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Authors Posts by Hattie Martin

Hattie Martin

Hattie Martin
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Hattie Martin is an editorial intern at Cincy Chic. She attends University of Cincinnati, majoring in Public Relations and Fashion Studies, complimented with a Creative Writing Certificate. When she is not found writing, you can find her at your local coffee shop or spending time in her hometown of Owensboro, Kentucky. Contact her at hmartin@cincychic.com.

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From tutoring and subscription boxes to birthday parties and Parents Night Out events, see how one local company is providing unique, hands-on resources for a lifetime of learning.

The idea behind Strive Academy, LLC. sparked from a simple conversation between two middle school teachers. Today, it has impacted nearly 500 local children, and families worldwide have taken part in hands-on learning for life-long learners. 

Strive Academy, LLC.encompasses STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) based learning and activities to engage learners of all levels. “Using STEAM, students will be able to increase their creativity, ask questions, and be innovative,” says Strive Academy founders Amber Hawk and Emily Hunt. “As certified teachers, we know how important it is for students to increase their problem-solving skills through hands-on learning. These skills will help our next generation change the world for the better.”

Strive Academy, LLC. offers parent’s nights out events, birthday parties, tutoring, after-school programming, summer camps, and just recently released, STEAM box subscriptions. “We have been established in the Cincinnati area since the summer of 2018,” says Hawk and Hunt. “Each year, we have expanded our offerings based on family interests and needs.”

Since inception, children and families in the Cincinnati area have been engaging in its Strive Academy’s STEAM learning through a multitude of services, such as:  

  • Parent’s Night Out: 3-hour activity time for kids on select Friday nights for hands-on STEAM games, challenges and activities. 
  • Birthday Parties: 8 fun themes available with the option to host in home or on location at Strive Academy, LLC. 
  • Tutoring: In-person and virtual tutoring for a variety of ages and subjects. 
  • STEAM Subscription Box: 4 hands-on STEAM activities, shipped right to your door each month. Materials and video instructions included.

Strive Academy LLC offers many more services and activities for all ages, visit https://www.striveacademy.org/our-services for a complete list. At Strive Academy LLC., STEAM learning is encouraged outside of the classroom and welcomed into homes, with over 40 free activities on their site, brand-new subscription box model, math bundles, and the option to custom design a program that is best fit your group to match its needs. 

“Some of our favorite activities are lava lamps, volcanoes, paper airplane challenges, squishy circuits, chromatography, and solar ovens,” says Hawk and Hunt. “We love watching children have fun when we give them the freedom to be creative and imaginative. In most aspects of life, they have so many constraints, so it is incredible to see what they can do when given the opportunity.” 

The best way for families to become involved is to visit https://www.striveacademy.org/ and stay up to date by registering for the latest programming by joining the email list. You can also follow along on Twitter and Facebook, visit their website or email them at info@striveacademy.org.

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A Cincinnati-based company producing cinematic stories is harnessing the power of commercial film to connect brands with their audiences around the world.

Since 2011, Barking Squirrel Media has been using the power of cinematic storytelling to connect audiences all over the globe.

Their talented team takes corporate videos to new heights by combining the oldest form of communication known to humanity (storytelling) and the most modern technological form of engagement (film making), according to their company’s mission statement. “Since the beginning, our goal has been to make corporate films that change the way people think about a product or service,” says Barking Squirrel’s President and Producer David K. Bray. “We have a history of creating commercial films that engage hearts, change minds and inspire measurable action.” 

Barking Squirrel Media has produced thousands of videos since the beginning, filming in over 24 countries on 4 continents. While they have not shied away from adventuring outside of the city, they have never lost touch with their Cincinnati roots. 

“I came to Cincinnati from North Carolina to go to UC’s College-Conservatory of Music. After a number of years of living in the area, I fell in love with Cincinnati, the area, culture, OTR, start-up incubators, professional sports, and so much more,” says Bray. “While I have been offered many positions over the country throughoutthe years, I have always turned them down, so I could live in the city of my choice, Cincinnati, Ohio. There is no place on earth I would rather live and base my company out of.” 

