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    After a decade-long adventure to New York City, a local chef returned to the Queen City where she’s serving up restaurant-quality meals to enjoy at home. Keep reading to learn more about her tasty dishes and fascinating journey.

    Kymberly Wilbon, founder of The Passion Plate

    Kymberly Wilbon has always had a passion for food. From the time she was a little girl playing with her Easy-Bake Oven to now owning The Passion Plate, she has led quite the journey. 

    That journey has also included a passion for fashion. Wilbon says her love for fashion took her on a decade-long adventure to New York City, where she worked in the garment and music industries by day and played in Manhattan’s hippest clubs by night. 

    “When I wasn’t zipped into Gaultier and hanging at the Palladium, I was baking fashionista birthday cakes, fed bands at upstate recording sessions, and catered record execs’ Superbowl parties,” she says. 

    After she landed a few hostess gigs at some of New York’s most revered restaurants, she decided to enroll at The New York Restaurant School to study restaurant management and culinary arts. 

    “I returned to Cincinnati to be closer to my family, and worked in restaurant management positions at several hotels, including the Cincinnati Hyatt Regency, cooked at CoCo, was a sous chef at Otto’s, and opened McCormick and Schmick’s,” she says. 

    While all of that was giving her experience, she wasn’t completely satisfied. She knew there was more that she had to offer. 

    “I felt like something was missing,” she says. “I knew I loved to cook and host great dinner parties. One day it all connected and I decided: That’s it – I want to be a personal chef!”

    Wilbon then enrolled at the Culinary Business Academy and earned her United States Personal Chef Association membership and launched The Passion Plate. 

    Based in the Findlay Kitchen, The Passion Plate offers restaurant-quality, pick-up ready meals and catering. There are weekly menus to choose from or customers can submit custom orders.

    The menu offerings from The Passion Plate are unique, serving up heart and SOUL: seasonal, organic, unexpected, and local.

    “And like my love of fashion, each dish is layered, complex, and inspired by travel,” Wilbon adds. 

    Wilbon is able to cater to the wants and needs of a variety of customers from the meal planners who want their meals portioned out to clients who are just on the lookout for restaurant-quality food at home.

    As eating at home has taken on a whole new meaning during quarantine, Wilbon says she’s gone into overdrive to keep up with demand. “A lot of people have been reaching out for meals, for meals for their older parents, their grandparents or people that just had babies,” Wilbon explains. 

    Wilbon says the increase of menu orders and custom requests is exciting and she’s loving every minute of it. 

    To learn more about The Passion Plate, visit https://www.thepassionplate.com. You can also check them out on Facebook and Instagram

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    A gunite pool, his and her master bathrooms, and scenic acreage in one of Cincinnati's most sought-after neighborhoods. Read on for a sneak peek inside this week's Listing of the Week!

    Exceptional value! This 5955 square foot home sits on 3.87 acres of serene privacy. Granite countertops and backsplash, stainless steel appliances, solid cherry cabinets, his and her master bathrooms, front and rear staircases, 2 fireplaces, gunite pool, gazebo, copper gutters. Spacious flat rear yard. This 4 bedroom, 7 bathroom home is listed at $1.13 million.

    This listing is sponsored by Ron Erdmann at Guaranteed Rate, the official mortgage professional of Cincy Chic.

     

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    Getting into the spa may seem like a daunting task for the time being. Read on for a new way to access spa-quality skincare without leaving the house.

    Skin feeling tired and worn out from being stuck at home? Missing your esthetician but aren’t sure when you’ll be able to get in for those missed appointments? Then you may want to check out the Jurlique Home Facial program. 

    “The Jurlique Home Facial program is a way for the stuck-at-home consumer to get a professional skincare consultation or virtual spa facial under the guidance of a licensed esthetician who uses Jurlique Organic Skincare,” explains National Education Manager for Jurlique International Paula Provenzano. 

    The inspiration for this at-home program was inspired by the current coronavirus pandemic. 

