All posts by kathypl

Kathy Piech-Lukas is a dreamcoach, planning dream weddings and events for 18 years. In addition, she has adopted a clean eating (and organic whenever possible!) lifestyle and has developed a passion to help people live a healthy ‘peachy keen’ life — whether it be your diet, exercise, social (media) or business life, life should be peachy keen! I hope this inspires you to be that! :-) kpl

Real life after playing competitive sports

With the Olympic Games happening this week, the world is watching the world’s most elite and dedicated athletes compete for the status of being an Olympic medalist. For some of them, it will lead to short term glory, an endorsement deal and being a household name. For the majority of them, however, the ‘real world’ that we all live and work in awaits them when they hang up their gear. Let’s face it — the majority of athletes are not Michael Phelps.


In this vintage photo, you will see a super skinny girl in the second row on the far right. That’s me! For ten years of my life, competitive swimming was a huge part of my life. I joined the swim team because I thought it sounded like fun. It was — I still have special bonds with all of the people I swam with to this day. The first year I swam I was terrible — and I have the third and fourth place ribbons to prove it!!

That year, however, was when my competitive spirit kicked in. I wanted to be better and I knew if I practiced hard enough that could happen. I knew I couldn’t be selected for a relay team if I wasn’t a team player, yet I couldn’t be considered for one if I wasn’t doing my personal best. I had a lot to learn and a long journey in front of me. So I practiced many hours (many, many, many hours) and swam up to 8,000 yards a day six days a week, and ultimately became an excellent swimmer. There was drama, laughter, successes, and losses — just like the real world.

But I was no Michael Phelps. (Who is?)

In the real world (life after chlorine) I started a business in 2002. The feelings of anticipation were the same as when I started swimming all those years ago — I had to start somewhere. I wouldn’t be good at first but with dedication, practice and being a team player, maybe I could become a success. Around that time I began seeking out established mentors in my industry who could share their knowledge with me, their personal journey, and their lessons learned. I set up my business plan, website, packages and marketing materials. I sat back and watched all the drama (not just with brides — those vendors have a way of creating their own drama in the industry!), learned, and focused on how to make the business a success.

I swam competitively for ten years — a term that spanned through high school and college. By the time I stopped, the big ‘swimming fish’ had made a name for myself in her little pond. However, I was primarily known as ‘the swimmer’ by most people in my ‘pond.’ The whole time I was swimming I had earned decent grades, so my focus and that same discipline were then applied just to my academics. 

I officially hung up my competitive swimming goggles 20 years ago, and a lot of new techniques and technology have made swimmers even better and more efficient than in my days. It is very exciting to watch all these Olympians destroy these records and swim these incredible times!

Today, eleven years into being a wedding planner, the entrepreneur journey has parallels to my swimming days. It took a lot of practice, learning, and being a team player. Like swimming, the journey has had lots of ups and downs, triumphs and losses. Today many know me as ‘the wedding planner,’ just like 20 years ago people knew me as ‘the swimmer’ in my little pond of Ohio. (That is exactly the reason I started this blog — there is so much more to me than just weddings! Yet another journey!)

I truly believe that playing sports gave me the foundation for the person I am today. It taught me discipline, teamwork, and gave me the confidence to know that hard work and focus can pay off in high rewards. 

Statistically, 2% of all high school athletes will play in college, and of that total 2%, 1% of them will play sports professionally. So the odds are, if you are a college athlete, you’ll hang up your gear when you graduate from college, just like the other 99% of the people in that statistic. (I hung mine up after Freshman year of college, but hung up my goggles during college nonetheless!) On the internet I found a copy of the last article written in the school paper at LeMoyne College about my last swim meet. (After that I transferred to Xavier to become a life long Muskie!)

The real world is a fun place too! Life is great off the court and out of the pool as well!

Kpl ๐Ÿ™‚

Wedding fun!

The past two weekends I have had weddings. Both events went extremely well! Take a peek at the photo collages from each wedding day. 


Congrats Ashley & Brandon!!


Congrats Tara and Ryan!!

I am so blessed that these couples invited me into their lives for this exciting new chapter they’ve entered. Thank you for letting me make Your Dream Day come to life! -kpl

Life is short

This past weekend, my husband and I attended the memorial service for the father of his best friend’s wife. It was a reminder to both of us just how short and precious life is. Both Jim and I have dealt with the loss of family members taken too soon — his father and brother (both 54), and my sister (32) from cancer, my brother from a brain virus, all of our grandparents. 


When people say life is too short, it seems like a cliche. But in the blink of an eye, I turned 40. I remember my 21st birthday like it was yesterday! If you ask a person in the twilight of their life, they will mention a lot of the things listed above. They will also say that they wished they had walked away from unhealthy situations and relationships, enjoyed the little things in life, and to live for yourself and not other people.

How are you living your life right now? You can’t change the past but you have control over your future and what it holds. You will have obstacles — everyone will — but how you navigate those obstacles speaks to your strength, integrity and values. Those define who you are and your legacy.

Deep thoughts, but how are you living your life? Would your ten year old self be proud of who you have become?