Barking Squirrel’s client list is very robust and continues to grow, seeing as it includes companies such as P&G, Amazon, DHL, Kroger, Miami University, St. Elizabeth Health Care, Northern Kentucky University, and Perfetti Van Melle. At Barking Squirrel Media, collaboration and synergy are key, seeing as they welcome creatives into the process and maintain many partnerships with companies such as iHeart Media, Agar, Culture Monster, YGB, and Ashire Communications. 

Their cinematic storytelling is unique to each client, whether it be an educational film, corporate film, humorous film, non-profit film, testimonial film or product film. A company like this is no one-man-show. 30+ sub-contractors, overseen by three core staff,specializing as gaffers, art directors, make-up artists, script writers, and many other specialties make the magic happen. How does the process work to make the videos? There is a five-step holistic approach that guides Barking Squirrel throughout the producing process:

1. Discovery: Becoming inspired by the client’s story and theuncovering the best approach to tell it. 
2. Pre-Production: Preparing every detail of the shoot and creating the script, storyboard, and talent.
3. Production: Filming the project (duration dependent on the scope of the project) by an award-winning team.
4. Post-Production: Editing video, enhancing audio, creating scores, and animating graphics using cutting edge technology and equipment. 
5. Distribution: Ensuring the film gets to the right people, on the right platform, at the right time using the correct marketing strategy.

To find out more about the producing process, visit Barking Squirrel’s website. “I love everything involved in film making. To be fulfilled, I need to be creative, collaborate with people and create something that allows people to truly think. It is safe to say I am fulfilled every day.” says Bray. “My favorite films are the ones we create about people that struggled, but through the help of others, overcame all of their obstacles and rose up. A film that encapsulates that was for Hamilton City Schools and particularly Nate Lampley.”

There are many ways for you to stay connected with Barking Squirrel Media. 

Visit their website: https://barkingsquirrelmedia.com/

Follow them on InstagramFacebookVimeo, and Youtube.

Find out more about their company and process by visiting their client deck.

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Learn about a local jewelry shop spreading homemade love and inspiration, one fashion accessory at a time.

For the past three years, Faith Love & Leather Jewelry has been bringing homemade hope and love to customers all over Hamilton and beyond. The shop sells hand cut earrings, bracelets, necklaces and keychains. 

“Finding joy in the everyday life” is the foundation that keeps both the business and founder, Trisha Grantz, running. “It can be difficult as a mother of young kiddos to see the joy in changing diapers, constantly feeding, cleaning up dishes and laundry, little to no sleep or time to yourself. I struggled for years, just wishing for tomorrow or when the kids get a little older, or things get easier,” says Grantz. “I need to see each day as a gift and find something joyful in every situation. It’s not always easy to do so, but once you start working on it, you find yourself happier and more willing to see the blessings even in the hard situations.”

Faith Love & Leather offers many products that are made from mostly quality leather from suppliers out of Washington and Israel, along with a variety of metals. Grantz is also starting to explore the combination of acetate and leather for her products.

Grantz offers her robust selection of products, as well as a custom order feature as well. “For a custom order, customers can contact me through Etsy or social media,” says Grantz. “I work with them until their vision is just right. The whole process takes about two weeks to until full completion. I enjoy custom orders because they get my creative juices flowing in a direction that I wouldn’t have explored on my own.”

There are many great things about owning a small business and for Grantz, it is the irreplaceable relationships she has formed along the way. “I fiercely love people, but never quite found the right way to reach people outside of my family and friends,” she adds. “Owning a small business has stretched me outside of my introverted tendencies and I find myself making friends, encouraging strangers, and loving on people in situations I never would have been in before Faith Love & Leather Jewelry.”

Faith Love & Leather Jewelry can be primarily shopped on Etsy, www.etsy.com/shop/faithloveandleather, and at Sara’s House on Main Street in downtown Hamilton. 

