Best Of 2016

Parlour Pig

New Store

(Since March 2015)

1 / Elm & Iron 2 / Made in Cincinnati 3 / Cabela’s 4 / Continuum 5 / Grainwell 6 / The Chocolate Bee 7 / Frameri 8 / Rose & Remington 9 / Idlewild Woman 10 / Fresh Thyme Farmers Market Overall Boutique

(Local)

1 / MiCA 12/v 2 / Homage 3 / The Pink Box 4 / Kismet 5 / Rose & Remington 6 / Cincy Shirts 7 / Continuum 8 / Pretty Pony Boutique 9 / HighStreet 10 / Dandy Haberdashery

Boutique (Downtown/OTR)

1 / MiCA 12/v 2 / Homage 3 / LIBBY

Boutique (Northern Kentucky)

1 / Pretty Pony Boutique 2 / Monmouth Street Antique Gallery 3 / Durham Brand & Co.

Boutique (East Side)

1 / indigenous, a handcrafted gallery 2 / Kismet 3 / Fibergé

Boutique (West ide)

1 / Loulou’s 2 / Edie’s Vintage Rose Room 3 / Newly Discovered Treasures

Boutique (Central)

1 / Pangaea 2 / Chicken Lays an Egg 3 / Charming Charlie;     NVISION (TIE)

Boutique (Northern ’Burbs)

1 / Rose & Remington 2 / The Pink Box 3 / Busy Bee Boutique

Men’s Clothing Store

1 / Article 2 / Homage 3 / Ohio Against The World

Women’s Clothing Store

1 / Idlewild Woman 2 / Pangaea 3 / Sloane Boutique

Acupuncture Practice

1 / Carole Paine, MS, L.Ac. 2 / Alliance Institute for Integrative Medicine 3 / Tiny Needle

Antique Store

1 / Ohio Valley Antique Mall 2 / Wooden Nickel Antiques 3 / Grand Antique Mall

Arts & Crafts Supplies

1 / Michaels 2 / Hobby Lobby 3 / Suder’s Art Store

Arts & Crafts Classes

1 / Silk Road Textiles 2 / Cheers To Art 3 / Michaels

Auto Dealer (New Vehicles)

1 / Jake Sweeney Automotive 2 / Kings Toyota 3 / Honda East

Auto Dealer (Used Vehicles)

1 / Jeff Wyler Honda 2 / Jake Sweeney 3 / CarMax

Auto Repair Service

1 / Tire Discounters 2 / AAA | Bob Sumerel Tire and Service 3 / Donovan’s Auto & Tire

Auto/Car Wash

1 / Mike’s Carwash 2 / Johnny’s Car Wash 3 / AAA Auto Wash

Bank

1 / PNC Bank 2 / Fifth Third Bank 3 / U.S. Bank

Credit Union

1 / Kemba Credit Union 2 / G.E. Credit Union 3 / Wright-Patt Credit Union

Barber Shop

1 / Spanky & Co Barber Shop 2 / Kings Court Master Barber & Shoe Shine Service 3 / Northside Chop Shop

Bicycle Store

1 / Montgomery Cyclery 2 / Spun Bicycles 3 / Reser Bicycle Outfitters

Bookstore (Chain)

1 / Joseph-Beth Booksellers 2 / Half Price Books 3 / Barnes & Noble

Bookstore (Non-Chain)

1 / Blue Manatee 2 / Shake It Records 3 / The Booksellers on Fountain Square

Bottled Beer Selection (Retail)

1 / Jungle Jim’s International Market 2 / The Party Source 3 / Dutch’s

Butcher Shop

1 / Avril-Bleh & Sons 2 / Humbert’s Quality Meats 3 / Eckerlin Meats

Cheese Shop

1 / Jungle Jim’s International Market 2 / Gibbs Cheese at Findlay Market 3 / Silverglades

Camera Store

1 / Dodd Camera 2 / Western Hills Photo & Hobby 3 / Best Buy

Candy Store

1 / Aglamesis Brothers 2 / Esther Price 3 / Schneider’s Sweet Shop

Catering Service

1 / Funky’s Catering 2 / Vonderhaar’s Catering 3 / Eli’s BBQ

CD/Record Store (Non-Chain)

1 / Shake It Records 2 / Everybody’s Records 3 / Black Plastic

Chiropractic Practice/Clinic

1 / Norwood Chiropractic & Sports Injury Center 2 / Mt. Lookout Chiropractic & Sports Injury Center 3 / Baker Chiropractic and Wellness

Local Indie Craft Market

1 / The City Flea 2 / Crafty Supermarket 3 / Art On Vine

Local Indie Craft Market Vendor

1 / Tara Heilman (Robot Inside) 2 / Brown Bear Bakery;    Ohio Valley Beard Supply (TIE) 3 / Dandy Haberdashery

Craft Beer Store

1 / Jungle Jim’s International Market 2 / The Party Source 3 / Dutch’s

Comic Book Store

1 / Queen City Comics and Card Company 2 / Shake It Records 3 / Comic Book World

Cooking Classes

1 / Jungle Jim’s International Market 2 / The Learning Kitchen 3 / Sur La Table

Costume Shop

1 / Cappel’s 2 / Costume Gallery (Newport) 3 / Talk of the Town

Dance Classes

1 / Dare to Dance 2 / DANCEFIX 3 / Emerge Dance Academy

Dental Practice/Clinic

1 / Vita Dental 2 / Advance Dentistry 3 / Cincinnati Dental Services

Drive-Thru Market

1 / Trotta’s Pizza & Drive Thru 2 / City Beverage of Hyde Park 3 / Dutch’s

Dry Cleaner

1 / Widmer’s Cleaners 2 / Springdale Cleaners 3 / Atlas Dry Cleaners

Electronics Store

1 / Best Buy 2 / Micro Center 3 / Apple Store

Eyewear Store

1 / LensCrafters 2 / Frameri 3 / Wing Eyecare

Financial Planning Service

1 / Fidelity Investments 2 / Charles Schwab 3 / UBS

Florist

1 / Adrian Durban 2 / Robin Wood 3 / Oberer’s Flowers

Frame Shop

1 / Frameshop 2 / Michaels 3 / Fabulous Frames & Art

Fresh Seafood Store

1 / Jungle Jim’s International Market 2 / Keegan’s Seafood 3 /

Luken’s Poultry, Fish & Seafood

Furniture Store

1 / IKEA 2 / Furniture Fair 3 / HighStreet

Home Accessories Store

1 / Elm & Iron 2 / HomeGoods 3 / Bed Bath & Beyond

Lighting Store

1 / IKEA 2 / Switch Lighting & Design 3 / Lighting EFX

Giftshop

1 / MiCa 12/v 2 / Ten Thousand Villages 3 / indigenous, a handcrafted gallery

Papergood Store

1 / M. Hopple & Co. 2 / Poeme 3 / Papyrus

Beauty Product/Soap (Non-Chain)

