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Authors Posts by Sara Sybert

Sara Sybert

Sara Sybert
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Editor & Director of Strategic Communications - Sara is a graduate of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, with a bachelor's degree in English literature. When she's not working she enjoys spending time with her husband and two children. To contact Sara, send her an email at selliott@cincychic.com.

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    The Blue Manatee Literacy Project is sparking a joy for learning one book at a time. For our annual kid's issue, we chat with the new owner of this longtime local bookstore that recently rebranded. Learn about its "buy a book, give a book" mission encouraging literacy among our community’s most at-risk population.

     

    “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” – Dr. Seuss

    The Blue Manatee Literacy Project is on a mission to light a spark inside children. “The Blue Manatee has always been more than just a bookstore,” says owner Amanda Kranias. “It creates a love of books and reading from an early age.”

    Amanda Kranias

    Blue Manatee wants to take the spark they light inside of children and give them the opportunity to experience the joy of reading. Not only is this the place to buy books, but it’s also a space that children will feel welcome for story time, to meet authors, and to buy gifts. 

    The inspiration for Blue Manatee came from the desire to revive Independehtly-owned bookstores and create something for families to experience a world of ideas. “It is our goal to evolve and endure, and to grow stronger as we go,” she adds.

     

    The community team of educators, reading, early childhood experts, start-up veterans, physicians, and non-profit leaders behind Blue Manatee want to enhance childhood literacy among Cincinnati’s at-risk student population. “Through a reinvention of Oakley’s treasured Blue Manatee Bookstore as the front door to the mission we call ‘Curated Literacy,’ books and experiential learning will be purposely connected,” Kranias explains. “For decades, the Blue Manatee’s incredible sense of place has fostered young readers’ enthusiasm for literature, imagination, and expressive arts and formed familial bonds and routines that forever impact its patrons. Far too few children have the gift of this experience, and that’s why we aim to change that.” 

    There are thousands of books at Blue Manatee, including books for expectant mothers, babies, teenagers, and everyone in between. There are also books for adults, as the bookstore prides itself on the board non-fiction section, foreign language titles, graphic novels, ecologically-themed books, folktales, and so much more. 

    Also important to Blue Manatee is the experience that its customers have when they visit. “We strive to provide engaging events tailored to our local audience,” says Kranias. “We develop affordable, innovative programs hosted by passionate people, and continually improve them.” 

    The goal at Blue Manatee is to be a fun destination for families, an active participant in the community, and a fun place to work. “We want to be a unique, inspiring place where kids will take their own children someday,” she adds.

    Blue Manatee does good for the community as well. For every book that is purchased with them, a book is donated to a child in need. “Through every purchase, you are directly investing into literacy programs for communities all around the Cincinnati area,” adds Kranias. 

    Currently, Blue Manatee is only open for curbside pickup. You can find more information on their opening and other service options at https://www.bluemanatee.org. You can stay socially connected — and check out their virtual story times and online events — on Facebook and Instagram

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    Give your kids a well-rounded education all year long with STEAM programs from this local learning center.

    In today’s technology-driven world, the importance of STEAM programs has never been more pertinent. Snapology is here to help your children with a well-rounded education year-round.

    “Snapology is the premier partner for STEAM programs, offering year-round programs in schools, community facilities, homes, and in our community,” explains Co-Founder Lisa Coe. “At Snapology, we understand that children are meant to learn through play. When children are actively engaged in hands-on, interactive learning activities, their creativity flourishes and they show a greater interest in school.”

    As parents, and formerly school-aged children, we know that it can be hard to keep your children educationally engaged throughout the summer months. That’s why Snapology wants to help create a thirst for knowledge in children. 

    Snapology is made for children ages 2-14 and uses LEGO bricks, K’Nex, and technology. “While the kids are having fun, we sneak in the educational concepts,” explains Snapology’s second Co-Founder Laura Coe. “In most cases, kids don’t realize how much they are learning.”

