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021014EDITOR1
Amy’s husband, Pete, climbing a tree during their engagement photo shoot

I’ve been in love before. I’ve told family members, boys, friends, food, clothes and even dogs that I love them before. But it wasn’t until just recently, at the age of 31 and married for five years, that I learned how to love. What it meant to love. And what I would ultimately see given for that love.

 

My husband, Pete, is 9 years older than me, so he’s been itching to have babies since he put a shiny diamond ring on my finger. I, on the other hand, being the more finance-minded of the two, had a business to build, a laundry list of monthly bills we needed to pay and lots of bucket list items – like traveling the world – that I wanted to cross off first.

 

Well, I built my business, he got promoted and we traveled. So, a few years ago, Pete and I inevitably had “the talk.” And by talk I mean Pete casually mentioned that he stopped taking his medicines so we could start having babies and I got mad at him.

 

Pete has a severe case of Rheumatoid Arthritis. He was diagnosed with it about a year before I met him. But they caught it early and his medicines kept it under control. You’d never know that the man I married – who climbed a tree to be funny for our engagement pictures and jumps around on stage when he sings in a band – has an “old lady’s disease” that once crippled those who had it. The only bad thing about those medicines is that they can (ahem, will) cause birth defects if taking them while trying to conceive.

engagement
 A photo from Pete and Amy’s engagement session

 

He knew I’d never just wake up one day and decide that we had enjoyed our restful nights, flexible schedules, savings account and time together enough to suddenly declare “It’s time for children!” So, he went off his meds as his way of ringing the proverbial alarm clock. Unfortunately, there was no snooze button on this one. Once you go off these medicines, you’re off, and it’s tough to ramp up again. So, naturally, to any alarm without a snooze, anger was my first response.

 

“How could he be so selfish? How could he just make this big decision without me? It’s my body — shouldn’t I be the one to tell him when I’m ready?” I remember asking my mom these things, thinking she would side with me like usual and we could enjoy a good little boy-bashing session. But she didn’t. She said to give it time to sink in, and that she bet a couple years from now, I’d be glad he did that. At the time, I thought she couldn’t be more wrong. But, of course, as moms usually are… she was very right.

 

After Pete had been off his meds for six months, we were cleared for Mission: Baby Making. I was still mad at him (isn’t it amazing how us women hold on to these things?) but I must admit, “trying” was fun, so I went along with it. About four months into it, we were getting ready for a dinner date and I realized I should have started my period the week prior. I didn’t think much of it because sometimes I’m a few days early or late — no big deal. So I quickly took a test to be sure. One line showed up like usual. I washed my hands and powdered my face one last time, thinking, “Life can go on as usual for at least another month! Whew!” But, as I went to throw it away, I noticed a faint second line that I had never seen before. As the faint line got darker, my face got more pale. Feeling light-headed, confused and mad that now I couldn’t have a drink at dinner even though it was a long, hard week at work, I stumbled with wide eyes into the next room to show Pete the test.

 

I’ve never seen so much joy fill up a person’s face so quickly. He just squeaked “baby!” and hugged me so tight I thought I’d pop. And I almost did — with fear, anxiety and an uncontrollable urge to scream “I’m not ready yet!” But I held back. I didn’t want to rain on his parade. Pete was so clearly happy, he almost bounced into the car and into the restaurant, as I slugged along behind him as if my entire body was filled with tar. I remember just sitting there at dinner, sipping on my water, nibbling at my food thinking “This is it. Water for 9 months. Can you even eat Indian food while pregnant? What did I eat yesterday? Sushi. Crap. I’m ruining it already. Horrible mom.” Meanwhile, Pete’s talking about names, colors for the room, and how we’ll tell our parents.

 

I slept on it and did feel a little better the next day. Still not excited yet, but I was at least “ok” with being pregnant. We soon told our parents and close friends, I did some reading on the foods you shouldn’t eat while pregnant, and made my first OB appointment for April 24, 2012.

 

The day before that appointment – where I’d hear the heartbeat and see this living creature inside me for the first time – I remember feeling a little off. Headache, tired, stomach ache. You name it, I had it. “And so it begins,” I thought. “All the dreaded side effects of pregnancy. Better get used to it, you’ve got 8 more months of it.” I had started spotting that afternoon, but my mother-in-law said that’s common and fairly normal. So, I lounged around all day and eventually went to bed. Then it happened.

 

I woke up in the middle of the night with the most excruciating pains I’ve ever felt in my entire life. As if someone put scorching hot coals into my abdomen and my body was doing everything it could to get them out. I ran to the bathroom and looked down to see a toilet filling with blood. All I could do was scream at the top of my lungs. Scream because I was scared. Scream because I knew it was ending. Scream because all the sudden I wanted that baby more than ever. Scream because I was so foolish to not want it until it was so violently being taken from me.

 

The screaming eventually stopped but the bleeding didn’t. Since I already had an appointment, I went to see my doctor that morning. But instead of hearing those miraculous first beats of the little baby’s growing heart, the ultrasound confirmed I had already passed the fetus and I was no longer a mom-to-be.

 

I gathered up my things, passed all the pregnant women in the waiting room, walked as quickly to my car as I possibly could, and as I shut the car door, I burst out in tears. I cried for what felt like an eternity. Tears of physical pain, emotional hurt, mental anguish, but most of all, I cried because I was truly, genuinely sad to no longer be pregnant. Who was this person? Just months ago, I thought I’d be relieved to have my life back to normal now. But I realized, in that car, sitting in my OB’s parking lot, with my face in my hands overflowing with tears, I was ready. It had to be taken away from me to realize I wanted it back. But I was ready.

 

Unlike most things in life, this new goal couldn’t be achieved with my usual “work hard, get results” kind of attitude. We rode the emotional roller coaster called “trying” for more than a year, until Pete waved the white flag. The pain in his joints – just masked by steroids for the past couple years since he went off his RA meds – was just too much to handle. We needed to bite the bullet (and bills) to seek the help of a fertility clinic.

 

While, deep down, I was disappointed that our “love child” would be more like a “test tube baby,” I knew it’s what we needed to do to get Pete feeling better and for us to finally be parents. So, I met with a fertility specialist doctor – a warm, gentle, older man – who walked me through the process. We’d try three months of inseminations (a high-tech turkey baster), and if that didn’t work we’d do IVF (in vitro fertilization). Fast forward past a surgery to clear my tubes (did you know the pathway of your fallopian tubes is just the width of a strand of hair?) and three months of unsuccessful inseminations, it was time to call in the big dogs of IVF. I was hoping it wouldn’t come to this because, frankly, it’s super expensive, and it involved a lot of needles. I hate needles. Hate.

 

But we signed on the dotted line. A box containing hundreds of three-inch-long needles and countless vials of medicines soon arrived on our doorstep. I went to a seminar with other hopeful-moms-to-be to learn how to use those needles because for the next few months, I’d be giving myself multiple shots in multiple different body parts to force over-ovulation so they could get – and fertilize – as many eggs as safely possible. I had to give these to myself morning, afternoon and night. My modesty quickly disappeared as I found myself more times than I’d like to admit sitting in my car with my pants down, injecting a huge needle into my thigh like a drug addict because I needed a shot before an appointment or event.

 

The shots worked because come Nov. 8, 2013, I went in for a procedure where they retrieved 21 healthy eggs. Then, as my doctor so technically put it, he “let them party in a petrie dish with Pete’s stuff” and we got daily updates on how many party animals were turning into embryos. Eight began to form, but after watching their progress for five days, only two turned out to be healthy enough to continue growing in the womb. So, we had them implant both embryos and I was on bed rest for two days.

 

While on bed rest, Pete was pretty much bed-ridden too. His joints were feeling worse than ever, so he went to see a new rheumatologist whose office was closer to his work. She did a scan of his hips – which were the most painful of all his joints – and immediately confirmed that he needed a double hip replacement. He came home with the news and I was completely shocked. I knew he complained of pain, and I could hear his hips occasionally pop when he’d walk or move, but double hip replacement? At age 40?