1 / SwanMaiden Soaps 2 / B & D Goats 3 / The Tree Hugger Company

Grocery Store

1 / Kroger 2 / Jungle Jim’s International Market 3 / Findlay Market

Hair Removal Service

1 / Tanya’s Image & Wellness Salon 2 / Woodhouse Day Spa 3 / European Wax Center

Hair Salon

1 / Tanya’s Image & Wellness Salon 2 / Parlour 3 / 501 Salon & Spa

Day Spa

1 / Woodhouse Day Spa 2 / Mitchell’s Salon & Day Spa 3 / Tanya’s Image & Wellness Salon

Manicure/Pedicure

1 / Deluxe Nails on Camargo 2 / Woodhouse Day Spa 3 / Ambiance Nail Salon & Spa

Skin Care Service

1 / Woodhouse Day Spa 2 / Tanya’s Image & Wellness Salon 3 / 501 Salon & Spa

Green/Sustainable Goods Store

1 / Park + Vine 2 / Findlay Market 3 / Jungle Jim’s International Market

Hardware Store

1 / Ace Hardware 2 / Lowe’s 3 / Home Depot

Health Food Store

1 / Whole Foods Market 2 / Clifton Natural Foods 3 / Park + Vine

Health Club/Gym

1 / Planet Fitness 2 / YMCA 3 / Bella Forza Fitness

Personal Training/Crossfit Gym

1 / 9Round 2 / Cincy 360 Fitness 3 / CoreStrong

Pilates Studio

1 / Pendleton Pilates 2 / The Breathing Room 3 / core a movement studio

Yoga Studio

1 / Modo Yoga 2 / The Yoga Bar 3 / World Peace Yoga

Physician/Healthcare Practice

1 / Mercy Health Physicians 2 / Group Health Associates 3 / University of Cincinnati Physicians

Hospital

1 / Christ Hospital 2 / Cincinnati Children’s Hospital 3 / Good Samaritan

Birthing/Maternity Center

1 / Good Samaritan Hospital 2 / Christ Hospital 3 / Bethesda North Hospital

Hotel

1 / 21c Museum Hotel 2 / Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza 3 / The Cincinnatian Hotel

HVAC Company

1 / Apollo Home 2 / Tom Rechtin Heating & Air Conditioning 3 / Jacob Bros. Heating & Air Conditioning

Jeweler

1 / Richter & Phillips 2 / Schwartz Jewelers 3 / Faigle & Sons

Lasik Surgery Center

1 / Cincinnati Eye Institute 2 / LasikPlus Vision Center 3 / Dr. Robert Benza, ApexEye

Law Firm/Lawyer

1 / Scott Knox 2 / O’Connor Acciani & Levy 3 / Frost Brown Todd

Lingerie Store

1 / Knickers of Hyde Park 2 / Victoria’s Secret 3 / Hustler Hollywood

Liquor Store

1 / The Party Source 2 / D.E.P.’s Fine Wine & Spirits 3 / Jungle Jim’s International Market

Magazine/Newspaper Selection

1 / Joseph-Beth Booksellers 2 / Cincinnati Public Library 3 / Barnes & Noble

Mall/Shopping Center

1 / Kenwood Towne Centre 2 / Rookwood 3 / Liberty Center

Martial Arts Studio

1 / Cincinnati Taekwondo Center 2 / Martial Arts America 3 / Club MMA

Massage Therapy Practice/Clinic

1 / Woodhouse Day Spa 2 / Massage Envy 3 / Tanya’s Image & Wellness Salon

Mobile Phone Service Provider

1 / Verizon 2 / AT&T 3 / Sprint

Motorcycle/Motorsports Dealer

1 / Harley-Davidson of Cincinnati 2 / Eastgate Harley-Davidson 3 / Beechmont Motorsports

Moving Company

1 / Two Men and a Truck 2 / Gulliver’s Movers 3 / Ferguson Moving & Storage

Musical Instrument Store

1 / Buddy Roger’s 2 / Guitar Center;      Mike’s Music (TIE) 3 / Willis Music

Nursery/Plant Store

1 / A.J. Rahn Greenhouses 2 / Natorp’s 3 / Burger Farm

Outdoor/Outfitters Shop

1 / REI 2 / Bass Pro Shops 3 / Benchmark Outfitters

Paint Store

1 / Sherwin Williams 2 / Home Depot 3 / Lowe’s

Pawn Shop

1 / Ted’s Pawn 2 / Newport Pawn Shop 3 / Facet Jewelry, Music & Pawn

Pet Adoption Service

1 / SPCA 2 / Stray Animal Adoption Program (SAAP) 3 / OAR: Ohio Alleycat Resource

Pet Boarding/Daycare

1 / The Pet Spot 2 / Animal Care Centers of Cincinnati 3 / Red Dog Pet Resort & Spa

Pet Grooming

1 / The Pet Spot 2 / Animal Care Centers of Cincinnati 3 / PetSmart

Pet Rescue/Shelter

1 / Stray Animal Adoption Program (SAAP) 2 / SPCA 3 / OAR: Ohio Alleycat Resource

Pet Supply Store

1 / PetSmart 2 / Pet Wants 3 / Pet People

Veterinary Care

1 / Four Paws Animal Hospital 2 / Animal Care Centers of Cincinnati 3 / Pleasant Ridge Pet Hospital

Piercing Studio

1 / Beelistic 2 / Skincraft 3 / Mother’s

Plastic Surgery

1 / Mandell-Brown Plastic Surgery Center 2 / The Plastic Surgery Group 3 / Mangat, Holzapfel & Lied Plastic Surgery

Plumbing Company

1 / Zins Plumbing   2 / Anderson Hills Plumbing 3 / Jolly Plumbing

Real Estate/Realtor Office

1 / Cutler Real Estate 2 / Sibcy Cline 3 / Coldwell Banker/West Shell

Shoe Store

1 / DSW 2 / Nordstrom 3 / Bob Roncker’s Running Spot

Smoke/Tobacco Shop

1 / Strauss Tobacconist 2 / Jungle Jim’s International Market 3 / Hemptations

Sporting Goods

1 / Dick’s Sporting Goods 2 / REI 3 / Koch Sporting Goods

Tanning Salon

1 / Palm Beach Tan 2 / Envy Tan 3 / A Total Tan

Tattoo Shop

1 / Designs by Dana 2 / Beelistic 3 / Mother’s

Tea Shop/Selection

1 / Churchill’s Fine Teas 2 / Essencha Tea House 3 / Teavana

Thrift Shop

1 / St. Vincent de Paul 2 / Valley Thrift Store 3 / Goodwill

Consignment Shop

1 / Snooty Fox 2 / Legacies Upscale Resale 3 / Once Upon A Child

Vintage Clothing Store

1 / Casablanca 2 / Talk of the Town 3 / Chicken Lays An Egg

Tire Store

1 / Tire Discounters 2 / AAA | Bob Sumerel Tire and Service 3 / Costco

Toy Store

1 / King Arthur’s Court 2 / Toys“R”Us 3 / Blue Manatee

Tree Service

1 / Madison Tree Care and Landscaping 2 / Gregory Forrest Lester 3 / The Canopy Crew

