The only online publication for women in Greater Cincinnati
Authors Posts by Niyah Jackson

Niyah Jackson

Editorial and Event Intern - Niyah Jackson, an aspiring fashion stylist, studies Fashion Design through the school of Design, Art, Architecture, and Planning (DAAP) at the University of Cincinnati. When she’s not working on her next design project, you can find her blogging on, modeling, shopping, writing for several online publications, singing to an R&B song, or watching TV on her laptop. She also practices yoga, Zumba, and pilates. Contact her at

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See how students at Gateway Community and Technical College are practicing their techniques outside of the classroom, and gaining hands-on (literally!) learning experience.

Emerge Hair Studio and Spa in downtown Covington is a student-run business in the college’s Professional Services building.

There’s nothing quite like getting hands-on learning experience. That’s why students at Gateway Community and Technical College are getting to do just that at Emerge Hair Studio and Spa.

Emerge Hair Studio and Spa is a student-run business in the college’s Professional Services building in downtown Covington. Emerge had a soft opening in June 2015 with its massage services. The grand opening will occur in late August and by then all of its services such as hair cut, color and style, manicures, pedicures, waxing, and facials will be offered.

“Emerge was created to provide a state-of-the-art learning center for our students and a service to Covington,” says Michelle Sjogren, Gateway’s Director of Communications. Although Emerge has only been opened since June, it has already received five star reviews on its Facebook page. People seem to agree that the prices are unbeatable, Sjogren says, as a 60 minute massage is priced at $30.

Emerge Hair Studio + Spa logo, inspired by the ripple created from a drop of water.

“We envision the business and college educational programs growing as Emerge’s reputation grows,” explains Sjogren. “We are excited to give our students experience with executing a business, as well as the services performed. We hope this will inspire them to launch their own businesses in the industry.”

The Emerge logo was designed by R. Eugene Heard, a Covington resident and designer. His concept is inspired by the ripple created from a drop of water. “Like a single drop creates ripples, everything starts from each student’s hand,” says Heard. “For the student, Emerge Hair Studio and Spa will be the place to learn how to use techniques to provide great moments. The identity represents the power of single student.”

Emerge Hair Studio and Spa is located at 438 Scott Boulevard, Covington. To learn more, “like” them on Facebook and stay tuned for the official Emerge website to launch soon.

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Right in the heart of downtown’s hustle and bustle, there’s an urban oasis specializing in organic spa and salon services. Keep reading for more.

Inner Peace Holistic Center
Inner Peace Holistic Center is an urban oasis offering a number of organic spa and salon services.

Whether you’re looking for deep meditation or a deep tissue massage, Inner Peace Holistic Center can help.

Located in the heart of downtown Cincinnati, in its new digs on Race St., this urban oasis offers a variety of organic spa and salon services, in addition to meditative and intuitive development.

What’s meditative and intuitive development? According to instructor Melissa Alejandro, who will be teaching a class on Aug. 15 from 5-6:30 p.m. at Inner Peace, you will “learn to breathe properly, to control the ‘Mind Chatter’ to relax, connect to higher-self and to listen to your intuition.” Inner Peace also offers other holistic services, such as Hypnosis, Reiki, Vibration Healing Energy, Ionic Foot Bath Detox and a Balancing V-Steam Treatment, which — inspired by an ancient Korean ritual — stimulates the production of hormones to maintain uterine health, aids regular menstrual cycles and helps correct digestive disorders while soothing the nervous system.


They also offer traditional spa services — such as facials, massage, manicures, pedicures, tanning and waxing — and salon services, such as organic hair care, lash extensions and semi-permanent eyelashes. Inner Peace massage therapists offer a variety of unique styles, many of which you won’t find elsewhere in the Tri-State.

These styles include Chakra Healing, Coconut Massage, Lymphatic Drainage, Thai, Warm Chocolate, as well as Deep Tissue, Swedish, Hot Stone, Medical Therapeutic and Prenatal.

