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A New Kind of Entrepreneur

Artsy Women Breaking the Business Mold


cancer survivors


wedding season style





v e is N H o e F re e ! ar p , a S g u e m 1 m 1 e





Omaha Magazine • 5921 S. 118th Circle • Omaha, NE 68137



Her Living  •  June/July  2012


Her Editor’s Letter Sandy Lemke • Editor

Dear readers,


e are thrilled to bring you another issue featuring fabulous local women. From our health coverage to our art stories to our features,

HerLiving is proud to be part of a family-owned business featuring local people, organizations, and companies. On our cover is Ashley Erks, one of three women we are featuring in our cover story, “A New Kind of Entrepreneur,” by Bailey Hemphill on page 14. Erks, a graduate of Los Angeles’ Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, channels her creative energy in many ways, especially through her Ashes & Cole jewelry line. It’s that time of year again for Yoga Rocks the Park in Midtown Crossing. Sundays through July 22, you can enjoy live yoga plus live music outdoors. It’s a great community event led by star instructors. Bring a mat or beach towel, sunscreen, even the kids. Registration begins at 3:30 p.m. with the hour-long class and music starting at 4:00. You can pre-register at www.guestlistapp.com/events/103368 with a suggested donation of $10. YRP benefits local non-profits & national non-profit Yoga World Reach, giving back 50 percent of net profits! Last but absolutely not least, I would like to take an opportunity to thank Suzanne Smith Arney, dedicated and talented freelance writer since HerLiving‘s inception in 2004. Although Arney will continue to write for Omaha Publications, she is “passing the torch” for other writers in HerLiving. Said Arney, “The Omaha area has a strong art community, and it includes

women working in every medium and at every level, from emerging to international. I have been fortunate to have gotten to know many of them, and count some as cherished friends.”


Arney graciously added, “My thanks to HerLiving Magazine for offering women artists the spotlight for eight years. I will continue to freelance for Omaha Publications—a feature on Susan Knight is in the current Omaha Magazine.” See these articles and more at www.readonlinenow.com.

Thanks for reading!

Sandy Lemke Editor, HerLiving Magazine


26 Her Living  •  June/July  2012 


volume 11 . issue 3 this issue June/July 2012 June/July 2012 • Volume 11 . Issue 3 Publisher Todd Lemke Omaha publications Editor Linda Persigehl HER LIVING editor Sandy Lemke Assistant Editor Bailey Hemphill Art director John Gawley Graphic Designer Katie Anderson intern graphic designer Scott McIntyre Principal Photography minorwhite studios, inc Scott Drickey, Bill Sitzmann Contributors Suzanne Smith Arney Susan Meyers • Brent Dierking Stephanie Vondrak, D.D.S. Darcie Dingman • Lüc Carl Vice president Greg Bruns Account Executives Gwen Lemke • Gil Cohen • Vicki Voet Stacey Penrod • Paige Edwards sales associate Alicia Smith-Hollins Technical advisor Tyler Lemke Warehouse Distribution Manager Mike Brewer


Features Fashion: Wedding Season Style . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Cover Feature: A New Kind of Entrepreneur . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Her Business Profiles: Silk Smiles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Green Spot . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Her Living magazine is published bi-monthly by Omaha Magazine, LTD, P.O. Box 461208, Omaha, NE 68046. No whole or part of the contents herein may be reproduced without prior written permission of Omaha Magazine, LTD, excepting individually copyrighted articles and photographs. Unsolicited manuscripts are accepted, however no responsibility will be assumed for such solicitations.


Her Living  •  June/July  2012

29 30

Columns Auto Tips . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Fitness . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Husband Material . . . . . . . . 23 Dental Health . . . . . . . . . . . 24

Comments? Story ideas? Send yourletter to the editor: letters@omahapublications.com

Owned and managed by Omaha Magazine, LTD

12 14

DEPARTMENTS Editor’s Letter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Stylish Stylist: Dora Good . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Leisure: Hosting a Bridal Shower . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Art: Marcia Joffe-Bouska . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Lifestyle: Food - Prosciutto and Goat Cheese Pizza with Sangria . . . . 10 Beauty: Operation Hair Repair . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Beauty Extra: Lashing Out . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Health: Surviving Cancer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 Home Extra: Pretty Patio Gardening . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 Home: Apartment Decorating . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27

For a one-year subscription (six issues), send $9.95 to P.O. Box 461208, Papillion, NE 68046-1208. www.heromaha.com

Her Living magazine is a community magazine. A special community of women. Please enjoy and share your issue of Her Living. Our advertisers make Her Living possible. We ask that you support them as often as you can. Do you know a woman who is a role model in our community? A mentor, activist, leader, artist, business owner, model, adventurer, survivor, teacher, or volunteer? Share her story with us, and we may publish it in Her Living. Her Living is your magazine; for the women of the metropolitan of Omaha.


21 27 Find this issue, and past issues online at Find us on www.Womego.com; an integrated online community that gives women access to a great wealth of content from the journalists, bloggers and community leaders you already know and trust.

we the women

Her Stylish Stylist Story by Sandy Lemke • Photos by minorwhitestudios.com

Dora Good T’eez Salon


his issue we are pleased to feature hairstylist Dora Good, 32, from T’eez Salon. She brings her extensive knowledge of color and style from New York to her hometown of Omaha. A fashion stylist friend describes Good’s personal style as “effortlessly chic with a touch of boho”. While in New York, Good worked with the world-renowned “King of Color,” Louis Licari. She regularly performed makeovers for New York City television programs such as Ambush Makeover and The Today Show. She also met Anthony Dickey, founder of Hair Rules, who helped her to perfect her technique on multi-textural hair. Her work has also been featured in national magazines, in New York fashion shows, and on Broadway stars. Good has styled celebrities such as Jane Fonda, Sienna Miller, and Sigourney Weaver. When you meet her, ask her to “name drop” some more stars she’s styled! Good said she specializes in “creating an individual look for my clients combining vision, creativity, and technical precision that makes them look and feel beautiful from one cut to the next.” Good said this of her clientele at T’eez: “My clients range from those looking to emulate current trends to those who are interested in a classic, elegant look. Modern and easy is what most clients want, and a great cut can give you just that. You don’t have to be a slave to a flatiron or a closet of products to look your best—an amazing cut can give you a modern, trendy look that doesn’t take hours to do.”  Pro Tips and Tools Good’s favorite items include: • “T’eez Build Me – it’s lightweight and smells great, a must for building healthy looking voluminous hair.” • “Dry shampoo is a life saver, and hair saver. T’eez Dry Me does the trick.” • “L’Oreal Elnett, an amazing workable hair spray, it’s my go-to for photo shoots and hard to hold styles.” • “For a super sexy blowout, I absolutely love my twin turbo hair dryer. I’ve tried others over the years but always got back to this one. It’s one of my most powerful tools.”