Vape Shop

1 / Cincy Vapors 2 / King Vapors Shop & Lounge 3 / Studio Vapes

Wedding Cakes

1 / The BonBonerie 2 / A Spoon Fulla Sugar 3 / Servatti Pastry Shop & Deli

Wedding Dresses

1 / Bridal & Formal 2 / David’s Bridal 3 / Donna Salyers’ Fabulous Bridal

Wedding Photography Service

1 / Sadie & Jess Weddings 2 / Images by Daniel Michael 3 / Jesse Fox

Wedding Reception Hall

1 / Bell Event Centre 2 / Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza 3 / Receptions

Place to Buy Your Engagement Ring

1 / Richter & Phillips 2 / Schwartz Jewelers 3 / Faigle & Sons

Wine Shop

1 / Jungle Jim’s International Market 2 / D.E.P.’s Fine Wine & Spirits 3 / The Party Source

Continuum

BEST MAMMARY MEMENTOS

The future is female. OTR’s Continuum, conceptualized as an eclectic bazaar and women’s clothing shop, features a carefully curated selection of independent designers, artists and makers. And, lucky for us, the trend in all things indie these days is boobs. Stop in to get your fill of bathing beauty boob planters (nipple nude or with whimsical tropical tank tops), area rugs with black-line sketched private parts or any of San Francisco’s Gravel & Gold’s playful hand-drawn titty T-shirts, bath towels, pillowcases and anything else you can dream up. Stick a boob on it. Continuum, 1407 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-429-5035, facebook.com/continuumbazaar.

BEST RETRO RIDE

Longboards came of age in the 1950s, when surfers wanted to translate their aquatic experience to the asphalt, customizing skateboards to function more like surfboards, with long decks attached to skate-style trucks and wheels. Locals Jeff and Valerie of Cincinnati Cruiser are still customizing that experience. Jeff, a retired Navy pilot, was an avid skater in his youth and made his first longboard when he was just 16. Years later, he used this classic design to hand-make some boards for his daughters, which became popular with friends and neighbors and led to a new business. Today, Cincinnati Cruiser builds custom longboards using North American and exotic hardwoods, ethically sourced from a local company with Forest Stewardship Council-approved practices, as well as found outlets; one of their boards is crafted from 100-year-old walnut floors from a Cincinnati home. And in keeping with their stewardship mentality, unused lumbar scraps go to build wooden toys like bulldozers and paddleboats — all for sale on their site. Cincinnati Cruiser, 513-394-0949,​ cincinnaticruiser.com.

BEST PLACE TO SHOP FOR YOUR PERIOD-PIECE MOVIE SET

Legacies Upscale Resale provided many of the props and furniture for the locally filmed movie Carol. Decorators for Miles Ahead and other local films have stopped by, too. And this classy shop is a win-win; proceeds benefit the Cancer Support Community of Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. Set decorator and Academy Award nominee Heather Loeffler said of the shop: “We love coming here because not only do they have great merchandise, we were shopping for a cause as well as for a film.” Legacies Upscale Resale, 3854 Paxton Ave., Hyde Park, 513-871-8899 shoplegacies.com.

BEST FARM-TO-TABLE FLORALS

Don’t have a specific type of flower you have to have in your bouquet? Let Courtenay Lambert Florals pick them for you. CLF’s Fraîche Blooms offers a greener, less expensive alternative to custom floral designs by utilizing seasonal, local blooms. You pick flowers that are available and a theme from a selection of pre-designed collections, and CLF does the rest — no fussing over countless options or paying big bucks for design fees and shipping costs. Not to mention the benefit of experiencing naturally fresh, fragrant flowers you find when shopping in season. Fraîche Blooms by Courtenay Lambert Florals, fraicheblooms.com.

BEST HOTEL TO STAY AT BEFORE IT’S CONVERTED INTO APARTMENTS

Garfield Suites touts some of the largest affordable hotel rooms in the city — each with a full kitchen, dining and living rooms and separate bedrooms. Even more spacious, the hotel’s penthouses are a great spot to have a downtown staycation, bachelor party or girls’ night. While a far cry from the Vegas suites you see in movies, the impressive spaces feature spiral staircases and balconies overlooking the city. With downtown rental properties more in-demand than hotel rooms, the Garfield will only be open for a couple months before it is repurposed into apartments — which is ironic, since the reason the hotel suites are so large in the first place is because the building was originally an apartment complex. Garfield Suites, 2 Garfield Place, Downtown, 513-421-3355, garfieldsuiteshotel.com.
Gorman Heritage Farm - Photo: Hailey Bollinger

BEST HUB FOR URBAN HOMESTEADERS

Gorman Heritage Farm is a 122-acre working farm and education center just outside of downtown Cincinnati in Evendale, which immerses visitors in a natural setting to explore the history, methods and experience of farming. Along with popular fests, like their chef-driven Savor the Season and you-pick Sunflower Festival, Gorman offers hands-on opportunities to learn some basic homesteading. Through their cooking and gardening classes, you’ll learn to grow and preserve your own seasonal eats. And their family farming classes focus on everything from the ins and outs of raising chickens in your backyard and beginners’ beekeeping to basic care for mini horses. And if you don’t feel like learning anything at all, take a self-guided tour and hike one of their walking trails for an overlook view of the Mill Creek Valley. Gorman Heritage Farm, 10052 Reading Road, Evendale, 513-563-6663, gormanfarm.org.

BEST REASON TO HOPE THAT YOU MIGHT ACTUALLY GET AN APPOINTMENT AT PARLOUR

You could say Parlour salon in East Walnut Hills is popular, if by “popular” you mean that owner and stylist Jessie Hoffman already has appointments scheduled through July. The join-the-waitlist reality is mostly due to the staff’s skill level and hip aesthetic, but also probably in part because Parlour was named one of the top five best salons for hair color in the nation by InStyle magazine last year. All the accolades aside, the salon finally got the hint and has added new stylists (they now have 11) and an additional 400 square feet. By the beginning of April (their four-year anniversary), the addition and new color bar and shampoo room will be open for business. Parlour, 2600 Woodburn Ave., East Walnut Hills, 513-961-4247, salonparlour.com.

BEST LADIES TO CALL WHEN YOU WANT TO FORGET ABOUT THE DETAILS

If you’re looking to add some organized whimsy to an upcoming party, call in the gals at Honey event styling. With an aesthetic rooted in a bit of darling fun and creativity — hand-drawn calligraphy, blushing pinks and citrus brights, textures, tassels and colorful collections of glassware — the studio can design, plan, curate and style everything from intimate parties and work events to weddings. They tackle the tablescape so you can worry about more important things — like what shoes to wear and how to not trip on your way down the aisle. Honey, honeyevents.co.

BEST LOCAL AMERICAN PICKER

A picture may be worth a thousand words, but an item from the past, like vintage college apparel, a soft-from-wear old concert T-shirt or a pair of timeless work boots, can also tell a story. Cincinnati vintage dealer and DJ Matt Joy collects and sells clothing and accessories — particularly American-made and handcrafted goods — from his OTR apartment, housed in a former textile factory. Today, fast fashion is king and the term “vintage” is tossed around liberally, but Joy highlights items that represent another time — when people invested in quality items and took pride in craftsmanship. Check out his collection on Etsy, look out for him at pop-up shops and area events like the City Flea and follow him on Instagram @mattyjoy. etsy.com/shop/littleshopofmatthews.