    Because children are more interested in learning when it’s fun, Snapology wants to provide STEAM enrichment programs that are just as fun as they are educational.

    The Coe sisters say they were inspired to launch Snapology after observing the love that their children had for creative play using building blocks and other materials that snap together. “The idea of offering enrichment classes and camps to teach science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and art and literacy concepts excited us, given both our backgrounds in mathematics and science,” says Laura. 

    There are thousands of hours of curriculum available through Snapology that allows for a wide variety of STEAM and Theme programs. “We offer classes, workshops, camps, birthday parties, field trips, and special events like helping Girl or Boy Scouts earn STEAM and/or Engineering badges,” says Lisa. “Our programs are designed to enhance childrens’ learning of STEAM concepts in a way that makes learning fun. Additionally, creativity, teamwork, and presentation skills through sharing, are incorporated in all of our classes, workshops, and camps.”

    The classes from Snapology range from 1-1.5 hours and are often offered in a series via an after-school program for 6-12 weeks. Through these programs students are taught about different science learning concepts each week and last for 3 hours and include additional activities.

    Since the onset of COVID-19, Snapology has been in a position to offer virtual classes. “This has been very successful and allowed us to bring our programs to some kids that may not have been able to participate in our in-person programs,” says Laura.

    Snapology has also provided free daily and/or weekly building challenges for littles since March, which are posted to the Facebook page and allows children to post pictures of their builds. 

    “We also began offering virtual LEGO build classes, birthday parties, and playdates for a fun, interactive learning experience for kiddos that have their own LEGO bricks,“ says Lisa. “And we are currently also offering virtual 3-hour LEGO build camps.”

    Come July, however, Snapology will resume in-person programming and kick off in-person summer camps at The EDGE Teen Center in Liberty Township.

    “Our in-person programs have been restructured to ensure the safety of our students and teachers,” says Laura. “Students will be socially distanced and have their own work space and supplies. Teachers will wear masks and students are encouraged to wear masks. Frequent cleaning of contact surfaces, frequent hand sanitation and washing, and fresh air ventilation of the camp space, a 45-60 minute drop off/pick up window, and contactless check-in are among the safety protocols we’ll be implementing.”

    The Coe sisters say that Snapology is always looking to add new programming content. “And down the road we will be looking to bring an Activity Center where kiddos can come and do hands-on STEAM activities that include building with LEGO bricks, virtual reality, play games, and many other fun and enriching activities,” says Lisa.

    To learn more or to receive updates, visit westchestertwp.snapology.com and follow along on Facebook. For 2020 Summer Camp info, readers can visit www.bit.ly/snapcamps. Those interested in bringing Snapology to their school, dayare, homeschool, preschool, elementary school, or middle school can send an email to westchestertwp@snapology.com

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    Make your little princess feel like a queen with these specialized, glitzy spa parties.

    Theresa Gordon is on a mission to provide a positive effect on the community through the empowerment of local youth. 

    Gordon is the founder of Sugar & Spice Spa, nestled in the heart of Liberty Center, a business that wants to help your little girl feel like the princess she is. 

    “From the moment you walk in the door at Sugar & Spice Spa, you are treated like royalty,” says Gordon. “Sugar & Spice Spa’s magical environment will sweep your daughter away as she is pampered and celebrated.” 

    Creating a powerful self-image for young children is important to Gordon, and she strives to do that with every little one who walks through the door at Sugar & Spice Spa. “By helping them feel confident and gain social skills, girls and boys are empowered and celebrated for who they are,” she says. “Sugar & Spice Spa will not only create memorable experiences, but also build self-esteem, confidence, and awareness that will remain with our children for a lifetime.” 

    Gordon knows that parents want their children to be happy, and she hopes to offer that through Sugar & Spice Spa. “You celebrate their birthday just as much as they do, but throwing the party is a lot of work that some of us don’t have time for,” says Gordon. “That’s where Sugar & Spice Spa comes in.”