Some of the Specialty Services at Inner Peace include:
– The “Golden Turtle” — a combination of Swedish Massage, Shirodhara Treatment, Warm Paraffin Treatment and Hot Towel Facial.

– The “Salt Glo” – a mixture of sea salt and oil is applied, you’re placed in a steam tent for 20 minutes, and the mixture is removed with warm wet towels.

– Shirodhara, an ancient healing practice and application of warmed oil, infused with herbs, gently poured onto the forehead for an extended period of time. It’s traditionally used to calm the nerves, restore the nerves, release stored emotions and purify the mind. In Ayurvedic Medicine, it is considered an important tool in the pursuit of higher states of consciousness. Shirodhara has been traditionally shown to help with fatigue, mental exhaustion, anxiety, insomnia, headache, nervousness and many other common conditions.

To learn more, or for online scheduling, visit

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Looking for a way to relieve stress during your wedding planning (and primping) process? Learn more about Brides+Bites+Burpees, where workouts are a party.

Nicole Leisen and Ashley Thomas, founders of Brides+Bites+Burpees

A wedding is the start of a new life together. But it’s all too easy to get stressed and buried in the planning process. That’s why Nicole Leisen and Ashley Thomas launched Brides+Bites+Burpees, which combines a workout — or “Fitness Party” — complete with your closest friends, fun exercise, healthy bites and a low-cal alcoholic beverage.

Leisen and Thomas, personal trainers and fitness group instructors, wanted to make wellness fun for brides-to-be and their circle of friends.

“Health, fitness, friends and good food and drinks are some of our favorite things in everyday life, so it made so much sense to come together to share the things we love the most and share it with other busy girls in the Cincinnati area,” the two explain.

Brides can select their food and workout from a menu of options. “All of our food items are ‘skinny,’ meaning we provide light and healthy options.

The workouts vary. The three formats we currently offer are bachelorette’s booty blast, totally bodacious bride and pre-HIIT hitched. Each of the workouts are unique in their own way offering brides a total body workout to get them ready for their big day.”

The one move they suggest women do everyday even if for only five minutes? Burpees. “Let’s be honest, they are the worst, but they do everything at once and reap many benefits in a short amount of time — cardio, core, upper/lower body strength, mobility and flexibility,” they say. brides+bites+burpees offers in-home fitness parties for the bride-to-be and her gal pals.

“We understand planning a wedding can be one of the most special, yet stressful times,” they say. “Don’t lose sight of your fitness or your social life. kick-start the nuptial celebrations with two things everyone can agree on; working out and partying!”

Their next Fitness Party that’s open to the public is July 9 at 7p.m. at Alms Park. Not a bride yourself, but know someone that is? A Fitness Party is a great gift idea, according to Leisen and Thomas.

To learn more, “like” them on Facebook.

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She’s a mom, plus size model, and makeup artist — as well as a widow and agoraphobia survivor — and she was just crowned Mrs. Ohio Plus America. Learn more about this fascinating femme.

Jenifer Quinn-Wilson, recently crowned Mrs. Ohio Plus America
Jenifer Quinn-Wilson, recently crowned Mrs. Ohio Plus America

To see Jenifer Quinn-Wilson today — wearing a sequined gown, working a runway, and public speaking — you’d never know that, just last year, she struggled with a crippling fear of doing all of these things.

We’ve all had days when we don’t want to leave the house; days when we’d rather relax and read a book in bed, or watch back-to-back episodes of Netflix for 24 hours. But, imagine having a fear of leaving your house. For years. Or even worse, 12 years.

Agoraphobia is a panic disorder where those diagnosed have a fear of leaving the house, a fear of transportation, and/or a fear of being in large crowds and spaces. Now, imagine that not only do you manage to control this fear, but you also run for a beauty pageant and win the crown with the platform of Agoraphobia. This is all true of recently-crowned Mrs. Ohio Plus America, Jenifer Quinn-Wilson.

