Inspiring Women

Meet Four Local Women Making an Impact—and Helping Other Women

Article by Susan Lanier-Graham and Michelle Glicksman

Photography by Provided

Originally published in North Peoria Lifestyle

Kelly Yu

Kawaii Sushi & Asian Cuisine

Kelly Yu’s Aunt Lisa always dreamed of having a restaurant. So, when Yu came to the United States in 2004, she knew that she wanted to help her aunt—who had helped her so much—make that dream come true.

Today, Yu and Aunt Lisa, as well as other family members, run three restaurants—two locations of the popular Kawaii Sushi & Asian Cuisine, which serves Cantonese-style dishes and sushi, and Poke Maki, which offers fresh poke, sushi, and ramen.

The GM/co-owner Yu runs the front of the house, which she loves.

She also loves that the restaurants have become part of the fabric of the community.

“People come in to relax and create memories with their friends and families,” she says. “We have people who come in to celebrate milestones—every year they come in to celebrate with us. We get to know them.

“We’re a family-owned business and we’re passionate about what we do. We not only want to feed people, but to help everyone create good times and memories in the restaurant.”

Yu is just as passionate about the quality of the food served and her customers as she is about giving back to the community. She volunteers, is active in local Chambers of Commerce; donates food to first responders, schools, and hospitals; and mentors others. KawaiiCuisine.com—M.G.

Amy Vander Linden

Moment of Truth PT

After more than 20 years as a physical therapist, Amy Vander Linden knows that women do a terrible job asking for what they need and prioritizing themselves. She also knows that “postpartum” is forever and that myofascial release can help women through pregnancy and postpartum.

Myofascial release is about working with the body’s fascia—the web covering that weaves its way throughout the entire body. It is believed that issues with the fascia are in large part responsible for chronic pain.

“I love working with women to show them their own power to heal, to feel their worth and sense of self,” explains Vander Linden. “When they value themselves enough to come in, we are able to help them feel truly worth it and to heal and feel confident and capable again.”

At Moment of Truth PT and in the new Healing Space Yoga Studio, Vander Linden encourages women to get to know their own bodies so they can be healthy, active, and feel like themselves.

While she says most women never really understand myofascial release, they do feel the results.

“What they do understand is feeling safe, feeling heard and feeling known and I love getting to provide that space for them.” MomentOfTruthPT.com—S.L.-G.

Robyn Halperin

Robyn’s Nest

Robyn Halperin always had an obsession about home décor and decorating. She knew that for every woman, personal home style should reflect the woman’s personality, taste, and lifestyle. Although she had never run a business, she jumped in, opening first a florist and then launching Robyn’s Nest in 2017. She felt it was time to bring unique home décor, art, gifts, and furnishings to Phoenix’s Upper West Side.

Halperin wanted women to have stylish and functional unique home décor, and to help them design a home they love that is functional and can be lived in, and something they can be proud of.

She showcases affordable quality furniture and décor at Robyn’s Nest that you can’t find anywhere else in the area.

“A home should reflect our individuality and provide unique pieces,” she explains.

She says that is what brings her and her team the greatest joy.

“We encourage our customers to show us photos or videos of a space they’re designing so we can offer additional support and help them find the finishing touches.”

Halperin is also passionate about everything animals, especially elephants and abused dogs. Some proceeds of certain products at Robyn’s Nest go toward fighting against animal abuse.

Robyn’s Nest is a fun, friendly store.

“We are constantly redesigning our vignettes to deliver a different shopping experience from week to week,” she says. “We are the easily accessible designers of the Upper West Side.” RobynsNestHome.com—S.L.-G.

Lindsay Taylor

Sinful Hair & Blow Dry Bar

Lindsay Taylor worked her way through beauty school as a single mom, bartending nights to help provide for her kids. Now married, Taylor believes the struggle was worth it. After working for another salon, she decided to go out on her own.

She started Sinful Hair & Blow Dry Bar in 2012, working from the ground up, and building her brand. She began by making house calls and posting advertisements on social media.

Today, Taylor runs Sinful Hair & Blow Dry Bar out of a retail location in Arrowhead Ranch. She specializes in blondes—although all hair colors are welcome. At Sinful Hair, guests can book just about any hair service, including a blow dry and style, balayage, Brazilian blowouts, cuts, highlighting, color, and other treatments.

Taylor believes that she helps other women feel more empowered.

“I truly love making women feel beautiful and empowered,” explains Taylor.

She also believes that as a hairdresser, she can listen to someone, be a confidante, and perhaps turn their day around.

The Sinful Blow Dry Bar motto is “Prepare to be BLOWN away.” That’s exactly what Taylor offers to her customers. She believes she has the dream job.

“My job is so much more than just doing hair,” she explains. “I build relationships and friendships.” SinfulBlowDryBar.com—S.L.-G.

Shellie Small


When Shellie Small received a message that she was going to leave her corporate job and start a business, she began looking to make a career move that was family friendly. And, since her own children were very crafty, she felt Pinspiration—A DIY craft studio—would be a perfect fit!

“I was a customer four years ago, and as soon as I saw the opportunity, it just made sense,” she explains. “I love that I’m the business owner, but also that I get to help others create memories, spend time with their families, and make amazing and creative pieces that they can use since our projects are functional, and that they can make their craft vision come to life.”

Pinspiration offers a variety of projects and experiences, including candle-making, string art, wood pallets, canvas design, wine glass design, string art, a Jackson Pollock-inspired splatter art room, and so much more.

In addition to creating a place where people can make memories, Small wanted to create a community space to help others. She mentors others business owners and collaborates with them, often having them use her space.

“I love helping people bring their craft vision to life, helping others—and other business owners—succeed.

“This is a very fun place, and we have something for everyone ages 2-and-up. Even if you don’t feel like you’re crafty or can’t paint, we have something for you here.” Pinspiration.com—M.G.

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