    Gordon prides herself on being the best at throwing a child’s birthday party, to help parents avoid the planning, the mess, and the stress. “Both mothers and daughters alike will enjoy our clean, quality spa services, including specialized salon services, spa birthday parties, private parties, events, and individual appointments,” she says.

    Options for parties range from glitzy mini manicures and pedicures to private, luxurious spa parties. “No headaches planning a party here,” she adds. “Sugar & Spice Spa takes care of the party decor for you.”

    In addition to the spa potion of Sugar & Spice Spa, there is also an event center that can hold up to 70 guests. It offers a unique, full or partial wedding ceremony and reception package as well as the option to add from the gallery of on-site services. “Whether you are planning a wedding, social soiree, or a corporate event, Sugar & Spice Spa is one of the best locations for your celebration,” says Gordon.

    To learn more about Sugar & Spice Spa, visit https://www.sugarspicespa.com. You can also follow them on Facebook and Instagram.

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    One local fashionista launched a business to build confidence of our youngest generation through cute outfits that help kiddos look and feel their best.

    A passion for fashion, glam, and everything beauty is in Aleese Alexandra’s veins. Since she was a young girl she’s loved all things fashion, so it only made sense for her to take a leap and open up her own boutique as an adult. 

    Today she is the founder of Kiddy Kouture, a children’s clothing brand based out of the Queen City that offers everything fashion-forward for your littles. 

    “We aspire for our minis to be just as fashionable as we are,” says Alexandra. “We offer replica, adult-like clothing, but in a friendly, kid style. You can also find a few mommy and me looks as well, because we know how much little girls aspire to be and look just like mommy.”

    Kiddy Kouture launched six years ago, when Alexandra felt that there weren’t very many places to shop for unique, stylish kids clothing, aside from typical department stores. So she wanted to give those in the Cincinnati area the opportunity to shop local. 

    In the boutique, you’ll find a variety of looks from chic styles to street wear, fun accessories, and so much more. “We have our house brand clothing styles and you can find a vast majority of other brands, and even some local designers that are featured in our showroom as well,” adds Alexandra.

    Alexandra prides herself on the quality of products that she offers in her store. “A lot of looks that you see at our shop you will not be able to find anywhere else,” she says. “We make kids feel good in our clothing and accessories and they only want to shop at Kiddy Kouture.”

    The items that are curated for the store are chosen carefully and Alexandra works closely with designers to implement the perfect look. “Not only are we just a boutique for kids, but we’ve handled a number of fashion shows for kids all across the globe,” she adds. 

    In addition to being a children’s boutique, Kiddy Kouture is a styling service and modeling agency. 

    Alexandra is looking forward to the future for Kiddy Kouture. “We are actually working closely with another company by the name of ‘Pink Roses,’ kids modeling agency, where they are greasing up to film reality TV,” she says. “Kiddy Kouture will be the lead wardrobe stylist for the models on the show. We have also been back and forth from Los Angeles, New York City, and Columbus for filming and cultivating different looks for all the models. It’s fun, fun, and more fun! We are so stoked for this opportunity so stay tuned!”

    Kiddy Kouture is located in East Walnut Hills at 2337 Victory Parkway. You can also shop online anytime at kiddykoutureboutique.com. Kiddy Kouture is also on Facebook and Instagram.

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    Big kids can have fun, too! Click here to read more about a local puzzle-fueled bar crawl that you can now do from home, too!

    Cincy Chic: What is The Puzzle Crawl?
    John Bromels, Supreme Galactic Overlord at Puzzle Crawl, Ltd.:The Puzzle Crawl is a one-of-a-kind bar crawl with pencil puzzles (like crosswords, wordfinds, and mazes) that occurs every month in Cincinnati. Players visit the first bar on the route and solve a themed puzzle that reveals the location of the next bar. They visit 4-5 bars over the course of the evening, solving a puzzle at each one. Players can also embark on “side quests” along the crawl route for extra points. At the final bar, we tally the scores and award a prize package, usually valued at $200 – $400, to the winning team, and a few mystery prizes to other lucky players. The theme changes each month. Past themes have included movies, pirates, and comic book superheroes. We also offer private Crawls and puzzling experiences for birthday parties, corporate retreats, bachelor/bachelorette parties, and more! Puzzle Crawl received a “Best of the City” award from Cincinnati Magazine in 2018.