 

Luckily, he got a surgery appointment with one of the best hip surgeons in the city, who specializes in a less-invasive procedure with a much quicker recovery time. Surgery was set for Dec. 2, so all we could do until then was wait, seeing his pain increase dramatically every day as the steroids continued to wear off. He works mornings and wears a suit every day. For someone with RA, mornings are the most painful. Tying a tie and putting on a suit? Nothing short of an Olympic event. There would be some mornings that he’d get up two hours before needing to leave the house and still need help getting out on time.

 

Fixing an occasional collar or buttoning a difficult button soon turned into helping him bathe and dress from head to painful toe. One morning, as I helped him into the shower, he just looked at me, with complete desperation and defeat in his greenish-brown eyes, and said, “I can’t do it today. I just can’t. I’m sorry.” It was about a week and a half before his surgery was scheduled, and we had planned for him to work up until then. But he just couldn’t do it any more and I knew not to push him. So, we set him up on disability, and just waited for surgery.

 

I was getting occasional blood work done throughout November so my doctor could track my levels. I knew I’d be getting a call from them two days before Thanksgiving with the results of our IVF. Success or failure, no in between.

 

And there it was. Two days before Thanksgiving. My phone rang and my doctor’s number flashed up on the screen. I answered, carefully scanning the tone of the nurse’s first words. She kept a good poker voice, at first telling me that my blood tests came in … yes, yes??? … “and you’re pregnant!” she said, breaking all emotional ambiguity. “This is just one small step on a very long journey,” she cautioned, “but congratulations. We’ll see you in a few weeks for your first ultrasound.”

 

I couldn’t believe it. I was pregnant. I was so happy. And I was already falling in love with this little being growing inside of me that I had prayed for with squinted eyes and wished upon countless stars for over the past year and a half.

 

I couldn’t wait to tell Pete. There he sat, 19 months after I first told him I was pregnant. This time, though, he was pale, deformed and nearly crippled with pain. But I again filled that man’s face with complete and pure joy as I shared the good news. We embraced, and this time we were both happy. We had both worked for it, sacrificed for it and already loved it more than it would ever know.

 

We shared our news cautiously with family on Thanksgiving, making them swear to secrecy. A few days later, we held onto that good news with a white-knuckled grip as Pete prepped for surgery. I didn’t tell him this, but I tossed and turned the entire night before his surgery. Suddenly realizing he was going under anesthesia for almost an entire day, they were sawing off the top of his femur in one of the most vascular areas of his body, and something could easily go very very wrong. But when he awoke, I didn’t share my fears. I stayed strong and gave words of encouragement even though I wanted to melt into a scared, sleepless, sobbing puddle.

 

I wheeled him into the surgery prep area, and the nurse told us where the waiting room was. I kissed him on the forehead as she took him away. He looked back and waved. I waved back, smiling on the outside, but terrified on the inside with the thought of being one surgeon’s mistake away from being a widowed, single mom.

 

Pete’s mom, dad and I sat in that waiting room looking at a screen that showed the status of each patient: pre-surgery, surgery, and post-surgery. During surgery, the nurse came out and said the first leg bled much more than expected but they just completed it and had started on the second. What? Bled more than expected? Was he ok? Will he be ok? We didn’t ask questions. We just waited.

 

After a long 13-hour day of waiting, the nurse came out to say the surgery was complete, they were waiting for him to wake from the anesthesia, and that we could see him in a few minutes. We all exhaled as if we had been holding our breath under water the entire time. The nurse ushered us back into the post-surgery room, where I saw my husband for the first time in what felt like a lifetime. Even though his hair was back in a hair net, skin was yellow from anesthesia, and mind was groggy from just waking up, my heart fluttered. I ran to him and fell madly, deeply, in love with him all over again in that room. There he was, enduring so much pain and this epically dangerous surgery, all for us. For our family. So he could be a dad and I could be a mom.

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 Pete waking up from his 13-hour surgery

 

He stayed in the hospital for four days after surgery, and despite some horrible snow storms that week, his family and I all stayed by his side to make sure he was rarely alone. He finally returned home, and a week after he did, we had my first ultrasound appointment. The same appointment that had been such a turning point in my last pregnancy. The day before the appointment, I reflected on how differently I felt this time around. How happy I was. And, actually, how thankful I was for the lessons learned from my failed pregnancy because it taught me how to love, care for and talk to this little peanut inside of me as if it were already here in my arms.

 

Even though Pete was still bandaged from surgery and barely able to walk, he wanted to be there with me for this important appointment. So, we packed up the car and wheeled his walker in there together. As we sat in the room before the ultrasound began, my doctor cautioned us that we may or may not see a fetus or hear a heartbeat. If we see it and hear a heartbeat, the chance for miscarriage immediately decreases to only 5%. As I laid back and got ready for the ultrasound, I said a little prayer. “Please, oh please, let there be a heartbeat. I’m ready. We’re ready…” and before I could finish, the doctor began the scan and within a few seconds said “We have a fetus… and a heartbeat!”

 

I couldn’t hold back the tears. They started flowing, and through welled-up eyes, I watched as the doctor pointed at a flickering on the screen “That’s your baby’s heartbeat,” he smiled. Our miracle. Our everything we’ve been working for the past two years. Our dream come true. Our child.

 

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Amy with her new baby bump

We drove home with ear-to-ear smiles that probably weirded out everyone we passed on the highway. We put print outs of the ultrasound by our bed and on our fridge. We emailed them to friends and family, finally more confident that we had a healthy baby on the way.

 

But that confidence quickly drained as I went to the bathroom the next day and saw blood. Oh no. Not again. But we saw a heartbeat. The ultrasound. The flicker. The 5%. No no no, not again. I wanted it this time. I prayed for it this time. I loved it this time.

 

With shaky hands, I dialed my fertility clinic’s emergency line, talked to a doctor, and made an appointment for when they opened in three hours. In the meantime, I went online and found every possible reason – some horrible and some harmless – for bleeding after a heartbeat is detected. Expecting the worst, I drove to my doctor’s office with glazed eyes and a hardened heart. The doctor on-call said on the phone that she would do an ultrasound to see what was going on and if the baby was still ok. I pictured this ultrasound being like my first from two years ago. An empty screen. Oh, please God, no. Not the black empty screen of death again. Please let me see the flicker. Please let me see life.

 

I sat trembling on the examination table as she began the scan. And there it was. The flicker. The little life. Still there. Just this time with a clot below the placenta that the doctor said looks to have stopped as soon as it started, and the pregnancy still looked healthy. I couldn’t believe it. I was still a mom-to-be.

 

I drove home and resisted the urge to call Pete because I wanted to tell him in person that everything was fine. I walked in the house to find that he had wheeled his walker over to the kitchen where the ultrasound picture hung, his head leaning on the fridge with his hand outlining the little baby’s form on the page. He looked up at me, his eyes searching for answers. I hugged him and told him my reassuring news that the baby was alive and well.

 

Today, we’re at week 16 of 40, and the nurse’s words still echo in my mind… “one small step on a very long journey”… but I write this knowing that whatever happens, this whole process has taught me so much. Not just that I want to be a mom. It’s something much bigger than that. It’s taught me how to love. How to fall in love with my husband all over again, after he teetered on the brink of life and death for 13 hours sacrificing for our family. How to fall in love with a flicker on a screen, a flutter in my tummy and my soon-to-be child who taught me that the most difficult paths lead to the most beautiful places.

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    A writer turned fur mom is sharing the heartfelt story of the pup she adopted — emotional baggage and all — with an important lesson about kindness and empathy. Keep reading for all the tail-wagging details.

    Danise DeStasi

    Danise DiStasi has been a professional writer and involved in leadership development and coaching for more than 20 years. However, that came to a head in 2013 when she adopted a dog named Louie. 

    “I soon discovered that Louie brought a lot of emotional baggage to the relationship,” she explains. “He demonstrated behaviors that deeply concerned me, and I was not sure I wanted to keep him. I quickly realized Louie needed acceptance, consistency, discipline, and – above all – unconditional love. Louie was a struggle but I made the choice to keep him. I also had to intentionally choose to love him despite his baggage.”