    “In a perfect world, when you want a professional skincare consultation or relaxing spa facial, or even a medical-grade facial, you would go to a spa or medspa,” says Provenzano. “The current restrictions on those types of services make that a challenge but, we also know that spa services were never available everywhere. So, the Jurlique Home Facial program is a way to access those types of services anywhere.”

    The Jurlique brand is based in Australia, but Provenzano works at the company’s National Education Manager and has worked to bring its services and offerings to the Queen City. 

    Provenzano grew up in Northern Kentucky and currently lives in Cincinnati. The prime location of the city allows her easy access to both coasts and everything in between. 

    However, since travel has been shut down for a while, the company decided to begin offering the next best thing to a spa: virtual facials with skincare kits that can be shipped or picked up curbside. 

    The virtual facial program offered by Jurlique is a unique one. 

    “The beauty of this experience is that you can make it whatever you want it to be,” says Provenzano. “For example, many of our home facial clients take a glass of wine into their bathroom, lock the door, and have a dedicated hour of ‘me time.’ Others invite all their girlfriends and make it a party. I know that at least one of our partners is using the virtual facial platform as a fundraiser.”

    Ultimately, the experience is a collaboration between the esthetician who plans and guides the experiences and the personal needs of the client. 

    Provenzano says that the virtual facial program is something that may not have ever been born if the coronavirus pandemic had never come about. “Let’s face it, the real thing is better,” she says. “But, we are finding that it fills a need for the restless consumer.” 

    Provenzano says that those who already have a spa or skincare professional they like going to can check to see if their service provider is offering virtual services. If virtual services aren’t available, she says that you can go to the Jurlique website and find a provider through the Spa Locator tab.

    The company’s ability to innovate looks to be something that will help boost their offerings once the pandemic has ended. Provenzano says that the virtual program fills a need that will always exist. “Think of the busy new mom who cannot take the time for a full spa visit – this could be a nice interim treat until she can have a full day of beauty,” she adds.

    To learn more about Jurlique and their new virtual facial program, visit www.jurlique.com. The website also features a blog and they post on IGTV, where you can find plenty of useful, at-home content.

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    There’s an upcoming virtual event featuring several Ohio-based entrepreneurs discussing how they moved forward without waiting for their turn.

    Panelists for the upcoming webinar hosted by Women for Economic Leadership and Development on May 20.

    Mark your calendars for May 20 when Women for Economic and Leadership Development (WELD) hosts its monthly leadership panel. This month, it’s called “In Our Shoes Panel: Moving Forward Without Waiting for Your Turn.” 

    “‘In Our Shoes’ signifies that this panel is from the perspective of emerging professionals and what it is like to be in their shoes,” explains WELD National Chapter Management Officer Deepa Kellar. “Our diverse panel of emerging professionals will address how they achieved rapid success so early in their careers and overcame objections encountered along the way that they need to ‘bide their time.’”

    The panelists will also share how they were able to navigate changing dynamics in business relationships as their careers advanced. 

    This monthly event, which started last year, has gained a lot of attention from other women in the professional world. “We brought back the moderator, Mikaela Hunt, and a new group of high caliber, successful panelists who have already made their mark very early in their careers,” says Kellar. “These women are fierce and have a lot of proven business and career strategies to share.”

    Panelists for the event, in addition to Hunt, include Lynn Rich, Chief of Staff at Vertiv; Amy Scalia, Publisher and CEO of Cincy Chic and Cbus Chic; and Erin Scott, Executive Director of the Ohio Women’s Alliance.

    Kellar says that she hopes those who participate in the panel will learn how to quell the “negative self-talk” that many women engage in even when they’re ready for the next level of leadership. “Panelists will share strategies on how to keep moving forward when they might be getting subtle, or not so subtle, messages that the ‘time isn’t right’ or ‘they need to wait their turn’ for a promotion or business opportunity,” she adds. “Attendees will learn tips on how to advocate for themselves to show advancement readiness and deal with push back from detractors.” 

    While many events are being cancelled or postponed due to COVID-19, WELD wanted to go virtual with this event so that others could still seize the opportunity to hear from its panelists. 