Her Living  •  June/July  2012 


Her Auto Tips Story by Darcie Dingman, Dingman’s Collision Center


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rry a a e rs e 6aYnniv SH BA A Must-See Boutique

e go on road trips with the highest of hopes. Everyone is going to have a great time, there will be as few stops as possible along the way, absolutely no car problems, and it will be a breeze to get to the final destination. Time to get practical! • Change your oil and check all fluids before beginning the road trip. I recommend a week ahead just in case the mechanic finds an issue. • Avoid any and all traffic tickets, wear your seatbelt, obey the speed limit, use your turn signals, and do NOT forget your license, registration, or insurance card. • Pack the essentials for the car—especially sunglasses! When the sun is glaring in your eyes, you will be happy you have them. Also pack sunscreen and an actual map. Technology is wonderful until it doesn’t work. Make sure to take some garbage bags for the trash that can accumulate throughout the trip. • Plan for unexpected stops. It is so easy to plan it all out, but it just doesn’t usually end up quite the way we plan. Be flexible. • Every time you stop, use the restroom. This will help cut down on some of the unexpected stops. • Fill up before your gas tank is empty! We all like to push it to the limits; but on a road trip, you can never be quite sure how long it will take to get to the next gas station. Standing on the side of the road is not a good look for anyone! • Try to avoid rush hour traffic in cities that you are traveling through. This may not be possible; however, it is something to think about.



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Road Trip! Fun...Right?



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Most importantly have fun and travel with people you enjoy! Drive safely on all of your road trips, and keep these tips in the back of your mind.

If you have any questions about your vehicle or need advice, please visit our website at www.dingmans.com


Her Living  •  June/July  2012

84th and 1st St, Downtown Papillion 402-331-9136 www.OmahaPublications.com

Leisure Girls’ Getaways Story by Sandy Lemke • Photos by minorwhitestudios.com

Hosting A Bridal Shower


is the season for bridal showers! Are you the lucky host? This issue’s Girls’ Getaways features ideas for your celebration. Dated etiquette stated that close family members should not host bridal showers. But now, even The Emily Post Institute—which offers news and advice on etiquette based on the writings of author Emily Post—says that siblings can host showers. However, if you aren’t related to the bride, make sure you work with her to include family members on the guest list, especially the mothers of the bride and groom. Watch so that the guest list isn’t too big, or it will be seen as a “gift grab”—not an intimate gathering of special friends.Consider space limitations of your venue, especially if you are holding the shower in a private home. Everyone should have a place to sit in view of the bride opening gifts. Another important item to consider is party food. A simple menu is best, with attractive, easy-to-eat bites to balance on your lap. Bridal showers often include games. Some brides love them; some veteran shower-goers have had enough of them. A good balance is one short game that breaks the ice for everyone. A short, five or 10-question trivia quiz with obscure questions about the bride and groom can be fun. Be sure to have several small gifts on hand for multiple winners.

Whoever is hosting and wherever you have it, keep it light and fun for everyone! Renaissance Mansion This Midtown, Gold Coast gem at 38th & Harney is a charming venue to host your event. You have your choice of rooms inside this Jacobethan Revival mansion to host a champagne brunch or lunch, plated or buffet. A courtyard is available as well. All tables, chairs, linens, and china are included. The Mansion has plenty of off-street parking. Contact at the Renaissance Mansion is Joe Krug, Events Coordinator at 402-346-2990. Corkscrew Wine & Cheese This wine bar tucked in the northwest corner of Rockbrook Village, 108th & Center, features both indoor and outdoor seating areas. Reservations for these areas can be made, and “the sooner the better,” said Janell Wortmann of Corkscrew Wine & Cheese. Guests can choose from 20 wines by the glass, or the host can pre-select from over 600 bottles on the shelf. As the name suggests, they can have cheese plates ready for your group. According to Wortmann, Corkscrew now offers cheese, meat, and smoked salmon platters. For heavier or more varied appetizers, the venue works with nearby Taste Restaurant for catering.


Private Home Bridal showers can be hosted in private homes as well. It’s convenient if you have the space. Just make certain, as mentioned above, that plenty of seating is provided for all attending. Also make certain the bride is seated in a central location where all attendees can see her opening the gifts. It’s not necessary for the bride to pass around the gifts if this is done. After all is said and done and the gifts are all opened, it’s a nice touch for the bride to stand up and thank everyone for coming. Enjoy wedding season!

Her Living  •  June/July  2012 


Art Marcia Joffe-Bouska Story by Suzanne Smith Arney • Photos by minorwhitestudios.com & Marcia Joffe-Bouska


Marcia Joffe-Bouska’s

Journey to Self Worth

arcia Joffe-Bouska’s Mantra series consists of seven mixed-media nest forms, from 4½” to 16” diameter, 3½” to 8½” tall. Their diverse styles range from a defensive metal grid to a paper-petaled lotus to a swirl of glittering gold and silver; at the center of each is an egg. Created for Voice, an April exhibition organized by Les Femmes Folles, the works “examine one journey to self worth,” writes Joffe-Bouska on her website. Although each is unique, it is a journey taken by nearly all American women, fraught with the disconsonance between personal characteristics and societal ideals. Each mantra contributes to the series’ final resolution, “I Am Worthy,” and symbolizes a victory of self respect. Likewise, the overall series attests to the artist’s mastery of various techniques and materials and celebrates their confident interplay.


Her Living  •  June/July  2012

The first mantra “I Am Strong” (shown above from side view and top-down view) and the last mantra “I Am Worthy” (shown below from top-down view and side view).


“I Am Strong.” The first mantra. “Strength is always the beginning,” says Joffe-Bouska. A delicate, speckled quail egg, about the size of a quarter, lies in a raised basket of woven brass wire, all of which is harbored by a steel armature. Aside from their meaning and aesthetic value, her sculptures can be appreciated for the skill of their craftsmanship. Here, the fortress presents the challenge of working with stainless steel, aluminum, brass, and wood. “Steel is wicked,” she says. “I broke two bits drilling those screws!” The result is clearly constructed, made. In the beginning of her career, Joffe-Bouska made airbrush paintings, leaving her hungry for touch. “I consider everything I do now to be sculptural,” she says of her richly mixedmedia work. “The word ‘mantra’ references the practice in meditation of repeating a phrase to focus the mind but also facilitate a transformation,” she says. “If repeated often enough, one will eventually believe they are true…or they will become true.” The meaning of “I Am Nurturing” is embodied by a gourd grown in her garden, dried and waxed. “Digging in the garden, I uncover things— bones, pottery shards, glass, seed pods, twigs, etc. I collect things I find and use them in my work.” As for aesthetics, “I Am Beautiful” seems to delight in its voluptuous petals of papier mâché. But the lotus leads us to the Buddhist teaching of beauty as means of transcendence, a concept JoffeBouska agrees with. “The title isn’t about physical beauty,” she said. “I Am Worthy.” The last mantra, whose twin paths of gold and silver mosaic circle toward the center’s treasure, a crystal-covered egg. Both artist and viewer have to work at being receptive to art, to hearing its voice of history and experience, and listening to one’s own response. Focusing in this way, we will be rewarded with transformation.