Kpl ๐Ÿ™‚

๏ปฟBe Happy No Matter What: Book of the Month

Each month, I try to do something to improve my inner self and spirit. This month, I am reading “Be Happy No Matter What,” by Ellen Seigel. I won the book as a door prize at the Cincinnati eWomen network meeting and the timing couldn’t be more perfect!



I’ll be sure to write a review of it next week! If you are interested in hearing the author speak next week at the Dayton eWomen network meeting on Wednesday, June 8 from 11-1:30pm at Yankee Trace, contact me about how you can attend at no cost!Kpl ๐Ÿ™‚

Safety at the pool

Pools are a great way to cool off during the summer, exercise, and create memories with your family!


Back in the day, I was a competitive swimmer and lifeguard. (Trivia — my high school 100 backstroke record stood for 19 years!) So today I want to talk about safety at the pool, in particular HOA, backyard or community pools that don’t staff a full time lifeguard. 

These tips will keep you and your family safe(r) when you’re at the pool!

(1) Use a zipped life preserver on children who can’t swim well, or who are under 4. (Please don’t buy the inflatable arm floaties, they can easily be poked, creating a slow leak, that can catch an unprepared child off guard if you aren’t paying attention! Those make every lifeguard cringe!)

(2) Walk around the pool — no running. Every time you go to a public pool you hear a lifeguard blowing the whistle asking people not to run. There is a good reason for it. Puddles make pool concrete very slippery and easy for anyone running to slip, break a bone or sprain an ankle or wrist. Kids tend to run when they get excited, just discourage them from running.

(3) Don’t swim alone. This is a universal rule for children and adults alike. It is dangerous to swim alone — anything can happen while you’re in the pool, such as a leg cramp, that can impair your ability to swim to safety. Depending on the posted pool rules, a child under 14 or 16 may require supervision. 

(4) Pools with no lifeguard are at your own risk. So you are responsible for anything that happens to you or your family while you’re there.

(5) Stop texting when supervising. This rule didn’t exist in my day, but it certainly does now! Anything can happen in a matter of seconds — like a 2 year old wearing blow up arm floaties can drift into the deep end of a pool where it doesn’t belong!

(6) Drink responsibly, if at all. Drinking impairs your judgement and reaction time. This can put you in danger at the pool. This is especially important in hot tubs where your heart rate is impacted with the combination of the excessive heat and the alcohol.

(7) No glass. Period. Bring plastic cups, plastic or beer cans, and paper plates. You can injure yourself and the people around you.

(8) Speak up to your HOA or community if the pool water doesn’t look right. If the water is cloudy, green, excessive amounts of debris floating, doesn’t smell of chlorine or smells to the point where is is overpowering, stinging your eyes or making your skin red or excessively itch, say something to the powers that be! Readings for chlorine should be between 2-3, and pH 7-8, at safe healthy levels. You can also call your local health department for the latest report.

Pools are a refreshing way to cool down and enjoy the summer sunshine. Just be safe!

Kpl ๐Ÿ™‚

Networking events: Getting the most bang for your time and effort

Networking events are a great way to increase your business connections. I try to leave each networking event with at least 5-10 new connections that I didn’t have before I came. 

networking, tips, events, business
Sharonville Chamber of Commerce Open House Networking Event

Attending an event with 60-300 business people can be overwhelming. Here are some tips to navigate a networking event so you walk away with new connections to help you grow your resources. 

Work the room: Spend 3-5 minutes per conversation during the networking hour. Try not to get cornered by someone unless you feel the conversation is one that canโ€™t be continued later on over coffee or lunch. Good exit lines are โ€˜will you excuse me, I need to get a napkin; my boss just arrived; I need to hang up my coat or drop off my purse.โ€™ Move about and make an effort to say hello to people you know and encourage them to introduce you to the people they are talking to you that you may not know. 

Choose your seat wisely. Get a seat that faces the same direction as the guest speaker. Nothing is more annoying than having to turn your chair to hear the speaker, then spinning to eat your meal. 

Bring business cards. I’ll say it again. Bring business cards. Did I mention you should bring business cards to networking events? Don’t leave home without them! 

Make mental notes: You will meet lots of people at networking events and it may be hard to keep them all straight. Jot some notes about each person on the back of their business card to jog your memory. (For example: BBB networking event at JD Legends, bubbly blonde with glasses, event planner, just went on a pontoon boat ride.) 

Wear a conversation piece of clothing, jewelry, or necktie that makes you memorable. It can be a bold color, festive pattern, trendy shoes or a chunky necklace, but this piece that will serve as an icebreaker or memory jogger. I used to have a peach colored suit that I would wear to more formal networking events that was a great icebreaker. People remembered my last name is pronounced like the fruit because of that suit. For more casual events, I wear a hat. (That way, people remember me as the girl with the hat, or they can point me out across the room). A nice Stella Dot or Park Lane necklace, cool shoes, a ring or fun hair style are also great conversation starters.  

Follow up within 24 hours. Send a simple email saying that you enjoyed meeting them, offer your assistance in the future and ask if they’d like to grab coffee sometime. At that time also add them to your contacts list, do a connection request on LinkedIn and (depending on your connection) do a friend request on Facebook. You can follow their business pages on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest or Twitter as well. 