    “Business and career opportunities don’t necessarily come when they are ‘convenient’ for people,” says Kellar. “New opportunities can be created in the most stressful and bleakest of times. These are the exact times when extraordinary leaders are identified and rise to the occasion, and entrepreneurs innovate mission critical business solutions. Our businesses and communities need these kinds of leaders now and emerging professionals must be tapped for the talent that they have.”

    Even more so, Kellar says that the diversity of the panelists makes this virtual event unique. “The diversity of our panel combined with the high levels of business success the panelists have achieved so early in their careers will make for an excellent cocktail,” she says. “We have individuals representing various professions, and all have unique stories to share on how they’ve reached their current positions and roles. Mikaela Hunt is a moderator at the top of her game and knows how to bring it – she will deliver the best out of the panelists and get the audience fully engaged.”

    To learn more about the event or to register, click here.

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    Learn how to cook from the comfort of your own home with virtual cooking classes. Click here to read more.

    If you’ve ever been interested in taking your cooking skills up a notch, there’s no better time than now to do just that. The Learning Kitchen in West Chester wants to help you create high-quality meals with help from the pros. 

    “The Learning Kitchen is Greater Cincinnati’s premier cooking class destination,” says Owner David Metz. “Our take on cooking is simple: It should be easy, fun, and delicious.”

    This hands-on cooking experience (when we aren’t on lockdown), uses locally grown foods to give you the freshest ingredients to prepare your meal.

    But, since we’re still practicing social distancing for the time being, The Learning Kitchen is now offering virtual classes. 

    “Virtual classes are for work groups, friends, and families,” says Metz. “We send you the recipes, grocery list, and setup instructions. Each person gathers their ingredients. Then we have a live Zoom video call. Our chef leads you through prepping, cooking, and plating the entire meal while everyone follows along at home. Viewers can ask questions and interact with the chef.” 

    As Ohio slowly begins to reopen, The Learning Kitchen is offering classes again, but with reduced capacity. 

    Regular classes restarted on May 12 with a maximum of 7 guests or 6 couples to maintain the required 6-feet for social distancing. “We provide hand sanitizer and gloves when needed and we have eliminated any need to pass items,” says Metz. 

    Also available now are private daytime classes, which are ideal for couples, families, or groups who share a living space. Metz says this is a great way to get out of the house and do something fun. The classes are run like regular classes except the building is occupied by just the private cooking class. After a date is booked, the team from The Learning Kitchen will contact you to coordinate the menu, confirm the number of guests, and go over safety precautions with you.

    Find out more information about The Learning Kitchen at https://www.thelearningkitchen.com. You can also like them on Facebook to stay up to date with new announcements regarding classes and safety precautions. 

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    A local boutique bakery that started from scratch is now offering cookie kits to make their signature sweets at home.

    Cincy Chic: What is Delicious Designs Cookies?
    Arin Singer-Bonk, Founder of Delicious Designs Cookies: Delicious Designs Cookies is a small boutique bakery specializing in custom cut-out cookies for special events and occasions. Everything is created for your exact specifications.We love doing cookies for graduations, weddings, baby and bridal showers and any special event that merits a special cookie.  In addition to cookies, we also have an extensive after school cookie decorating program, primarily in Lakota Schools and the Cincinnati Public Library System. The after school program is six week of cookie decorating, meeting once per week, where each week is a new theme. We meet for one hour and have an absolute blast.

    Cincy Chic: What inspired you to launch the bakery?
    Singer-Bonk: Delicious Designs Cookies was started, from scratch, in 2006. My family moved to Cincinnati that year and it seemed like a great time to launch a new business and follow dreams of creating delicious things for people.

    Cincy Chic: Who’s behind the business?
    Singer-Bonk: Me! My name is Arin and I own the company. While I am the creative and driving force behind it, I can’t do it without the support of my family and my assistant Tricia. I’ve also been fortunate enough to use the Lakota Local Schools Internship program to develop high school interns to help me with the after school program. They have really helped me maximize the amount of schools and children I can serve in the course of a week.

