The only online publication for women in Greater Cincinnati

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


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

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

    Amanda Kranias

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Crystal Grace

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Learn more about Grace + Grit Spa at You can also follow along on Facebook and Instagram

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

        To learn more about Karrikin Spirits Company, visit

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          A local style enthusiast, who spent the last decade guiding women to more edited and effortless wardrobes, recently relocated her women's clothing boutique from Chicago to the Mariemont Strand. Read on for more on her story and a sneak peek inside.

          Maura Conine left the Queen City for the Windy City in 2015. When she left she started her own business, CAPSULE, a women’s boutique that combined her love of fashion with her experience as a personal stylist. 

          After years with a brick and mortar store located in the Beverly neighborhood of Chicago, Conine and her family found themselves back in Cincinnati. She was determined to find a way to keep her boutique open. For several months, she ran it remotely from Cincinnati, but found that the store was so intertwined with her personality that she needed to close the doors there and open new ones here.

          “I opened a store, not to run it from afar,” she says. “I opened a store to be there every day and to mix with my customers and to learn about their lifestyles and to learn about what was going on with their families. I became friends with my customers.” Nevertheless, the “remote boutique” was a worthy experiment, as it showed a clearer way forward for Conine and her business. “I’m glad I did it,” she says. “It gave me the time to realize that I still wanted to do it. I still had the passion for it.”

          Conine’s search for a storefront came to an end when the former Sara Benjamin’s doors closed. She knew she wanted to be in Mariemont and it was perfect timing. 

          “And the fact that a space opened up was like kismet,” she says. “That I was able to acquire that space pushed me forward to jump off the cliff and just go for it.”

          At Capsule, Conine wants to help each customer who walks through the door find a wardrobe that is based on her lifestyle, needs, and aesthetic. “A capsule wardrobe is an edited collection of clothes made out of versatile and complimentary pieces that can be mixed and matched to create many different looks,” she explains. “Our goal at CAPSULE is to get to know each of our customers in order to better guide her to the pieces that will work best for her individual needs and inspire her to try something new!”

          Capsule is located at 6810 Wooster Pike in Mariemont. Summer hours for the store at Tuesday through Saturday from 10a-6p. You can visit the website or follow along on Facebook and Instagram.

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            A nationally recognized designer is taking her experiences and aesthetic to downtown Hamilton with a new shop allowing the community to be a part of the creative process. Click here for all the details.


            Carrie O’Neal’s graphic and stationery design experience takes her back 20 years. She’s designed corporate work for companies like Honeywell, Dell, Lockhee Martin, and even Domino’s. She’s also done stationery work for Minted, Simply to Impress, and Greenvelop. 

            “My work has been featured nationally on The Today Show, Good Morning America, and in publications such as Martha Stewart, Real Simple, and The Knot, and also for sale internationally at Target,” says O’Neal.

            All of this experience only makes sense that she is the founder behind the fun and quirky stationery and gift shop called Scripted. 

            “Owning Scripted is a dream come true,” she says. “After designing brands and retail spaces for national brands, it’s such a joy to create my own special place and brand.” 

            O’Neal was inspired to open up her own shop not only from all the work she’s done in the past, but to bring the city of Hamilton a fun, new experience.

            “I live and work from Los Angeles for a month every summer,” she says. “Whenever I’m in LA or traveling, I love to seek out unique stationery and gift shops. I wanted to bring that clean, modern aesthetic that I love to downtown Hamilton. The architecture and history of the buildings in this area are gorgeous, and they are the perfect backdrop for Scripted.” 

            O’Neal says the inspiration behind the store also came from working in the industry for so long. She’s gotten to know brands and designers that are often hard to find, so those connections allow her to bring something unique, funky, and well-designed to the community. 

            At Scripted, you’ll not only find custom creations by O’Neal, but she also carries brands like Rifle Paper, Moglea, and Bando as well as indie stationery brands. “We have unique stationery, cards, gift wrap, clocks, tees, and eclectic gifts,” she adds. 

            Carrie O’Neal

            The store itself is unique, but O’Neal also gives customers the opportunity to see her “in her element.” 