    It’s Louie who inspired her to launch Unleash Love, an organization whose mission is to eradicate bullying from the classroom to the board room. “We offer a compendium of material all based on our rescue pup, Louie,” she says. “All three books, Lead Like Louie, Love Like Louie, and Louie’s Little Legs, share the same messages.” 

    Those messages are to be a loving person by being kind, patient, etc,; to not see others as objects; and to understand there’s always something unknown in other people’s lives.

    Unleashing Love started when DiStasi started sharing with friends and clients the crazy stories about her dog. “They were not your typical dog stories, they were leadership lessons wrapped up in funny and heartwarming stories about the transformation of this little dog and his crazy owner,” she says. “That;s when I started blogging and eventually put the blogs into a leadership book, Lead Like Louie.”

    From there, the story evolved into her writing a book for kids her granddaughter’s age and then another book for younger children. 

    “Louie continues to provide material on a regular basis,” she adds. “He loves visiting schools and nursing homes and is a walking testimony of the transformative power of love.” 

    Part of the message behind Unleashing Love is the mission to eradicate bullying. “We hope this book creates a-ha moments for children and the parents who read the book with them,” explained DiStasi. “In the grander scheme of things, if we could all take a moment and realize that everyone has some struggle going on before we jump to conclusions, we might make an impact in our world. Before judging anyone, be kind, don’t make assumptions, and take time to understand others. It is an age-old lesson but one that is desperately lost in the noise of our world today. Perhaps a lost rescue pup with little legs and behavior issues could change the world.”

    DiStasi says that she and her granddaughter Evi are working on Love! Laugh! Lead? For High Schoolers. “The Louie Crew also has two more books in the works for the Louie’s Little Legs series of 12 books: The Magic of Patience and The Magic of Perseverance.

    To learn more about Unleash Love, visit unleash-love.com. The hardback of Louie’s Little Legs is available there, as well as Love Like Louie and Lead Like Louie.

    On Amazon, the paperback version of Louie’s Little Legs is available as well as Love Like Louie and Lead Like Louie.

    You can also follow along on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

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    Funerals are not something I look forward to, and frankly, I find them quite exhausting. I’m sure you’ve come to the same conclusion regarding this ritual in our lives. Nevertheless, they serve an important function— they enable the surviving loved ones to have a way to say goodbye and help you start the grieving process. With family and friends surrounding you, funerals can give you some sense of comfort and peace.

    I always do a lot of thinking when I attend a funeral. Saturday, as I listened to the family tell wonderful stories of their mother, I was reminded about how easy it is to forget what really matters in life. Let’s be honest here, so much of our days are spent stressed about the car that cut in front of us, upset about the C that our child got on the Math test, or angry with the way our boss talked to us in the meeting. These unimportant details and worries begin to take over our thinking and color our days. They become the way we live our life. Before you know it, this is our pattern. Each day becomes another day and another day, and we live it like we have all the time in the world. We live it like we have the right to waste our days.

    We let unimportant “stuff” take up space in our head and we do this willingly. We make a choice that this “stuff” is worthy of our time, our thoughts, our energy, and our life. Whether the choice is conscious or unconscious doesn’t matter. The important point is that it’s still our choice, our decision we have made.

    It’s so easy to get caught up in the day’s minutiae and forget about how so little of it really matters. It’s easier to do this than it is to live each day like it’s the last day of our life. There’s a piece of us that must enjoy the emotions that come with the “stuff” that occupies space in our head. We must, or why would we live our lives this way? Maybe we find a strange comfort in spending each day in the same exhausting routine.

    I went to the store yesterday to pick up a couple things for dinner. I ran into an acquaintance. I know her husband, but I couldn’t even tell you her name. We chatted for a while before she whispered something to me. I thought I heard her but I surely hoped I was wrong. She repeated it again for me. Her husband had been diagnosed with a terminal cancer and was failing. She searched my eyes and asked me if I thought he was going to be OK. I hugged her and reminded her to take it one day at a time.

    Again, I was reminded how fragile life truly is. We make plans in the distant future and fritter away our time, just assuming that we have unlimited days to do whatever we want. The reality is somewhat different.

    My suggestion is that you vow to live your life with clarity— be clear on your priorities and demonstrate this in your behavior daily. Live life fully— don’t waste your precious time and energy on “stuff” that’s not important.

    Make a pact to live NOW.

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    Want to get your little one swim-ready? Learn about holiday specials and winter swim lessons at Goldfish Swim School in West Chester, and watch as we test the waters with our kiddos. (Hint: they LOVED it!)

     

    Winter is here, and with snowfall on the ground, pool time might seem far away. But to prepare your little ones for successful swimming this summer, experts say now is the best time to get them in the water.

    Goldfish Swim School in West Chester provides swim lessons to children between the ages of 4 months and 12 years old. 

    “We offer classes in a unique setting with highly trained instructors, small class sizes (max 4:1 student to teacher ratio), shiver-free 90-degree pools, and a state-of-the-art water purification system,” says Goldfish West Chester General Manager Jen Deis. 

    When you take swim lessons with Goldfish Swim School, you don’t have to worry about crazy time slots that keep you at the pool all day long. According to Deis, families with kids of different ages and skill levels can conveniently have all of their swimmers int he pool during the same half-hour time slot. 

    Deis says the most important part about getting your kids in the pool, and signing them up for lessons at Goldfish Swim School, is to teach them consistency and repetition for when they hit the pool next summer. Giving them these lessons now will also help them to develop the skills they need to safely enjoy the water as well.

    Goldfish Swim School offers more than just swimming lessons. They also offer weekly family swims for both members and non-members in addition to party packages. This allows you to get in the pool with your children and enjoy a little swim time together, adding to the overall swim experience for the whole family.

    At the West Chester facility, you’ll find that the facility has an air conditioned viewing gallery for parents to watch lessons, a spacious family dressing area with private changing rooms, a snack bar, a retail shop, and plenty of warm, tropical decor to make you feel like you’ve been transported to a much warmer part of the country!

    To encourage you to get your kids in the pool and to teach them water safety, you can call Goldfish Swim School West Chester to schedule a free trial class and to check out the facility for yourself.

    If you have a little one you want to get in the water this winter, check out the limited-time-only holiday packages. “Each gift basket includes two months of lesses and the annual membership fee for just $185,” says Deis. “There’s also an option to customize retail items in the basket.”

    For more information on the holiday package, or other swim lessons, Deis says you can reach out to Goldfish Swim School Wester Chester, or shop the package online.

    Goldfish Swim School is located at 7058 Ridgetop Drive in West Chester. You can register for lessons or learn more about swim lessons by clicking here or calling 513-857-1700. You can also connect with them on Facebook and check out their YouTube channel.

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    091712SHARI
    Willie the pug


    After Willie the pug passed on to Dog Heaven, my husband refused to entertain any discussions about getting another dog. What’s funny about this scenario is that it was HIM that had insisted on getting Willie in the first place. When my oldest son started third grade, my husband decided that it was time to get a dog. I hadn’t grown up with dogs, so I discouraged any movement in this direction. I grew up in a cat family and I felt more comfortable around them since I had no idea what to do with a dog. I felt totally fulfilled having Fred, the cat.

     

    My husband eventually won the war and he found Willie through a Rescue organization. We came to love Willie, even though we spent numerous hours searching for Willie in the neighborhood. Willie had a penchant for “being on the run” and I suppose that’s how he came to be a rescue dog. He perfected his getaway through a tiny space in the fence. The whole family toiled away hours searching for him again and again. In fact, when people would see me driving around the area, they would yell to me “I’ll keep an eye out for Willie.” They didn’t know my name, but they definitely knew his.

    091712TPS INSTORY

     

    The point is that Willie wasn’t the easiest first dog. That’s probably why when he died my husband said, “no more dogs.” But I was insistent — I wanted another dog. In fact, I wanted another dog so much that I researched pugs all over Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky, determined to find the right one. The person that didn’t want the dog became insistent on having another dog.