To connect with Faith Love & Leather Jewelry, follow them on Facebook and Instagram. You can also email Trisha at faithloveleatherco@gmail.com.

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Learn more about this unique, web-based video series inspiring the next generation of scientists by focusing on science happening right in your backyard. 

Cincinnati is a unique city full of amazing sites, great eats and even curious scientists. Each day, new discoveries are made by scientists both around the world and in back yards across Greater Cincinnati. 

Science Around Cincy is a web-based series highlighting engineers, researchers and scientists and their distinctive work and passion. The platform is geared towards 4-8th graders, but anyone curious about the world is welcome to join in on the fun. “Our platform is all about inspiring the next generation of curious scientists and engineers,” says Science Around Cincy Founder and Host, Chris Anderson. “There is so much to learn, and science is all around us, even here in the city!” 

Anderson began teaching science at Princeton High School in 2008, but made moved out of the classroom and began working as a coach with Hamilton County ESC in 2016. He started to write for a blog and several local publications when he realized his yearning to connect with his audience through visual storytelling, rather than just words on a page. He combined his love for teaching science and visual storytelling together and, with the help of amazing colleagues and community, Science Around Cincy launched. 

Science Around Cincy is made up of several different resources. “We have 7-9-minute main episodes highlighting a broad array of scientists, bonus footage from the episodes, teacher resources and remote learning resources on our website,” says Anderson. “The topics covered in our episodes range from Frog Cryobiologists to a geneticist from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. We want kids to know that being a scientist means so much more than just wearing a lab coat, science can be found everywhere.” 

A project like this is no one-man-show. Anderson’s team is made up of 10 dedicated individuals, ranging from Northern Kentucky University interns to staff. Each member holds a specific role that is vital to making Science Around Cincy into what it is today. “My team is amazing, and I could not do what I do without them – I admire each one of them greatly,” says Anderson.

“My favorite part about Science Around Cincy has been the positive feedback from students. Being able to see the kids so intrigued and invested really brought home our mission statement to get kids excited about science,” Anderson says.

To stay connected with Science Around Cincy, follow them on Instagram and Twitter and visit their website, https://sciaroundcincy.com/. You can also check out all of their videos their YouTube channel.

*A special thank you to the Science Around Cincy team: John Gibson, Jordan Bardgett, Michael Pikar, Megan Mixon, Corinne Byrne, Arianna Manners, Kerry Stephans, Aria Brice, and Jason Houston. 

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Learn about a new, eclectic online shopping experience that will satisfy your home, body and spirit. 

 

Looking for a unique online shopping experience to please your closet and spirit? Look no further. Witchy Woman Boutique is a brand new online boutique offering an eclectic mixture of handmade, gently used, and brand new items for the home, body and spirit. 

 

“Witchy Woman Boutique is about encouraging women to continue to seek their inner powers and strengths,” says Kristina Kennel, Witchy Woman Boutique founder. “The goal is to give our shoppers the opportunity to discover unique, high-quality products. Our hope is that Witchy Woman Boutique can foster a sisterhood of vendors and shoppers all coming together to enjoy a for-women, by-women experience.” 

 

The Witchy Woman retail space is currently online only, with the shipping and fulfillment done from a farmhouse in Shandon, OH. “The inspiration for the company came from the strong women I was surrounded by growing up who inspired me to be true to my journey and true to who I am with undying love and support,” says Kennel. When I decided to embark on the journey of opening Witchy Woman Boutique, the encouragement I got was humbling, magical and truly inspirational. As Witchy Woman Boutique continues to grow, I want to carry this same powerful energy within the Boutique.”

 

Witchy Woman Boutique is set to have a soft opening and launch date on June 5, 2020. To stay connected and get updated, visit their websitehttps://www.witchywomanboutique.com/, and follow them on Instagram and Facebook

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An OTR-based women’s boutique is taking their unique and personal shopping experience to a whole new, virtual level.