BEST NAIL SALON FOR A FIVE-FREE MANICURE

With exposed brick, hanging plant installations, subway tile, white walls and pale pink and grey ikat lumbar pillows, Over-the-Rhine’s Spruce Natural Nail Shop marries its message with its aesthetic — conscious yet colorful. All Spruce services feature cruelty free, paraben free, vegan nail polishes, free of the top five polish toxins. Opt for The Natural, a detoxifying and hydrating mani finished with a clear polish or buff, or pick from their line of trendy colors, nail art, nail stamps or nail wraps (in place of gel). Bonus: All services include pampering with the salon’s locally made natural and eco-friendly lotion, scrub and cuticle oil. Spruce Natural Nail Shop, 1235 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-818-8749, sprucenailshop.com.

BEST SHOP TO CHANNEL YOUR INNER CLAIRE UNDERWOOD

Need to fire someone or steel yourself against forthcoming international scrutiny? Something a little First-Lady-meets-Lady Macbeth? Alligator Purse on Hyde Park Square stocks a wide array of coolly sophisticated styles for those special occasions when you need to look armed and flawless. Look the part of the impeccable power woman with fashions and finds from designers like Diane von Furstenberg, Helmut Lang, Trina Turk and Theory. Alligator Purse, 2701 Erie Ave., Hyde Park, 513-871-6171, shopalligatorpurse.com.

BEST SHOP TO CHANNEL YOUR OUTER DAENERYS TARGARYEN

If Game of Thrones’ Daenerys Targaryen — Mother of Dragons and all-around badass — lived in Cincinnati, it’s a safe bet she’d shop at either of the Kismet locations (the O’Bryonville shop opened a second location in OTR last year). The mecca of eccentric, statement-making and creative women’s clothing offers a selection of boho-meets-Dothraki gear: slightly talon-shredded and cozy sweaters, big-ass metal scroll rings, long Khaleesi batik skirts, fingerless gloves, wrap boots, aged leather accessories, arm cuffs, crop tops, belts — basically everything but breast plates and long blonde wigs. Is it homage or cosplay? Does it matter? Both shops also offer plenty for home and décor — crystals, tea lights, incense, art, mugs and more — in a constantly rotating inventory. Kismet, 2037 Madison Road, O’Bryonville, 513-871-7879; 1321 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine, facebook.com/kistmetovertherhine.

Northside Chop Shop East Wall - Photo: Jesse Fox

BEST APOTHECARY ENTREPRENEURS IN A BARBER SHOP

Plenty of salons swear by certain product lines, shampooing, spritzing and styling your mane with their favorite brands. But it’s rare that a salon makes its own. Not at Northside’s Chop Shop. Owners and stylists Scott and Jen not only specialize in statement making and self-expressive ’dos, they also handcraft their own home and body products. Scott is behind the popular Ohio Valley Beard Supply line — soap, conditioner, elixirs, balms and mustache wax — and Jen handcrafts Oak.Isaac candles, soaps and textile sprays with fresh fragrances like clary sage and lavender, or bergamot, vetiver and cedar. The shop’s East Wall Local Goods store features both of their products lines, plus Chop Shop’s own shampoos and conditioners. Northside Chop Shop, 1609 Hoffner St., Northside, 513-591-CHOP, northsidechopshop.com.

BEST EASTER BUNNY COSTUME

Since 1967, Schenz Theatrical Supply has designed, manufactured and rented out all kinds of costumes, from theater wardrobes to Halloween getups to mascot characters. But a few costumes are just too precious to rent out — three bunny costumes, to be exact. Owner Jonn Schenz — quite possibly the most interesting human ever — has provided his handmade Easter bunny costumes to the annual White House Easter Egg Roll since 1981. Over the years, Schenz has met every president from Ronald Reagan to Barack Obama — he personally delivers the rabbit suits to ensure proper care. Schenz Theatrical Supply, 2959 Colerain Ave., Camp Washington, 513-542-6100, schenz.com.

BEST LOVE-THE-COV URBAN OUTFITTER

Covington celebrated its 200th birthday with a bit of a facelift. The Love the Cov movement and resulting urban renaissance has jump-started arts and business interests in the neighborhood, with new bars, restaurants, galleries and shops popping up all over town, including Durham Dept., a men’s and women’s lifestyle and apparel shop hawking “durable garments and goods.” An outpost of local Durham Brand & Co. creative studio, stop in (or poke around online) for clever Durham-branded apparel, vintage Covington baseball T-shirts, leather goods and more. Durham Dept., 617 Madison Ave., Covington, Ky., 859-905-0460, durhamdept.com.

BEST BUSINESS CELEBRATING 4/20 FOR 20 YEARS

When Hemptations first opened its doors in 1995, who would have thought that just 20 years later we’d be voting on marijuana legalization? The proposal failed, of course, but we can still count on this longstanding smoke shop for all of our green needs. Hemptations celebrated its anniversary year by opening a third location in Corryville’s Hi-Rise Deli building. Two decades later, they’re still the biggest purveyors of hemp apparel, accessories and body care — and other goodies — in the area. Hemptations, 2034 Madison Road, O’Bryonville, 513-871-4367; 11353 Lebanon Road, Sharonville, 513-524-4367; 2824 Jefferson Ave., Corryville, 513-569-0420, hemptations.com.

BEST SISTER ACT

Crafty and creative sisters Melyssa, Michele and Christine (plus shop dog Dakota) opened Grainwell, a wood-centric décor studio, in Covington last year. The trio produces one-of-a-kind items crafted from hand-selected, quality woods — birch, walnut, pine — sourced from uncommon outlets, including old barns. Find hand-designed, -built and -finished authentic wood accents for your home, including state-name coasters, etched bourbon barrel lids, live-edge air plant holders and great and grainy home hangings with the name of any city or state. And if you need to see your name in maple, they can do that, too. Grainwell, 316 W. Pike St., Covington, Ky., 859-415-4955, grainwell.com.

BEST RESCUE FOR RETIRED RACERS

Greyhound racing is still a thing in states like Alabama and Florida, where these long and lean sighthounds spend a couple of years hanging out in group kennels, getting ear tattoos and chasing lures around a racetrack while people bet on them. After they retire, they need forever homes, which is where local greyhound rescue groups like Homeward Bound Greyhound Association come in. The nonprofit HBGA takes frequent trips down to Birmingham to scoop up the pups that have tapped out of track life to bring them back to Cincinnati to find fosters and families. Their extensive network of dedicated foster parents help transition these surprisingly lazy beasts from track life to home life (teaching them to use stairs, not run into glass doors, that cats are our friends, etc.) so that you can take them home and give them a second chance at being a normal dog. HBGA also makes a concentrated effort to connect the greyhound community and educate people about the breed and racing. Currently adoptable dogs are viewable online. Homeward Bound Greyhound Association, hbgatristate.org.