     

    With my husband out of town, I drove down to Lexington to pick out a dog. My 17-year-old son fought for the youngest puppy but I set eyes on 6-month-old Miles and knew he was “the one.” We brought him home and I took full responsibility for him. Let’s face it, this was my dog — which is ironic since I originally didn’t even know what to do with a dog!

     

    During this time, I was working as a Mental Health Therapist in Social Services. On Mondays, the Psychiatrist would come in to see my clients and prescribe medications. We were eating lunch together and talking when I shared with him my story about picking out Miles, the Pug. “Hmmmm…interesting,” he said.

     

    “You do understand why you insisted on getting the dog, don’t you? That dog is a replacement for your children that are almost grown and gone. It gives you something to nurture and love — it’s a healthy way to handle your loss.” What a typical statement from a Psychiatrist! Then, for the next few minutes, I mulled over what he had shared.

     

    I had to admit it, but he nailed it! That’s exactly what I was doing; I just wasn’t cognizant of my intentions at the time. That dog was mine and I treated him like a child. I had found a way to deal with the fact that my life was transitioning to a new phase. I was preparing myself for the change in my life by having a new little one to nurture and care for. I did it so effortlessly that I hadn’t even noticed what I was doing.

     

    When life changes, you have a couple of options on how to handle it. You can keep looking back and lamenting on how you don’t want your life to change and hang on to the past like there’s no tomorrow. I can pretty much guarantee this option won’t make you very happy. Or, you can accept reality, learn a little more about YOU and figure out how to fill that need in your life in a positive, healthy manner. Delve a bit deeper and discover what will satisfy you today and in the future.

     

    And it won’t be the worst thing in the world for you to come home with a dog.

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    Everywhere I go these days, I hear a lot of women talking about leadership. It appears to be the latest buzzword in the business world. So, in your opinion, what is the difference between being a manager and being a true leader?

     

    My first job out of college was as an Assistant Manager in a retail store. I was trained to understand my job responsibilities and how to effectively perform each task. However, no one trained me how to actually handle employees. I vividly remember the first day that I was on my own and in charge of the store. I instructed one of the veteran employees, Mary, to merchandise the new clothes that had just been placed on the floor. Mary, who had been there for years, glared at me and loudly said “no”. She then refused to listen to me. I handled the response from her with finesse, professionalism and maturity; I went in the back room and cried alone in the corner.

     

    But while I was in the back room crying and frustrated, something quite wonderful happened. I went from manager to leader in the next few minutes. I stopped crying and began to think about how I was going to accomplish my goal; getting Mary to respect my authority and work for me. I realized that I obviously needed a different tactic. I hatched my plan in the back room; my best strategy was to go back out there and appeal to her compassion.

     

    I went out and asked if we could have a little talk. You see, I knew she had informal power in the store and could convince others of what ever she believed. This was why it was vital that I handle this situation delicately and appropriately. In our talk, I let down my guard and shared with her that I was struggling— this was all new to me and I really needed her help. I asked her if she would be kind enough to help me through this venture. Seeing me vulnerable, she jumped at the chance to help and support me. The truth is that while I was in the back crying, I had an epiphany. In the few weeks that I had worked with her, I noticed a few things about what made Mary “tick”. I understood what motivated Mary— she was a caregiver and wanted to be needed by others. Also, she wanted to be respected for her expertise and knowledge in the store. She was unimpressed by the recent confident college graduate that they had just hired.

     

    From that day forward, I never had any trouble with Mary. In fact, Mary loved me and would do anything for me. In the end, Mary respected my work and encouraged me to move up in the company. In those few minutes where I lost my composure in the back, I internalized a lesson for a lifetime. I forever would understand the real difference between a manager and a leader. A manager is hired to complete tasks. A leader completes tasks but much, much more. A leader knows that in order to be truly effective, she needs to understand how to motivate and inspire each employee. A leader puts her own feelings aside to accomplish this goal because she sees beyond the short-term goal of completing tasks. The truth is, I knew I wanted to rise to the top, so I figured I better find a solution to my first simple dilemma in management. And I did.

    It has taken me an especially long time to learn the lessons of love. Most of what I originally thought to be true about romantic relationships turned out to be completely false. In times past when I once thought I was in love, as fate would have it, I really wasn’t. Of the very few times I did find myself desperately in love, the feeling was almost never mutual. And sometimes when it was reciprocated, the intended object of my desire was nowhere near capable of anything resembling a commitment. Even more surprisingly, sometimes the person who was not emotionally available was actually me.

    Love is a winding road and there is nothing that self help books, weepy movies, or reality tv shows can do to prepare us for it. Looking back, the best advice has come to me from little old ladies who have already lived it. I did my best to ignore their overly practical advice in my twenties, but now that I have found the most wonderful man in the world, I have to admit, those little old biddies were right. Love, just like happiness, is not a magical trance that takes us at whim. Love, just like happiness, is a choice we make everyday.

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    Showing your appreciation for your mom (or your daughter) doesn’t have to involve a high-calorie dinner with an even-higher-calorie dessert. Instead of serving an appreciative dinner on the table, serve a celebratory ball on the court and burn some calories by celebrating your mother-daughter relationship at the 2009 C. James Meakin Father/Son and Mother/Daughter Tournament, sponsored by the Cincinnati Recreation Commission.

     

    The community-oriented mother-daughter tournament runs from June 19 through June 21 at the Lunken Playfield, with the father-son tournament running at the same time. Although the tournament is restricted to Greater Cincinnati residents, there are no age restrictions for participants. Participants must register before June 16 and pay a $27.50 registration fee per player in order to take part in the tournament.

     

    A small part of the fee supports the United States Tennis Association (USTA), and the rest supports the Cincinnati Recreation Commission and funds the tournament trophies. The winning and runner-up teams will receive trophies, but every team has the opportunity to have fun while staying healthy through a friendly game of tennis.

     

    The tournament is meant to be a community builder that brings Cincinnatians together. “There are a lot of good tennis players, and this is a great tennis city. It’s just a matter of 0509WOODHOUSE.gifgetting these people together and playing some good tennis,” says Adam Moler, tournament director and head tennis professional at Lunken Playfield.

     

    If the tournament isn’t your thing or your mother-daughter duo needs some practice before the tournament, head out to Lunken Playfield for other community events. “It’s about having fun. That’s what we’re trying to do down at Lunken,” Moler says. “We try to reach out to the community, to those people who might not have a country club membership but still want to take part in good sportsmanship and good fun.” 

     

    And to achieve that goal, Lunken Playfield offers programming that includes everything from lessons to social play nights. Every Tuesday from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., doubles can enjoy Social Play Night at the facility’s 16 tennis courts for $10. With the capacity to have 64 people taking part in play, Lunken Playfield has room to party. “I tell people, ‘Be ready to rock,’ ” Moler says.

     

    For more information about the tournament, visit the online version of the tournament’s flyer.

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    With all this sex talk going around here at Cincy Chic this week, it’s only appropriate to get the lowdown on all the cool and unique bed and breakfasts in the area. Now, when someone says to you and your mate “Get a room!” you actually know where to get one!

     

    Check out the following B&Bs, which have all the modern amenities of a Hyatt, but offer an experience that will make you feel worlds away from the hustle and bustle of life — all the while rekindling the passion and connection with your loved one.

    Ohio
     

    The Clifton House Bed & Breakfast
    500 Terrace Avenue
    Cincinnati, OH 45220
    (513) 221-7600
    (888) 347-7486
    Fax: (513) 221-4999
    info@thecliftonhouse.com
    Nancy Niehaus, Innkeeper


    This 1900 classical revival manor home built by Cincinnati financier Henry Morgenthaler — located in the unique neighborhood of Gaslight Clifton
    offers a “home away from home” for both travelers and business guests.