            “There’s something about seeing ‘behind the scenes’ of a designer’s environment,” she says. “I often ask my customers for their feedback on new designs that I’m creating. It helps me see what customers like and it also helps them feel as though they are a part of the creative process.”

            O’Neal says that while she’s looking forward to what’s to come for Scripted Studio, she’s also happy to have her doors open again since the start of the pandemic. “I have recently launched the first product to Scripted that I designed – a Hamilton tea towel with a quote from Alexander Hamilton,” she says. “I’m looking forward to designing more custom products for the shop and also starting up our workshops again. My hand lettering workshop was a customer favorite in the fall.”

            You can find Scripted in the heart of historic downtown Hamilton. Their address is 306 Main Street. 

            To learn more, visit or follow along on Instagram.

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              There’s no better time than now to focus on your own mental health and wellbeing. Click here to learn about a counseling and coaching business that helps to develop empowered women.

              In today’s world, especially as we navigate our way through the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s important to take care of you. That’s what Galia Collaborative is here for. They want to help empower purpose-driven women to develop their mental wellness through therapy, coaching, and content.

              “We believe that the impact of women will be elevated when they can take charge of their mental health and wellbeing,” says Galia Collaborative Founder Dr. Ashley Solomon. “We provide accessible services and thoughtful content development by women’s mental health experts.”

              Solomon says that she was inspired to launch Galia Collaborative after years of working as a psychologist, business leader, mom, and woman. 

              “I spent years in the trenches of burnout culture and recognized that stress and anxiety were eating away at my wellbeing,” she explains. “Even being in the behavioral healthcare field, no one was talking about how we can sustainably manage our mental health.”

              Soloman didn’t want to offer traditional therapy, which seemed so removed from what she had experienced in her field, and executive coaching wasn’t something that was available to her. 

              Dr. Ashley Solomon, Founder of Galia Collaborative

              “I wanted to take the years that I’d spend developing treatment approaches and programming for women and create a space that addressed the needs of busy professionals in a modern, gender-responsive, and evidence-based way,” she says. “I’ve always been focused on trying to answer how we can elevate the voices and impact of women, and I recognize that empowering women’s mental health is key.”

              Soloman says that she spent her earlier career in the field of eating disorders before she found that those same women who recovered from eating disorders were still lacking the tools they needed to be fully healthy in how they approach both life and work. “This and my own journey led me to thinking about how we can create meaningful services and tools to support women who are going to make a difference,” she adds.

              Solomon is joined in her practice by clinician Jennifer Burns, a licensed counselor with a background in professional comedy. “She specializes with women who have experienced trauma or are navigating other mental health or life challenges,” says Solomon. There’s also Erin McMenamin, a licensed social worker, who recently joined the team and is offering coaching for women making big transitions.

              At Galia Collaborative, you’ll find that the work the team does is action-oriented and designed to create real movement toward the values of clients. “We use evidence-based approaches based on psychological science in both our therapy and coaching work,” she says.

              Therapy services offered at Galia Collaborative are for adolescent and adult women both in-person and online. 

              “We offer professional coaching for women who are ready to elevate their impact in their careers or are navigating challenges in their work,” says Solomon. “We believe that doing so starts from within and moves its way outward, and our coaching is both introspective and actionable.”

              In addition to the services currently offered, Galia Collaborative is in the process of developing talks and workshops for organizations on how to elevate their impact through mental health and wellness.

              Solomon says that later this year Galia Collaborative is launching Thrive Circles, small groups of committed women who are connecting around a particular challenge or interest. 

              “We have two starting early in the year and are accepting registration for those now,” says Solomon. “The first is a mastermind for women service-based business owners, and the other is for your women, ages 23-35, looking to set themselves up for personal and professional success.”

              To learn more about Galia Collaborative, visit You can also follow along on Facebook and Instagram.

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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 You can also check them out on Facebook and Instagram

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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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                    This Mother’s Day, moms deserve a little extra pampering. Read on as we chat with the mother-daughter team behind locally-based Kate Ryan Skincare who developed a product line to bring together the best of nature and science -- with a dash of mother knows best -- to make skincare feel like a gift that keeps giving.