BEST REASON TO WAVE A FLAG

Since 1869, the National Flag Company has called Cincinnati home, opening its headquarters in the West End under the watch of Walton Craig, Sr., Frederick Spencer and two seamstresses. By 1894, their primary product was made-to-order flags and patriotic decorations — in fact, in 1909, they manufactured the largest unofficial U.S. flag to date (the city of Pittsburg purchased the 750-pound, 80-by-160-foot wool behemoth). With their rich history as a foundation — and after surviving the Great Depression and great Ohio River flood (it took out the first two floors of their old building) — today the National Flag Company specializes in all styles of flags: championship banners, silk-screened logo flags, handheld parade pieces and more. And, of course, you can still rely on them to produce the old stars-and-stripes in a variety of sizes, as well as flags to pay tribute to our armed forces. National Flag Company, 1819 Freeman Ave., West End, 513-721-0285, thenationalflagcompany.com.

Jeremiah Griswold of White Whale Tattoo - Photo: Jesse Fox

BEST UNDER-THE-RADAR TATTOO SHOP

Jeremiah Griswold of White Whale Tattoo, a private studio near Walnut Hills, shades the Venn diagram between self-expression and social justice. While living in Guatemala, he began an apprenticeship at a prison in La Limonada, one of the country’s largest slums, doing cover-up tattoos for former gang members starting a new life. With a Master of Arts degree and a passion for literature — hence the Herman Melville reference in his studio’s name — his exceptional tattoos showcase masterful linework and a doyen’s understanding of the intricacies of flora, fauna and architecture (see amazing skin-and-ink renderings of Music Hall on his site). The most common phrase we hear: “I don’t want to tell anyone about it in case I can’t get in to see him!” So get in while you can, and give back: Ten percent of White Whale profits go to support organizations for the economically disadvantaged. Contact [email protected] to learn how to schedule a private consultation. White Whale Tattoo, 513-374-0429, whitewhaletattoo.com.

BEST WAY TO RAISE THE DEAD

To call Jeremy Johnson a Renaissance man would be apt. An artist, naturalist, educator and philosopher, Johnson helms local group Meddling with Nature — technically a taxidermy shop, but also so much more. The aim of Meddling with Nature is to use art and events to recall the wonder of the Victorian Era and Age of Enlightenment in regard to medicine, the natural world and the human condition. Taxidermy acts as a functional educational tool — see articulated skeletons, understand how bones fit under skin, examine still peacocks, etc. But Johnson also takes a more hands-on approach in his performance-art-style naturalist classes, like his dissection dinners, where you engage by physically dissecting an organ to understand the biological processes of animals, gaining respect for your meal in the process. Or his mounting workshops, where you learn to mount your own entomological specimen. The goal is to educate, interact and understand the wonder of life, all while looking at dead stuff. Meddling with Nature, 513-207-9760, meddlingwithnature.com.

BEST PLACE TO GET BEAUTIFIED H-TO-T

Forget about driving around town to separate salons to get your nails, hair, makeup and skin ready for a special event. Alba Organic Beauty Studio’s Cincy Style Bar is the one-stop shop for beauty services. This catch-all salon and spa has clients covered from head to toe, literally, using organic, natural and non-toxic products. Enjoy one or all of the services offered at the Hyde Park salon, including individually customized airbrush tanning, manicures and pedicures, blow outs, make-up application and eyelash extensions. Get the glam squad experience and step out feeling extra fab for your next night out. Alba Organic Beauty Studio, 2882 Wasson Road, Hyde Park, 513-631-2522, albabeautystudio.com.

BEST PLACE TO RECORD MUSIC, 3-D PRINT STUFF AND SEW A DRESS FOR FREE*

The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County is one of the largest, busiest libraries in the country, but many overlook some of its most valuable resources. Sure, the library’s 41 neighborhood branches provide a quiet space to read, work and research, popular educational children’s activities books and other media to check out. But the Main Library downtown is home to the super-cool (and super-underutilized) MakerSpace, a creative place with tools and equipment that aren’t readily available to most folks. We’re talking high-tech machines like 3-D printers, a book binder and digital audio, video and photography stations, plus sewing workspaces, button makers and a vinyl cutter. Best of all, it’s free for library members. All you have to do is reserve a station online (for up to an hour) and *bring or buy your own materials (think sewing kits and fabric, vinyl and acrylic sheets and 3-D printing resin). The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, Main Branch, 800 Vine St., Downtown, 513-369-6900, cincinnatilibrary.org/main/makerspace.html.

BEST USE FOR GOAT’S MILK BESIDES MAKING CHèVRE

Having a memorable brand ambassador is key to marketplace recognition, and Goshen-based Honey Sweetie Acres has quite the collection of mascots: a herd of Nigerian Dwarf goats. This holistic skincare and goat-milk soap producer is a ubiquitous presence at the City Flea, as is their coterie of itty, bitty adorable baby goats, which you can pet and play with! A smart marketing ploy if we’ve ever seen one. And once these kids grow up, they become producers of artisan, natural and sustainable body products — everything from goat-milk soaps scented with high-quality essential oils and botanicals to unscented lotions and pet products. The natural ingredients in Honey Sweetie items are also selected with health benefits in mind; look for soaps to help treat eczema, fight infection, boost your mood and more. Available online, at select Whole Foods and at local markets. Honey Sweetie Acres, honeysweetieacres.com.

BEST FRETTED-INSTRUMENT RESTORATION WIZARD

Luthier Chris Sisson of Northside’s Restoration Guitar has been making stringed instruments since he was 15 and repairing fretted instruments for more than 30 years. His new Northside workshop is an open retail location where customers can come in with an instrument that needs anything from a simple adjustment to a complex structural repair. Sisson will refinish and restore treasured vintage guitars to like-new or help turn a standard piece into the instrument of your imagination. Talk him through your dream modifications and he can help you manifest that musical reality, while still maintaining the value of the original piece. Restoration Guitar, 4141-3 Hamilton Ave., Northside, 513-373-8629, restorationguitar.com.
The Chocolate Bee - Photo: Jesse Fox

BEST SWEET COLLABORATION

 

Could this tag team BEE any sweeter? The Chocolate Bee is the collective home of two enticing companies: Chocolats Latour and Bee Haven, which opened their new brick-and-mortar space — featuring a full-time commercial kitchen and retail area — in November 2015. Chocolats Latour concocts fair-trade, gourmet chocolates made with local ingredients like juniper, lavender and Coffee Emporium coffee, while Bee Haven is a honey-lovers’ dream, offering products like beeswax lanterns, candles and lip balms made with the help of the owners’ own beehives. The Chocolate Bee, 4037 Hamilton Ave., Northside, chocolatebeecincy.com.

BEST WEDDING INVITES THAT HAVEN’T BEEN DONE TO DEATH ON PINTEREST

While the stationery boutique Poeme sells greeting cards, fine stationery and other gifts, the shop’s specialty is wedding invitations, programs and place cards that are beautiful — and 100 percent you. Poeme designers can help with your design projects to make your wedding as personal and creative as you want, whether you want minimalist programs, adorable menu signage or Pop art-inspired invites. Poeme, 3446 Michigan Ave., Hyde Park, 513-321-4999, poeme-online.com.