You can view the complete Mantra series, and learn more about Marcia Joffe-Bouska and her work at www.marciajoffe-bouska. com. She is affiliated with the Artists’ Cooperative Gallery (www.artistsco-opgallery.com) and Nebraska Women’s Caucus for Art (http://nebraskawomenscaucusforart. blogspot.com). www.ReadOnlineNow.com

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Her Living  •  June/July  2012 


Lifestyle Food Story by Bailey Hemphill • Photo by John Gawley

Instructions: 1. Layer 1 slice ready-made pizza crust with ½ cup diced tomato and ½ cup chopped arugula 2. Top with ½ ounce thinly sliced prosciutto 3. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon crumbled goat cheese and a pinch of freshly ground black pepper 4. Drizzle with 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil 5. Bake in a 375°F oven for 5 to 7 minutes, or until cheese melts Here’s a tip: If you’re trying to eat a more balanced diet, try adding some green veggies on your pizza. It might up the calories a little more, but you’ll get a rich source of minerals, vitamins, and fiber.

Prosciutto and Goat Cheese Pizza with Sangria


t’s hard to continue eating well and maintaining a healthy lifestyle through the summer when you’re surrounded by your favorite greasy foods and high-calorie beverages—like pizza and alcohol. With this recipe, we’ll show you how to have a delicious pizza and sangria that won’t explode your calorie count.

Prosciutto and Goat Cheese Pizza Having a healthy pizza seems impossible, unless you’re eating just sauce and vegetables on your crust. But where’s the fun in that? Most meat and cheese toppings are the problem. Too much sodium, bad cholesterol, and lots of calories all come in our favorites like pepperoni, hamburger, salami, and bacon. By switching out heavier meats for something like prosciutto—which is an aged, dry-cured, Italian ham—you’ll have a much leaner option with a satisfying taste. Same goes for cheeses. Swap out mozzarella, provolone, or parmesan for goat cheese, which is lower in sugar and calories. Ingredients: • whole grain ready-made pizza crust • diced tomato • arugula • prosciutto (thin slices)


Her Living  •  June/July  2012

• • •

crumbled goat cheese black pepper extra-virgin olive oil

Sangria Sangria is a great drink for summer. It’s refreshing, and you can still get your alcohol fix. Plus, unlike heavier cocktails, like margaritas, this Sangria recipe is only 109 calories per serving (217g). It’s perfect with a heavier food dish (like pizza) because it won’t add to the food bloat. Ingredients: • 1 cup pomegranate juice, chilled • 1 (750mL) bottle red wine, chilled (like Rioja or Beaujolais) • 1 cup orange juice • ½ cup red seedless grapes, frozen • 1 orange, thinly sliced • 1 lime, thinly sliced • 1 cup club soda, chilled (or seltzer water) Instructions: 1. Combine the first six ingredients in a large pitcher 2. Let chill in refrigerator for 1 hour 3. Stir in seltzer/club soda 4. Pour into ice-filled glasses

Recipe Sources: Women’s Health and www.food.com www.OmahaPublications.com

Her Fitness Story by Brent Dierking, Kosama

Have No Fear, Summer is Here!

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ummertime brings both nervousness and excitement out in most of us. We get excited about the fresh air, sunshine, and weekends with the family. At the same time, we are nervous about the reality of wearing tank tops, shorts, and bathing suits. If your New Year’s resolutions have taken a turn for the worse, it’s time to refocus. Your body can make major changes in a matter of weeks. First, cleanse your body of the toxins you have built up over the winter months. Without cleansing your body and allowing it to work efficiently, you will never know your true potential. Secondly, start eating fresh, farm-grown vegetables and fruits. Anything that is processed and has additives is not healthy for you. If you have been making excuses and not making it to the gym, take advantage of the nice weather and get outside and do something! The sun is shining, and the temperature is rising. If not now, then when? You don’t need fancy equipment to get “beach body” ready for summer. Functional training is your answer. It all starts with the movement from your plate to your mouth, getting your legs moving, not sitting, and getting your mind in the right state. Are you starting to feel a little better about basking in the sun? On your marks, ready, set, GO! Don’t look back, if you start second guessing yourself and lose your confidence, that’s when you get off track. Look in the mirror and realize you have a ton of potential and WILL see results. Change your mental state, and you will be able to achieve anything! Have an amazing summer—see you by the pool! In Good Health, Brent Dierking General Manager/Co-Owner, Kosama


Her Living  •  June/July  2012 


Fashion Wedding Season


edding Season Style

edding Season fashion has been relaxed over the years; but as a guest, it’s respectful to wear something appropriate. Don’t forget—style is important, but comfort and fit are as well!

For an outdoor wedding, wear something light and comfortable. Even if the wedding is more casual, still make an effort to find a cute dress—and don’t wear heels that will sink into the ground. Model Jess wears pink crochet dress

The age-old rule is to never wear white to

with mother-of-pearl necklace and bangles

a wedding, as it might upstage and upset the

provided by Bliss Boutique.

bride. If you wear a dress with white, make sure it is either patterned or has an overlaying/ underlying fabric with a darker hue. Model Jamie wears white knit over taupe dress with bronze earrings and arm wrap provided by Bliss Boutique.


Her Living  •  June/July  2012


Story by Sandy Lemke • Photos by minorwhitestudios.com Hair & Makeup by Mary Beth Pinckney • Models: Jess Ewald, Jamie Quinn, Mary Beth Pinckney

For a church wedding, find a nice, semi-formal dress. If your dress is sleeveless, you may want to cover your

Wearing black to a wedding used to be a faux pas, but it’s more common today. If you have a favorite “little black dress,” go ahead and wear it to an evening wedding, but not a daytime wedding. Model Mary Beth wears black fringe dress provided by Bliss Boutique.

Don’t be afraid to play up accessories,

shoulders with a wrap or cardigan to be respectful of the

especially if your dress is neutral. A

venue and the other guests.

chunky necklace, bold belt, or

Model Jamie wears

arm bangles will definitely

polka dot dress with

bring more personality to

white belt, black

your ensemble.


Model Jess wears cham-


red black

pagne dress with belt, gold

and white beaded

necklace, and gladiator

neck lace,

bracelet provided by Kajoma’s

si lver

Fashion Boutique.

let provided by

a nd brac e -

Kajoma’s Fashion Boutique.

