The only online publication for women in Greater Cincinnati
Authors Posts by Sara Sybert

Sara Sybert

Sara Sybert
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

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    A popular novel inspired one local woman to launch a small, family-run business that’s on a mission to save the bees. Keep reading to learn more about this new shop that’s all a-buzz in Over-the-Rhine.

    The novel “The Secret Life of Bees” was a life-changing book for Sam Gordon back in 2005. In fact, it inspired her to launch a small family business dedicated to caring for bee hives and educating others on the ways we can all help the bees called Bee Haven.

    “The novel made beekeeping sound almost mystical and I decided I wanted to give it a try,” she says. “My mother and I started two hives in my parent’s back field in New Richmond where I grew up.”

    Although the two didn’t know a whole lot of anything when it came to caring for the bees, they figured it out quickly as their number of hives went from 2 to 10 and quickly up to as many as 40.

    Today, Gordon and her husband Sam take care of the bees together and run the business, which offers jams, creamed honey, beeswax candles, lip balms, and hand salves. 

    Most recently, the couple and Bee Haven opened up a storefront on Elm Street, after being located in one of the roll up doors at Findlay Market since 2008.

    “After 11 years in that location it was obvious we needed a little more room,” says Gordon. “We were still making everything at home. I was spending way too much time in the basement making candles and lanterns.”

    Now that they’re at the Elm Street location, Gordon has the space she needs to sell all of the products Bee Haven offers as well as a place to produce them. 

    “We carry everything we did at our Findlay Market stall,” she says. “But at our Elm Street store, you will find honey, local and honey from other regions as well, and other gifts from the hive.”

    With a bigger location, Gordon is hoping that she will be able to offer her customers more than the gifts and bee-related items in her store. “In the new year we’re hoping to have candle making classes and beekeeping education sessions,” she adds.

    Bee Haven is located at 1815 Elm Street in Cincinnati. Hours are Tuesday through Friday from 10 am to 5 pm, Saturday from 9 am to 6 pm and Sunday from 10 am to 4 pm.

    To learn more about Bee Haven, visit You can also check them out on Facebook and Instagram.

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    A local beauty guru specializes in permanent makeup, microblading, ombre powder brows, lash extensions and lip blush. Read on for more!

    For ShaTerra Jenkins, making others feel beautiful is a passion and profession. Jenkins Is the owner of Dayton Powder Brows, an upscale permanent makeup studio located in the heart of Oakwood near downtown Dayton. 

    “We specialize in powder brows, ombre brows, microblading, permanent eyeliner, and velvet lip blush,” she says. 

    The goal and mission of Dayton Powder Brows is to share a passion and talent with clients to help them achieve their maximum beauty and confidence.

    The story behind Dayton Powder Brows dates back to 2011. 

    “I constantly had clients asking me if I did or planned to do permanent makeup,” she explains. “I was honestly not interested at first. After many of my clients kept asking me and stating they would come to me if I did, I started researching microblading and permanent makeup training – the rest is history!”

    ShaTerra Jenkins, Owner of Dayton Powder Brows

    Dayton Powder Brows offers permanent makeup including microblading, ombre powder brows, eyeliner, and lip blush. She also offers lash extensions and makeup services for bridal and special occasions through her other business ShaTerra Jenkins Beauty Studio, which she operates separately from Dayton Powder Brows.

    While it may feel like the beauty industry is over-saturated with microblading services, Dayton Powder Brows helps itself stand out. 

    “We offer an array of services to give clients options and [we excel] at each one,” she says. “We take our time in educating clients and helping them figure out their best fit. We are also very adamant about continuing our own education to be the best for each client by keeping up on the newest styles and techniques.”

    Dayton Powder Brows is making a name for itself in more than just the services it offers. The studio has also started offering affordable permanent makeup training options for those who have considered learning permanent makeup. 

    “We accommodate each student, we are keeping our class sizes small, around 4 people, so that each student can receive individual assistance,” says Jenkins.

    Visit to learn more, or check them out on Facebook and Instagram. You can also learn more about the training sessions by clicking here

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    The Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber’s C-Change program brings together professionals from a variety of industries. Learn more about a banking pro’s experience.


    Gina Truong has been in the banking industry since she was in her final semester at Northern Kentucky University. Today, she works at the Project & Marketing Officer for North Side Bank & Trust Company. 