BEST BREWERY DOG BONES

Although Brewhaus Dog Bones are completely non-alcoholic, local breweries play a huge role in the small-batch dog treat company, a nonprofit run by young adults with developmental disabilities. Mt. Carmel, Bad Tom Smith, Rhinegeist and an ever-expanding list of others donate their spent brew grains, which founder Lisa Graham picks up on brewing days and delivers to Brewhaus’ headquarters New Richmond Exempted School to make dog bones. The school’s students — dubbed the Brewhaus Brew Crew — concoct the treats in the school’s industrial-size kitchen and deliver them to retail locations like the Party Source and Earthwise Pet Supply. Each bag of bones even names the breweries from which their grains came and the Brew Crew member who packaged them. Brewhaus Dog Bones, brewhausdogbones.com.

BEST LOCAL ALTERNATIVE TO ETSY

Discover local artisans and their products without having to leave your couch (or put on pants!). Online shopping site Made in Cincinnati is like Etsy for local makers, featuring more than two-dozen artisans and craftspeople from the Tristate area. Find products from CGCeramics, Chimera Shrubs, Rock Salt Vintage, Wendigo Tea Co. and many more; you’ll lose track of time sifting through an ever-expanding inventory of clothes, décor, food, art, paper goods, jewelry and other intriguing treasures. Bonus: The Internet never closes. Made in Cincinnati is a People’s Liberty project grantee — the philanthropic lab chooses eight grantees twice a year to create solutions to civic challenges, in addition to many other projects. The founder also happens to be the senior editor of CityBeat. Made in Cincinnati, shopmadeincincinnati.com.

BEST TRANSPARENCY IN LOUNGEWEAR

The only transparency you want when it comes to sweatpants is the maker’s business practices. And thankfully Victor Athletics produces men’s and women’s U.S.-made organic (non-see-through) sweatpants, hoodies and T-shirts with a mission to keep manufacturing jobs in the country and use sustainable materials and systems. Victor even invests five percent of its post-tax profit back into its factory workers (based in Tennessee). The athletic/loungewear brand recently opened a storefront space in OTR. Prepare yourself for a little initial sticker shock — America’s penchant for cheap clothing made in China has skewed our perception of costs — but know that your money is making a huge impact, and you’re actually getting factory-direct savings. Victor comes from the folks behind small-batch jean company Noble Denim, also built on ethical work practices. Victor Athletics Club, 1405 Republic St., Over-the-Rhine, victorathletics.com.

BEST VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITY FOR ANIMAL LOVERS

For 30 years, Cincinnati Therapeutic Riding and Horsemanship has been providing horse-related therapies and activities to children and adults with disabilities — and they need your help. Volunteers are needed to work with individual riders during each riding session, helping them tack and groom horses and walking beside them while on horseback. Volunteer opportunities are open to anyone 14 years and up; three training sessions are required before working with the riders. CTRH also offers a program for veterans with diagnoses including PTSD, and working with as many local veterans as possible is a major goal of executive director Rob Seideman. Cincinnati Therapeutic Riding and Horsemanship, 1342 State Route 50, Milford, 513-831-7050, ctrh-online.org.

BEST WAY TO GET RID OF UNDERFRUMP

We all know the feeling of an underfrump — it happens when your undershirt comes untucked and clumps up underneath your outerwear. Thankfully, Cincinnati local Daniel Redlinger has come up with a solution to squash the familiar fiend. His Jumper Threads brand uses soft, finely crafted Modal fabric to create breathable and form-fitting undershirts. They’re a longer length than your typical T, helping them stay tucked in — and keeping you comfortable — all day long. You could even jump around in them and they’d stay in place. Jumper Threads, jumperthreads.com.
Lucca Laser Workshop - Photo: Jesse Fox

BEST DAINTY WOODWORK

Recently featured in HGTV Magazine, Lucca Laser Workshop works wonders with wood. Owner, designer and machinist Lindsey Estes specializes in laser-cut natural wood, leather and paper goods. She makes gifts and cute accessories such as wooden coasters, earrings, bookmarks, jars, cards and ornaments out of her OTR studio/shop, which features an envy-worthy vintage wooden filing cabinet as a counter. Want to incorporate natural wood into your wedding? Lucca also offers unique wedding details like memorable save-the-date magnets, intricate hair clips and bowties, even laser-cut leather flasks for the wedding party. Lucca Laser Workshop, 1342 Main St., Over-the-Rhine, luccaworkshop.com.

BEST SHABBY CHIC UPCYCLERY

Shop for chic furniture and decorations upcycled from older items at The Pink Hippo in downtown Lebanon. Owner Jo Wise has had a knack for interior design since playing with and decorating her Barbie mansion as a child. Now, she collects products fashioned by local artists out of recycled items, and revamps antique furniture herself in order to stock her store with eco-friendly merchandise. Rather than being mass-produced, Wise’s creations are custom painted, vintage and pretty adorable. The Pink Hippo, 31 E. Mulberry St., Lebanon, 513-836-3738.

BEST SECOND-CHANCE MANUFACTURING COMPANY

Building brands, creating jobs and changing lives is an ambitious mission to tackle, but Nehemiah Manufacturing soundly delivers. The company, which licenses brands and innovates new concepts, is committed to bringing manufacturing jobs back to the inner city while giving its employees a second chance at success. Its passionate team welcomes what it describes as “hard-to-hire” candidates: individuals without work histories or with records that are blemished in some way. By working together, employees pave the way for an even better Cincinnati while simultaneously painting a bright future for themselves. Nehemiah Manufacturing, nehemiahmfg.com.

BEST BIT OF INDIA YOU CAN HOLD

What reminds you of home? Cincinnati-based Rajovilla designer Joya Logue used memories from visiting her father’s family home in India, called “Rajovilla,” to create designs for her beautiful line of hand-painted clutches of the same name. All printed with eco-friendly ink and handmade by Logue, the designs are a showcase of whimsical patterns, striking watercolors and floral motifs. Logue’s handbags make her family home seem like a dreamland — is it weird that we’re all dying to visit it now? Rajovilla, rajovilla.com.

BEST PLACE TO FIND WEST COAST-INSPIRED COMFORT

Is there anything better than lounging around the city in summertime in an airy cotton caftan? No. They are stylish and comfortable, especially when sourced from Idlewild Woman. The sister shop of made-to-keep menswear store Article, Idlewild celebrates the comfort and creativity of modern women through a curated selection of clothing and homegoods. Find light and loose dresses from hippie-chic Free People, denim from Nashville’s Imogene + Willie, hand-thrown stoneware from Mazama, structured geometrics from Steven Alan and indigo wool blankets from Maya Mueble. You’ll feel straight-out-of-L.A. in an embroidered boho blouse while grabbing a cold-pressed juice from nearby Off the Vine juice bar. Idlewild Woman, 1230 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-381-4059, idlewildwoman.com.

BEST HOMEMADE ART KIT FOR GROWNUPS

Beth Kalinsky’s hand-dyed scarves and pillows are a beautiful accent for any outfit or room, but half of the magic in her items are the processes by which they’re made. Now you can experience the fun by making hand-dyed textiles yourself with indigo dye kits from Kalinsky’s line Eliza Dot Design. It contains everything you need to dye three to five of your own pieces at home. You even have the option to include a Shibori Indigo wrap, hand-dyed at Eliza Dot Design studio for inspiration. It’s the perfect opportunity to destress and feel like a kid again as you experience the magic of dipping previously drab accessories into a vat for a one-of-a-kind creation. Eliza Dot Design, etsy.com/shop/elizadotdesign, shopmadeincincinnati.com.