    Guests can choose from five rooms such as “The Romantic Room, “The New Orleans Room,” “The Tuxedo Room,” “The Garden Room” or “The Clifton Cottage,” which provides two floors of elegance, Jacuzzi, fireplace and king-sized bed. Breakfast served in the cottage or main dining room. Perfect for wedding nights, anniversaries, birthdays and special getaways.

    Gaslight Bed & Breakfast
    3652 Middleton Avenue
    Cincinnati, OH 45220
    (513) 861-5222
    Fax: (513) 861-5222
    scottuha@aol.com
    Scott and Maria Crawford, Innkeepers

    Situated on a hilltop site in the historic gaslight district of Clifton, this elegant four-story home, built in 1990, draws you up under the branches of its gently waving willow, calms you with the murmurs of its bubbling waterfall and fills you with feelings of leisure and coziness.

    Guests can choose from four rooms such as “Rebecca’s Room,” “The Jewel Room,”  “The Margaret Rose Room” or “The Swiss Family Robinson Room,” which could be called the treehouse of the rich and famous because this fourth-floor bedroom is at the peak of the house above all neighboring rooftops and surrounded by trees. With a skylight above the king size bed and almost wall-to-wall windows, the atmosphere of this room makes you feel like you are worlds away on an exotic vacation. It has its own private bath with a surprise in view from the bathroom window.

    Another plus: A full, homemade breakfast is served each morning in the kitchen!


    Grace & Glory Bed & Breakfast
    3539 Shaw Avenue
    Cincinnati, OH 45208
    (513) 321-2824
    wdowning@fuse.net
    Lorraine and Bill Downing, Innkeepers

    This turn-of-the-century colonial offers comfort, charm and hospitality, just two blocks from Hyde Park Square. Choose from three rooms such as “The Glory Suite,” “The Glory Suite Extension” or “The Grace Room.”

    “The Glory Suite” which includes an antique four poster feather bed in a charming Victorian bedroom and an adjoining sitting room for reading or watching television. You may also wish to use the writing desk to complete business or write family and friends. To complete the suite, you may wish to enjoy a bath in your private claw foot tub or relax with a soothing shower. 

    The motto of this B&B? “Be not forgetful to welcome strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unaware.” – Hebrews 13:2 and “Grace is but glory begun, and glory is but grace perfected.


    Six Acres Bed & Breakfast
    5350 Hamilton Avenue
    Cincinnati, OH 45224
    (513) 541-0873
    Fax: (513) 541-0029
    info@sixacresbb.com
    Kristin Kitchen and Laura Long, Innkeepers

    Built between 1850 and 1860 — the 6,500 square foot mansion is located on six lovely acres in College Hill — this beautiful home has a unique connection to the Underground Railroad since it was owned and built by Zebulon Strong, noted abolitionist and participant in the Underground Railroad. This home honors the spirit of that tradition offering food and shelter to weary travelers. Well-appointed bedrooms and common areas are able to host guests for overnight stays and are also available for weddings, conferences and corporate retreats, workshops and private parties. The house also is the venue for educational seminars, quilting and cooking classes.

    Six Acres has five rooms to choose from such as “Grandma Sallie Mae,” “Grandma Grace,” “Grandma Helen,” “Grandma Beatrice” or the “Grandma Dixon” room. An additional six rooms are also available at 7th Acre, another house located on the property. The whole house can be rented for $1,500 for special occasions such as weddings or family retreats.

    Six Acres offers a unique twist from other B&Bs with its Summer Concert Series, as the B&B becomes the newest location for live music in the summer!

    Enjoy premier local artists in a unique, scenic, wooded and serene patio setting. Bring your lawn chairs and blankets, as seating is limited. And if you really want to make your experience truly one of a kind, take advantage of our concert overnight stay package. Six Acres and Emerge Salon & Spa are having a complimentary Tea and Spa from 2-6p.m. on the day of every concert. Emerge Salon & Spa will be on site providing makeup applications, manicures and chair massages to the first 50 people who purchase two tickets to any of the six concerts. Sit back relax and enjoy delicious teas and treats before the performance!


    Kirkwood Inn & Historic House
    4027 US Route 42
    P.O. Box 644
    Mason, OH 45040
    (513) 398-7277
    (800) 732-4741
    Fax: (513) 398-7277
    info@kirkwoodinn.com
    Sandy and David Eves, Innkeepers

    Built around 1799, this historic colonial’s farmhouse and inn were used as a hitching post and stopping place for stagecoaches, back in the day. Henry Clay and other historical figures would routinely stay in the historic home. Iowa’s governor Ralph P. Lowe was born in 1805 and reared there as well. Nowadays, guests will find all the modern conveniences in any of the “Jacuzzi Rooms” or “Deluxe Suites.”

    Make your stay complete with one of Kirkwood’s specially designed packages such as the “Sweetheart Package,” which includes breakfast in bed and chocolate-covered strawberries.

    Maplevale Farm Bed & Breakfast
    3891 Oxford Millville Road
    Oxford, OH 45056
    (513) 523-8909
    Toll Free: (877) 506-2753
    info@maplevale.com
    John, Malinda and Duke Anderson, Innkeepers

    Innkeepers John and Sarah Martindell, originally raised their family while operating a dairy farm that provided dairy products to the students of Miami University, which is only five minutes away.

    Now their home has been transformed into a charming B&B that serves as a home away from home to hundreds each year.

    The Maplevale has garnered national recognition after being featured in several publications such as Best Recipes from American Country Inns and Bed & Breakfasts Cookbook by Kitty and Lucian Maynard, How to Open a Financially Successful Bed & Breakfast or Small Hotel by Lora Arduser and Douglas R. Brown, Ohio Magazine and Real Simple Magazine.

    Guests can choose from four rooms such as “The Wallace Room,” “The McChesney Room,” “The Common Rooms” or “The Martindell Room” which is furnished with a queen-size bed, a loveseat, a 19th-century trunk and a flat screen TV with DVD. A VCR is also provided and a library of DVD/VHS tapes is available or bring your own. Enjoy the shower stall in the bathroom or relax in the Jacuzzi. This gracious 400 square foot accommodation offers the charm of yesterday with the technology of the 21st century.

    Check out the “Romantic Getaway Package” which includes the following for two: accommodations for two nights, full gourmet breakfast, two wine glasses, two bottles of sparkling beverage, entertainment card for Oxford restaurants, movies plus ($120 value), massage for two (1/2 hour each), chocolates and a rose!

    Cascade Lakes Bed and Breakfast
    489 Emerson Road
    Middletown, OH 45042
    (513) 425-0015
    cascadelakesbb@yahoo.com
    Diane Butler, Innkeeper

    The colonial home, used to be the home of Thaddeus Sendzimir, known for having one of the most creative minds in the metals industry. Cascade Lakes is tucked away on 47 rolling wooded acres visited by wildlife where you may even see deer visit the property’s secluded lake for a refreshing drink at dawn.

    Choose from four rooms such as “The Charleston Grand Chamber,” “The Garden Retreat,” “The Bahama Breeze Getaway” or “The Cascade’s Grand Suite,” which promises to be a “very romantic, most luxuriously decorated, 5-star honeymoon suite with a fireplace, stately furniture and even a bathroom with a waterfall, will pamper you royally.” It is located on the ground floor and is attached to a large screened-in porch.

    Susanna’s Guest House on the Ohio River
    314 Susanna Way
    New Richmond, OH 45157
    (513) 553-7262
    dvornholt@earthlink.net

    Built circa 1860 in the Early Victorian Italianate style, reflects the era of the War between the States and the early prosperity of the Steamboat era when steam powered boats, similar to the Delta Queen, were the primary means of transportation up and down the Ohio River. During these years, Susanna’s Guest House survived a nearby raid by Confederate troops.

    Choose from five rooms such as “The Thomas Ashburn Room,” “The Shawnee Room,” “The O’Rourke Room,” “The Ohio River Room” or “Captain Ernest Wagner Room.”