    “I started as a part-time teller and managed a couple of our branches,” she explains. “I always liked being involved so I would try to take on different projects and help out where I could, which eventually led me to my current role.”

    Today, Truong handles marketing but also supports with the Human Resources Director with cultural, wellness, and employee engagement initiatives. “I’ve always enjoy connecting with people, learning and development, and being a Jill-of-all-trades,” she says. 

    Truong says she finds a lot of inspiration in many different ways, including meaningful work, the development of her colleagues, and in the challenges she faces. 

    Gina Truong, Project & Marketing Officer for North Side Bank & Trust Company

    “I’m inspired by my values and convictions to do what’s best for my company, my team, and our clients,” she says. “I’m inspired by traveling and coming home refreshed with gratitude and appreciation. Most importantly, I’m inspired by the two strongest women in my life, my mom and my sister. They are two of the toughest women I know.”

    The career field that Truong is in provided her the opportunity to participate in the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber’s C-Change program. 

    “I was craving a strong network in Cincinnati and I knew there was no better way to find one than with the Cincinnati Chamber,” she says. “I have a network within the Ohio banking industry, but my peers are spread across the state and I wanted to find a network closer to home.”

    Truong says that she learned a lot from every session with the Chamber and made friendships with the other members of her class. She also enjoyed the curriculum, the ability to visit different companies and sites that she otherwise wouldn’t have been able to visit, as well as Camp Joy.

    And because networks are so important to Truong, she says that she would recommend others to participate in the program as well. “I have found an incredible group of women who empower other women,” she says. “They don’t judge, they ask the right questions, and they are amazingly supportive. I am so thankful North Side Bank & Trust Co. sponsored me for this program. There is so much content packed into such a short amount of time, and we all wanted each session to be longer every time. The Chamber shed a lot of light on what goes on behind the scenes and how to engage and connect in your city.”

    C-Change is the premier leadership development program for advancing mid-career leaders in the Cincinnati Region. The curriculum combines leadership development with community engagement which enhances current leadership roles and prepares participants for future one. C-Change is a program of the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber’s HYPE (Harnessing Young Professional Energy) platform. Applications for both C-Change and Cincy Next leadership development 2020 programs are currently being accepting. Deadline to apply is November 22, 2019. More at

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    Locally-based Parental Hope has teamed up with a clothing designer to help raise funds for those battling infertility.

    “Parental Hope is a non-profit organization dedicated to serving the infertility community through emotional and financial support,” Jennifer Bross, Founder of Parental Hope, says. “The burdens imposed on a couple battling infertility are enormous. Because infertility is a little known and often a misunderstood disease, those diagnosed with infertility can feel isolated and alone.” 

    There are many ways in which Parental Hope is helping to support the infertility community: 

    The Parental Hope Family Grant alleviates the financial burden of infertility through grants that cover the full cost of IVF and other infertility treatments.

    “We also advocate for those struggling with infertility by raising awareness and providing infertility education,” says Bross. “We also have peer-led support groups by bringing those battling infertility together for support.”

    To help raise awareness about the issue, and to raise money for those seeking infertility treatments, Parental Hope has teamed up with clothing designer J. Elizabeth. 

    The designer has created a line of infertility-related apparel, where a portion of each sale is donated to Parental Hope. Designs include adult t-shirts and baby onesies with phrases like “Worth the Wait” and “Made with Love and Science.”

    “There is also a Round-Up Program where buyers are given the opportunity to donate to Parental Hope by rounding up their purchases to the nearest dollar,” adds Bross. 

    Additionally, all of the money donated to the J. Elizabeth Foundation goes to Parental Hope to help support their cause in serving the infertility community.

    For more about Parental Hope and the Journey to Parenthood event, follow Parental Hope on their websiteFacebook and Instagram

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    A new kids store is coming to Covington, stocked full of unique and thoughtfully stylish clothes, home goods and gifts.

    Cincy Chic: We heard you’re opening a new kids store. Can you tell us what it is?
    Brittney Braemer and Suzy Strachan, Founders of Gumpdrop and Handzy Shop + Studio: The new shop is called Gumdrop and will be Handzy’s still very cute, but just a little bit smaller next-door neighbor!

    Cincy Chic: When did the store open?
    Braemer and Strachan: Gumdrop is currently popped up inside of Handzy but will officially open on Saturday November 9th! Mark your calendars and stop by, we’re going to have a big party!