BEST WAY TO GET YOUR DREAM WEDDING DRESS ON A BUDGET

High-end consignment boutique LUXEredux Bridal offers gently used designer wedding gown without the big price tags. Designers like Vera Wang, Pronovias, Badgley Mischka and more are all represented and affordable — tons of options under $1000. There’s also a collection of gowns for bridal parties and mothers to chose from. The LUXE In-A-
BOX program is designed for shoppers who can’t make it to the store — or those who have public dressing room anxiety. Just choose three bridal gowns online to try on at home and send back what doesn’t work. LUXEredux Bridal is also always accepting gently used designer gowns. Face it: You’re not going to wear it again, but someone else might! LUXEredux Bridal Boutique, 203 W. Benson St. Reading, 513-550-3531, luxereduxbridal.com.

BEST CROWD-PLEASING CATERER WITH NO SURPRISE FEES

“What do you want to eat?” It can be an agonizing decision for a couple to make on a Thursday night, let alone for your wedding day. Jeannette’s Delicacies, based out of Beckett Ridge Country Club, takes a lot of the guesswork out of planning your catering needs. Jeannette Adams meets one-on-one with prospective clients for a no-pressure tasting, ready to put together any menu from fun to fancy. Mix and match appetizers, make dinner interactive with pasta and curry chef stations, assemble your dream taco spread — the options are really endless. And if you’re still struggling to agree on a menu, she’ll offer thoughtful suggestions to ensure everyone leaves full, from that certain adult you know who only eats chicken fingers to your gluten-free vegan bestie. Best of all, everything from China and glassware to reception planning and cleanup is included — no gotcha fees to worry about while you’re on your honeymoon. Jeannette’s Delicacies, 5595 Beckett Ridge Blvd., West Chester, 513-309-7973, jeannettesdelicacies.com.

BEST PLACE TO TREAT YO’SELF

Take a break from daily stress and enjoy an affordable custom facial from Giovanni Finocchiaro, the owner of Face It Spa. This spa specializes in bringing dull skin back to life, whether you only have a lunch break or you’re dedicating a Saturday morning to facial rejuvenation. This urban spa can treat acne and acne scarring, rosacea and dry, sensitive or aging skin. If you are on a time crunch, go for the De-stressing Treatment, a quick 10- or 20-minute session to relieve tension and awaken the senses. Giovanni takes care to tailor each client’s facial to their specific needs. Face It Spa, 229 W. Ninth St., Downtown, 513-981-1608, faceitspa.com. 

BEST VET HELPING CINCINNATI PETS AND THEIR PEOPLE

For pet owners, animals play a huge role in life — they’re like family members. It’s no different for people living in poverty. Pets in Need is a nonprofit that recognizes this and makes affordable veterinary care available to area low-income families. The organization helps hundreds of pet owners take care of their fur babies with inexpensive exams, vaccines, testing, flea and heartworm prevention — even a monthly pet food supply. All enrolled pets must be spayed or neutered, and Pets in Need provides vouchers for those procedures at local clinics. Because everyone should know the love of a pet, regardless of their income. Pets in Need, 520 W. Wyoming Ave., Lockland, 513-761-7387, pincincinnati.org.

BEST PLACE TO PRETEND YOU’RE JOANNA GAINES

Is Joanna Gaines your spirit animal? Are you obsessed with HGTV’s Fixer Upper? You don’t have to get on the show to transform an ordinary space into an industrial-meets-farmhouse Waco wonderland — simply walk into Elm & Iron to have everything you need at your fingertips. From one-of-a-kind furniture and décor — wood installations, pillows, light fixtures, bookends and standard pieces like cabinets, tables and chairs — to vintage accessories like street signs and typewriters, the opportunities to redesign your home are endless, whether you’re giving a room a simple facelift or are tackling a larger project. It’s a great place to get inspired even if you don’t make a purchase; before you know it, you’ll be giving Jo and Chip a run for their money. Now, if only someone local sold shiplap. Elm & Iron, 1326 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-954-4217, elmandiron.com.

BEST OUTDOOR OUTFITTER FOR FORTIFIED FISHERMEN

Before opening Steinkamp Outfitting in June 2015, owner Bernie Steinkamp was a guide on Idaho’s Snake River. After coming to Cincinnati, the experienced fly fisherman and his father renovated the building at 2813 Woodburn Ave. and turned it into a haven of all-things outdoors. Although the store specializes in well-established fly-fishing gear, shoppers can also browse outfitting and camping items like canoes, tents, backpacks and clothing — perfect for you city-folk who like spending weekends at Red River Gorge. Steinkamp Outfitting, 2813 Woodburn Ave., East Walnut Hills, 513-961-2267.

BEST LOCAL YARN PROVIDER

The brainchild of Dashiemouse and Mr. Mouse (aka husband-and-wife duo Alexandra and David Parks), Dashing Mouse Designs was established to fill a void in the yarn world: man-friendly, hand-dyed and high-quality sock yarn. Browse spools of yarn in every color imaginable and download patterns online for items like baby socks, hats, scarves and headbands. The Mouses truly put love into all that they create; yarn is dyed on the stovetop in their kitchen, orders are packaged in their bedroom and everything sold is something Dashie regularly uses herself. Shop online or at Silk Road Textiles (6106 Hamilton Ave., North College Hill). Dashing Mouse Designs, dashingmousedesigns.com.

BEST SPORTS THERAPIST

TO THE STARS THAT YOU

CAN USE, TOO

Sabrina Brunner once provided massage and acupuncture therapy to professional athletes in Cincinnati — players from the Bengals, Reds, Cyclones and ATP tour. Now, she’s back in Cincinnati and offering her healing services at Qi Therapeutics to anyone with sports-related pain and injuries, not just the pros. Other services outside of acupuncture and massage include cupping (an ancient Chinese practice that’s been popular with celebs like Jennifer Aniston and Lena Dunham), spiritual counseling and visualization therapy for a fully holistic approach to wellness. Qi Therapeutics, 3665 Erie Ave., Hyde Park, 513-378-8347, qitherapeutics.com.

BEST WAY TO CUDDLE WITH CHARLEY HARPER ANIMALS

For more than three decades, Fabulous Frames & Art has sold the work of late Cincinnati artist Charley Harper. Now, that selection is more expansive than ever — the store recently launched charleyharper.com, giving customers access to hundreds of unique Harper-inspired items. Merchandise ranges from wall décor, framed minis, art, glass and jewelry to books, phone cases, umbrellas and figurines. There’s even stuff for kids: puzzles, games, T-shirts and (adult-friendly) coloring books. Particularly intriguing is the sites’ selection of fabrics — imagine a quilt covered with dozens of Harper animals! Their fat quarter bundle features Harper’s penguins, cardinals, giraffes, koalas, foxes, ladybugs and more. charleyharper.com.

