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    Need a little rest and relaxation but can’t quite find the time? We chat with the co-founder of a locally-based mini retreat experience that’s helping you to sit back and enjoy some much-needed self care.


    Meraki hosts monthly mini-retreats to help give women a dose of self-love.

    As women, it’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day, making sure that the kids are cared for, everything at work has been handled, and ensuring that all the other tasks on a daily to-do list are completed. So every once in a while, it’s nice to relax, recharge, and reconnect, which is exactly what Meraki, a Cincinnati-based company, is focused on doing.

    “Meraki is the Greek verb that means to do something with soul, creativity, and love,” explains Co-Founder Katie Ryan. “Our events explore various themes and topics. We provide thought-provoking activities, simple but beautiful craft projects, and practical ways to incorporate mindfulness into your daily life.”

    The team behind Meraki does this by hosting monthly mini-retreats as well as private parties for various groups and clubs, promoting the connection of women through support, encouragement, resources, and fun.

    Ryan founded Meraki with her two friends and co-workers, all of whom also happen to be moms and found that there wasn’t enough time in the day to do what they needed to do while also doing things that were both fun and healthy for them.

    “So many women struggle with finding time and resources to take care of their physical, emotional, and social needs,” says Ryan. “Meraki allows women to carve out a time and space to focus on the truly important things in life.”

    Ryan says that she, along with co-founded Allison Helsel and Kim Kurzhals, firmly believe that the way to impact women on a positive level is to bring more soul, creativity, and love into the lives of women.

    The three realized that all of their individual talents, when put together, were what would help Meraki to thrive and succeed. Heisel has been an art teacher for over 20 years and believes that all women can connect their own needs as well as their bigger life purpose by allowing themselves a space and time to create, so she combines this with her passion for art when it comes to helping the women who turn to Meraki.

    Kurzhals is an event planner and administrative assistant. She enjoys working with people who share her high energy and positive approach to life. She’s also the chef and baker of Meraki and it’s her tasty creations that remind the women at Meraki to stop and savor the moment. “Kim can make any space beautiful and loves creating an event for women where they feel relaxed and treated to something truly special,” says Ryan.

    Ryan says she’s a life coach, school counselor, author, and motivational speaker as well as a foster mother and adoption advocate. “I truly believe in the power of positivity and vision,” she says. “Through sharing my story, I believe that I can help people live their best life.”

    At each of the mini-retreats, guests will find there is a specific theme, including topics like “Finding Peace Among the Chaos,” “Gratitude,” “Vision,” and “Finding Your Purpose.”

    Ryan says that the first part of these events is a happy hour format, allowing guests to enjoy signature Meraki food and refreshments created by Kurzhals.

    “Women are welcomed and encouraged to bring their favorite beverage so they may enjoy a nice cocktail and relax,” says Ryan. “The event then shifts to a speech on the monthly theme along with meaningful and through provoking activities.”

    Ryan says that the environment is open and welcoming, with women who attend the events together as well as those who go on their own.

    Following the opening “happy hour” session, the group completes a craft project such as pallet signs, light boards, ornaments, and wreaths.

    After the craft, the Meraki team then teaches guests practical tips of relaxation and mindfulness so that they can practice Meraki as a principle in their lives moving forward, Ryan says.

    These events are unique in that they combine several different aspects of health and wellness into a single experience. “We believe in the power of women coming together to take time for themselves as well as support one another,” says Ryan. “We address important topics in the lives of women in a way that is fun and relaxing. There is nothing to sell or buy at a Meraki event. Our focus is to help you live your best life, there is no catch or hidden agenda. Meraki is an affordable resource to promote health and wellness in your life.”

    The next Meraki event will be held January 25 from 6:30-9:30 pm at the Aston Woods Clubhouse in Cleves. “Our upcoming Vision event is going to allow women the opportunity to think about what they truly want in life,” says Ryan. “We will guide women through the process of evaluating their wants, needs, and goals for the upcoming year. We will then give women the resources they will need to support and grow that vision in the days to come.”

    The craft for this event is a pallet light board that is easy to make and something you’ll love hanging up in your home. There’s also a menu of appetizers and desserts.

    Ryan says that all are welcome to attend the event and can register by visiting

    Ryan says that there’s a lot on the horizon for Meraki in 2018, including private parties.

    “Women are booking us for so many different events from birthday parties to professional development, to Bible studies to groups of friends coming together to celebrate each other,” says Ryan. She says they’re also looking forward to expanding their events to other areas of the city.

    She says they’ll also be coming out with informational products that will help to promote the Meraki mission of living your best life.

    To learn more about Meraki, visit There you can take a deeper look at the Meraki experience and learn more about the team. There’s also a blog on the website where you can check out the various topics that are explored at Meraki events each month. You can also “like” Meraki on Facebook, follow along on Instagram, or contact the Meraki team directly at