Best Of 2019

Lynne & Lucille artist Kelli Fisher has been “making almost nothings into pretty somethings” since 2013. A transplant from Columbus, Ohio, Fisher specializes in jewelry crafted from the retired gear of local musicians. “I’ve always been a huge fan of music but have never been able to grasp the concept of actually playing it,” she says, “so making jewelry from recycled (and) unusable music materials and instruments is the way I have found to make my own version of music.” Check out her Etsy shop for necklaces and earrings made from shaped guitar strings and polished cymbal segments. She also utilizes hand-tooled leather and, occasionally, remains of the natural world: dig her popular rattlesnake vertebrae hoop earrings and African porcupine quill bar necklace. Lynne & Lucille,

The fact that Continuum has held its own on Vine Street in OTR since 2015 is a prime example of the fact that Cincinnati is home to many humans who are interested in innovative, experimental and individual fashion. Shop owner Ericka Leighton is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati’s College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning with a passion for embracing creativity and creating a space for others to explore their own, whether they’re makers or shoppers. Recently name-checked in Vogue, the shop’s entire vibe — from the neon pink logo to hanging plants and Vaporwave meets Art Nouveau eclecticism — meets the modern woman at the intersection of aspirational and attainable in style, silhouette and price point. Brands range from Paloma Wool and No 6 to Black Crane and Cold Picnic and run the gamut from boxy tops and 1980s jeans to cult mother apparel. Continuum also carries textiles, candles, jewelry, fragrances and artful publications to round out its lifestyle offerings. Continuum, 1407 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine,

The unmistakable scent of musty old books hits you like a brick wall the moment you set foot in Duttenhofer’s Books, and aesthetically, it’s like the personal library of a Mensa member with a hoarding problem. Tens of thousands of tomes, spanning nearly half a millennium, eclectically fill the space’s snuggly-fit shelves and spill over into various crates strewn about the floor. An impressive catalog of canonized classics, rare first editions and kooky finds — like 1961’s Let’s Have a Party: Gayer Parties with Paperware Decorations and Games — have made this used bookstore a destination for lovers of worn-out paperbacks and hardcovers with missing dust jackets for over 40 years. Amazon may have nearly wiped indie bookstores from public consciousness, but there’s still nothing like spending a lazy afternoon getting lost in a maze of coffee-stained, yellow-paged publications. Duttenhofer’s Books, 214 W. McMillan St., Clifton,

Cory and Krystle Gaiser have a passion for sustainability and, by extension, bees, and operate Gaiser Bee Co. with the primary goal of educating the masses on the importance of the honeybee. Their urban farm is a home not only for bees, but also chickens, peacocks and goats; beginner beekeeping classes on their property — as well as their Host a Hive program — encourage members of the community to join them in their fight to save the bees. If that gets you motivated, nucs (the boxes bees are kept in) and packages of bees, complete with a queen, can be sold to anyone who wishes to make their own colony of pollinators. More everyday purchases such as fresh eggs and beeswax lip balm are also available, and don’t leave without a bottle of their sweet raw honey. Gaiser Bee Co. 3402 Kleeman Road, Monfort Heights,

Reser Bicycle Outfitters is a specialty bike shop in Newport that carries everything from road and mountain bikes to electric varieties and even BMX. And if you need something to get yourself amped up before you take to Cincinnati’s streets, Reser is also home to Trailhead Coffee, a craft purveyor serving Wood Burl Coffee and assorted pastries from the likes of Allez Bakery and Marty’s Waffles. Sip a pourover while scouting for bike gear or after dropping off your ride for a tune-up; Reser also does repairs, including major overhauls. It’s an underrated Northern Kentucky gem worth checking out — for both their coffee and their bikes. Reser Bicycle Outfitters, 648 Monmouth St., Newport,

