The Best Cincinnati Coffee Shops

As someone who lives in Cincinnati, I think I can safely say I know where to get the best coffee. So I've compiled a list of my favorite Cincinnati coffee shops just for you! | An Aspiring Heroine
Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

I work with some of the most wonderful people in the entire city of Cincinnati (perhaps even the world). I know this because when I started thinking of ways to better showcase the beautiful Queen City here on my blog, a few of them immediately jumped in to help.

First on the list, Corrie! Soup extraordinaire and knower of all the things to do in Cincinnati on any given Tuesday. Corrie was kind enough to venture out into the chilly Cincinnati streets on multiple occasions for an afternoon pick-me-up. And from those outings, we created this list: the best Cincinnati coffee shops (complete with superlatives)!


Coffee Emporium

The everything-you-expect-from-a-coffee-shop-and-more coffee shop

Coffee Emporium is the oldest coffee house in Cincinnati, and it’s one of my favorites for all different occasions, whether I’m grabbing a drink to-go or having a work meeting over coffee. Their OTR space is huge, and they also sell the best homemade bakery items.

What I Ordered: Blackberry Mocha

Go Here for: Really solid espresso options because they roast all their own beans, and that’s a difference you can taste!


Kidd Coffee

The Instagrammable coffee shop

Kidd Coffee has five different locations in the downtown Cincinnati area (including a nitro bar), and I chose to visit the one in Carew Tower. I love it because the decor is like something out of The Great Gatsby! And their rewards program is the bomb. (Also, if you download the Ritual app this month, you can get a free coffee from Kidd every day!)

What I Ordered: White Mocha Latte

Go Here for: Always rotating, seasonal lattes that are just sweet enough without giving you a sugar headache


Lola’s

The cozy coffee shop

Lola’s is just two blocks over from my office, and it’s my favorite place for a working meeting. There’s beautiful artwork on the walls, the entire atmosphere screams snuggly, and the croissants are the best way to treat yourself for getting a little work done.

What I Ordered: Lavender Latte

Go Here For: A good variety of staple coffee items and selection of teas


1215 Wine Bar & Coffee Lab

The hipster coffee shop

No matter the time of day, I can think of an excuse to pop into 1215 Wine Bar & Coffee Lab. It’s a cute spot to meet up with friends for a drink before an event or to go through some emails over a morning latte. They also have a wine club, which I would totally look into if I lived downtown.

What I Ordered: Ginger Latte

Go Here For: A good number of pourover coffees (and a wide variety of wines!)


Iris BookCafé and Gallery

The hippie coffee shop

Corrie introduced me to Iris BookCaf√© when I first told her about my idea for this post, and I still can’t believe I had never been there before! It’s part coffee shop, part bookstore, part art gallery, part hangout space. There are shelves and shelves of books plus a large outdoor space, and I will be back soon for Cincinnati coffee, art, books, you name it.

What I Ordered: A good, old-fashioned Latte

Go Here For: A huge selection of teas that are treated with the utmost care and steeped for the perfect amount of time


Rooted Juicery + Kitchen

The juice bar that also serves coffee

Rooted is the cutest little vegan juicery, and I love stopping in for my morning drinks. Their matcha lattes are amazing and are made with your choice of almond, cashew, or coconut milk. I also recommend their juices (obviously) and their chocolate mousse pie because yum.

What I Ordered: Lovely Beet Latte with cashew milk

Go Here For: Vegan options that pack a caffeine punch and make you feel like you’re doing something good for yourself and the planet


What is your go-to order at a coffee shop? I obviously enjoy a good latte!

P.S. Find more places and adventures I’d recommend in Cincinnati!


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As someone who lives in Cincinnati, I think I can safely say I know where to get the best coffee. So I've compiled a list of my favorite Cincinnati coffee shops just for you! | An Aspiring Heroine

10 Writing Tools to Begin Your Next Novel

I've just begun a new fiction writing project and wanted to share the 10 writing tools that are helping me make the most of my writing time each day! From Scrivener to a meditation app, they'll inspire you to start writing today. | An Aspiring Heroine
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Hello, heroines! I’m back this last lovely Monday in February with a new writing post. I’ve finally gotten into a groove with my fiction writing after a bit of a hiatus (my blog writing routine this year has been on point if I do say so myself), and I thought it would be helpful to give you a quick look at the writing tools I use to keep myself motivated and getting the most out of writing time.

That’s not to say that I use all 10 writing tools each time I write, but I do use all of these tools frequently.

1. Scrivener

If you’ve been following along on my journey for a while, you know that Scrivener is my go-to tool for my writing projects. (It wasn’t always, but I got back into it about 18 months ago.) Once you get past the learning curve or use my free minimalist outline template, Scrivener is the best way for staying organized while writing, whether you’re the type of writer who writes straight through from beginning to end or skips around from scene to scene.

2. Pacemaker Planner

If you’ve ever participated in NaNoWriMo (let’s be friends!), Pacemaker Planner will look familiar to you. It’s an easy way to keep track of your writing progress, but it can be configured in about a million different ways. I like that the free account will let you set up two writing plans, and it’s also nice to be able to track your progress based on where you are versus where you need to be to complete your writing project on time.