Quinn-Wilson is a mother, widow, wife, marketing director, makeup artist, plus size stylist, and a plus size model. She’s also the president of the Sophisticates of Northern Cincinnati, and just last month, she was crowned Mrs. Ohio Plus America.

“When Mrs. Plus America Elite 2014 crowned me as Miss Congeniality and whispered ‘I’m so proud of you,’ I felt like I was part of a sisterhood,” Quinn-Wilson says.

In fact, Quinn-Wilson says, she believes her entire life has led her to her decision to run for the pageant. “After a series of physically, and psychologically traumatic events, I found myself in a wheel chair, ill and afraid to leave my home,” she recalls. “I spent 12-plus years petrified of leaving my home.”

When her husband Tim passed away in 2010, she knew it was time to change things. “I began a very hard journey to find health and happiness,” she says. “But the fear of leaving my home was the hardest part to overcome.” Today, Quinn-Wilson has never been happier, she re-married in 2013 to her husband Shawn, who is also a widower. “Last year I experienced another set back. I struggled every day to leave my home. It was getting harder instead of easier. Then this year I decided I was just done. I had to overcome. I had to push through.”

Quinn-Wilson gave herself until her February birthday to do just that. By the end of that month, her makeup art had been published in several magazines locally, nationally, and internationally. She also started the Sophisticates of Northern Cincinnati, a women’s empowerment and networking group. In April, she walked in Curve The Runway, her first fashion show, and she enrolled in the Mrs. Ohio Plus America Pageant.

“In May, I became Mrs. Ohio Plus America 2015 and I am now preparing for Mrs. Plus America in July,” she says.

Quinn-Wilson believes if she can help just one person leave their home, find a better way to health, find their passion, or change their life — because she shared her journey, then it would make her struggle worthwhile. “My platform is Agoraphobia. 3.2 million people suffer from this illness. That is 1 in every 85 people,” she explains. “Unfortunately these numbers are underestimated, as most people with agoraphobia do not seek help, because it requires leaving the home to do so. It is my hope that no one ever has to suffer a great loss to find his or her strength. It’s possible to do it. The Mrs. Plus America Pageant is my way of getting the word out.”

She says the best part about participating in Mrs. Ohio Plus America is all of her new friends. “I truly adore everyone up on that stage with me,” she says. “The most challenging part about the it was and still is raising the funds for the pageants.”

While her boss at SmileOdontics, where she works as a marketing director, has been instrumental in assisting her raise funds for the state-level competition, the fundraising necessary for nationals is much higher. So far, Quinn-Wilson has found large support in The Sophisticates branch presidents from all over the U.S. and her local Dayton and Cincinnati eWomen chapters.

“I don’t think the full magnitude of winning the state pageant has truly hit me yet. I have had to make large strides in my comfort zone. I did my first speaking engagement two days after winning, and then my next in just five days,” she says. “This weekend, I walked in another fashion show – I Am Fashioned By The Creator – as Mrs. Ohio Plus America. New friends greet me as Queen. When you are spoken to and referred to as Queen it’s hard not to feel like one and therefore present yourself as one. We women are all queens, tiara or not. Know we are all royalty.”

What is Quinn-Wilson’s ultimate dream? “To be a motivational speaker,” she says. “To help others overcome their own fears and get out of their own way to change their lives.”

Quinn-Wilson says she still has dark days, but they’re becoming fewer and father between. “Sometimes I still allow the fear to get to me,” she admits. “Some days are harder than others. But I won’t give up, she says. Everyday I receive messages and texts from people all over telling me about their journey. They are my inspiration. They keep me going. They are why I do this.”

To learn more about Quinn-Wilson, click here. To purchase tickets to her fashion show fundraiser, click here. To donate to her National competition, click here.

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Lemons and Limes is a refreshing new boutique that’s anything but sour. Learn more about the Cincinnati-based boutique that’s all about fashion for a cause.


Want to know about the latest local boutique to launch in Cincinnati? We have all the juicy details.