    At Susanna’s Guest House, you will experience warm hospitality, with those special touches added that are so hard to find. The Innkeepers work hard to make sure that your stay is one you will always remember — whether it’s a delicious breakfast or a waxed car, you are sure to receive special treatment. Custom amenities are also available at an extra charge, including private gourmet dinners, car and driver services and spa gift baskets, just to name a few.

    Hummingbird Gardens and Retreat Bed & Breakfast
    7933 St. Rt. 48 
    Waynesville, OH 45068

    (937) 886-9744
    hummingbirdsgarden@woh.rr.com
    Tim and Debbie Galaise, Innkeepers

    See the hummingbirds and hear the birds sing and feed, along with other wildlife in the 2 1/2 acres of woods the B&B is located on. Take a leisurely walk through trails enjoy a roast with your personal fire pit or just sit in the woods and relax around the fire.

    Check out the “Romantic Getaway” package, which Includes a massage, sparkling juice, gift bag with lotions, long-stem roses and chocolate-covered strawberries.


    Sugar Camp Cottages
    711 Collet Rd
    Waynesville, OH 45068
    (937) 382-6075
    sugar1040e@juno.com
    Dianne and Mac Collett, Innkeepers

    Enjoy this farmhouse in the country, all to yourself, for a weekend or a week. Located on a large working farm in Southwest Ohio, these two old (but beautifully refurbished) cottages will take you back to those thrilling days of yesteryear, when time ran at the speed of horses, not Internet. The Sugar Camp name refers to the maple tree forest and the syrup making that used to take place there. On the farm there are miles of walking trails, fields of birds and flowers, and a lake with swimming dock and paddleboat. Guided tours can be arranged with the proprietor.

    Choose from either of the four bedrooms (five total beds) and two baths for an ideal retreat for groups up to 11; “The Maple Suite” used to be the “stable” of the larger cottage, but now is a unique one bedroom (queen) honeymooner. It has a living room (sleep sofa), dining area, covered terrace and kitchen, all in “spring flower” motif.

    The Queen Anne II Bed & Breakfast
    243 South Broadway
    Lebanon, OH 45036
    (513) 932-3836
    Toll Free: (877) 932-3836
    queenanne@go-concepts.com
    Paul and Mildred Crane, Innkeepers

    Located a short walk south of downtown Lebanon, the circa 1885 Queen Anne is located in a lovely residential area offering a safe atmosphere for an evening stroll. Antique and other specialty shops predominate and complement the Golden Lamb, Ohio’s Oldest Inn and Hotel. Train rides and museums add to the special character of Lebanon.

    The house features three guest rooms with antique furnishings with spacious beds, private baths and beautiful stenciling. The guests of The Queen Anne II may enjoy both central heat and air conditioning. A full breakfast on a flexible schedule, which features homemade specialties, prepared and served by your resident owners/hosts.

    Susan’s Bed & Breakfast
    10790 Deerfield Rd.
    Montgomery, OH 45242
    (513) 891-5399
    Fax: (513) 891-5399
    Cell Phone: (513) 515-2893
    susansworldintl@aol.com
    Susan and Gus, Innkeepers

    The B&B overlooks a nature preserve and even has a butterfly garden, humming birds and a goldfish pond underneath the dogwood canopy.

    The house is a contemporary two story with modern decor and has two rooms available.

    Plas Cadnant Bed & Breakfast
    P.O. Box 9
    Shandon, OH 45063
    (513) 738-4180
    jonsian@stows.us
     Siân and Jon Stow, Innkeepers

    Located in historic Shandon, Ohio — settled more than 200 years ago in the lush Miami River Valley. Welsh immigrants originally built Plâs Cadnant in 1832 as a general store. A residence was added in 1848 and the home has since been used as a post office, school house, dry goods store, supper club, ice cream parlor and an antique shop. Remodeled recently into a quaint country B&B specializing in the rich Welsh heritage of Shandon.

    Spend an evening with the innkeepers, conversing in English, or Welsh if you wish. Choose a book from the library and spend a few hours on the 50′ porch with a view of nothing but green. Catch a few ZZZZs on one of two hammocks stretched between 100-year-old trees. Choose from two rooms filled with turn-of-the-century antiques for “The Romantic Getaway Weekend” which includes a special dinner for two, menu pre-arranged at the time of booking that will be served in the “private dining room.” Then wake up to the smell of freshly made Welsh cakes on the griddle.

    The B&B even has a local no kill animal adoption shelter.

    The Hatfield Inn Bed & Breakfast
    2563 Hatfield Road
    Lebanon, OH 45036
    (513) 932-3193
    drhaas@adelphia.net
    Robert George, Innkeeper
    Bob and Penny Haas, Owners

    The Hatfield Inn was the original residence belonging to one of the sons of Chester Hatfield, who settled there in 1791 as a farmer. The Inn has been in the proprietor’s family for more than 50 years. Even today, walking the streets of the village, you may encounter a descendant of the ever-present Hatfield family.

    This 19th-century farmhouse — that sits on fifty-five acres and thirteen rods historical farm — features six guest rooms such as “The Red, White, and Blue Room,” “The Ivy Room,” “The Sunshine Room,” “The Rose Room,” “The Honeymoon Suite” and the newly opened “Ohio State University Suite.” All rooms have a queen-sized bed, a private, full bath, magnificent view and use of an outdoor hot tub. “The Honeymoon Suite” even has its own Jacuzzi and fireplace.

    Hardy’s Bed & Breakfast Suites
    210 Wright Avenue
    Lebanon, OH 45036
    (513) 932-3266
    info@hardysproperties.com
    Al and Phyllis Hardy, Innkeepers

    Enjoy four beautifully furnished Victorian homes and gardens — March Manor, Hardy’s Haven, The Wright Place or The Floraville Inn***all at one location in historic Lebanon, OH. Located between Cincinnati and Dayton, you’ll experience one of eight private bed and breakfast suites for a romantic special weekend, a relaxing get away or adult group event accommodating 18 overnight guests. Each suite is spacious with three to five rooms. You can choose from double, queen or king sized bed. In your suite is cable TV, designer robes, coffee and tea, refrigerator. All have private baths. You can even have an entire Victorian cottage all to yourself.

    You are welcomed with a smile and handshake and fresh baked dessert in your suite. The innkeepers, Al and Phyllis Hardy, invite you to slip back in time in our Victorian homes on a quiet tree lined street in historic neighborhood. Come to renew mind, body and spirit. Relax on one of the comfortably furnished porches or curl up on a cozy sofa with a cup of tea or coffee and a good book. Walk through gardens or sit on the patio and watch the birds. Soak in claw and ball foot tub or enjoy the two person marble shower. A massage is a must.

    Check out “The Ultimate Package” which is designed for pleasure and includes a two-night stay in one of the professionally designed suites, a silver tray placed on your bed with champagne, fresh flowers and chocolates. You will dine at the historic Golden Lamb in the evening and begin your mornings with a gourmet candlelit breakfast served on fine china and crystal.

    There’s even a “Murder Mystery” evening that includes solving an intriguing murder mystery while enjoying hor d’oeuvres, candlelit dinner and dessert served elegantly with fine china and crystal. After the culprit has been found out relax in your comfortable suites. A full breakfast will be served Sunday morning. Dinner, Murder Mystery and one night stay is typically $132.50 per person (based on double occupancy).

     

    The Rossville Inn
    117 South B. Street
    Hamilton, OH 45013
    (513) 868-1984
    (888) 892-0871
    Fax: (513) 785-2221
    rossvilleinn@nrci.com
    Jackie and Bill Groth, Innkeepers

    This Victorian-style, pre-Civil war home is elegantly and comfortably furnished, with beautiful gardens, game room, special breakfasts and flexible scheduling. Choose from three rooms such as the “Garden Room,” “Fleur de Lis Room” or the “Manor Room” which is the largest of the guest rooms with a king sized, four poster rice bed and gracious sitting area with crewel-covered armchairs. A state-of-the-art Jacuzzi Jcare steam shower makes the private bath special.