You can read my full tutorial for using Pacemaker Planner for more details about this feature and more.

3. Your writer’s notebook

Most of these 10 writing tools are electronic or app-based, but sometimes there’s nothing like pulling out a physical notebook and writing down the story idea or quote or word you don’t want to forget. I use my writing notebook for those little flashes of inspiration that appear randomly throughout the day. Typically these aren’t story-specific notes or the kinds of things I’ll need to refer back to often, but the ones I can look through for an inspiration boost on those days when I’m not feeling like a writer.

4. Evernote

Now, when it comes to the important stuff and the notes you’ll need to check on a regular basis, I use Evernote. I set up a Notebook for each new writing project and then create new Notes for things I want to keep accessible no matter where I am: Research, What If? lists, writing that I type down quickly on my phone while I’m on the bus.

Evernote has app and desktop functionality, which makes it easy to pull up and use from any location and in any way that you please.

5. Focus Keeper App

Have you ever heard of the Pomodoro technique? Based on the idea of a tomato-shaped kitchen timer, it’s a time management system that uses 25-minute periods of focused work followed by 5-minute breaks. Sometimes it works for me when I write, sometimes it doesn’t, but I love the Focus Keeper app regardless. It allows me to follow the strict 25 to 5 of the Pomodoro technique when I’m at work or doing household chores.

But then if I want to do a different unit of time for my writing, I can easily reset the timer. It’s perfect for writing along with the NaNoWordSprints in November! There’s a paid version of the app, but I’ve been perfectly happy with the free version.

6. Prime Music

Maybe you’re the kind of writer who likes to write in complete silence or ambiance background sounds, and if it works for you, that’s great! If you like to write to music, however, I cannot recommend Prime Music more. As someone who sings every chance she can get, I have to listen to instrumental music to truly focus in on my writing, and they have the best curated playlists that I’ve found. Here are a few of my favorites:

7. A good book

We’ve all seen the famous quote from Stephen King’s On Writing:

If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.

I’m trying to take that advice to heart this year and made my Goodreads goal an ambitious 50 books in 2019. I’m also working to read more diversely and stretch myself with themes and genres that are outside my norm. But it’s been great to rediscover how much a good book can inspire you to write and also how it can inform your writing. I recently finished A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab, and I immediately wanted to jump into my current WIP and not stop until I finished!

8. Headspace App

There’s a trend that I’ve noticed lately among writers that there’s no such thing as writer’s block. That it’s all in our heads and we need to stop giving the idea power by using it as an excuse. I don’t necessarily know how I feel about that sentiment (some days the words flow and some days they don’t), but I do know that I’ve developed a way to trick my brain into writing on my schedule. And it’s all thanks to the Headspace app.

Headspace is my favorite meditation program. If you’re a beginner to meditation, that’s totally fine. They have week-long daily routine that guides you through it. And honestly, the idea behind tricking your brain into writing has more to do with setting up a routine than meditating, though it’s my favorite way to jump start the creative process.

9. An inspiration board on Pinterest

I tend to be a very visual person, and I also like to have a lot of character details squared away before I begin to write. Appearance, name, motivation, goals… I like to know it all!

That’s why it’s helpful for me to create inspiration boards for each writing project through my Pinterest page. I create subfolders to each board with character inspiration, research, location inspiration, anything relevant to the project that I come across while I’m pinning. Then, when I’m stuck or not really feeling a certain aspect of the story, I scroll through my board and remember the elements to the story that really sparked an interest for me! You can check out all the boards I’ve created for my current WIPs on my Writing page.

10. Werdsmith App

This app is the newest of my 10 writing tools. I’ve been using the Werdsmith app over the past month as I’ve been diving into a new story, and I like it enough that I wanted to share and get your feedback! It’s a great app for jotting down a few paragraphs when you’re without your laptop, and I also like that it reminds me to write at a certain time each night. It’s very simple to use, and so far the free version of the app has been good enough for me.

What is the writing tool that you can’t live without? I’d love to know what I’m missing on this list!

P.S. Looking for something more specific about one of these tools? Check my writing archives, which contains everything from NaNoWriMo prep to blogging tips.


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I've just begun a new fiction writing project and wanted to share the 10 writing tools that are helping me make the most of my writing time each day! From Scrivener to a meditation app, they'll inspire you to start writing today. | An Aspiring Heroine

Friday Finale: The app that’s changed my closet game and soft pretzels you must bake right now

DISCLOSURE: THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS. READ THE FINE PRINT.
It's time for another Friday Finale, my favorite way to tell you about the best things I experienced during the month. Today, we're talking about a new app that's changing my closet game, soft pretzels, and a new-to-me book trilogy! | An Aspiring Heroine
Photo by Amy Shamblen on Unsplash

And here we are again with a new edition of the Friday Finale! It’s been a lot of fun for me to think back over the month and pick out my favorite things, and I hope you enjoy reading about everything I’ve loved throughout the month. (Check out the very first in the series!)