Launching a boutique has been on Wendy Knight’s “Better Do It Before I Turn 40″ Bucket List. Just a few months ago, in March 2015, Lemons and Limes Boutique was born. Knight runs the shop, but shares a lot of the credit with her husband, Doug and her twins, Lauren and Andrew.

Owner Wendy Knight and her twins
Owner Wendy Knight and her twins

“The twins, 3 1/2 years old, have been involved every step of the way.” Knight laughs. “Lauren sat with me and helped me build the website one Saturday morning and Andrew has often helped me make some tough buying decisions. No really, if I am torn between two styles- he chooses!”

Knight says the inspiration for Lemons and Limes is two-fold. “To offer Cincinnati a great place to shop that lives up to our tagline- Simple, Stylish and Fabulous and to also build a brand that lets me really be creative while paying it forward,” she explains. “We are constantly looking for charitable opportunities. Our favorites so far are supporting the Good Samaritan NICU, where our twins stayed after they were born premature, and the American Cancer Society.”

060815FASHION2Knight is a busy woman. She has a full time career in healthcare in addition to raising her family, taking care of two dogs, and starting Lemons and Limes. She starts the day off early by reading a short motivational article centered around leadership or time management, then she gets the family ready to go for the day. Her evenings are dedicated to her family and she likes to end the night browsing magazines, Pinterest, or working with artists and suppliers on what is up next for the shop. “My husband homebrews the most delicious beer so there are plenty of nights on the patio sampling his latest recipes too,” says Knight.

Although Knight’s days are often hectic, she says, “It’s always worth it.” So far the shop’s best accomplishment according to Knight, was recouping start-up costs in 40 days. Secondly, was the launching of the Inspiration Line. “For every piece that is purchased another one is donated to a woman in need of some TLC,” she explains. In addition to the Inspiration Line, the shop features totes, bags, scarves, hair accessories, jewelry, and monogramming, as well as specialty items for pets and babies.

Five years from now, Knight hopes Lemon and Limes is supporting a dozen charities. Also down the line, she hopes it grows into a business in which her kids can be involved. “I want it to drive an entrepreneurial sprit in them,” she says.

Lastly, she envisions the boutique evolving into a marketplace for local artists to show off and sell their work. In terms of the immediate future, stationery is next on the horizon. “Oh how I love stationery!” Knight says. “My sister in law, Julie, and I are conspiring to develop a planner!”

Knight says Lemons and Limes is already different from other boutiques because of its superior customer service. “We don’t believe in hassle. Personalization is free and you will never overpay for shipping. That is just irritating,” Knight says. Be sure to follow on FacebookInstagram and join their newsletter for their latest event promotions, sales, and giveaways.

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Local-now-international designer, Teresa Washington, chats with us about her booming business, dashing designs, and the epic Tri-State runway show where she’ll unveil her newest collection.

Teresa Washington, CEO, Founder and Designer of STMT-Statement

“We believe that every woman, regardless of shape or age has the right to wear fun clothes,” says Teresa Washington, CEO, founder and designer of STMT-Statement, which launched February of last year. She manages a small team consisting of a design manager and production assistant. Together, Washington says, they’ve been able to accomplish a lot in a short time.

“We currently have six boutiques that carry our brand, looking to add more very soon,” she explains. “We’ve had reality television celebrity Lisa Woo of Hollywood Divas (previous Cast Member of Real House of Atlanta) and Val Warner (Chicago’s “Windy City Live” Talk Show Host) wear and love our brand.”

If Washington could summarize her brand in one word, it would be “confidence,” she says. “We are a small brand and believe that you need a smart, edited Fashionable assortment. We don’t think fashion should be complicated and that you need to buy a whole wardrobe each season. STMT is a brand that builds season after season. STMT pieces are impactful, perfect for mixing and matching, while luxe textures and compelling prints add depth and dimension. Our pieces are designed for the everyday chic woman.”