Dresses and accessories courtesy of Kajoma’s Fashion Boutique (104 E. 1st St.) in Papillion, and Bliss Boutique (12100 W. Center Rd. #607) in Bel-Air Plaza.


Her Living  •  June/July  2012 


Cover Feature A New Kind of Entrepreneur Story by Bailey Hemphill • Photo by minorwhitestudios.com

A New Kind of Entrepreneur Artsy Women Breaking The Business Mold

U Nothing is planned in the process, and that is what I like best about it. — Ashley Erks —


Her Living  •  June/July  2012

sually, when we hear about an entrepreneur, we think of some smooth-talking, charismatic businessman about to create the next multi-million dollar company. But, as the times have changed, the word “entrepreneur” has become much broader, allowing the inclusion of a unique, more localized approach to business. It may have something to do with the new generation of creatives entering the business world, or the fact that it’s much easier to start a business from home through Etsy and other online markets popping up over the internet. Omahans Ashley Erks, Karrie Mailander, Christy Hunter, and Kaleigh Wiese are just a few of the up-and-coming entrepreneurs that possess the artistic talent and drive to make their recently launched businesses a success. www.OmahaPublications.com

Ashley Erks

ASHLEY ERKS, Ashes & Cole Jewelry Ashley Erks, 23, received a degree in fashion design from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM) in Los Angeles. The Millard West High School graduate was always drawn to fashion and even made her own clothing on a regular basis. Although she doesn’t makes clothes as often as she used to, Erks says she does dabble in similar crafts every now and then. But her main focus of the moment, is her own jewelry line—an idea she got from a friend at FIDM. “In school, our homework was constant sewing around the clock,” she says. “We would have crafting days to take breaks from it and just experiment with different mediums to reawaken our creativity.” During one of their crafting days, her friend brought over some wire, and Erks became obsessed with working the wire into unique designs. Upon graduating, Erks moved back to Omaha and decided to concentrate on the things she wanted to do. “That’s when everything really fell into place for me,” she says. Erks started her jewelry line, Ashes & Cole, which she explains is a play-on-words and reflects the jewelry’s earthy tones. Her tools and techniques are fairly simple—she just uses her hands, the wire, and a pair of pliers—but her creative eye is what makes the jewelry unique. Each piece of jewelry can take Erks anywhere from two to four hours. “I start with the base structure of the piece and add coils, spirals, stones, beads, and metal findings until I’m visually satisfied...Nothing is planned in the process, and that’s what I like best about it.” Erks prefers a mix of wrapping techniques between the simple and highly technical and doesn’t lend her jewelry exclusively to stones; in fact, she likes using metal findings, wood pieces, and buttons for different textures. Erks started selling Ashes & Cole after being introduced to Kelsey Riewer, owner of Paperdoll boutique in Benson, and Adam Hogan, owner of Curbside Clothing in the Old Market, through her good friend, Ryan Callinan, also of Curbside. “He told them about [my jewelry]…They both have been incredibly supportive of Ashes & Cole >> www.ReadOnlineNow.com

Her Living  •  June/July  2012 


Cover Feature A New Kind of Entrepreneur << and have given me the confidence to continue with what I’m doing.” As she looks to expand, Erks knows there’s always something for her to craft. She hopes to design on a much larger scale someday, perhaps in refurbishing and redesigning used things from clothing to furniture. Still, her main goal is to one day be 100 percent selfsustained. “I think that’s a dream of many people like me. Being persistent with my work ethic and constantly evolving in as many mediums as possible is my hope for the future.” To check out Erks’ jewelry, find “Ashes & Cole” on Etsy or head to Paperdoll (6107 Maple St.) or Curbside Clothing (505 S. 11th St.). KARRIE MAILANDER AND CHRISTY HUNTER, All Occasion Gifts, Etc. What exactly is a “diaper cake”? For Karrie Mailander, 33, and Christy Hunter, 30, of All Occasion Gifts, Etc., it’s their token gift. Mailander, a Council Bluffs native, and Hunter, an Elkhorn native, came up with diaper cakes after Hunter got the idea to make a gift out of diapers for someone she knew. Mailander suggested they add other items besides diapers—bottles, onesies, shoes, etc.—so that the cake would be a functional gift. “We wanted to make something that we, personally, would be excited receiving, and that is how we approach every cake or other item we created,” says Mailander, who has been married for 11 years and has two kids. Mailander and Hunter kept trying designs with the cakes and shared the pictures on Facebook—that’s when they started getting requests. “One of the first requests we had was to make two diaper cakes for someone I worked with that was having twin boys,” says Mailander. “Everyone who saw the diaper cakes thought they were awesome, and we’ve been getting requests since then.” Mailander adds that her dining room went from having a few items in it to being covered in supplies. As they built up an inventory of cakes and decided to expand into bridal showers, birthdays, housewarming, and more, Mailander and Hunter started a Facebook page for All Occasion Gifts, Etc., so that they could share updated designs and attract more attention, as well as accept orders from possible customers.


Her Living  •  June/July  2012

(L-R) Christy Hunter and Karrie Mailander

We wanted to make something that we, personally, would be excited receiving, and that is how we approach every cake or other item we created. — Karrie Mailander — Mailander and Hunter make their cakes by just bouncing ideas around and then building to see if it works, taking them apart a few times before they’re satisfied with the finished product. For the made-to-order items, they take special requests and ask for customer preferences. They then send a photo to the customer to make sure it’s exactly what they want. If the customer wants changes, they will work with them to get the desired outcome. “We always want the customer to feel like they are getting a great value, and we’re very upfront www.OmahaPublications.com

Kaleigh Wiese

I felt it was time to walk away from my personal name and build a business structure that would accommodate me contracting other designers to grow and execute the best design for my clients. — Kaleigh Wiese — www.ReadOnlineNow.com

on the costs,” says Mailander. In addition to diaper cakes, All Occasion Gifts, Etc. can make diaper tricycles and motorcycles, towel cakes, themed birthday buckets/baskets, Over-the-Hill diaper cakes, gag gifts, housewarming gift buckets/ baskets, and holiday gifts. “We are open to suggestions if a customer wants us to try something different,” says Mailander. Though business is currently run out of Mailander’s home, Mailander and Hunter would like to open a shop someday. For now, they display at local craft fairs and are planning to build a custom website to help promote their business. Check out more of Mailander and Hunter’s gifts on All Occasion Gifts, Etc.’s Facebook page. For more information, e-mail alloccasionsgiftsetc@yahoo.com or call 402-884-0937. KALEIGH WIESE, Méldeen “Looking back, my life’s path has led me to exactly where I’m supposed to be,” says Kaleigh Wiese, 24, who was born an entrepreneur. From a young age, she was creating, drawing, and aspiring to own and operate her own business—she even used to recruit neighborhood kids to pretend they were running a business. No doubt all of her ambitions as a child paid off, as Wiese now owns and operates her own custom paper goods and branding business. The Texas-born Wiese moved to Omaha in 1997 and was home-schooled through high school, graduating early to attend Metropolitan Community College at 16, where she retained an associate’s degree for applied science in graphic communication. After finishing college and working as a freelancer, Wiese launched The Modern Creative. “I knew very early in my freelance business that I would have my own branding business and creative studio. I felt it was time to walk away from my personal name and build a business structure that would accommodate me contracting other designers to grow and execute the best design for my clients.” In 2008, after working on wedding invitations and receiving many referrals, Wiese started Méldeen, a paper goods and wedding marketing business. “We serve over 100+ couples in the Omaha market per year for their wedding branding and design,” >> Her Living  •  June/July  2012 