    Cincy Chic: What makes Delicious Designs Cookies unique?
    Singer-Bonk: I am convinced that you won’t get better customer service anywhere. I love meeting with people and getting to know them to learn how I can best serve their needs. My company has become immersed in the community and we have a reputation to uphold. I rely a lot on referrals and I want to always make sure that people can trust me to take care of those they have referred to me. In addition to cookies and classes, we also offer birthday parties and summer “Camp Cookie” that has been entertaining kids since 2011.

    Cincy Chic: Tell us more about the new cookie kits you’re offering!
    Singer-Bonk: When the coronavirus came to the forefront of our lives in early March things quickly changed for my business. It began with canceled after school classes and followed with canceled orders. All in just a couple of days the  stay at home orders were put into place and large scale gatherings were against protocol. For a day or two I panicked because the orders I had were for baby showers, bridal showers and parties. I brainstormed and thought of the families trapped at home, sorting things out and looking for entertainment. I thought about the cookie kits I had made at Christmas and thought that might be a good idea, especially if they were offered in different themes. And, what if they were delivered to all those that were homebound? I made a Facebook post with a few theme ideas and was completely surprised and overwhelmed with their popularity. For the past eight weeks I have offered kits that get delivered, primarily to West Chester and Liberty Township and beyond. Each kit has 12 cookies and everything needed to decorate them…utensils, base coat icing, piping bags, sprinkles and accents. After a week or so people started ordering for birthdays as well. So, I started offering balloons as an add-on. As it turns out, those were a big hit, too, because quarantine birthdays need extra cheer! I have since employed two people to help with deliveries. I have made a lot of new amazing customers through the process, which is amazing!

    Cincy Chic: How can readers place an order with Delicious Cookie Designs?
    Singer-Bonk: To order, people primarily message on Facebook or instagram and I take their information and they are either invoiced or transfer money through Venmo.

    Cincy Chic: Is there anything new on the horizon for Delicious Cookie Designs?
    Singer-Bonk: I am looking to develop my summer program into an online platform where a kit is purchased (either one time or through a subscription) and online instruction is provided through a video platform. With summer camps being so up in the air right now, this might be a viable option to keep kids entertained this summer. And we are always looking to further develop the things that have always been working for Delicious Designs Cookies. Even if our in-person camps are able to happen, this might be a fun way to reach more people outside of my community.

    Cincy Chic: Where can readers go to learn more and follow along?
    Singer-Bonk: Delicious Designs Cookies is on Facebook and Instagram, or you can check out our website here. To contact us, call 513-490-7221 or send an email to deliciousdesignscookies@yahoo.com.

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    Check out a recap of the small and local businesses we've featured this week on our new sister page Spend With Cincinnati.

    Cincy Chic recently launched a new sister account called Spend With Cincinnati. The goal of Spend With Cincinnati is to share how the public can still support small and local businesses during the COVID-19 outbreak. Below is a recap of what we’ve featured this week:

    Pure Beauty Skin Bar: Find yourself struggling with acne or insecurities about your skin? @purebeautyskinbaris here to help! They are a holistic specialist right here in Cincinnati!
    They are offering virtual consultations to get to know your lifestyle, skincare, and help you find the right path to new skin! Plus when you order their amazing products, they have pickup offered available only 24 hours after your order so no long waiting period!

    The Wardrobe Cincinnati: NOW OPEN! Today @thewardrobecincinnati opened their doors for you! Head in to find beautiful clothing pieces and accessories to vamp up your summer wardrobe!
    Read their latest post for details, but the store and employees is taking extreme caution following all guidelines to ensure a safe shopping experience! AND if you aren’t comfortable being in-store yet, they are still offering FREE local delivery, shipping, and curbside pickup!

    The Cone: Happy Treat-yourself-Tuesday! (Even if that isn’t a thing go along with it, it’s an excuse to eat ice cream 😂) Indulge today in a well deserved ice cream! @theconewcis a local ice cream shop offering your favorite regular and DAIRY FREE soft serves! Open Tuesday-Friday 2-9pm and Weekends noon-12pm for drive thru or pickup!

    Ripple Wine Bar: Happy Wednesday! You’ve made it halfway through the week which means…wine-Wednesday! Celebrate tonight with some delicious takeout from @ripplewinebar 🤩 Head to their website to see their delicious menu and have a yummy meal right at home!