A sneak peek of the new STMT Platinum collection
A sneak peek of the new STMT Platinum collection

Washington says her exclusive designs, which she and her team create all the way from start to finish, are in high demand. “We never duplicate the same design, meaning once it sells out, it’s gone. Our pieces sell out pretty fast,” she adds. “We had one of our boutiques sell out of our exclusive floral print blazer in one day, and there were times when the website crashed due to an overload of customers trying to get that blazer.” STMT’s next move? Cincy Chic’s very own annual Red, Pink, and Blue event on June 26 where Washington will be showcasing 16 different looks.

Guests will even have the one-time opportunity to purchase the brand’s exclusive pieces from its new collection at a discounted price. “Cincinnati is where it started so we love coming back and sharing a little fashion fun with all the fashionistas,” Washington says. “The new collection, called ‘Platinum’ is all about zesty prints, comfortable colors, and figure-flattering designs.”

Also on the horizon, STMT will start offering Private Label Services for boutiques looking to expand their brand as well as private in-home Style Parties, which Washington says will be a big hit. To learn more about the brand, head to their website where you can sign up for the “IT” list to receive news, special promotions, and more. Click here to learn more and RSVP for the June 26 fashion show. Also, and follow STMT on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook for all the latest updates.

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Cincinnati's newest boutique is moving from Madeira -- expanding into a larger space on Hyde Park Square -- just in time to celebrate its first year of business.

Necklace by Ken Samudio, paired with black Konstantin dress (click to enlarge)

It’s been a heck of a year for Arlene Aranzamendez. Just since 2014, she opened a brick-and-mortar boutique, expanded her design business with internationally-known retailers, and is now re-locating the boutique from Madeira into a larger space on Hyde Park Square.

Although, Aranzamendez is no stranger to the fashion and design world. She began her career in 1995, working with Insignia Design Associates for five years and then worked for international design agency, LPK. In 2004, she started her business Aranzamendez Design, which specializes helping small businesses launch their brand.

In 2013, Aranzamendez launched a ADORN USA, a product line featuring high-end jewelry and bags, as well as handcrafted pieces from Aranzamendez’s personal line called “Konstantin” and a select group of designers. Then, in 2014, Atelier boutique was born.

“It was launched via our parent company ADORN USA. ADORN USA sells solely jewelry and handbags online; that being said, we didn’t want to confuse our customers by calling it ADORN USA,” explains Aranzamendez. “Atelier is technically Atelier by ADORN USA and carries much more, including clothing and hostess gifts.”

While she is continuing to do digital work part-time, she can add ‘jewelry and handbag designer’ to her repertoire. “It’s been such an exciting adventure for me to move from full-time marketing agency, website and digital entrepreneurial work to now focusing on building this new and different kind of business,” she explains, adding that she sees Atelier continuing to expand both online and in brick and mortar stores in select regions throughout the country in the next 5-10 years.

What makes Atelier different than other boutiques in Greater Cincinnati? “Atelier is about making a statement,” Aranzamendez says, explaining that she believes accessories should be treated as the “star” of the show. “The boutique is called Atelier, named after an old French term for a workshop or studio, especially of an artist, artisan or designer. It specializes in unique handmade jewelry and accessories such as handbags, clothing and gifts such as Vosges Haut Chocolat, Tokyo Milk and elizabethW.”

Another distinguishing factor from other boutiques in the area is that the clothing she curates for the shop is specifically selected to complement the jewelry line. “The jewelry is created to be more than just an accessory – each piece is designed to be a statement piece,” Aranzamendez says. “I’m also very selective about the materials we use; some pieces in the Konstantin line feature hardware in resin, while others feature eco-raw materials like beads and twine. I love the artisanal quality and I’m passionate about making each a true statement piece.”

Aranzamendez’s eye for style and unique designs are catching the attention of international retailers. In fact, Anthropologie, an international retailer of curated clothing, accessories, gifts and home décor with 185 stores throughout the U.S., Canada and the United Kingdom, currently offers custom pieces by Aranzamendez (online at Additionally, The Autry National Center Museum, a renowned museum dedicated to the American West (located in Los Angeles) also carries the Konstantin line. Most recently, Aranzamendez and her team are in the process of establishing the line for retail distribution online at “We want to continue to see a growing online presence in the near future,”Aranzamendez explains.