                    Erica Finnan is more than a nurse. She is also a mother to four young children and part of the mother-daughter business representing three generations of women called Kate Ryan Skincare. 

                    While its namesake, Kate is just nine years old, potential customers often call and ask to speak to Kate Ryan. “We think it’s cute,” Finnan laughs. “What I want to say is that Kate would love to take your call but she’s busy on the soccer field with her friends living her best life – ha!”

                    Although Kate is young, the business that would be named after her first started 10 years ago around a kitchen island, when babies were being bounced in one arm and coffee in another. 

                    “At the time, I had taken a break from working as an ICU/organ transplant coordinator and was filling in doing medical facial treatments at a local office,” explains Finnan. “Part of what I did was educate clients on the benefits of after care, following an in-office treatment.”

                    Although she was not on the clock to care for those patients, she was looking up scientific research journals because if she was going to recommend products to them, she was going to find them something that truly worked.

                    “I really wanted to know the why and how behind the products, not just regurgitate marketing claims on the bottles, which may or may not be true,” she explains. “What I found was that No. 1: Many of the formulas were incredibly overpriced – there were maybe 3-4 beneficial activities, the rest was filler and junk, and a lot of those were chemicals.” 

                    These were high profit, low benefit products. She says that some of the bottles were over $100 and, although people were happy to purchase them, that was crazy to her. However, she also acknowledged that people don’t really have the time to research products and ingredients that were really long and may be written in a way that the typical consumer couldn’t understand. 

                    Finnan says that all of her searching felt like a search to the end of Google, and she couldn’t find a skincare formula that fit her criteria of safe and healthy and an advanced formula with quality active ingredients.

                    Finnan wanted to offer her customers a formula that combined science and nature, and something that was effective and felt good on the skin. 

                    “Being a nurse, the long-term health of the skin and body was most important to me,” she explains. “there are so many ‘quick-fix’ products out there that may give you the results you are looking for in a short amount of time but also do lasting damage to the skin.”

                    From there, Finnan created an exhaustive list of “Yes!” active ingredients and how they function and have purpose and a longer list of “No!” ingredients. 

                    Determined to have the best of nature and science, Finnan partnered with her mother, Bev, an advocate for skin concerns of women in their 60s and beyond, to develop a line of skincare products that delivers transformative beauty benefits for women of all ages. Combining their personal objectives and research, and in collaboration with like-minded scientists, Finnan and Bev proudly launched Kate Ryan Skincare, named after Finnan‘s daughter, Kate Ryan.

                    Today, the company offers honest formulas that are safe, affordable, cruelty-free, and family-owned and operated. 

                    Ultimately, the mission through this business is to make skincare feel like a gift.

                    “We consider self-care a gift you give yourself,” says Finnan. “When a Kate Ryan Sincare product shows up at your doorstep, that’s how we want it to feel! And seriously, isn’t having a package dropped on your doorstep just the best, especially now?! So often clients tell us, it’s too pretty to open, or I love ordering from you because it feels so good when I open the package! We also ship very fast – usually the same day unless the order comes in late in the day. We know people are excited to get their products and we try very hard to deliver quickly!”

                    With Mother’s Day being less than a week away, Kate Ryan Skincare is offering a thoughtfully curated gift box to make it easy. “We understand it’s difficult to get olut to shop this year,” says Finnan. “This is our first year doing this because of COVID-19, we usually offer a gift card for Mother’s Day, but the gift box can be found on our website. We can also create custom gift boxes, wrapped and shipped.”

                    COVID-19 has been something completely different for Finnan, a former nurse, and Kate Ryan Skincare. “To be honest I’ve really been wrestling with this personally, feeling like I should be out there with many friends who are still in the ICU, ERs, etc.,” she says. “As hard of a job as it was, I absolutely loved my years in the ICU. I know now with my family home and a business to manage, that I cannot help in the way that I would like.” 

                    Kate Ryan Skincare did create a caregiver gift/thank you/self-care package, and she plans on doing a giveaway with some of those items.