    Cincy Chic: Who’s behind Gumdrop?
    Braemer and Strachan: Gumdrop is brought to you buy Brittney & Suzy, best friends and co-owners of Handzy Shop + Studio. 

    Cincy Chic: What can readers find in-store?
    Braemer and Strachan: Gumdrop carries unique baby/kid clothing 0-24M, 2-5T), books, toys & games, gifts, accessories and so much more.

    Cincy Chic: What makes Gumdrop unique?
    Braemer and Strachan: There is nothing like Gumdrop in Covington! Whether you’re shopping for your own little ones or looking for the perfect gift, you’ll find something one of a kind from our collection of beautiful and thoughtful goods. 

    Cincy Chic: Is there anything else new on the horizon for you?
    Braemer and Strachan: Aside from opening a brand new shop for tots, Handzy Shop + Studio is expanding! We will have 2 floors for double the fun. The grand opening for new Handzy will also be on November 9th!

    Cincy Chic: Where can readers go to learn more and follow along?
    Braemer and Strachan: To learn more and shop online visit our website at and to follow along you can find us on Instagram and Facebook. You can also find Handzy online at or on Instagram and Facebook.

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      A local fashionista is helping you stay trendy and chic through her buying and reselling business. See how she keeps her followers looking and feeling like a million bucks, without spending it.


      Sarah Heitkemper’s journey to took a leap of faith when she quit her desk job in September 2017, but it’s not a leap she regrets taking.

      The fashion-forward mom-to-be started selling clothes on Poshmark in June 2016 as a hobby. She had a desk job but was going to thrift stores and buying clothes to sell as a side income. 

      “I quickly discovered the thrill of buying and selling and bringing in money to the point of questioning my desk job and whether I could quit and sell full-time,” she says. “My husband and I knew we wanted to have a baby but knew daycare wasn’t something that was easily affordable.”

      That’s when she decided to take her hobby and turn it into an entrepreneurial adventure. With a list of goals she set for herself, Heitkemper was able to quit her job in September 2017. “Before our son had arrived, I did my best to set myself up for success,” she explains. “I worked long hours to establish the organization my business so desperately needed. I went to local thrift stores and consignment shops and stocked up on all the new arrivals.”

      Heitkemper says she’s learned a lot since she started her full-time adventure buying and reselling on Poshmark, including time management, how to stay organized and manage inventory, and even how to find the support she needs to keep going. 

      “I have met many great friends through the Poshmark-Instagram community,” she says. “Some are moms, some aren’t, but all care so much about me and my success, both in my business and as a new mother. I have a few Poshmark friends on speed dial who I can reach out to for advice, who I can vent to, and who reassures me when I need reassurance in any aspect of my life. In the past year or so I have learned that having a community of people who you have things in common with and who can talk to frequently makes a world of difference.”

      Not only has Heitkemper learned a lot from her journey, but she’s hoping that she’s teaching the little eyes watching her. When she starts to doubt herself as a mother, she says this experience and its community remind her that she’s an amazing mom doing her best. 

      “I love my son with all my heart,” she says. “He watches and someday will understand just how hard I work for him so that I can help provide for our family. I’ll teach him how to pour his heart into something he’s passionate about and not to look back. Not even when someone doubts what he’s capable of.”

      The hard work from Heitkemper doesn’t just stop at Poshmark, she’s also the founder of Sustainable Accessories. “I founded and began creating sustainable accessories due to the lack of affordable, quality, ‘slow fashion’ hair accessories on the market today,” she says. “My goal is to always avoid shopping fast fashion so why would my hair accessories be any different?”

      The scrunchies and hair accessories available from Sustainable Accessories are made from upcycled, secondhand clothing that is unable to be worn but can be remade into something useful. 

      There are currently two purchase options available including unique/limited edition items in the shop tab or by signing up for a subscription box – which gives you access to the products that are released in batches. 

      To shop Heitkemper’s Poshmark closet, click here. You can follow along on Instagram and check out Sustainable Accessories at

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      Learn about a new conference coming soon designed to help you reset your mind, your story, and your relationships.

      Reset your mind, your story, and your relationship with Reset, a community for face-to-face events and monthly Facebook lives to discuss mindset and hear stories of how people are overcoming obstacles and resetting their stories.