    Cincy Chic: What’s the inspiration behind it?
    Bromels: Solving puzzles and mysteries has gotten popular in recent years, with escape rooms and mystery-in-a-box delivery companies popping up across the country.

    We enjoy escape rooms a lot, but one drawback is that because of the time limit, everyone has to spend all their time focused on escaping the room: there’s no time to socialize and just hang out with your friends because you’re “on the clock.” Some of our friends who aren’t hardcore puzzle solvers have confessed to us that they just stand around feeling like a fifth wheel in an escape room because they don’t know what to do. Plus, there are no drinks!

    So, we wanted to create a puzzling experience that would be fun for puzzlers and non-puzzlers alike, and that allows people time to enjoy each other’s company and have a few drinks while also playing an entertaining game. We often say that the Puzzle Crawl is “for nerds who like to drink and drunks who like to think.”

    Cincy Chic: Who’s behind it?
    Bromels: The Puzzle Crawl’s two masterminds are Supreme Galactic Overlord John Bromels and Puzzler-in-Chief Jeremy Dubin. We met while both working at Cincinnati Shakespeare Company (CSC) in 2005, but we’ve been puzzle enthusiasts for much longer. We should have seen this coming: when John got married in 2007, he created an original crossword puzzle for his wedding…and Jeremy was the only one who solved it! Our creativity doesn’t just extend to the Puzzle Crawl: Jeremy is the Director of Creative Education at CSC, while John was the winner of the 2020 Red Bull Mind Gamers Creativity Challenge. John’s were also the brains behind Professor Lorenzo’s Carnival of Mysteries at the People’s Liberty Globe Gallery at Findlay Market in Spring 2019, for which Jeremy provided numerous puzzles.

    Because great minds think alike, John and Jeremy each had the idea for a progressive puzzling experience independently of one another in early 2017. When they happened to mention their ideas to one another, the Puzzle Crawl was born! We did our first public Crawl in September of 2017, and we’ve offered a monthly Crawl almost every month since, until COVID-19 put a stop to our shenanigans.

    Cincy Chic: How are you doing Puzzle Crawls now due to COVID-19?
    Bromels: Unfortunately, our usual format – bar crawls – doesn’t work so well without the bars. We tried asking folks to just crawl along the pavement while solving a wordfind, but surprisingly got no takers. So instead, we’re working on providing online content. We launched our first “Virtual Bar Crawl” on our website, puzzlecrawl.com, in May, and expect to have more online “Crawls” available soon.

    Cincy Chic: Do you know when you’ll resume in-person events?
    Bromels: We take the health and safety of our players seriously, so we’re not going to start up again until we can be confident it’s safe to do so. With conditions constantly changing, we have no idea when that will be.

    Cincy Chic: What makes this a fun event for “big kids?” 
    Bromels: The biggest thing that makes it fun is that the competitive aspect is only a part of the evening’s activities. Teams’ scores are only based on the time they spend solving puzzles (which have a par time of 10-15 minutes each). When you’re not solving puzzles, you’re off the clock: you can sit and enjoy time with your friends instead of feeling like you have to guzzle down your drink and race out the door. Plus, the evening always includes a storyline and additional “off the clock” material, so even if you don’t solve a single puzzle, you should still be able to have a fun time.

    A lot of players have told us they like having the opportunity to sample bars they otherwise wouldn’t have visited. We vary the bars and neighborhoods we use so it’s a different experience each time. And for those “big kids” who are just here for the drinks, many of the bars create specialty themed cocktails for our players, offering another chance to try something new.