Atelier By Adorn USA is located at 2716 Erie Avenue, on the 2nd Floor next to Tanya’s Salon. To learn more, visit Atelier’s website and follow along on Facebook!

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Learn about a new boutique and event space in Northern Kentucky that supports women around the world.

The Polished Pearl
The Polished Pearl is an accessory business that provides employment for victims of trafficking in India and Moldova.

A typical day for Nicole Robyn ranges from conference calls at all hours with India and Moldova, to meeting with local social entrepreneurs.

Robyn is the CEO of Polished Pearl, an accessory business that provides employment for victims of trafficking in India and Moldova. It all began in 2010 with a group of women who had been praying together about the issue of trafficking. They were looking for a way to get involved in fighting it after a life-changing trip to India.

Knowing that India has the largest trafficked population in the world, the women originally visited the country to figure out the needs of the trafficking victims. “On the trip, we found that there was a huge need for employment opportunities both for survivors and preventatively,” Robyn explains.

Having already started a small accessories shop in England, the women saw this as an opportunity to blend the skills and gorgeous textiles they found in India. The business first started in the U.K. Then, two years ago, the women began a U.S.-based company. Now they are opening a store front and event space in Fort Thomas, Kentucky. “At Polished Pearl we believe that every life is a pearl,” Robyn says, “rare, unique, and valuable. So we are passionate about making ‘meaning-filled’ pieces.”

Polished Pearl accessories not only allow one to join in the story of freedom for those they employ, but they also make custom pieces that allow one to express the unique individual. “We are not a fast fashion company,” Robyn says. “We are a company that believes in ethical, impactful production and choosing heirloom pieces.”


The company partners with a program that offers care to survivors to employ women part-time while they are receiving job training. In addition, they work with Freeset Business Incubator in order to set up a production unit in the north of India. “In Moldova, we partner with a production unit that employs at risk women in the villages who desperately need employment,” Robyn explains, adding that Polished Pearl goes to both countries and does training on their products.

Depending on whether they are serving an online customer or shipping to a store, the pieces are sent to the Cincinnati and then shipped to the customer. Polished Pearl is comprised of a small team in Cincinnati that does the designing, marketing, sales, logistics, and business admin.

“We consider this an amazing place to be home in the U.S. as it is a city known for launching start ups, a great fashion design program at the University of Cincinnati’s school of art otherwise known as Design, Art, Architecture, and Planning [DAAP], as well as having a heritage of abolition,” Robyn says. “It has taken a lot of perseverance; we have had and continue to have, so much to learn! It is easy to have an idea on this side of the ocean, but whether it works in India or Moldova is a whole different thing. We have had to remain flexible, with the goal clear: to employ as many as we can!” Robyn enjoys making a positive impact on these lives. “What I love most about what I do is getting to be a small part of the journey of freedom for such amazing women all over the world,” she adds. “I love watching and participating in seeing women be who they were made to be: brave, beautiful, and free.”

Robyn says they recently produced a line of products under the Free at Last brand in Dillard’s stores, currently available in Kenwood, Crestview Hills, and Eastgate stores locally. In the next year, Robyn will be opening her brick-and-mortar boutique and event space where she can host local “Unique You” styling events in the community. They are also looking to expand sales online in the U.S., UK, and into Canada. In addition, Robyn hopes to get the Indian production unit up and running in the next year.

In the next five years, Robyn plans to expand into bridal gowns, menswear, skin care, and home goods. “We also are looking into additional countries both in terms of markets and being able to offer employment opportunities,” she adds. “The needs and opportunities are plentiful.”

The Polished Pearl storefront opens May 5 at 118 N. Fort Thomas Avenue in Fort Thomas, Kentucky. To learn more, click here, like them on Facebook, or follow on Twitter or Instagram at @PolishedPearlOfficial.