BEST INFLUENTIAL DESIGN HUB

Local design/lifestyle store and studio HighStreet set up shop at the intersection of Over-the-Rhine, Pendleton and Mount Auburn in 2006, long before the now-trendy area was filled with bars, boutiques — oh, and that casino. And in the past 10 years, HighStreet hasn’t slowed down. The design hub has doubled in size, incorporating a furniture store and studio for commercial and residential design projects. While the shop boasts an impressive selection of eclectic interiors, hard-to-find books and magazines, men’s and women’s apparel, bath and body goods, its influence can also be seen outside its own walls. The multidisciplinary studio has taken on design projects for Sotto, Le Bar a Boeuf, Procter & Gamble and many more. HighStreet, 1401 Reading Road, Downtown, 513-723-1901, behighstreet.com.

BEST WAY TO BREAK UP THE WORK DAY

What’s better than a bunch of baby animals? A bunch of baby animals in the middle of the workday. On select days, Uber has been piling puppies or kittens into a car and bringing them to people’s offices; all you had to do was open the Uber app, request “PUPPIES” or “KITTENS” and wait for your car to arrive to enjoy 15 minutes of cuddles and kisses. But it gets even better — the goal of Uber Puppies and Kittens (a service which we desperately hope they will continue to offer) is to assist local shelters and organizations and to find forever homes for animals in need. Many participating dogs and cats are available for adoption, and the events’ “snuggle fees” — between $15 and $30 — go straight to local shelters. For example, Cincinnati’s Uber Kittens and Puppies came from the League for Animal Welfare in Batavia, one of the largest no-kill shelters in the area. Uber, uber.com.

BEST RARE SNEAKER SHOP

Daaaaamn, Daniel! (Sorry.) If you’re in the market for a new pair of Vans in high-tops or prints or other rare sneakers like all-gold Converse or retro-style Jordans, make Corporate your first stop. Follow @Corporategotem on Twitter for frequent updates on shoes arriving in-store; recent shipments have included Vans Sk8 Hi Reissues, Air Jordan 2 Wing Its and selections from the Cashmere Thoughts collection. The boutique just opened a second location in OTR, making their selection of brands and limited designs bigger than ever. Corporate, 2643 Erie Ave., Hyde Park; 1323 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine, corporategotem.com.
Brush Factory's BFF Collection - Brooke Shanesy

BEST REASON TO INVEST IN A TABLE

IKEA is a cool place to get lost and eat hot dogs, but it’s not the best choice to find unique and personal furniture. Instead, venture to Camp Washington’s Brush Factory, a workshop established by partners Rosie Kovacs and Hayes Shanesy that specializes in solid wood construction. Winners of last year’s ArtWorks Big Pitch entrepreneurship competition, the pair hopes to inspire their customers by giving them the power to connect to their surroundings, like through their bff collection, handcrafted solid wood furniture with the goal of reflecting the values of “friendship and the connection made while enjoying a meal and friendly conversation.” The result is a product that is entirely unique — and, unlike IKEA, you don’t have to put it together yourself and give up half way through. Brush Factory, brushmanufactory.com.

BEST SUCCESSFUL SMALL BOUTIQUE CHAIN

Since opening its initial Lebanon location in November 2013, boho-chic boutique Rose & Remington has opened two addition shops: one in Symmes Township and, most recently, a nearly 4,000-square-foot spot in Hyde Park Plaza. With more than 400 labels of women’s clothing, shoes, jewelry and accessories — both high-quality and affordable — customers can’t get enough of the shop, which has new items in stock daily. Mother-and-daughter co-owners Dee Alexander and Kristin Ponchot constantly keep things fresh; check their Facebook page for sales and new arrivals. Cute and casual outfits abound, including plenty of summer music festival gear. Rose & Remington, 15 E. Main St., Lebanon, 513-228-0799; 9261 Governors Way, Loveland, 513-583-0088; 3764 Paxton Ave., Hyde Park, 513-914-5152, roseandremington.com.

BEST REASON TO FLY OUT OF CVG

Cincinnati’s airport — yes, it’s in Kentucky, we’re over it — doesn’t always offer the least expensive flights, drawing some locals to drive as far as Columbus, Ohio or Louisville, Ky. to save. But low-cost carriers Allegiant Air and Frontier Airlines are attracting more travelers and driving down the average prices at CVG. These airlines offer lower prices by cutting out certain perks like free snacks, baggage and seat selection (those all cost extra). So if you’re traveling alone with minimal baggage, these carriers can save you money… and a drive. Allegiant Air, allegiantair.com; Frontier Airlines, flyfrontier.com.

BEST SOLUTION FOR A FEAR OF WORKING OUT IN PUBLIC

Do you know someone who spins at CycleBar? Do they sound obsessed? It’s because their classes are seriously fun and the results are real. For those who fear the gym, the idea of a group workout class is kind of terrifying. But at a CycleBar class, the lights are off, the music’s up, and the awesome instructors encourage you the whole time — you almost forget that you’re in a room with 30 other people. The cycling studio has a friendly vibe that’s welcoming to newbies. This full-body workout will kick your butt and make you feel great at the same time. CycleBar, 2713 Edmondson Road, Norwood, 513-631-7433, cyclebar.com.

BEST WAY TO MOUNT YOUR TV WITHOUT RUINING YOUR WALL

Go on YouTube and you’ll find tons of videos instructing you how to mount your own TV  — and tons of “epic fails.” When elevating your living room to home-theater status, it’s best to go with a professional. On Wall TV Install is an affordable option for television and speaker mounting promising the “no wires look.” Save by providing your own brackets and wires or let them supply the materials. They’re in and out in no time (and leave no mess behind), so you’ll be ready to Netflix and chill in style. On Wall TV Install, 859-393-1449, onwalltvinstall.com.

BEST FANNY PACK ALTERNATIVE

BANDI Wear’s sleek, colorful pocket belts look more like intentional fashion statements than what they really are — inconspicuous packs to carry things like your keys, cash and phone. This way, you can store your stuff without sacrificing your style. Dreamt up by a pair of active moms and launched in 2012, the shop offers belts in dozens of different styles, as well as classic and large sizes with matching extenders. Simply snap a belt around your waist and you’re ready to go. BANDI Wear also makes pocketed headbands, which are perfect for storing necessities while jogging or at the gym. BANDI Wear, bandiwear.com.

BEST BOUTIQUE INVESTING IN ITS EMPLOYEES

She’s All That Boutique, which opened in Northern Kentucky last summer, has found a unique way to serve local young women. Not only does the adorable shop sell cute dresses, trendy accessories and monogramable goodies girls (young and old) love, but She’s All That is dedicated to the pursuit of higher education. The shop employs young women from under-resourced communities and matches them with mentors to help them make and achieve goals in and outside of work. All of the store’s profits are put directly into scholarship funds for the employees. She’s All That Boutique, 2508 Dixie Highway, Fort Mitchell, Ky., 859-331-1292. shesallthat.org.

BEST NEW SPOT TO PICK UP VINYL IN OTR

After establishing its shop in Northside, Black Plastic opened a new store in Over-the-Rhine near MOTR Pub/Woodward Theater, giving the area another great music-based attraction. Besides a great selection of LPs, the store also has a prolific stash of music T-shirts, the best of which are the Black Plastic-branded ones that graphically play off of the Black Flag logo and Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures album cover. Black Plastic, 1411 Main St., Over-the-Rhine; 4027 Hamilton Ave., Northside, 513-258-0535, facebook.com/blackplasticrecords.