    Cincy Chic: Where can readers go to learn more, sign up, and follow along?
    Bromels: Readers can visit our website at puzzlecrawl.com to find out about upcoming events and to play our online puzzles, including our Virtual Bar Crawl. You can also find us on Facebook. We’re also on Instagram. Trust us, we were as surprised as you are to find out that domain name wasn’t taken!

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      One local wellness expert believes so deeply that self care is healthcare that she launched a spa and non-profit organization centered around the idea that when the mind, body, and soul are all at rest, the body can truly heal.

      Crystal Grace believes that self care is healthcare. That’s why she opened Grace + Grit Spa, a spa with a purpose.

      “At Grace + Grit Spa, we specialize in facials, massages, and waxing along with loving on those navigating the cancer journey,” she says.

      Crystal Grace

      At Grace + Grit Spa, there is an emphasized importance on incorporating self care into your lifestyle. “We love our sisters from all walks of life, and we also know the importance of keeping our men healthy, well-groomed, and relaxed,” says Grace. “That’s why we have several services that cater to our men’s skin and beards along with massages and healthy hands and feet.”

      Grace knows that many are hesitant to practice self care because sometimes the prices can be unaffordable. That’s why she set out to offer affordable services, not something that is a luxury but a must-have. “Self care helps you to find peace and allows you to be in a place of gratitude,” she adds. “It is a must in the health of your skin, body, and soul. So don’t skip self care.”

      Stress isn’t an uncommon feeling among most people anymore. In fact, Grace is well aware of the effects that stress can have on your health. “Seven years ago, I suffered from PTSD, depression, and anxiety brought on after finding a coworker dead in his home,” she says. “The diagnosis and subsequent medication led me to a career change and a desire to explore natural healing through self care.”

      In addition to the spa, Grace launched a non-profit organization that offers spa services for those dealing with cancer. “Initially, I planned to offer spa services for one patient and their caregiver each month, but nine people submitted requests for the first session, so we took all nine,” she says. “We’re not going to cap God’s love.”

      Currently these services are offered by a total of 10 spas in the Greater Cincinnati region, with the hope to have 15 by the end of the year. 

      “We believe once a cancer diagnosis is given to a family, everyone in the family needs to stay as healthy as possible,” says Grace.

      “When the mind, body, and soul is at rest, that’s when the body truly heals,” says Grace, “and we like to believe we provide that.”

      Grace + Grit Spa will soon expand their offerings to include manicures and pedicures. Monthly memberships are already available to help ensure that you take your self care seriously and stay healthy, so that you can continue showing up as your best self.

      Learn more about Grace + Grit Spa at https://www.graceandgritskin.com. You can also follow along on Facebook and Instagram

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      Looking for fun things to do around the city? We chat with a local author who just released his second book in a series that serves as a bucket list of must-sees throughout Greater Cincinnati.

       

      Rick Pender wants everyone to explore and experience what Cincinnati has to offer. That’s why he wrote the book “100 Things To Do In Cincinnati Before You Die” and the series that followed.

      “My book is a bucket list of suggestions for things to do throughout Greater Cincinnati,” he explains. 

      The first book is broken down into five sections: Food and Drink; Music and Entertainment; Sports and Recreation; History and Culture; and Shopping and Fashion.

      And although the books have Cincinnati in the title, activities aren’t specifically located in the Queen City. “There are recommendations of ‘things’ in Northern Kentucky as well as areas beyond the I-275 beltway,” Pender adds. 

      The history of Pender’s book series goes back to 2015, when publisher Reedy Press in St. Louis approached him about creating a work that was all about what Cincinnati has to offer. And the choice for them to go to Pender was easy; he has a history as an arts and entertainment editor and has worked for WVXU’s “Around Cincinnati.” 

      The first book, released back in September 2016, quickly became a popular choice at local bookstores. 

      However, times change and so do cities. A few years after the first book was published, there were new things popping up in Cincinnati and around the city.