Looking for some great networking events to test out your skills? Check out the local BBB, Chamber of Commerce or business guilds in your industry. 

Happy networking! Kpl ๐Ÿ™‚ 

๏ปฟNetworking events and the food buffet: how to eat responsibly while networking

Networking events are great for connecting with business colleagues, building new relationships and learning new insight to help you grow your business.


The downside? The breakfast or lunch buffet. All those bad carbs and fattening foods on the buffet, just for one plate, may be all the calories you should consume in one day!

So how do you survive the dreaded buffet and eat responsibly? Here is what I do:

(1) Drink 32 ounces of water, and if possible, a protein shake before you leave for the event. This will fill up your stomach and make you feel fuller so when you arrive at the event, you won’t feel as drawn to the cubed potatoes, bagels and muffins.

(2) Avoid breads, potatoes, bagels, muffins, sugar cereals and pasta. These are big bad culprits. Not only does the carbs in these types of food give you a quick sugar high, you’ll also feel a crash before the next meal. These foods will tempt you to snack later in the day. That being said, oatmeal is okay. This is a slower digesting carb that is good for you. Steel cut is best but rolled oats are okay. Avoid the pre-flavored packets and add your own maple syrup, applesauce or cinnamon for the same flavor more naturally.

(3) What is a serving size? One serving (in general) of food is the size of the palm of your hand. So one piece of chicken is fine, one scoop of green beans — one scoop in general is all you need. Salad dressing, croutons, and sunflower seeds on a salad should be no more than two tablespoons. Your plate doesn’t need to be spilling over with food.

(4) Load up on salad, fruits, veggies, and one protein (like chicken, eggs, etc). You can’t go wrong with these! Go easy on the sauces and gravy though, it is full of unnatural fillers, sugars and thickeners.

(5) Drink water or unsweetened iced tea with your meal. Avoid soda pop that is loaded with sugars and artificial flavors.

(6) Take one bite of the dessert. After taking that one bite, decide if it is really tasty enough to have a second or third bite. Dessert should be no more that three portions on your fork or spoon.

Happy networking! Next blog we will discuss tips to maximize your time at a business networking event. ๐Ÿ™‚ kpl

Beauty in Sharon Woods

Today’s weather was beautiful! The sun is shining, a light breeze was blowing, the trees have green leaves on them again, and flowers are blooming. (This means that summer is finally on its way, correct?)


My husband and I decided to rent a pontoon boat after work for an hour ($45), and we enjoyed the beauty of Sharon Woods from the Sharon Woods Lake in Sharonville. (This is the same lake I like to jog around — it is 3 miles around. Two times around gets that magical 10,000 steps per day!)

I took these photos of a pelican from the boat. I didn’t realize we had them in Ohio!

This family of geese also swam over to the boat to say hello.

It is hard to see, but this photo is a mama duck with some very tiny baby wood ducks.

You can also rent paddle boats, kayaks, and power boats. Rates can be found by visiting the Great Parks website. (You can see them behind me in this selfie.)


So the next time you are looking for a nice time out with nature, look no further than your State Parks for relaxation.

Kpl ๐Ÿ™‚

Staying and keeping focused

So I will admit … I got off the blogging bandwagon for a few weeks. Everyone gets in a funk, right? First I got a cold, then my husband got back to back episodes of gout. So needless to say between that and the rainy weather, I wasn’t working out the way I normally do. When I don’t work out I get out of my routine, I feel sluggish and depressed, and my rhythm gets off.
routine, better, habits,  exercise, goals, task list, peachy, keen, lifr
When we are children we are provided with a structured routine — breakfast, go to school, sports, church — but when we are adults you need to create your own structure. If you are a stay at home parent, work from home or are self employed, that structure is even harder!  


Here are some tips about how to get and stay in a routine

(1) Exercise in the morning. You may need to get up an hour earlier but giving yourself that opportunity to stretch both your mind and body after a good night’s sleep will jump-start you for the day. Plus releasing all of those endorphins will put you into a great mood!

(2) Go to bed the same time every night and remove technology from your bedroom. A bedroom was meant for sleeping, not watching TV. A lot of people (myself included!) use their cell phone as an alarm clock, but the temptation is there to pick it up and Facebook, play games and read blogs (like this!) during the night when you canโ€™t sleep.

(3) Eat breakfast after you work out. Your body will continue to burn off the calories longer during the day if you do this. Instead of eating, drink a glass of lemon water when you first wake up and drink water throughout your workout.

(4) Set a list of goals for the next day the night before. Before I close up shop for the night, I create a list of everything I need to do for the day while it is fresh in my mind. This will keep you focused on what you need to accomplish the next day and during the week.

(5) Take mental breaks throughout the day. Every 45 to 90 minutes, try to take a 15-20 minute break to recharge your thoughts and refocus your energies. Complete a task before taking a break to help you feel a sense of accomplishment.

I’ll stay focused (on blogging better this month) if you do! ๐Ÿ™‚ kpl