     
    The White Garden Inn
    6194 Brown Road
    Oxford, OH 45056
    (513) 524-5827
    Toll Free (800) 324-4925
    Fax: (513) 523-0123
    info@whitegardeninn.com
    John and Linda Alexander, Innkeepers

    A beautiful Victorian-style bed and breakfast, The White Garden Inn allows guests to take in a breath of fresh air on the Inn’s wraparound verandah or gazebo that overlooks many gardens on nearly all of the five acres of property. An all-white garden lies directly in the backyard and serves as the signature attraction. Five spacious bedrooms, all with their own private bath and different garden theme, extend throughout this 9,000 square foot home.

    Each room has a different garden theme that is accentuated with multiple antiques, hand finished wooden cabinets, patterned carpeting, as well as Linda’s hand woven bedspreads and shower curtains. Names of the rooms include “Autumn Rose,” “Butterfly,” “Periwinkle” and “Iva’s Garden.” “The Queen Ann Suite,” nearly 700 square feet, features cathedral ceiling, working fireplace, a tub for two, ample seating and numerous windows that illuminate the immense room. This room was the temporary home of actress Geena Davis for a short period this past summer.

    When John and Linda Alexander opened The White Garden October 2007, the couple pledged to offer Oxford visitors more than just a lodging alternative. “I guess you can say our motto or creed is that ‘you arrive as a traveler and leave as a friend,'” John said. “We treat people like it’s their home.” Linda adds. “It’s just like staying with a friend or family.”

    Kentucky
     
     

    Gateway Bed & Breakfast
    326 East 6th Street
    Newport, KY 41071
    (859) 581-6447
    (888) 891-7500
    info@gatewaybb.com
    Ken and Sandy Clift, Innkeepers

    Voted “Best of the City” by Cincinnati Magazine, this 1878 Italianate townhouse has been through a fire, tornado, conversion to a multi-family rental and years of neglect, but was fully restored and featured on HGTV.

    Choose from three rooms such as “The Camille Room,” “The Nancy Room” or “The Henry Schriver Room” which is named for the builder of the townhouse, has hardwood floors and tastefully decorated antique oak furnishings. Your comfort is assured with a queen-size bed, desk and chair and a cozy comfortable sofa. Indulge yourself with a wonderful bubble bath in the large claw foot tub, which also has a shower. You will love the ambiance of this room with the old travel trunk used as a side table and the Crosley radio on the desk.

    Make sure you check out the “Romantic Package” which includes a romantic evening in either “The Nancy Room” or “The Camille Room” furnished with a beautiful bouquet of flowers and a box of chocolates waiting in your room when you check-in.

    The Gateway offers a unique option for women wanting to do something special for their mates in the “Special Occasion for the Man of Your Life” package which includes a night’s stay along with a basket of goodies, either of a food or sports theme. Let him know that you are his only love with one single rose — $40 may be added to any room of your choice.

    The Wallace House Bed & Breakfast
    120 Wallace Avenue
    Covington, KY 41014
    (859) 261-2717
    (888) 942-8177
    Fax: (859) 261-2919
    stay@wallacehousebb.com
    Jenni and Bill Woodruff, Innkeepers

    Located in historic Covington, this Queen Anne Victorian mansion was built in 1905 for Robert B. Wallace, son of the man whose homestead encompassed the historic area known as Wallace Woods. Although originally built as a single-family residence, this home has been a boarding house and a multi family home before being lovingly restored to preserve the ambiance of a by-gone era while providing every modern convenience for our bed and breakfast guests.

    The Wallace House is featured in HGTV’s “Tips for Attending the World’s Longest Yard Sale.” The Longest Yard Sale is scheduled for Aug 7-10, 2008.  It runs from Defiance, OH thru Covington, KY to Gadsden, AL. The B&B has also been featured in the February 2003 issue of Kentucky Monthly.

    Choose from three rooms such as “The Room with a View,” “Madeleine’s Room” or the popular  “Holmes Room/Suite,” which has the largest and everyone’s favorite bath. The private (keyed) bath is located just across the hall and has an antique claw foot soaking tub in addition to an oversized walk-in tile shower; Robes and bubble bath provided.

    First Farm Inn
    2510 Stevens Road
    Petersburg, KY 41080
    (859) 586-0199
    Call 8 a.m.- 8 p.m. EST
    info@firstfarminn.com
    Jennifer Warner and Dana Kisor, Innkeepers

    Known as “Kentucky’s bed and breakfast for people and horses,” First Farm Inn is an elegantly renovated 1870s farmhouse, 20 minutes outside Cincinnati, that offers a quiet refuge for two-and four-footed friends who enjoy tasty, healthy food, comfortable surroundings and warm companionship. Animal lovers rejoice since the B&B is home to seven cats and horses and one dog!

    Holder of several awards and distinctions such as “2003 Arrington’s Inn Traveler Recipe Contest Winner,” “2005/2006 ‘Best for Rest & Relaxation’ Arrington’s Inn Traveler” and Northern Kentucky’s Chamber of Commerce’s only five-time “Small Business Success Award Finalist” — sits on 21 acres set in Kentucky’s rolling hills above the Ohio River where Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio join. First Farm is also one of the very first local hotels/B&Bs to “go green.”


    Choose from only two rooms, either “The 1870s Room” or “The Treetops Guest Room” for your stay. Both are spacious and attractive rooms with queen-sized beds and private baths accessible from inside the room. Guests can enjoy a wide variety of special activities everything from horseback riding and lessons, in-room massages (couple or individual) by certified therapists and even an “Innkeeping 101” seminar.

    The Inn offers a variety of couples-focused packages — as well as a plethora of other options — such as the “Sweets for your Sweetheart” which includes a heart-shaped brownie and box of chocolates in your room, your favorite champagne chilled to be enjoyed in the hot tub, or customizing your romantic escape to your preferences.

     

    Cincinnati Weller Haus Bed & Breakfast, Inc.
    319 Poplar Street
    Bellevue, KY 41073
    (859) 431-6829
    (800) 431-4287
    Fax: (859) 431-4332
    wellerhaus@insightbb.com
    Leanne Saylor, Innkeeper

    Savor the charm of the 1880s with a stay in this Preservation Awarded “Bed and Breakfast” listed on the National Register of Historic Places, featuring original millwork and eighteenth century period pieces. Weller Haus is two side-by-side Victorian Gothic homes in Taylor Daughter’s Historic District, a little more than a mile away from Downtown Cincinnati. Enjoy a small town atmosphere while you view church steeples, stained glass, city streets and rooftops from the antique-appointed guest and sitting rooms with private baths. The recently renovated Carriage Haus will provide the perfect setting for a gathering of friends, family or colleagues. Conference style seating and a hospitality suite help create a unique getaway. It beats a stuffy hotel conference room any day!

    Choose from five rooms such as “The Church Steeple Suite,” “Dream Suite,” “The Garden Room,” “Rendezvous Suite” or  “Margaret’s Porch Suite,” which features dramatic art deco furnishings and bold colors that set the mood for a memorable escape into the faceted era of the 1920s. Enjoy the comfortable Jacuzzi bath for two and dream in your four poster queen bed alongside an electric stove fireplace. This room offers breakfast in-room. Cable TV/DVD/VCR, in room coffee service, dual sinks. Private entrance porch complete with rocking chairs is the perfect spot to watch the happenings of our “Mayberry” town.

    A romantic night at The Weller Haus, includes a gift certificate for dinner at Brio’s Italian Grill located at Newport on the Levee and two tickets to a movie right down the street. What a great evening! If you plan to dine at Brio’s on either a Friday or Saturday night or during special events, reservations are recommended.

    Or for a fun alternative, remember your Weller Haus getaway buy being photographed within your Victorian surroundings in vintage clothing! Choose clothing from the Victorian or Civil War Era, or transform yourself into a Gangster or Southern Belle! Photography can be taken in your suite or in our Gardens.