Cover Feature << she says. Save-theDates, shower and bachelorette party invites, ceremony programs, seating charts, table cards, menus, wedding party gifts, thank you’s, stationary, and newlywed décor are among the many items Méldeen can customize. Méldeen provides a free consultation for customers so that they can discuss options thoroughly. When the materials are created, they e-mail a PDF design proof to make sure everything looks okay before sending things to the printer. Since Méldeen focuses on customization and one-of-a-kind products, they have a team of people and vendors that create the items. “We have local vendors grinding up paper scrap and making new paper, we have

a printing company in Chicago that does the most gorgeous metallic paper, and we have our favorite flea markets and thrift stores where we grab fabric and details to bring ideas to life,” she says. Shortly after Méldeen’s launch, Wiese

expanded Méldeen to Austin, Texas, where she travels every other month to accommodate her growing clientele base. Méldeen is currently run out of Wiese’s home studio and a pop-up shop in Austin, but Wiese intends to open a full-service retail store in both locations. “I intend for us to always accommodate the uniqueness of one of a kind wedding invitations, but I want Méldeen to also have a fresh line of textiles, home décor items, and possibly some fashion accessories seasonally for purchase or customization.”

For more information on Méldeen, visit www.meldeen.com or call 402-612-0507.

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Her Living  •  June/July  2012


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Beauty Sheet

Beauty Extra

Story by Sandy Lemke • Photo by minorwhitestudios.com

Operation Hair Repair

Story by Sandy Lemke

Lashing Out



ummer sun, styling, and the chlorine in swimming pools are hard on our hair. In addition, we color, blow dry, and straighten. All of this makes for lackluster locks. Some simple tips will get you through the summer with some shine left in your style. • After washing, comb out and let hair air dry until almost dry. Then blow out to style. • Following your workout and shower at the gym, drench hair in deep conditioner and wrap hair in a towel. Then sit in the sauna for ten minutes or so to let the conditioner soak in the hair. Editor’s pick: K-Pak by Joico. • Use a styling cream prior to heat styling to protect the hair. • Lightly spray on shine spray to finish. Editor’s pick: Rusk Shining Sheen and Movement Myst. • Schedule regular trims to combat split ends.

Pro Tips Mikala Vandenbroucke of Mod Studio Salon recommends a salon service. “One of the best ways I have found to combat this stressful time for our hair is the new Deepshine Smooth Keratin Smoothing System from Rusk. This new treatment is a formaldehyde-free smoothing service that will safely and effectively smooth the natural hair texture, reduce curl and eliminate frizz. This is also a reconstructive service that can rebuild hair that has been damaged from chemical services or thermal abuse.” In addition, Vandenbroucke has recommendations for quality products to use at home. “To manage hair damage from chlorinated water I recommend Malibu C’s Swimmer’s Wellness Shampoo which gently removes the harmful pool minerals and other elements that attach to the hair while swimming. For hair that has been chemically compromised, I would say that the Born Again family from Kevin Murphy, which will bring your hair back to life. The particles in this product are so tiny that they are able to instantly work themselves into the internal cortex of the hair fiber resulting in healthier, more youthful hair with incredible shine.”

For more information on repairing damaged hair, contact Mikala Vandenbroucke at www.StudioMikala.com. Mikala Vandenbroucke, RUSK, Mod Studio Salon www.ReadOnlineNow.com

ush lashes are just a wink away with salon and prescription treatments available nearby! A prescription product, Latisse, promises to actually grow and thicken your own lashes. Does it work? Yes! It is a solution brushed on the lash line nightly with lasting, visible results within weeks. LovelySkin’s Dr. Joel Schlessinger, Board Certified Dermatologist and Cosmetic Surgeon, said about the product: “Latisse has been a huge success starting a few years ago and becoming even more popular now. The benefits of Latisse are that it thickens and grows eyelashes, enhancing your natural beauty. We have seen very satisfied patients and continue to see the market for this increase.” Another option is a salon procedure. Jordan Knight of Gloss Salon describes the process to actually extend your own eyelashes with extensions: • First, the client gets a complimentary consultation. The day of the appointment the client comes in and I attach each individual silk lash to her own lashes. After I’m done applying the lashes, I coat them with a sealant and dry them. The entire process takes 1 1/2 to 2 hours. • The lashes last up to six months with touch-ups or “fills.” I recommend that they come in every 2-3 weeks for fills. After six months it’s recommended to let the lashes fall out with your own so that your real lashes can breathe for a month or two and then do the process again. • It is a very popular service. I’ve done 10 applications in the last three weeks. It’s very low maintenance to take care of them and they do not weigh down your real lashes. My clients can’t believe they even have them on and have been thrilled with how dark they are! Her Living  •  June/July  2012 



We do. That’s why we offer Quick Care so you can get the care you need without making an appointment. We’ve located Quick Care within local HyVee food stores so you have a convenient option for care when your physician isn’t available or you just can’t wait. You can receive treatment for minor illnesses as well as health screenings and immunizations. No appointment? No problem. Quick Care, just another way Alegent Health is making healthcare easier to access.

1-800-ALEGENT Alegent.com/QuickCare

Alegent Health is a faith-based health ministr y sponsored by Catholic Health Initiatives and Immanuel.

