The only online publication for women in Greater Cincinnati
Editor in Chic

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Our Editor in Chic shares a letter to her daughter about three simple words that have made all the difference during a difficult time.

letitgo

Let it go. Those three little words have helped me so much these past few months. (I know parents of little girls who love the movie Frozen will feel differently about this! haha!)

That’s because recently, I saw the quote “She took a deep breath and let it go,” and it stopped me in my tracks. I stared at it. Re-read it. Re-read it again. And then I did it: I took a deep breath and let it go.

Nothing has brought me the kind of relief as that simple action. You see, I’ve been holding onto a lot lately. Why did we have fertility issues? Why does Pete have rheumatoid arthritis? Why is it so severe? Why did this happen to us? Why can’t life just be easy?

I took these questions, zipped up each in a bag, threw them over my shoulder, and carried it all with me each and every day, adding new bags with each new question. Throughout the day, I’d open each bag, look inside, re-ask myself each question, dwell on it, and feel helpless because I couldn’t find an answer. I didn’t realize it, but all this baggage was weighing me down physically and mentally. I couldn’t carry anything else. I couldn’t think about anything else.

I held onto these questions because I couldn’t find answers. That’s what you do when you haven’t figured something out yet. Like a math problem, you think about it until you get the “a-ha moment,” remember the formula, and figure it out. But there will be things in life, that no matter how hard you think about them, no matter how many formulas you memorize, no matter how hard you study, no matter how much you research, no matter how much you work to resolve it, you just won’t figure it out. And those are the things you need to let go.

You can waste so much energy carrying around heavy baggage full of things you can’t figure out or change. But instead, use your precious energy to find your new normal and move on. That’s what I’ve learned is so important: the quicker you realize the things you can’t change and let them go, the quicker you can move on and start to enjoy life again.

It sounds cliche but life is way too short. There will be things that turn out differently than you planned. There will be issues you can’t resolve. People who don’t like you. Things you can’t change. Questions you can’t answer. And believe it or not, that’s ok. You don’t need to carry it around with you. You don’t need to figure it out. You just need to take a deep breath and let it go.

 

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Our "Editor in Chic" launches a new column that shares notes she's writing to her newborn about lessons learned from life as a new family. Read on as she starts with the most important topic of all.

020215EDITOR
Lola and my husband, Pete

You were born a beautiful, perfect, and healthy baby. For that, I will be eternally grateful and will never, ever take it for granted.

For years, health is something I took for granted, though. I didn’t think twice about being able to jump out of bed, pop into the kitchen to make a quick breakfast, throw on some clothes, and go about my day. I didn’t do anything horrible to damage my health – ate generally healthy things and exercised when I could – but it wasn’t something I fought for.

Today, we’re fighting for your daddy’s health. We have been for a while now, and we will for a while longer (after double hip replacements last year, we just learned he’s going to need double knee replacements next week). So, there’s no jumping, popping, throwing or doing anything quickly in his life right now. That will change, though, and we’re going to see to it, so he can be an active part of your life and chase you around… which is going to happen very soon, because you’re starting to stand already! Ack!

That’s the thing about health. Without it, everything else becomes just out of reach. You’re trapped. Right now, your daddy has to watch life happen from a chair or a bed, and that’s no way to live. I know he wants to run into the other room when he hears you cry, take you places, perform again (he’s a GREAT musician!), and do everything else he enjoys in life.

Seeing him like this, and helping him through it, has changed me in many ways. I genuinely feel grateful when my feet hit the ground every morning and I don’t feel pain to make that happen like your daddy does. I no longer look at food as something to make hunger go away. It’s a tool I use to give my body what it needs to do its job and fuel my day. And, my most recent epiphany: I no longer see exercising as a chore.

Especially as a woman, you hear about working out to “get your bikini body,” “lose that muffin top,” or “finally fit into skinny jeans.” Exercise is SO much more than how it makes you look. Sure, that’s a benefit, but – like many things in life – it’s what’s inside that counts. Your body is your one and only vehicle through life. Being physically fit is how you keep your engine strong, your parts from getting rusty, and drive to all the destinations you want to go on your journey of life.

When daddy started to get sick, and then I got pregnant, I was either too tired or didn’t have time to exercise like I once did frequently. But then I started to have joint pain, too. When standing up, getting out of bed and going up stairs started to hurt, it scared me. You couldn’t have two parents with sick bodies.

Unlike your dad’s rheumatoid arthritis-related pain, my joint pain was more related to weight gain and loosened tendons from pregnancy hormones. So, when I realized my pain was completely reversible if I just took better care of myself, I knew that’s what I had to do.

I’ve been exercising almost every day since and it’s a big part of my life again. Being active is a privilege not everyone has, so it should be embraced. I want you to see that being healthy isn’t about the bathing suit. It’s about maintaining your “vehicle” that will drive you to all the beautiful places this life has to offer.

Your dad and I both look forward to “driving” right alongside you to lots of those places in the future. That is, until you’re a teenager and you want boys to drive you places… you’ll have to talk to your father about that. 😉

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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.