      “We are helping each other move from fear and anxiety to joy and gratitude through conversation and resources and tools provided by our certified coaches,” explains Reset Founder Kendra Ramirez. “Your mind stops you from fulfilling your dreams. When we are in a good headspace, all things start to fall into place.”

      The inspiration for the Reset community comes from Ramirez’s own life journey and work. “I feel like I have found a secret sauce to living a full life and I want to share it with others,” she explains. “13 years ago I was coming out of divorce and depression. Also, in the beginning stages of my first business in the midst of all of it. Good timing. It was a long road. I now live everyday with gratitude and joy. I have spent a lot of money and time navigating this journey and want to share it with others and hopefully they can figure it out quicker than I did.”

      She wants to create moments for the community showing others that obstacles can be overcome. “I truly believe when people can see and hear that obstacles can be overcome they can do it for themselves,” Ramirez adds. “I call it the Roger Bannister moment. Roger Bannister was the first to break the 4-minute mile in 1954. Once he broke the four minute mile others were also able to do it because they knew it could be done. We want to create those moments for our community.”

      To bolster its reach in the area, Reset is hosting an upcoming conference on October 18, with 119 attendees currently signed up to particiapte. The conference will feature 3 global mindset speakers including Sandra Vogel, Erin Fritts, and Patrice Borders, who will be sharing core mindset concepts and exercises. 

      “This is not a sit and get,” says Ramirez. “The speakers will take us through exercises, table discussions, and journaling time.”

      Sandra Vogel will speak on how to increase your positive advantage, Erin Fritts will be talking about the “Yeah, but” and Patrice Borders will be taking about self-compassion. 

      “All of the topics are about helping us move out of the headspace of what is holding us back and going after what we want in our life,” says Ramirez.

      Those who are unable to attend the conference can follow along with Reset through its web interviews featuring the stories of people from the community who have overcome obstacles in their lives and are thriving. “We have recorded six interviews so far and are looking forward to many more,” she says. “Let us know if you have a story that you would like to share giving someone their ‘Roger Bannister’ moment.”

      This unique community by Reset is the first of its kind in the area. Ramirez says that while she’s attended many business and leadership conferences she’s never been to a mindset conference that is focused on helping women indiefty limited beliefs and things that are holding them back while providing tools and resources to work through those beliefs.

      “This is so much more than a conference,” she says. “This is an ongoing community, a safe place to have real conversations. Women are good at sweeping things under the rug and saying ‘I am fine’ when we aren’t. We need a place to find our tribe. People who understand what we are experiencing without it being a negative dumping ground.”

      Other than the upcoming conference, Ramirez says that she’s currently planning for 2020 events, including other cities and signing up people to be interviewed for our Facebook lives and web interviews. “We are addressing many topics like grief, divorce, depression, balance, happiness, resistance, time management, anxiety, imposter syndrome, etc.,” she says. 

      To learn more about Reset, visit or follow along on the Reset Co Facebook page. 

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      This local blogger wears all her hats - from gospel singer to makeup artist - with style, while documenting each adventure one post at a time.


      Olivia Collingsworth loves to blog about fashion and beauty, and she’s dedicated to her family’s gospel singing group – The Collingsworth Family. 

      Collingsworth is no stranger to the road, and because of all the places she gets to see and the people she’s able to meet, she thought there was no better way to showcase that than on her Instagram account

      On her account, you will find outfit details, beauty tips, and even a bit of home decor ideas as she shares her adventures as a touring musical artist. 

      The passion for fashion is something that Collingsworth has always had and she enjoys sharing what she’s wearing and where she got it with her more than 22,000 followers. 

      The beauty tips offered on her account come from her love of all things beauty. In fact, Collingsworth is the founder of Timeless Beauty, a makeup business located in Cincinnati that travels to where her clients need her. “I’m trained in air brush technology as well as standard makeup application,” she explains. “My passion is to make you look like the best version of yourself by naturally enhancing the beauty that you already have. My goal is to make you feel beautiful for your wedding day, photo shoot, or special event.”

      Collingsworth travels around the country with her musical family sharing their love for Jesus through music, which has previously earned them a Grammy nomination for Best Roots Gospel Album at the 2018 awards for their album Mercy and Love.

      When asked how she enjoys working with her family, she says that her mother and her sisters are her best friends. “Something I’ve been learning recently is to make sure that I’m nurturing my family relationships,” she says. “Of course it’s super important to have close friends outside of your family, but there’s nothing more special than a mother/father and sibling friendship.”