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Health Cancer Survivors Story by Susan Meyers • Photos by minorwhitestudios.com

Deena Merten with daughter Catalina


Surviving Cancer Stories of Hope and Survival

ore people today are surviving cancer than ever before. But the road to survival is often a challenging one, filled with both physical and emotional challenges. These cancer survivors share their stories of hope, perseverance and survival. Deena Merten Deena Merten’s battle against colon cancer has been compared to a triathlete’s race to the finish line. A 43-year-old single mother of a two-year-old, Merten underwent surgery followed by a six-month treatment regimen while juggling motherhood, a part-time job, and a full load of classes at Metropolitan Community College to complete a degree in criminal justice. Merten was diagnosed with colon cancer last June following a colonoscopy and biopsy. “I was stunned,” recalls Merten. “I thought to myself, ‘How could this be possible?’ I’m 43, in good health, and [have] always taken good care of myself.” Alan Parks, D.O, a general surgeon at Alegent Health, performed surgery the very next day to remove the cancer. Several months later, Merten began six months of intravenous chemotherapy two days a week at Nebraska Cancer Specialists. She also underwent genetic testing, which revealed that she had a genetic marker that puts her at higher risk for colon cancer. As the chemotherapy treatments continued into the last few months, Merten’s energy level www.ReadOnlineNow.com

began to decline. “As each month went by, it got tougher and tougher,” recalls Merten. Determined not to let cancer take control of her life, Merten battled through her job and school while attending treatments every other week, all while maintaining a 3.5 grade-point average and being named to the Dean’s List. “Quitting would have been a sign of defeat,” says Merten, who says her young daughter was also a source of strength. “Watching her so full of energy and life became one of main therapies,” she says. “I live through her.” Merten says it is important to surround yourself with positivity and people who are supportive of you. “I had such great >> Her Living  •  June/July  2012 


Health Cancer Survivors << support from family and friends,” she says. “And, at times, when I started feeling sorry for myself, I’d look around and see someone worse off than me.” She also commends her caregivers who helped make the journey a little easier: Nichole Peterson, RN, an oncology-certified nurse navigator at Alegent Health, Hematologist/Oncologist Geetha Palaniappan, M.D., and the nurses at Nebraska Cancer Specialists. Merten is now cancer-free and making her health a priority. “I eat a healthy diet and exercise five days a week—running, swimming, walking, weight lifting—anything to stay in shape and keep busy.” Victorious over cancer, beaming with motherhood, and just one more year of school to complete her degree, the finish line for Merten is well within reach. Kristi Mentink Kristi Mentink, a 36-year-old from Pisgah, Iowa, calls her stint with cervical cancer a hurdle in her life that has left a lasting mark on her and her family. “We all look at cancer differently now—and life,” she says. “We have a much more compassionate attitude toward others battling the disease.” Diagnosed with cervical cancer at the tender age of 32, Mentink said the news came as a complete surprise. “Never in my wildest dreams did I think that I would have cervical cancer.” While Mentink did not have cancer in her immediate family, she did have a grandmother who developed late onset breast cancer, a grandfather who died of lung cancer, and an aunt diagnosed with lymphoma. >>

Kristi Mentink

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Her Living  •  June/July  2012


Husband Material Story by Lüc Carl

Cancer. The first prognosis should be your most accurate and correct one.

Make sure it’s with a gynecologic cancer specialist who practices at a National Cancer Institute designated center. 402-559-4500 OlsonCenter.com

A surgeon who understands a woman’s concerns. Member American Society of Breast Surgeons Certified by the American Board of Surgery Comprehensive evaluation of breast complaints Personal, compassionate approach to patient care Same day appointments available Second opinions provided

Midlands Two Professional Center 401 E Gold Coast Rd, Ste 329 Papillion, NE 68046 phone (402) 934-9323 fax (402) 934-9471 www.yourbreasthealthcare.com www.ReadOnlineNow.com


The “I Love You” Return love you.”


When does it become time to start throwing around the “L word” in a relationship? We’ve all gotten to the point where we’re ready to say it, but we’re not quite sure how it will be received. As a man who still believes in chivalry and riding into the center of town on my white horse to pick up my fair maiden and take her off into the sunset, I strongly believe it’s a man’s duty to say it first. I am, however, also realistic. The thing to remember is that men can quite possibly view the “L word” as a make or break in a relationship. It all the sudden goes from having a good time to meeting the parents. Of course, if life was a romantic comedy, you’d both say it to each other at the same time; but in reality, where there are no cameras, the main thing to remember is do not smother him. Breaking down in tears in a parked car screaming “BUT I LOVE YOU!” will only make him open the door and kick you out. Lay it on gently with an underlying element of sex as a payoff with subtle hints of not being pathetic. “I love you, and if you play your cards right you’ll get lucky tonight. If not, I’ll find someone else before you even knew what hit you.” Congratulations, the big idiot is yours forever.

Lüc Carl is a writer in NYC, originally from Springfield, Neb. His website, DrunkDiet.com, has had over one million hits in one year. Look for his book The Drunk Diet. Follow @luccarl Her Living  •  June/July  2012 


Health Cancer Survivors

Her Dental Health Story by Stephanie Vondrak, D.D.S.

Dentistry... The “Sitcom” Way


ho remembers television when your choices included one of the three network channels (no cable), your quick legs functioned as your dad’s remote control, and cartoons were a special event on Saturday mornings? The days of Family Ties, The Cosby Show, and Who’s the Boss when you could learn a simple lesson about life in a 30-minute sitcom? As a dentist, I believe the most important service I provide happens outside the dental chair and is much like a 30-minute sitcom lesson. This lesson is HEALTH-CENTERED DENTAL CARE. Teaching patients the simple science of how dental disease (decay and gum disease) happens, and what they can do to prevent it! Sharing the philosophy that preventing disease is a better method of care than reacting to disease. Giving patients the skills to understand if their teeth, gums, muscles, and joints are healthy and how to keep them this way.   Much like the good old sitcoms, health-centered dental care can provide valuable life lessons. So take 30 minutes to learn and reflect, then ask yourself: “What do I know about my dental health today?”

For more information www.drvondrak.com


Her Living  •  June/July  2012





<<After her diagnosis was confirmed, Mentink consulted with Steven Remmenga, a gynecological oncologist at The Nebraska Medical Center, who specializes in cervical cancer. After she had all of the facts, she and her husband then sat down their 11- and 12-year-old sons and prepared them for the battle ahead. Her goal, she says, was to try to keep things as normal as possible at home. Family came from all directions to help Mentink and provide support—her mother and father, a sister, brothers, her mother-in-law, as well as close friends. Mentink put her job has a kindergarten teacher on hold while she prepared to endure one of the most difficult times in her life. At the time, Mentink lived in Woodbine, Iowa. She made the daily trek to Omaha Monday through Friday for five weeks for radiation therapy. This was followed by two weeks off and another two weeks of additional high-dose radiation treatments. “I had someone with me all five days of the week,” she says. “It was a draining time, but just having someone there for support really helped. I kept a positive attitude and took each day at a time. Dr. Remmenga said my cancer was curable, so that helped me keep my head up.” After treatment was completed and the cancer gone, Mentink‘s cervix refused to heal properly. Dr. Remmenga recommended hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBO) to expedite the healing process. The therapy delivers 100 percent oxygen in a pressurized environment, which increases the oxygen concentration in the blood and ultimately in the body tissues to promote healing. After 40 treatments, Mentink’s cervix had healed. Mentink has this advice for other women: keep getting your annual Pap smear test. It’s the best tool we have to diagnose cervical cancer, and it may help save your life. Amy Parr Amy Parr’s doctors call her a medical miracle. Five years ago, Parr was diagnosed with brain, lung, kidney, and colon cancer. “I was so sick all of the time,” she recalls. “I went to four different doctors and eventually ended up in the emergency room (ER) before I was diagnosed,” says Parr. The ER doctor ordered an MRI and CAT Scan and found two tumors in Parr’s brain, a tumor in her lymph node, on her kidney, and on the left lung. “It took me a long time to get my head around it,” she says. But Parr’s doctor, Medical Oncologist Margaret Block, M.D., was never negative and gave her hope. “She said that we’re going to do our best to treat it, but it’s probably going to be chronic for the rest of your life,” recalls Parr. www.OmahaPublications.com