    Garden of Eten: @gardenofetenwas started by owner Rachel to bring you a holistic and natural way to better your health! Her products are packed with nutrients from herbs and more! Click the link in their bio to start your order! AND if you’re looking to know more about holistic health, DM and she is happy to teach you!

    Pleasantry OTR: Happy Thursday everyone! Healthcare workers have been working tirelessly to help keep our community safe so it is important to show our appreciation for them! @pleasantryotr has now given over 10 THOUSAND meals to healthcare workers thanks to you guys! Through the link in their bio you can donate a meal for only $10 and show your support! Plus make sure to feed yourself too! @pleasantryotr offers delicious carry-out meals for you! Swipe to see this weeks menu! Open till Saturday from 4-8pm!

    Indigenous Gallery: How beautiful are these pieces 😍 @indigenousgallery is here to bring you a beautiful collection of homemade products made by over 150 local & regional artists in Cincinnati! They are now OPEN today and tomorrow from 10am-6pm! Then starting May 19th, they will be open from Tuesday-Saturday 10-6! If you are not ready to be inside stores yet, pickup, free delivery, and free shipping are offered!

    Bow Tie Cafe: Happy Friday everyone! @bowtiecafe patio is NOW OPEN! Enjoy delicious coffee and yummy food during the day, and amazing cocktails and wine at night! If you aren’t quite ready for company yet, enjoy all your favorites to go! Call ahead or order through @doordash or @ubereats P.S. this café has some of my favorite views of Mt. Adams and Cincy🤩

    Sotto: Time for some delicious Friday night carry-out 😍 @sottocincy is open for same day pickup of their delicious food and drinks! Click the link in their bio to place your order! Open today from 4-8:30!

    Aglamesis Bro’s: It’s officially the weekend…which definitely calls for ice cream! @aglamesisbros is now open for pickup/carry-out service! They offer delicious ice cream, chocolate, and more! Call ahead to place your order and pay over the phone to avoid contact!

    Grainwell: Something about this pandemic has made small sayings like this one extra special to my heart 🥺
    @grainwell is a local handmade wood shop started by 3 sisters! They are beautiful pieces made custom just for you! From signs to cutting boards to coasters, they have anything you could ever need! Plus check out their story for adorable new teacher gifts! With the end of the school year coming up teachers deserve a little something to say thank you!

    The Bagelry OTR: The best breakfast/brunch a Sunday could ask for😍 @thebagelryotr is here to bring delicious bagels and sandwiches this Sunday! They are available for pickup or through DoorDash and Uber Eats!

    Oasis Face Bar: The time has to come to finally tame those brows and give some love to your skin🤩 @oasisfacebarcincy is NOW OPEN to offer a variety of skin treatments, waxing, and tinting! Click the link in their bio to book your appointment today and make sure to check out their amazing products offered on the site! Plus they are HIRING! If you are an esthetician looking to join their team, email your resume to otr@oasisfacebar.com!

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    As businesses start to open again and some sense of normalcy resumes, our life coach columnist explains how it can be the prime time to shape your best life.

    One thing that has been evident during the pandemic is how simplifying life has moved us all closer to our most natural state. There are far less selfies on social media, no exotic excursions, who’s-who events or fancy nights out. In addition, the use of virtual meeting rooms has opened us up to a new way to being business professionals. No stately offices or wining and dining at impressive business lunches. It’s just you.

    How are you navigating the simplicity and stillness in your life? Are you finding a balance? Perhaps you are anxious to get back to what you once new as “normal.” Yet, deep down you know it will not be the same normal you once experienced.

    Looking at what has change for you personally may include your personal self care. Little, or lack thereof. 

    Are you finding wearing makeup does not seem to be nearly as important as it once was? Has your hair color taken a drastic change during this time? Maybe the real color, which you had forgotten, will be your new look? And who knew those leggings would get so much attention.

    Oh, and when you get ready to leave the house, do you know where to find your bras?

    All this is true, and yet I personally feel there is a reconnection to ourselves and source when we tap into self care as a human being. The stillness feels natural in the sense we all get to breathe. The quiet on the outside helps us hear the whisper of our inner voice.