      “The Cincinnati Zoo’s Fiona hadn’t arrived on the scene in time for the first edition, Newport still had Duck Tours, and Cincinnati Music Hall was closed for renovation,” says Pender. “It was time for a second edition, released in September 2019.”

      Pender says he replaced approximately 12 items with new recommendations and provided refreshed, up-to-date information. 

      Although some native Cincinnatians may feel like they’ve seen it all, there’s always something new to see that you’ve never seen before. 

      The book series works for many different kinds of people with different kinds of interest. “It’s a natural for people who are new residents, but it also works for people who have lived here all their lives but haven’t gotten around to visiting some of our iconic attractions or experienced some of our great restaurants,” says Pender.

      Currently Pender is researching a new book that will be published later this year called “Oldest Cincinnati.” “It’s a compendium of historic sites, locales, and attractions worth visiting,” adds Pender. 

      The second edition of “100 Things To Do In Cincinnati Before You Die” can be ordered from Amazon. It’s also available at most area bookstores including Joseph-Beth Booksellers at Rookwood Commons, Barnes & Noble West Chester, and Roebling Point Books & Coffee in Covington. 

      You can stay up-to-date with new information from Pender on his Facebook page, where he also offers information on book signing dates. Over the holidays, Pender even offered followers ideas on holiday-oriented activities based on recommendations from the books. “I’m always glad to hear from people with further suggestions and ideas,” he adds. “And I’m available for signings and appearances.”

      To learn more, or get a copy for yourself, click here.

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      A small bakery has taken big steps and opened a permanent location in Sharonville. Read on for their poppin’ story.

      Cincy Chic: What is Firecracker Bakery?
      Lynn Wambaugh, Owner of Firecracker Bakery: Firecracker Bakery specializes in round one-tier special occasion cakes, chocolate chip cookie cakes and delicious cookies called bursts.

      Cincy Chic: What’s the inspiration behind it?
      Wambaugh: I moved to a licensed commercial kitchen called The Hatchery in February of 2016. The Hatchery is an incubator kitchen inside of Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church in Newport, Kentucky that hosts startup food companies. It was founded by Rachel DesRochers of Grateful Grahams. While at The Hatchery I built an amazing team of helpers that I couldn’t do this job without.  My team members are Leslie, my mom – Nancy, JC, Annette, Kelly and Mariah. I also have a terrific friend named Jenny who helps me with some photography.

      The Hatchery was instrumental to Firecracker Bakery’s growth and success. In this space we became a licensed baking team, we learned how to use commercial baking equipment and we developed a process of efficiency while maintaining high standards. We also built connections, networked and collaborated with other foodie entrepreneurs. This location was perfect in so many ways, but with our growing customer base we were ready to make another change.

      In November of 2016, 9 short months after our first move, a new incubator kitchen became available that brought opportunities we were searching for. We were giddy! In November of 2016 we moved to The Coop, Rachel DesRocher’s third incubator kitchen, which is located at The Macaron Bar in Loveland, Ohio. Our new space is an open concept kitchen design which allows for optimal multitasking, gives us more room to work and the bonus being 10 miles closer to our homes in West Chester. We are excited for the opportunities for retail, baking classes and more!

      Wow! Another move! After being in Loveland for about 10 months we realized we were ready for our own place. It was time. After spending almost 2 years in Commercial Kitchens we felt we needed to move on and take the big step! I started looking around for buildings in West Chester and Sharonville. We found the perfect building in Sharonville and decided YES let’s take the big jump and purchase a building of our own.  It was a busy and stressful Holiday Season, working like crazy and closing on a property. We closed in November, 2017! We are so happy we did it! We love our new location in Sharonville. It is the perfect little place!

      Cincy Chic: Who’s behind it?
      Wambaugh: I’m Lynn, just a girl addicted to baking! I opened Firecracker Bakery after deciding to take my hobby to a whole new level, and it has been awesome!  