Our beloved Union Terminal is back in action after having been partially closed for more than two years to conduct a $228-million historic restoration. To commemorate the National Historic Landmark’s monumental makeover, Cincinnati Watch Company designed a limited-edition Union Terminal Watch modeled after the building’s iconic exterior 18-foot clock. A portion of every $499 watch — or $524 for the version with a chic mesh-steel wristband — sold will be donated to Union Terminal’s current occupant, the Cincinnati Museum Center. The hand-wound timepiece brilliantly recreates the timeless Art Deco design of its outsized inspiration and features a sapphire crystal face with an appropriately understated color palette of silver and gray. The near-exclusive use of metallic hues across the watch make the vibrant scarlet outlines adorning its hands pop, allowing the wearer to easily tell the time — if that’s what you look for in a watch. Cincinnati Watch Company,

It takes discipline, endurance and patience to thrive in the world of martial arts — the same skills you need to run a small business. So when convenience store owner Reginald Stroud was priced out of his home, business and martial arts studio in Over-the-Rhine in 2015, he was equipped for the mountainous challenge of starting over. Now, Stroud is back. He spends nearly every day behind the counter of Anybody’s Dream, a convenience store in Northside featuring a façade painted by local artist Abby Mae Friend. Not that it was easy. It took Stroud two years to secure his new location. He also had to use his house to teach Jinen-Do — his own mix of martial arts traditions he has perfected over the last four decades. And an annual tournament he holds in Evanston skipped a year after the move as Stroud dealt with his new circumstances. But he’s still standing, still teaching, still selling penny candy, knit caps and essentials like toothpaste in a new neighborhood that needs them.

Sure, Micro Center is a chain with about 25 stores nationwide, but the electronics mega-superstore got its start in Columbus, Ohio in 1979. The “large format” layout, for which the store is known, began in 1982. Located on Mosteller Road in Sharonville, our local Center features free in-store clinics (upcoming events detail smartphones and tablets and wireless networking) and walk-in tech support. If it’s tech related, you can bet they’ll have it — an estimated inventory of over 30,000 items includes everything from the budget-minded student laptop to gizmos, doo-hickeys and interfaces that haven’t been seen since your neighborhood RadioShack liquidated its backroom inventory to sell phones. They are also an authorized Apple dealer and have plenty of refurbished iPhones, iPads and MacBooks on discount. Micro Center, 11755 Mosteller Road, Sharonville,

Covington’s Handzy Shop + Studio storefront is cuter than a button with its bright yellow door and panoply of adorable papergoods and accessories, so there’s no reason not to visit. But the ladies behind the brand — owners Brittney Braemer and Suzy King — have made it easier than ever to shop local by taking their boutique online. Last year they expanded Handzy to include both new and “second handzy” clothing. The options are playful, bright and patterned and fall right in the brand’s wheelhouse: polka dots tops, colorful overalls and floral prints. They also hand-select vintage and secondhand items to complement the new, which you can buy at the shop or via their Instagram stories. The duo is planning on expanding Handzy and taking over the space next door in late spring, with gifts, stationery and lifestyle accessories on the first floor and a clothing boutique on the second with a mix of new and vintage items. Handzy Shop + Studio, 15 W. Pike St., Covington,

Ripping hair out of your body by the root via hot wax is never going to be a comfortable or fun procedure, but the team at Heavenly Bodies makes it as painless as possible. Owner Alesia Buttrey has decades of waxing experience and it shows: Waxes here are fast — like in and out in 15 minutes — complete and compassionate; she and her staff are very aware of sensitive areas and will explain any parts of a wax service you’re worried about. For example, if you’ve never had a full Brazilian and want to try one, Alesia will walk you through the entire process. Or you can watch an educational video on the website. They offer full body waxing, from face to toe, and even options catered to men (chest, back, shoulders, etc.). It’s their 28th year at their cozy East Hyde Park location — more like a house than a strip mall wax place — and online booking services make it easier than ever to be as hair free as you want to be. Heavenly Bodies, 3608 Marburg Ave., Hyde Park,