What stuck with Parr was that she wasn’t going to die, and that’s all she needed to give her the strength to keep fighting. Surgery was performed to remove the tumor on her brain. Parr then began a weekly regimen of intravenous chemotherapy that stretched over the next four and a half years, as well as three weeks of radiation therapy. “One of the hardest parts was the fear of losing my hair,” notes Parr. It finally happened with just three days left of radiation treatments. “I worried and worried about it,” she says. “But once it was gone, it really wasn’t that bad. I just added hats, scarves, and wigs to my wardrobe.” Parr believes her positive attitude is why she is still alive today. “I always tried to live in positivity,” she says. “I would visualize myself in the future, happy and healthy again.” It’s been almost five years since her diagnosis, and Parr has been cancerfree for the past three and a half years. “I live in the moment now,” says Parr. “Things that were important before—material things, like clothes—just aren’t as important anymore.” Parr had to quit her job shortly after her diagnosis due to the length and frequency of her treatments. She is now is planning to write a book about her cancer experience to help others with their journey. “I feel like there is a reason why I lived so, now I want to make some sort of contribution to the world to help others,” says Parr.

Amy Parr

Dr. Margaret Block and the nationally recognized Nebraska Cancer Specialists are at the forefront of cancer diagnosis, treatment and research. *Nationally Recognized in Clinical Trials and Oncology Research by the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Margaret Block, M.D. M. Salman Haroon, M.D. Ralph J. Hauke, M.D. Timothy K. Huyck, M.D. Robert M. Langdon, Jr., M.D. Kirsten M. Leu, M.D. John M. Longo, M.D.


Patrick J. McKenna, M.D. Geetha Palaniappan, M.D. David A. Silverberg, M.D. Gamini S. Soori, M.D. Yungpo Bernard Su, M.D. Stefano R. Tarantolo, M.D. Peter M. Townley, M.D.

Alegent Health Cancer Center - Bergan (402) 393-3110 Methodist Estabrook Cancer Center (402) 354-8124 Midwest Cancer Center Papillion (402) 593-3141 Midwest Cancer Center Legacy (402) 334-4773 Fremont (FAMC) (402) 941-7030

nebraskacancer.com Her Living  •  June/July  2012 


Home Extra By Sandy Lemke • Photo by minorwhitestudios.com Autumn Pruitt Finds Her Swee t Spot at Bliss


New at the Zoo Zesto, A CWS Legend Returns


May/June 2012

All Downtown, All The Time




Omaha magazin e • 5921 S. 118th CirCle • Omaha, ne 68137


Pretty Patio Gardening


partment dwellers with decks have a wonderful opportunity to try their hand at container gardening. It is inexpensive, easy and fun! One trip to the nursery and you’ve spruced up your space. Pictured is a lovely example of a window box at one of the units at Broadmoor at Aksarben Village (64th and Center). As you can see, it gives color and depth to the apartment’s décor. When planting a window box, make certain the plants have sufficient drainage and that the box is level. Keep the plants well watered, as this type of planting dries out easily. When deciding on flowers, make a note of how many hours of sunlight your patio gets per day and choose accordingly. Flowers recommended for Nebraska summer weather include impatiens, petunias and begonias. Another option is to plant an herb garden. Thyme provides small leaves and mauve summer flowers, and can be used to flavor roasted meats and vegetables. Another popular fragrant herb is rosemary. It is shrubby with blue flowers and is a perfect pair with chicken and turkey. Mulhall’s at 120th & Maple is a resource for ideas, advice and supplies. Mulhall’s Jenny Beukenhorst recommends apartment dwellers seek out their Custom Potting Group. “We are happy to help,” she said. Customers can choose from the area’s largest selection of containers, then seek the benefit of expert advice as to what plantings would be best. If you prefer, you can have Mulhall’s make up your window box and/or pots for you. Then all you have to do is simply take them home and enjoy the view!


Her Living  •  June/July  2012


Home Apartment Decorating By Sandy Lemke • Photos by minorwhitestudios.com


Apartment Decorating

iving in a limited space presents a set of decorating challenges. You want to maximize the amount of living in the set amount of space you have. Not only do you want to do it efficiently, but also with flair. Pictured is a stylish space at Midtown Crossing. It is organized into neat living areas making maximum use of the storage space available. Simple yet bold accessories add color and interest. You can make the space seem larger with a few organizing and decorating tips. Diane Luxford, ASID of D-Lux Interiors, said, “The scale of the furniture is critical in the design of an apartment/condo. Keep things light and use glass tops on tables.” Vertical lines also draw the eye up (seen above in the bathroom, making a bold statement). A few key things to remember when arranging furniture and accessories:

Let There Be Light Light-colored walls help make the space seem larger. Of course, you want to check with your landlord first before you decorate your walls, as some apartments don’t llow you to paint or hang artwork. Another key tip is to make use of the natural light. Keep windows uncovered, or use sheer drapes. Use mirrors to reflect natural light and lamps for even more depth. Hang a large mirror or a grouping of several small ones.

Minimize Clutter When scanning a room, eyes are drawn to surfaces. Keep surfaces clean and free of unnecessary items. In the kitchen, keep as many things as you can in the cupboards. Contain small items the best you can. Luxford said, “Find a way to organize papers as soon as they come into your home. Mail and magazines need designated places to go. Storage furniture can help with this.” When shopping for furniture, choose pieces that double as storage. Add accessories such as wicker baskets.

Focal Pieces Choose a few focal decorative pieces with a shot of color. This could be accessories, or it could be wall art. Said Luxford, “Actually, one would think to keep accessories small, but fewer ones and larger scales ones help in making a dramatic statement in a small space. Avoid the temptation to “fill” a space with stuff.”


Her Living  •  June/July  2012 


In each issue of HerLiving, you’ll be able to find great locally owned, women-focused businesses around Omaha and share them within your social networks; and by reading the issue on readonlinenow.com, you’ll be able to click on the business link and be immediately directed to their website, Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.

Bliss Boutique 12100 W. Center Road #607 Omaha, NE 68144 402.991.3595

www.blissboutiqueomaha.com www.facebook.com/BlissBoutiqueOmaha

clothing jewelry accessories gifts

Bliss Boutique located near 120th and W. Center Road, is a women’s apparel, jewelry, accessory and gift boutique. From young and chic, to career woman sophistication, to stylish mom gear, to gym fashion, Bliss has it all, and at affordable prices!