      To learn more about Collingsworth, click here, and visit for more information on her makeup business.

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      From beauty queen to accountant, learn more about this fashionista who‘s changing the world one step at a time (in fabulous footwear of course).

      From the Deep South to the Midwest, Lexie Iles wants to make her mark on the world. And she’s doing that through her fashion, lifestyle, beauty, and travel blog Lexie Smiles. 

      The 23-year-old grew up in Madison, Mississippi, before settling down in the Tri-State area. Now, a resident of Louisville, an hour-and-a-half drive from the Queen City, Iles is a recent graduate of Northern Kentucky University with a Bachelor’s in accounting and a double minor in business administration and mathematics.

      While her full-time job is at Beam Suntory, most known for Jim Beam Bourbon, she’s also a pageant queen and fashionista. 

      Although the blog, Lexie Smiles, is still new to the digital world, Iles has quickly amassed nearly 11,000 followers on Instagram, where she shares photos of her outfits as well as details on where she purchased them. Also, her Instagram features photos of her travels, including a trip to Greece she took last April.

      Iles says that she sees her blog becoming a creative outlet that allows her to remain passionate about fashion, travel, beauty, and so much more.

      In addition to her blog, Iles also launched a program that was created to provide youth with the tools they need to grow into young adults called Coffee Break with Lexie.

      “Coffee Break with Lexie offers advice on professionalism, finances, college life, and general inspiration to encourage high schoolers and college students to become the best adult version of themselves,” says Iles.

      To follow along with Lexie Smiles, visit her blog or check out her Instagram page.

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        Feel like you’re drowning when it comes to finances? Learn about a local financial coach and author who developed resources to help you dive in to a positive relationship with your money.

        Debt, money shame, and embarrassment doesn’t discriminate. It can affect anyone, and Christine Luken knows that all too well. 

        Luken is on a mission to empower others to rescue their financial dignity as the Financial Lifeguard. Luken knows just what it feels like to be drowning in debt. 

        “In my late 20s I hit financial rock bottom despite having an accounting degree,” she explains. “I know what I was supposed to do with money, but I allowed my heart to hijack my wallet. I dated and became engaged to a guy with terrible money habits. He was in and out of jobs (and in and out of jail), but I thought if I loved him enough he would change.”

        And change he did, she says. Change came in the way of getting even worse, and by the time she broke off her engagement she owed multiple payday lenders money, was behind on her car payment, and had ruined her credit score. 

        “It was a long road back to financial health, but I decided to take what I learned the hard way to help others, especially women going through a divorce or break up,” she adds. 

        Now Luken is known as the Financial Lifeguard, is a certified money coach, speaker, and the author of two books: “Money is Emotional: Prevent Your Heart from Hijacking Your Wallet” and “Manage Money Like a Boss: A Financial Guide for Creative Entrepreneurs.”

        Luken also coaches high-earning professionals to rescue their financial dignity by co-creating a personalized Prosperity Plan to reduce debt, increase savings, and direct spending to what’s really important to them. 

        “I specialize in bringing together the emotional and relational aspects of money with sound financial strategy,” she says. “I love working with couples who argue about money as well as divorced women.”

        Through the Financial Lifeguard, you can find a 6-month coaching program for couples and individuals going through emotional money situations who want to find growth in both financial management skills and positive money mindset.

        Luken also offers a more DIY-centered approach to personal finance that includes group training and support through her monthly membership group called Financial Dignity on Demand

        Women who are divorced can also check out Luken’s 30-day online program called Financial Dignity After Divorce. “It helps women regain a positive and peaceful relationship with their money so they thrive financially as they move forward into a new stage of life,” she explains. 

        While financial coaches aren’t a new trend, Luken uses an approach that makes her business unique. “My approach to money is different because I understand that every person has a unique relationship with their money,” she says. “And if it’s not a positive one, they will always struggle financially, even if they increase their income. My approach shows people how to harness the power of their emotions around money to achieve their goals, rather than fighting against them.”

        Luken says that in the next few months, she will be teaching financial planners and other money coaches her formula to understanding and improving clients’ emotional money behaviors for long-term success. “My goal is to multiply the number of professions who will further the Financial Dignity Movement,” she says.

        To learn more about the Financial Lifeguard and how she can help you, visit