service. So, I’m looking forward to getting back to my core business next year with the new aptitude to brainstorm and create other avenues of business as needed.

    Cincy Chic: Where can readers go to learn more and follow along?
    Swain: Our website is www.swainconsultingllc.com & www.cincwn.com. We have a blog on our website that readers can follow, and we are also on Facebook and Linkedin.

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    Making a new year’s resolution? Our life coach columnist explains how to visualize your aspirations and actually make them happen this year.

    While the celebrations will be more casual this New Year’s, the optimism going into the new year is still the same.

    A new year signifies a time to reboot, reframe, and recall the thoughts and ideas in your head that you want to accomplish, be, do, and have.  

    Resolutions and vision boards allow you to get really clear on what you do want and what you no longer want.  Identifying these will allow you to align with a plan to reach and crush goals with speed and rapid results in the new year.

    Yes, you may be saying, “I remember setting those resolutions that would only be broken a few weeks into the new year and the vision board became a thing hanging on my wall that didn’t get any attention.”

    Or maybe you did not do either but set intentions for letting go of what you don’t want and calling in more of what you do such as losing weight and make more money.  

    Whatever you desire, the key is creating a clear and solid plan and being supported by having accountability.

    Do you have those things in place? If you are struggling and need help — ask — there is no shame in being supported.

    Even if you have not created a vision board or set a resolution, consider how these tools will support you moving forward.

    Navigating life can be challenging. Staying motivated and focused to live life by design, filled with passion and purpose, iswhere the magic happens.

    I encourage you to take the next three days to get excited, make a plan, get focused, and ask for accountability so 2021 will be your year to “Find Your Own DRIVE”.

    Follow this link below to receive the FREE training on Vision Boards I presented earlier this year:

    www.findyourowndrive.com/vbw-presentation

    Our home improvement guru shares the seven small things you can do on a regular basis to avoid a plumbing emergency for years to come.

    New modern faucet and kitchen room sink closeup with island and granite countertops in model house home apartment

    We tend to give our home’s plumbing system little attention until something goes wrong. Even the smallest plumbing issue can put several of your day-to-day activities on hold, like laundry and doing the dishes. Fortunately, there are several tips you can put into action to protect your home’s plumbing. Regular plumbing maintenance and periodically draining the water heater are two great tips for keeping your home’s plumbing in tip-top shape.

    Educate Your Family

    One of the simplest ways to protect your home’s plumbing is to educate yourself on what you shouldn’t flush. While city sewers are capable of accepting a range of debris, your home is not. Common that will clog your pipes if you flush them include:

    • Plastic
    • Cotton balls
    • Cigarette butts
    • Paper towels
    • Feminine products
    • Q-tips

    To make things easy, make a it rule to only flush toilet paper. It’s also important to avoid putting animal fats and cooking grease down drains.

    Insulate Your Pipes

    During colder weather, the pipes in your basement and crawl spaces are prone to freezing and cracking. This is especially common if your pipes are copper. A busted water pipe can lead to major water damage and costly repair bills. To prevent this, consider insulating your pipes.

    Insulating sleeves are helpful for preventing frozen pipes. They also minimize condensation, which is crucial to mitigating decay. However, before you opt to insulate your plumbing, it’s important to determine the material of your pipes. If you have copper pipes, insulation will be of the utmost value. Plastic pipes are well-known for their reliable insulation value, meaning you probably don’t need to insulate them.

    Clean the Faucet Aerators

    Once a month, go around the house and take the mesh tip off of each faucet. This mesh tip is known as an aerator. You need to clean it regularly to prevent a blockage of water.

    Clean the Filter

    If you have a water softener system or an ice maker, it’s important to clean their filters. Not only does this make the water healthier, but it greatly protects your home’s pipes. You can find instructions in the manufacturer’s manual explaining the best way to clean the filters.

    Be Careful With Garbage Disposals

    Garbage disposals are super helpful in getting rid of waste. However, they can quickly clog your kitchen’s pipes. If your home’s plumbing connects to a septic tank, it’s best to use the garbage disposal as little as possible. This minimizes the possibility of the septic tank backing up.

    Drain the Water Heater

    Over time, sediment will build up inside the water heater tank. Even a small amount of sediment can hinder the functionality of this appliance.

    To keep this from happening, drain the water heater on a regular basis. Because it can be unsafe to drain the water heater on your own, it’s best to leave this in the hands of a professional plumber. You can easily ask your plumber to drain the water heater during a maintenance session.

    Prepare the Plumbing for Vacations

    If you’re going on vacation, you’ll need to take certain steps to protect your home’s plumbing while you’re away. You can start with shutting off the home’s main water supply. This ensures that you won’t come home to a major water leak or flooding. You’ll also want to shut off the hot water heater. If you don’t, this appliance can overheat if it doesn’t have the proper water supply.

    Lastly, check the flapper valves on all toilets to make sure they’re functioning properly. If one of them isn’t, you run the risk of the toilet running the entire time you’re on vacation, which is counteractive if you’re trying to reduce your water usage.

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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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