The Green Spot 1110 S 71st Street Suite K (Shoppes of Aksarben 72nd & Pacific) 402-614-7768 Mon-Sat 10a-8p, Sun 11a-5p www.greenspotomaha.com www.facebook.com/greenspotomaha @greenspotomaha

Two area natives with passion for animals, consider themselves pet nutrition resources. Daily, owners Jennifer Haines and Jessica Ellis provide recommendations and council their customers on how the quality of their pet’s food can change the overall quality of life. Don’t forget, the store offers a lounge for you to hang out and socialize, also a self-service pet wash!

The Volleyball Academy 8930 S. 137th Cir. #2 Omaha, 68138 402.213.4644

Come learn the great game of volleyball! Programs for K-4, 5-8, and HS players. leagues, lessons, camps, clinics, & outdoor sand Experienced staff with over 25 yrs in volleyball.

www.thevolleyballacademy.com 402-213-4644 or dgraf@cox.net


Her Living  •  June/July  2012

www.thevolleyballacademy.com TVA opened June 2006 and has seen tremendous growth in all programs since we started teaching and training. We have programs for all ages; camps, clinics, lessons, leagues, li’l diggers, and more, with our main participants in grades K-12. We’re open year round for your volleyball training needs. Hope to see you at The Courts!


Her Business Profile

Silk Smiles


ancy Sayles was born and raised in Germany until she came to the U.S. in 2005. For three years, she and her husband lived in New York before deciding to move to Omaha, where most of her husband’s family lives. “Omaha has a much more relaxed atmosphere…I wanted my boys to grow up in a better environment with at least one side of the family [around],” she says. This year, Sayles started her own business venture, Nancy’s Artificial Flower Arrangements (doing business as Silk Smiles), where she creates customized, artificial floral arrangements. “Over the years, my husband and boys have sent me countless bouquets of flowers; but, as everyone knows, they don’t last forever. I started to wonder how I could enjoy that feeling a bit longer. The answer was artificial flower arrangements.” Silk Smiles’ artificial arrangements are non-allergenic, cost-efficient, and never wilt or need water. Customers can select from a variety of pre-made arrangements or customize their own arrangement with various sizes, flowers, and vases. The floral arrangements can be used at country clubs, clubhouses, restaurants, nursing homes, assisted living venues, hotel rooms, corporate offices, company events, and have been customized for birthdays, anniversaries, showers, weddings, funerals, etc. Sayles even provides repair and restoration of arrangements and will deliver within the Omaha metro area—shipping can be arranged for deliveries elsewhere in the United States. The business is currently what Sayles describes as a “one-woman show,” since she works out of her home. “Just finding a small store that is affordable seems to be extremely challenging, so I decided to work a little longer out of my home until I have enough money to have my own store. Also, it seems to be much more difficult to get into the commercial market www.ReadOnlineNow.com

Silk Smiles 16631 Wright Circle Omaha, NE 68130 402- 699-2486 • www.silksmiles.com

than into the private market.” Still, Sayles hasn’t given up on her goals. She is determined to break into the commercial market and have her own store. Silk Smiles currently presents at fairs, advertises in local newsletters and magazines, and will be a sponsor at the Just for Her expo. Of her favorite business memories so far, Sayles recalls when an elderly couple approached her at the Omaha Spring Festival to restore an arrangement the husband had given the wife over 50 years ago. They had been all over town, trying to find a store that could redo the exact arrangement, which consisted of long-stem yellow tulips and white lilacs. After visiting the couple and looking at the arrangement, Sayles found the flowers and restored the arrangement. “[They] both gave me a hug!” she says. “That made my day!” Nothing gives Sayles more satisfaction than knowing she was able to complete an order and bring a smile to a customer’s face.

Her Living  •  June/July  2012 


Her Business Profile The Green Spot 1110 S. 71st St, Bay K Omaha, NE 68106 www.greenspotomaha.com


at u r a l . O r ga n i c . Eco f r i e n d ly. Loca lly Made. These are buzzwords in retail nowadays, used to draw in health-conscious consumers and those looking to reduce their carbon footprint. Jennifer Haines and Jessica Ellis are two such consumers. They’re also huge animal lovers. In January, the two women paired up to open The Green Spot, a retail store in Shoppes at Aksarben specializing in natural and organic foods for cats and dogs, as well as eco-friendly pet toys and products. Their bright, colorful store with grassgreen walls also houses a self-service pet wash and a progressive coffee lounge, where customers (pets are welcome too) can visit with like-minded pet enthusiasts. “Our customers are usually the ones who consider their pets a part of their family, and want to make sure they’re getting nutritious food and eco-friendly products,” said Haines. Many times, they’re also owners of pets with specific dietary needs, she added. ”We have people come in and rattle off a list of allergies their dogs have and food items they cannot have, and then say, ‘So, what do you have that doesn’t have those things?’ To which I say, ‘Well, they can pretty much have anything in the store.’ To see their faces light up and say ‘Really?!’ is pretty cool.” Haines and Ellis first met through their work with Pug Partners of Nebraska (which Ellis co-founded in 2008). The two discovered their shared desire to open their own health-oriented, eco-friendly pet store, which sparked a nearly two-year R&D process. Though each had business and customer-service experience, neither owner had ever run a business themselves. They definitely encountered challenges with the launch. “Both of our mothers owned their own business, so it helped to have the influence of strong women in our lives,” Haines said. “We also had the support


Her Living  •  June/July  2012

of our spouses and extended families. They’ve been a tremendous help to us.” Haines says that many of The Green Spot’s customers like to joke that their dogs and cats eat better than they do. “We just laugh and agree with them, because it’s true. This morning I fed my dog’s raw quail meat—I have never even had quail meat myself! “But the statement ‘You are what you eat’ is true, even with our pets…Why not keep them around as long as possible and make sure the years they’re with us are spent healthy and happy?” The owners hope to soon add staff to help man the store and eventually open additional locations in Nebraska and other states. “Our biggest sense of accomplishment [comes from] people telling us, ‘Thank you for opening a store like this,’ Haines said. “I didn’t realize how many people would be as excited about our store as we are!” Ellis grew up in Glenwood, Iowa. Her efforts with Pug Partners of Nebraska have helped rescue about 350 pugs. She enjoys biking with her husband, Matt, and spending time with her three dogs. Haines is a Bellevue native and foster director of Pug Partners of Nebraska. She and her husband, Cliff, like to travel and spend time with their two pugs.


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Profile for Omaha Magazine

June/July 2012 Her Living  

June/July 2012 Her Living

June/July 2012 Her Living  

June/July 2012 Her Living