Since COVID-19, many things in our world look different, especially the traditional shopping experience. Idlewild Woman, located in the heart of OTR, is offering private virtual shopping hour sprees with manager, lead stylist and designer, Tessa Clark. 

Idlewild Woman is a boutique featuring ethical and sustainable clothing for people of all ages and sizes. Their goal is to enhance and empower women to look and feel their very best, while celebrating their bodies and personal style along the way. “Since the pandemic, our goal has been to stay engaged with customers as possible,” says Idlewild’s manager, Tessa Clark. “(Through virtual shopping), we are aiming to continuing building our relationships with current customers and hoping to gain new customers that might live out of state. We are taking a conservative approach to reopening – as we want our customers and employees to stay as safe as possible.”

How does virtual shopping work?

Virtual shopping is available every Wednesday through Saturday at 2pm, 4pm, and 6pm. Customers can book their appointment on Idlewild Woman’s website, similar to booking a hair or nail appointment. Tessa will contact the customerabout which platform to use and a Zoom link or Facetime call will be with them shortly after that. Before the call, the customer is encouraged to peruse Idlewild’s website so they can have an idea of what questions to ask Tessa. The customer can expect a video call from Tessa a few minutes before the scheduled appointment. Tessa will be in store video chatting with the customer, showing any garments, jewelry, or shows the customer may want to see for an hour. At the end of the call, the customer can choose to pay by phone or invoice via email after the call.

“Virtual shopping has many benefits,” says Clark. “You get personalized time to shop with me, while practicing social distancing, easier online shopping benefits, you can schedule the appointment from anywhere, and you have the ability to add three friends on the call to shop with you virtually from all over the country!” 

Why shop local during this time? Small retailers and local business need your support now more than ever. “If you love your community, think about what makes it up,” says Clark. “It is proven that more money actually stays within your community when you shop small versus big box.”

For more information on virtual shopping or to schedule your session, visit https://idlewildwoman.com/..

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It isn’t easy to maintain a restaurant, advocate for small businesses, and give back to your community. But for this local woman, it’s simply another day on the job. Read on for more.

For the past several years, Sweets & Meats BBQ has been serving the Cincinnati community with their family recipes and true passion for helping those around them. 

The idea for the company started when founder and CEO Kristen Bailey and her partner, Anton, began hosting backyard cookouts in 2010. “He (Anton) has always been an incredible cook and his food and BBQ kept getting better and better. I could see his passion for making really good BBQ and I loved hosting and entertaining our guests. We complement each other very well,” says Bailey. “For Anton’s 40th birthday, I created a business plan, filed an LLC, and had a custom smoker built in Georgia shipped to our home. We launched the business together that week!”

Sweets & Meats BBQ makes everything from scratch daily using family recipes and focusing on the entire BBQ experience. In every outlet of their franchise, you can find six smoked meats, eight homemade sides, two desserts and an excellent customer service experience on a daily basis, according to Bailey. “Every day is Thanksgiving at Sweets & Meats BBQ,” she laughs.

Some crowd favorites on their menu are brisket, baby back ribs, macaroni & cheese, sweet potato casserole, sweet cornbread, collard greens, and banana pudding. It’s those crowd favorites and Bailey’s dedication that have won Sweets & Meats BBQ 12 awards and counting since opening in 2014. Most recently, they won the 2019 Ohio Business Person of the Year (U.S. SBA), 2019 1st Place Entrée – Rib Tips (Taste of Cincinnati), and 2019 Equity Award (MORTAR Cincinnati).

“My favorite part about Sweets & Meats BBQ is that I get to do what I love with the person I love most, every single day. We are building a life and a legacy together. We have poured everything we have into our business, it’s deeply personal. We will always do everything we can to keep moving forward,” says Bailey.

Enter, COVID-19. The pandemic has been difficult for many small businesses, especially those in the food industry. For Sweets & Meats BBQ, Bailey says they are determined to see it as an opportunity to do the most with what they can with where they are. “We are constantly pivoting and have been more proactive versus reactive,” says Bailey. “Through our partnership with Kroger, we are stocking a 6-foot cold case with our items, setting up food truck pop-ups in different neighborhoods, experimenting with new menu items (new partnership with Queen City Sausage), serving free meals at rest stops, and are focusing heavily on online ordering with contactless payment and offering curbside pick-up.”