                    “Anyone visiting our website will have an opportunity to read our blog articles on a variety of skincare topics and check out frequently asked questions,” says Finnan. “Joining our mailing list keeps our clients up-to-date on new articles and promos, and provides a 15% discount on their first order.”

                    To learn more about Kate Ryan Skincare, visit Kate Ryan Skincare is also on Facebook and Instagram.

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                      A local entrepreneur wanted to offer clients a one-stop-shop when it comes to event planning. That idea turned into another idea and now she's launching a market with vintage, antique, and other home decor.

                      Photography: Chelsey & Jordan Photography

                      If you’ve ever planned a party, gathering, wedding, reunion or big-group-get-together, then you know that the process of bringing it all together can be exhausting and time consuming. To help combat the difficult parts of hosting an event so you can actually enjoy it, Andrea Tarter created Borrowed Time Market. 

                      “Borrowed Time Market is a multi-functional space that houses our rental decor for Borrowed Time Events and offers and event space for small parties and gatherings,” explains Tarter. “The front of our shop is our small brick-and-mortar, which sells vintage, retro, and modern decor.”

                      Andrea Tarter, founder of Borrowed Time Market

                      As the Owner, Coordinator, and Stylist of Borrowed Time Market and Borrowed Time Events, Tarter takes on the task of providing clients with the decor they need to successfully host their gathering. 

                      When it came to creating Borrowed Time Market, Tarter says that it was her own desire to find an event rental company that she could work with instead of purchasing decor that would end up in storage.

                      “So, in 2018, I launched Borrowed Time Events, an event planning and decor rental company,” she says. “Over two years we gathered hundreds of items and eventually ran out of warehouse space.”

                      All of the inventory from Borrowed Time Events and Borrowed Time Market are housed in a shop on Main Street in Old Milford. 

                      “Since middle school, I have always wanted to have an antique store,” says Tarter. “When planning our move to a bigger space, I hoped to find a location that would function as all three: shop, rental warehouse, and event space. In mid-July I spotted a ‘for rent’ sign in Milford and called that evening. I was the first to call and signed the papers two weeks later.”

                      For Tarter, having her own shop has given her what she and her company needed – a rental space, a small brick-and-mortar, and a rental warehouse. 

                      Inventory and products are housed at the store that is more than 100 years old. The doors opened on October 26, 2019. Typically, the store is open on Saturdays and Sundays from 12-4 pm, unless there is an event going on.

                      With COVID-19, however, the store hasn’t been open to customers. But that doesn’t mean Tarter hasn’t been planning for summer. In fact, she ordered new summer inventory in hopes of opening in mid-May. 

                      Since she can’t bring customers into her store, Tarter recently hosted an Instagram sale, giving others the opportunity to shop and find things that spark joy in them. “We held our first-ever Instagram sale on Sunday, April 5,” explains Tarter. “It was a lot of work, but definitely worth it. We sold roughly 90 percent of the items posted and gained many new customers. The sale influenced our decision to launch an online shop. We thoroughly appreciated the support!”

                      If the grand re-opening of Borrowed Time Market is delayed due to COVID-19, Tarter says she will host another Instagram sale. 

                      And with Mother’s Day around the corner, Borrowed Time Market is offering special Mother’s Day gift sets that can be picked up at the shop or shipped to your home. “It includes a Mother’s Day candle, tea towel, ‘Mama Bear’ coffee mug, organic bath bomb, and a card,” she says. “All proceeds help support local and small, women-owned businesses.”

                      Tarter will be launching a blog in the next couple of weeks and finishing the opening of her online store. As for 2020, the event planning goal is to focus on fundraising for non-profits. “We love working with our community and we believe in using our skillsets to help those in need,” she says. “We have already partnered with multiple non-profits in Cincinnati and are excited for the upcoming events.”

                      You can learn more about Borrowed Time Events and Borrowed Time Market at Follow along with Borrowed Time Events on Facebook and Instagram, and check out Borrowed Time Market on Facebook and Instagram. Click here to sign up for the newsletter.