    What if the real need in all of this is to just be in your own state of au naturel? No use of filters, no polished presence on social media, no longer hiding your vulnerability, fear, and scarcity. Getting back to the basics of living your life from a place of gratitude, acceptance, and loving what is?

    Before jumping back into the next chapter of life from the pandemic I offer you the opportunity to really take inventory of what you learned, discovered, and received from the quarantine. What’s truly worth jumping back into? What you will change and do differently, and what you are willing to let go of that once felt so important but no longer serves?

    See yourself as that caterpillar transforming into the beautiful butterfly. Open those wings wide and today start living the next best version of yourself. From out of quarantine you have arrived in your true and au naturel state of being.

    Sending Love and Light,

    Melissa

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      While the pandemic postponed this local nurse’s wedding, she’s finding positivity in the chaos of treating COVID-19 patients. Read on for her inspiring story of heroism and hope.

      Megan Gulbrandsen’s was supposed to walk down the aisle on May 2, 2020. But instead, she was walking room to room caring for COVID-19 patients as a nurse in the Progressive Care Unit at Jewish Hospital. 

      “I work on the Progressive Care Unit, essentially a step-down-ICU at Jewish,” she explains. “However, since the COVID-19 pandemic began, my unit has been converted into COVID central alongside the Intensive Care Unit. Between the two of us we are taking most of the COVID patients.”

      Becoming COVID central has meant many changes for Gulbrandsen, and a lot of learning. 

      “There are always many new things one must learn during change,” she says. “We had to learn more about how to operate as an ICU by going through training, taking care of ventilators, how to give out medications for those who are ventilated, learning how to swab for COVID, how to operate other various machines, drawing blood, and other responsibilities to take care of our patients.”

      Megan Gulbrandsen and fiancé Eric

      Gulbrandsen says the changes were challenging at the onset of the pandemic but the frontline heroes at the Jewish Hospital have a better handle on how to care for COVID-19 patients as they flatten the curve. 

      “The hardest part at the beginning was just staying on top of the ever-changing information from work and always reading my emails,” she says. 

      Although this time has been stressful for her, including the postponement of her wedding, Gulbrandsen says that she’s been taking everything day by day and is mindful about staying positive in the face of this adversity.

      “There are a lot of things I’m doing to stay positive during this time of gloom including finding enjoyment in my off days with my family and dogs, getting out and enjoying nature, and really just enjoying time for myself – like reading and baking,” she says. 

      Once the time has passed and we find a new normal, Gulbrandsen says that there’s a very important lesson she’s going to walk away with. “I’m going to just enjoy what we have in life, enjoy the relationships we have,” she says. “Just living each day to the fullest, never taking anything for granted.” 

      She’s now looking forward to walking down the aisle on August 1.

      Editor’s Note: This feature is part of a special “Hearts to Heroes” issue dedicated to individuals across the Tri-State working on the front lines to provide for our community. Readers nominated and our editorial board selected those included in this week’s issue. Everyone featured is also receiving a heart-filled care package of self-care products, yummy treats, and gift cards to several local shops and restaurants. Many thanks to AT&T and Leslie Young, Vice President, EVER Skincare, Stella & Dot Family of Brands for making this effort possible.

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      You don't want to miss this 1889 National Register Queen Anne Victorian masterpiece for this week's Listing of the Week! Click for a sneak peek inside.

      A truly magnificent restoration unlike any other home in the region. Expert craftsmanship and the utmost attention to detail in this 1889 National Register Queen Anne Victorian masterpiece. Chef’s kitchen with professional appliances, stone counters, custom casework and lighting. Historic integrity preserved at every turn with modern conveniences blended seamlessly, including second floor laundry, third floor kitchenette, guest suite, recreation room, two-car garage. All in a prime location in the very walkable East Row Historic District. This 5 bedroom, 5 bathroom home is listed at $1.25 million.

      This listing is sponsored by Ron Erdmann at Guaranteed Rate, the official mortgage professional of Cincy Chic.

       

       

       

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