Not only are they serving customers ordering food, they are also serving those around them in the community. “I feel Sweets & Meats BBQ has been a really big advocate for other small businesses and helping them navigate during a really difficult and unprecedented time. We remain open and have always been a resource for our peer entrepreneurs. We have been assisting families in our neighborhood who are food insecure, purchasing produce boxes for our team’s families, serving truckers complimentary meals at rest stops, and preparing meals for first responders each week,” says Bailey. “We continue to persevere, and I think we do our neighborhoods proud by being good stewards and finding success. We want to bring joy!”

Want to help in your community, but not sure where to start? Take Bailey’s advice and follow your heart. Ask yourself what you are passionate about. When in doubt, turn to a non-profit whose mission aligns with your passion, Bailey suggests.

Sweets & Meats BBQ carry out restaurant is located in Mount Washington at 2249 Beechmont Avenue, open Wednesday – Sunday. Their food truck has an active schedule popping up around the Tri-State. To learn more, locate their food truck, or order online, visit https://www.sweetsandmeatsbbq.com/. You can also connect with them on InstagramFacebook and Twitter

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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While restrictions keep the market from being its usual shoulder-to-shoulder shopping, it launched a new, creative way to shop and support its local merchants.

Located in the heart of downtown Cincinnati, Findlay Market has been offering fresh food and locally sourced products to our Cincinnati community since 1852. It’s home to 50 full-time independent businesses and 75 part-time vendors. While Findlay Market may not be filled with customers physically during this unprecedented time, they did just launch a new gift certificate program as a new way to support the merchants from home. 

“The inspiration behind our gift certificate program came from us looking for creative solutions to help merchants during this time,” says Findlay Market’s Director of Communications, Kelly Lanser. “We are still operating, and each business is adapting to the current environment in many different ways. This is a really opportune time to rally together and stand behind the ones who have served us for so long.”

There are over 50 full-time, independently-owned businesses customers have to choose from. Cincinnati favorites from Eli’s BBQ, Taste of Belgium, Harvest Pizzaria and many more are on the list. All of the funds from the gift certificate purchase go directly back to the merchants.

Findlay Market also offers grocery store products and fresh produce, with a sourcing line smaller than big box stores since the merchants work directly with the farmers.

“Shopping local during this time is of the utmost importance. The majority of the individuals that stand behind the counters in Findlay Market are the owners and this is their livelihood. They do not clock in and out,” says Lanser. “It is right now that we support the men and women who have created these businesses that we have all come to love. Their paycheck comes from the support of the Cincinnati community. It has truly been an outpouring of love and support so far and our merchants are feeling it. People are writing notes, changing shopping habits, and now can support in a new way with the gift certificate program.”

Gift certificates can be purchased by visiting http://findlaymarket.org/news/gift-certificates. Stay connected with Findlay Market on Facebook and Instagram

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Local apparel designers and entrepreneurs are teaming up to make “urban grade” masks for the community. Read on for more.

The apparel designers and entrepreneurs behind Sew Valley and Hemmer Design are answering the community’s call for more Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). “We are manufacturers, and people need masks, so it seemed obvious that we should use our skills to help during the COVID-19 crisis,” says Sew Valley’s Shailah Maynard. 

Sew Valley is a non-profit in Cincinnati’s West End that exists to provide resources to apparel designers and entrepreneurs. Their aim is to help brands grow in a sustainable and thoughtful way by offering small batch production services, studio membership and educational workshops.

Hemmer Design is an apparel and soft goods design consultancy, having expertise in trend forecasting, product development, product design, performance material development and advanced manufacturing.