    Burlington’s Willis Graves Bed & Breakfast Inn
    5825 Jefferson Street
    Burlington, KY 41005
    (859) 689-5096
    (888) 226-5096
    inn@burligrave.com
    Nancy and Bob Swartzel, Innkeepers

    Experience a taste of sophisticated charm between two masterfully restored early- and mid-1800s buildings: the 1850s William Rouse log cabin and the 1830s Willis Graves Federal brick homestead.

    Featured in Cincinnati Magazine’s Antique Road Show article, Willis Graves offers five rooms such as “Thomas’ Room,” “Catharine’s Room,” “William Rouse Suite,” “William Rouse Retreat” or the “Mr. & Mrs. Graves’ Suite” which has a19th-century apartment feel with soothing wall tints, queen-sized canopy bed, tasteful period furnishings, brick gas fireplace. In the private bathroom, steam away your tension in the custom-built steam shower. Or share the luxury of the generous whirlpool bath, trimmed in Italian earth-tone marble. You’ll also find board games in the closet and volumes of reading material on the bench.

    Christopher’s Bed & Breakfast
    604 Poplar Street
    Bellevue, KY 41073
    (859) 491-9354
    (888) 585-7085
    christophers@insightbb.com
    Brenda Guidugli, Innkeeper

    Voted by inngoers for three consecutive years as one of the Top 15 B&Bs for “Best Interior Design and Decor” in Arrington’s Bed & Breakfast Journal’s Book of Lists, Christopher’s Bed and Breakfast, is a ravishing 19th-century former church named for the patron saint of travelers. The Guidugli family transformed Christopher’s from a place of worship to a place of winsome respite in 1996.

    Choose from three rooms such as “The Beverly Rose Whirlpool Room,” “The Loretta Rose Whirlpool Room” or the “Governor’s Suite” which was designed for guests celebrating special occasions or romantic getaways. Relax in the spacious living room with a video or take a massaging soak in the double Jacuzzi. The Suite features the original pressed tin ceiling and a magnificent stained-glass window. The traditional style furniture includes a four-poster king-size bed with a pillow-top mattress; the dresser and nightstands have marble tops. Additional amenities include two private “his and hers” half baths and a shower.

    Indiana
     
     

    The Brookville Inn
    1049 Main Street
    Brookville, IN 47012
    (765) 647-5522
    thebrookvilleinn@aol.com
    Keith and Taya Abbott, Innkeepers

    The Brookville Inn has been a local landmark since it was first constructed in 1900 as a private residence. Easily recognizable with its wrap-around front porch, 2nd floor balcony and extensive moldings, this handsome Victorian has greeted residents and visitors alike for more than 100 years.

    All five rooms are designed and decorated to provide both comfort and convenience for guests with plush carpeting, spacious wardrobes, side chairs, high ceilings, central air and fine amenities are standard in all guest rooms. Choose from either “The Delft Room,” “The Rosemary Sprig Room,” “The Savannah Sage Room,” “The Blue Hydrangea Room” or “The Willow Green Room” which includes a three-sided alcove with antique wicker sofa is the centerpiece of our largest room, decorated in greens, golds, and reds. The king-size bed features a Select Comfort (Sleep Number) mattress allowing guests to select their individual mattress firmness. A spacious private bath in gold hues completes this exquisite room.

     

    The Doctor’s Inn
    100 West Liberty Avenue
    P.O. Box 663
    West College Corner, IN 47003
    (765) 732-3772
    Toll Free: 8773 Drs Inn
    Fax: (765) 732-3772
    shellem765@aol.com
    Shirley Hellem, Innkeeper

    Enjoy the charm of this lovely old home built in 1876, which was originally a doctor’s office and residence from 1931 until 1990.

    Awake to the smell of fresh baked goods and breakfast being prepared. The gourmet breakfast is served in the formal dining room at 9 a.m. Miami students are welcome to have breakfast with their parents at no additional charge.

    The Doctor’s Inn offers many “Just What the Doctor Ordered” specials including “The Romantic Getaway” which includes a one night stay with a gift basket, candlelight dinner, sparkling juice, chocolates and other goodies.

    Philip W. Smith B&B and Martha E. Parry B&B
    2039 East Main Street
    Richmond, IN 47374
    (765) 966-8972
    (800) 966-8972
    info@pwsmithbnb.com
    Jill and Kris Nelson, Innkeepers

    An elegant Queen Anne Victorian home located in the East Main Street-Glen Miller Park Historic district, the Philip W. Smith Bed and Breakfast has been lovingly restored to its original grandeur. Built in 1890 by Philip W. Smith, the 2 1/2 story brick house has Romanesque details and features stained glass windows and ornate carved wood. Philip W. Smith features six lovely guest rooms. Each room has a private bath, in-room telephone, cable television, traditional decorating, fine linens and comfortable seating. Weekly rates are available. Business travelers are encouraged. Wedding, receptions and private meetings are welcomed.

    Located 1 1/2 blocks to the east of Phillip W. Smith B and B, the Martha E. Parry Bed and Breakfast is situated across from the scenic Glen Miller Park. This early Colonial Revival home has recently been lovingly restored and features four luxurious guest rooms, each with a private bath. Martha E. Parry B&B features four lovely guest rooms. Each room has a private bath, cable television, traditional decorating, fine linens and comfortable seating. Weekly rates are available. Business travelers are encouraged. Wedding, receptions and private meetings are welcomed.

    Check out the “Relax & Renew: Antique Lovers’ Getaway” package that includes a wonderful dinner for two at one of three local restaurants. Come back to the B&B to relax and renew. Evening refreshments and gourmet breakfast is included. Plan a full day to explore Indiana’s Famous Antique Alley along the Old National Road.

    The Potters Wheel Bed and Breakfast
    4495 Park Elwood Road
    Richmond, IN 47374
    TOLL FREE: (877) 445-1335
    (765) 966-1651
    info@potterswheelbandb.com
    Marcia and Bill Pendley, Innkeepers

    You will be the only guest at this informal get-away located on four secluded acres just a short drive from shopping, restaurants and antique stores in downtown Richmond. Your semi-private entrance takes you directly to the large bedroom with fireplace and sitting area or to the Common Rooms.

    Your hosts, Marcia and Bill Pendley, will greet you with complimentary beverages and casual conversation in the Common Rooms for check-in. This reservation gives you access to the private bedroom, indoor and outdoor dining areas, rose garden and secluded grounds with mature trees. Check-in after 4 p.m. or by appointment. Relax throughout our house and grounds until 11a.m. the following day.

    Guests of the Potter’s Wheel Bed and Breakfast get a 15 percent discount on any of the artistic, hand-thrown, functional pottery pieces made by Marcia Pendley who specializes in reflections of nature, shaping and decorating with leaves gathered from the property’s wood.

     
    Resources
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    Our editor in chic shares a letter to her daughter about sharing -- the good and bad -- with others.

    dd4a2e338fae8a6ad5fe0753c248ac52A parent teaching their child about sharing. Not a novel concept, I know, but I want to teach you something different about sharing.

    A little over a year ago, I published one of the most personal things — actually THE most personal thing — I’ve ever shared in my entire life. I wrote this article called “Love Lessons” about our battle with infertility and your daddy’s RA.

    I originally wrote it as a personal journal entry, never to see the light of day by anyone other than myself. But my mom happened to call me when I was finishing it (moms just know these things). So, she asked to read it when I was done.

    After reading it, she called me sobbing and said I needed — no, HAD — to share with others.

    With shaky hands, filled with self-doubt, I did. Almost immediately, I wanted to take it down. I felt so naked, so defective, so alone. But I’m glad I didn’t take it down.

    By the end of the day, I was inundated with messages from friends and strangers who were fighting the same battle. All the sudden I wasn’t alone. I was surrounded with love and empathy from people secretly struggling, too.

    I’m proud to say that a year later, I still get messages from people thanking me for sharing. I’ve even made new friends and am helping them navigate their way through fertility treatments. One of them just posted about it being National Infertility Awareness Week, which is why I decided to write about this topic today.

    So I encourage you, as tough as it may be, remember to share. Because shared joy is a double joy and shared sorrow is half a sorrow. And that, my dear, is a winning equation.

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