It’s been a dark and dreary February. I just overheard someone on the elevator at my office say there have been 12 sunny days in Cincinnati this year, and I would bet that not even half of those have taken place this month. It’s hard to keep up that New Year’s energy and will to thrive when the weather refuses to get with the program, but I still think I’ve been doing an admirable job of it!

I’ve read a number of good books (more about that below!), and I have just begun working through Helene Sula‘s Instagram for Success course, both for my 9-5 and this little space. So I’m feeling motivated to keep on keeping on. Here are the things that sparked joy for me in February!

It's time for another Friday Finale, my favorite way to tell you about the best things I experienced during the month. Today, we're talking about a new app that's changing my closet game, soft pretzels, and a new-to-me book trilogy! | An Aspiring Heroine

You guys, this app is completely changing my life. This statement will sound like an exaggeration from your perspective, but it couldn’t be further from the truth.

I first learned about Cladwell through my friend Robin who I met in the Cincinnati Chamber’s Cincy Next class, a professional development course for YPs. She’s a (the? perhaps the?) developer for the app, and since she’s one of the most stylish people I know, I immediately jumped on the bandwagon.

Some things to know about Cladwell:

  • Cladwell is free right now, which means you should start an account right now and take advantage of that! When I started out, I was paying $5 a month, and it was still worth.
  • It helps you easily create your wardrobe in the app (no taking photos of each dress, no erasing the background from every shirt), and then it suggests outfits for you each morning based on the weather that day and your style. It learns you as you use it. Technology is wild, guys.
  • Cladwell just implemented a more social aspect of the app, which means you can find your friends, see what they’re wearing every day, and leave them snaps on outfits you love! It’s been so fun to be a fly on the wall of people’s closets.
  • Cladwell tracks what you’re wearing and what you aren’t, which means when you finally decide to read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and Marie Kondo your entire life, it’s got your back and will let you know that “No, you haven’t worn that sweater in 9 months, Tyler. It obviously does not bring you joy.”

Basically, it’s been a game-changer for me because I’m learning to love my closet again. I’m on a 150-day streak of using the app, and there hasn’t been a single day when I thought “I just don’t have anything to wear.” And that, my friends, is gold.

There’s about a 95% chance I’ll do a full post on Cladwell (maybe paired up with my Marie Kondo experience?) at some point in the next month, so let me know all your questions in the comments.

It's time for another Friday Finale, my favorite way to tell you about the best things I experienced during the month. Today, we're talking about a new app that's changing my closet game, soft pretzels, and a new-to-me book trilogy! | An Aspiring Heroine

Why yes, I am a real millennial because I did watch both Fyre Festival documentaries. I wasn’t planning to, but then I heard they were worth it from some more Cincy Next friends, and I caved. (In case you haven’t recognized it yet, I’m really not a fan of following the pack.)

However, I will say that I did really enjoy both documentaries, especially from the perspective of a full-time social media professional. Influence is crazy in our society, and I thought both films painted an accurate picture of the pitfalls of a select few having that much power with the click of a button.

I watched Netflix first, then Hulu, which is what was suggested to me. Since Netflix gave more about the festival itself while Hulu went more into the nitty-gritty of Billy McFarland, I think it was the right choice.

It's time for another Friday Finale, my favorite way to tell you about the best things I experienced during the month. Today, we're talking about a new app that's changing my closet game, soft pretzels, and a new-to-me book trilogy! | An Aspiring Heroine

I finished it! All three books! And I obviously really enjoyed them because I suggested my friend Molly read them no less than three times. (She gave me the benefit of the doubt and thought it was once per book, but I’m still horribly embarrassed about it.)

But really, you should immediately go check these books out from the library because they were fantastic. The author does a fantastic job of characterization, creating a unique magical world, and just writing the darn things, so I highly recommend. You can see my ratings for each book on Goodreads.

It's time for another Friday Finale, my favorite way to tell you about the best things I experienced during the month. Today, we're talking about a new app that's changing my closet game, soft pretzels, and a new-to-me book trilogy! | An Aspiring Heroine

You read that correctly: Chocolate Cookie Stuffed Soft Pretzels. Tieghan over at Half Baked Harvest has been filling my kitchen with delight for over a year now (I even bought her cookbook!), but these and the Spinach and Artichoke Stuffed Soft Pretzels really stole the show for the Super Bowl.

I brought the leftovers (all 13 of them!) into work the next day, and my coworkers raved! Two of them have made the recipes since. If you’re looking for a fairly easy but very impressive snack to bring to a party, these are your new go-to. Trust me.

And that’s everything I felt compelled to share about February! Did you have an eventful month? What would you include in your own Friday Finale?

P.S. Don’t forget to read the very first installment of the Friday Finale!


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It's time for another Friday Finale, my favorite way to tell you about the best things I experienced during the month. Today, we're talking about a new app that's changing my closet game, soft pretzels, and a new-to-me book trilogy! | An Aspiring Heroine