“Through this collaboration with Sew Valley, Hemmer Design is really helping to strategize, design product, source materials, coordinate sales, raise funds and coordinate partnerships,” says Jessica Hemmer, Founder and Creative Director of Hemmer Design. “This collaboration has been wonderful because we are able to create a more dynamic manufacturing ecosystem here in Cincinnati by pulling our capabilities together.”

These unique “Urban-Grade” masks are being created to help slow the spread of the virus and free-up any medical-grade masks for healthcare workers who need them. “The masks are made of double-layer cotton, with fabric ties. They are reusable, washable, and meant to be washed after use,” says Maynard.

The masks are being made by a team of 12 people, with new equipment coming in to speed the process up. “Our new assembly line of machines, supported by the Carol Ann & Ralph V. Haile Jr and U.S. Bank Foundation, allows for seven people to actively work on expediting mask manufacturing at once, with others behind the scenes prepping, packing and shipping,” Maynard explains. Each day, the team is hard at work producing these creative and sustainable masks for the Cincinnati community.

“My favorite part of watching our PPE initiative come to life has been seeing how quickly our team has adapted to a new form of manufacturing, as well as being able to partner with, and work with other creatives, designers, and makers in the Cincinnati community,” says Maynard. “At the end of the day, everyone has the same end goal in mind: do what you can NOW to help.”

How can you help, connect, or donate? 

Those who are interested in joining the volunteer list to help sew or making a monetary donation to keep the Sew Valley + Hemmer Design operation going can visit their website at https://sewvalley.org/svppe. You can also support Hemmer Design’s GoFundMe campaign as they work towards manufacturing 1500 masks for the Cincinnati Homeless Coalition.

Sew Valley: Website and Instagram

Hemmer Design: Website and Instagram 

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A local theater is bringing a Date Night tradition into the comfort of your own home — plus, free movie popcorn! Read on for more.

Since opening its doors in July 2019, RJ Cinema has welcomed in couples for Date Night Tuesday. Date Night packages include two entrees from the menu (choice of movie soft drink or drinks of choice from the bar), a special dessert for two and two movie tickets for a price of $39 + tax. In light of the recent shutdown due to COVID-19, RJ Cinema is giving away FREE buckets of movie theater popcorn for couples to keep the Date Night Tuesday tradition and romance alive, just this time, in the safety and comfort of your own home.

“Since we were forced to close normal operations in our cinema, restaurant and bar, we decided that we would create a way for our customers to keep their Tuesday Date Night time together going, just this time, they would need to do it in their home,” says RJ Cinema Distillery and Taproom’s General Manager, Ric Welker. “However, watching a movie at home is never the same as experiencing the large format screens and digital surround sound that a movie theater provides. So, we decided we could provide the taste and smell of real movie theater popcorn to make that at-home movie just a little better.”

Typically, RJ Cinema’s favorite part of Date Night Tuesday’s is seeing couples coming out for a dinner and movie date. Today, the same couples are still participating, just through selfies and social media. “The experience of seeing a movie at home is almost always augmented by the smell and taste of popcorn. It’s almost impossible for at-home popcorn to replicate those emotions, so seeing the families who are posting pictures online of themselves at home enjoying the simple gift of the popcorn, makes it all worth it,” says Welker.

After society goes back to normal, RJ Cinema Distillery and Taproom will have its doors open for guests to enjoy one of their eight digital theaters, a scratch made meal from the kitchen, craft beers and custom cocktails, or even hosting an event in the taproom. 

Freshly made popcorn is being made every Tuesday and Friday at RJ Cinema. Pull up to the front door and a worker will bring a bucket our to your car, no purchase required. 

Tuesday – 5:30-8pm EST

Friday – 5:30 – 9pm EST

For those interested in supporting RJ Cinema by purchasing drink mixes, RJ Distillery bottles, and other products, pre-order is available on their website, https://rjcinema.com/order. To ensure enough product is on hand and your wait time is kept to a minimum, please pre-order. Payment can be made when you arrive to pick up the order.

To stay connected with RJ Cinema Distillery & Taproom, visit their website and Facebook.

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