      As the founder and owner of Firecracker Bakery I am passionate about creating smiles and bringing joy and happiness through a simple sweet homemade treat. That’s how it all got started 13 years ago. After retiring from my teaching job to stay at home with my first born I became very active in my community. I loved reaching out to other families and found myself joining groups like Moms Club, MOPS and also became a neighborhood tutor. I enjoy getting involved with other people, building relationships and supporting community members.  Through this, I found myself so touched by the pain and hardships families experience that I started baking more and more as a way to show my concern and care for families in need.  The more people I got to know, the more baking I was doing! Eventually I was encouraged to turn my passion into something bigger! This is when Firecracker Bakery was born!

      Cincy Chic: Where are you located?
      Wambaugh: Our new address is 10965 Reading Road in Sharonville!

      Cincy Chic: Where can readers go to learn more and follow along?
      Wambaugh: Check out our website at www.firecrackerbakery.com. We’re also on Facebook and Instagram

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        Father’s Day is almost here and as we emerge from quarantine, fire up the grill, and pour some drinks, read on for some great gift ideas that know the way to his heart.

        On Cincinnati’s East Side is a grain-to-glass craft distillery called Karrikin Spirits Company. 

        “We specialize in bottled craft spirits including Base vodka, Shuga rum, Emerge gin, Blaze agave spirit, and more, with barrel aged products coming to the taproom and retail shelves soon,” says Karrikin Storyteller Matt Groves.

        With a variety of offerings in their line of products, Karrikin’s most well-known are the sparkling spirits. “We take those distilled spirits and infuse them into sodas, which are handcrafted from real fruit juice to create a spirit-based canned beverage that has the alcoholic content of a beer with the mouth-feel of a seltzer,” says Groves.

        The sparkling spirits come in a variety of flavors including key lime, blueberry, citrus tonic, and punch in area grocery stores, bars, and gas stations along with our two canned beers, Pils and Citra IPA. 

        You find Karrikin’s distributed products in area Kroger stores, liquor stores around the Greater Cincinnati area, Jungle Jim’s, Fresh Market, and countless gas stations, bottle shops, bars, and restaurants around the area.

        In addition to alcohol, Karrikin Spirits Company is home to The Hearth at Karrikin, a culinary branch led by Executive Chef Chris Davis. “The Hearth’s farm-to-table menu features many local ingredients that go into made-to-order dishes like our delicious Double Double burger, our local meat and cheese board, and more,” says Groves. “The Hearth at Karrikin includes our main dining room, taproom, patio, and barrel room for full service and also offers catering plans for our on site events and large gatherings.”

        Karrikin is hosting a special event in honor of dads for Father’s Day. They’re teaming up with Goofy Dads to host a special “Day Drinking with Dad” collaboration. “This family-friendly and fun event coincides with a visit from The Peach Truck Tour out of Nashville,” says Groves. “We’ll be featuring plenty of peach-themed drinks and food items.”

        When it comes to finding the perfect gift for dad, Karrikin offers a variety of products. Groves recommends the Karrikin’s barrel-aged Ora gin for the gin-drinking dad in your life. He says notes of orange peel and vanilla bean explode through the slight smoke of a Buffalo Trace bourbon barrel. “The 375ml bottles, along with a Karrikin rocks glass would be the perfect way to celebrate dad this Father’s Day,” says Groves. “If gin isn’t their thing, try any of Karrikin’s bottled spirits or maybe even a six-pack of our Pils or Citra IPA to enjoy on the patio.” 

        As we find a new normal in the aftermath of COVID-19 shutdowns, Karrikin has worked to mass produce and donate hand sanitizer. “Within hours of Ohio’s bars and restaurants being shut down or limited to carryout and delivery during the pandemic, our team devised a plan to begin producing the alcoholic base of what our hand sanitizer would be,” explains Groves. “And while we knew there would be a great need, we never could’ve imagined how strong that need would be. Within moments of our hand sanitizer announcement, companies and individuals from around the U.S. and some parts of the world began calling, emailing, and reaching out on social media to secure Karrikin’s homemade hand sanitizer.”

        Through the sales of hand sanitizer, Karrikin has been able to support many organizations directly involved in the fight against the spread of COVID-19 and the flattening of the curve. 

        “Locally, many non-profits and critical businesses staying open during the spread have been able to put the product to good use,” adds Groves. “On our end, hand sanitizer has kept our lights on, our doors open, and health insurance plans still active for our employees.”

        Now that Karrikin has reopened to guests, they’re looking toward the future. They’re offering many promotions, new drinks, and expanding dining options. Plus, there is a new product hitting stores throughout the summer and fall. “We’re not quite ready to release full details yet, but it’ll be the talk of the town in early to mid-July,” he adds. 

        Additionally, CHAR: a Karrikin Barrel-Aged Collective will be announced in the coming months as the official launch and club for Karrikin’s barrel-aged spirits.

        To learn more about Karrikin Spirits Company, visit https://karrikinspirits.com

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        From sweet to spicy, rub to sauce, ribs to salmon, the new owners of this local business share how dad can up his grilling game this summer.

        If dad enjoys a little heat with his barbecue, you may want to give him the gift of BubbaRub this Father’s Day. 

        BubbaRub has a strong local following. “We’re a small business, locally created, owned, and operated,” explains Owner Missy Holliday. “We offer dry rubs and sauces with a unique flavor that our followers have come to love.”

        BubbaRub was originally founded by couple Andy and Becky Newman, but the Hollidays purchased the business in January 2020. 

        “Andy actually created the recipe and decided to start his own business after winning a contest in 2003 where his sauce, now known as BubbaRub, won first place,” says Holliday. 

        Currently, Missy runs the business while her husband is her partner in business.

        “We came to love BubbaRub a few years ago and we use the rubs and sauces on everything. I actually mean EVERYTHING,” she says. “We learned in December that Becky and Andy would be ‘closing down’ BubbaRub and I went into full panic mode!”

        Holliday says she spent the day driving throughout Cincinnati looking for and buying whatever she could find. “I just couldn’t imagine cooking without BubbaRub,” she says. 

        Two hundred dollars of product later, she felt as though she didn’t quite accomplish what she was hoping for.

        “It was that evening that I started discussing the crazy idea of purchasing the company from Andy and Becky,” she says. “Initially, my husband did think I was crazy. As we continued talks, the excitement grew and we started discussions with Andy and Becky. My biggest concern in this opportunity was to ensure we respected what they had built and we carried on their vision of what BubbaRub should be. That remains our focus. We feel blessed that they trusted us to be good stewards of their ‘gift’ to us.  

        Holliday knows the responsibility she took on when she purchased BubbaRub. “We find ourselves answering emails and filling online orders almost every night after work and on weekends,” she says. We had our first ‘event’ last weekend at Westside Market and realized that it really is a lot of work! It’s definitely like a second full-time job. However, we believe in this product so much and we love what we’re doing to expand the foundation that Andy and Becky built.”

        With Father’s Day less than a week away, Holliday says that BubbaRub is an ideal gift. Depending on an individual’s preference, there are a few recommendations she suggests.

        Those who like their meat spicy should try out the Heat Rub and Heat Sauce. If dad likes a little bit of a kick but doesn’t enjoy a good amount of it, try the Original Rub with a Heat Sauce. If dad isn’t a fan of spice but loves flavor, the Original Rub and Original Sauce is the way to go.

        The rubs and sauces from BubbaRub include a secret recipe, which makes the product so unique. “It’s unlike any other rub or sauce you will try,” says Holliday. “Whether you try the heat sauce or the original sauce, you will notice neither are ‘smoky’ but are instead ‘sweet.’”

        As the Hollidays dive more into BubbaRub and look for ways to make it even better, they’re hoping to grow the business and expand options for followers. Some of the ideas on the brainstorming list for rubs and sauces are a ghost pepper option, a smoky option, and an orange/citrus option. 

        To learn more about BubbaRub, visit www.ruburmeat.com. You can also follow along on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

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