021014EDITOR2
 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.

 

021014EDITOR3
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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120913ADVERTORIAL

Shoppers in Waynesville

 

This week’s issue of Cincy Chic is our annual Winter Weekend Getaway Guide where we highlight unique “one tank trips” around the Tri-State! One thing we didn’t mention that I want to personally recommend is shopping in the quaint little town of Waynesville, just about 40 minutes from northern Cincinnati. I went there when I was a little girl to antique with my mom, and revisited last year for a Star64 shoot and fell in love with the place all over again.

 

They just have the cutest shops, carrying the most unique stuff, with the nicest people. So, I just had to tell you about it in case you wanted to make an experience out of your holiday shopping this year instead of the usual mad dash to the mall for whatever’s left on the shelf (not judging… been there many times, haha!)

 

When I interviewed the Waynesville shop owners last year, they took a lot of pride in the area, from their school system to their downtown and special events. It’s a great shopping destination particularly for antiques, as Waynesville has block after block of antiques, shabby chic, four art galleries, two fabric stores that ship worldwide – quilting and home decor such as re upholstery and curtains home decor, garden, primitives, artisans and so much more. The Waynesville Chamber actually offers a a free self guided walking tour of historic Waynesville. It provides fascinating information about many of the historic Waynesville buildings. Plus, it’s really easy to get to and from each building and store because they’re all very close together. In fact, Waynesville was named the most walkable town in the USA!

 

If you’re a history buff, this place is for you, too! Waynesville, founded in 1797, boasts many preservation efforts by the Waynesville Historical Society, the Mary L. Cook Public Library and the Museum at the Friends Home. For an intimate experience of history, the Museum, located at 115 South Fourth Street, occupies a 1905 structure built by the Quakers to accommodate elderly members of their community. The building now houses a unique collection of local history displayed in 22 rooms. Fascinating exhibits highlight frontier settlement, stagecoach travel via Accommodation Trail, Quaker migration from slavery, Underground Railroad and Civil War activities. A more traditional, academic look at history can be found at Mary L. Cook Public Library. A new building was dedicated in 1988 at 381 Old Stage Road. With a recent expansion, it provides space for the extensive Ohioana Room collection of genealogies, historical atlases, photographs and reference.

 

If you like a little scare, The Museum at the Friends Home offers ghost tours. Because, in case you didn’t know, Waynesville is known as “the most haunted town in Ohio”! The tour guides tell various stores of reported haunting’s in the buildings, several of which are now stores.

 

All this exploring will work up a hunger, and Waynesville has lots of choices for that, too. From The Cobblestone Village (where we ate when we were up for the shoot last year !) that includes a gift shop with home decor items and a cafe. They specialize in organic produce, while also serving gourmet salads, sandwiches and chef specialties… but my favorite were their yummy homemade desserts! (Figures I’d like the sweets in a place known for fresh produce! haha!)

 

Another choice for a nice meal is The Hammel House. It’s a former inn with roots dating back to 1799 and once hosted Charles Dickens. The bed-and-breakfast is known for its sandwiches and salads and chef specialties. The Village Family Restaurant serves home cooked specialties, homemade pies, beef hot shots for lunch and dinner. The Stone House Tavern offers a full bar, salads, appetizers, gourmet and specialty burgers, gourmet grilled cheese and to honor the Ohio Sauerkraut Festival, sauerkraut balls. Lilly’s Corner Cafe that offers chicken salad sandwiches, daily specials, where you can dine in within their antique store. Braden & Sons homemade fudge and taffy.

 

Waynesville is located off of Rt. 42 and Rt. 73, with the proximity to both I-75 and I-71. To learn more, visit www.waynesvilleohio.com.


This is a special advertising supplement, paid for by the Waynesville Area Chamber of Commerce.

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021113ADVERTORIAL

A little over a year ago, we at Cincy Chic wrote this story about the “Tour for the Cure“ girlfriend getaway program in Southeast Indiana that’s raised more than $20,000 for breast cancer research. It stuck in my mind as such a fun idea – plus, it supports an awesome cause! So, a couple months ago, I went to the Dearborn County Convention, Visitor & Tourism Bureau to learn more about it and see if it might be something I can get me and my gal pals involved with.


First of all, if you haven’t been to Lawrenceburg in a while, you should definitely check it out. That’s where this Toursim Bureau is located, and when I drove to it, I felt like I was driving through a cute little mountain town – complete with boutiques, cafes and great gift shops!


So, after I shopped at the cute boutiques, I went in to chat with the tourism reps initially to learn about the Tour for the Cure, but I also learned about their other “pink programs.” One of which is coming up soon. It’s their Perfectly Pink: Tubing for Tour for the Cure. It’ll be Feb. 19, 20 & 21, 1:00-9:30pm each day, at Perfect North Slopes, 19074 Perfect Lane in Lawrenceburg, Indiana. It’s $25 per person for a one-day tubing pass, with $5 coupon available on www.tourforthecure.info. Plus, it benefits breast cancer research by donating a portion of proceeds to the Vera Bradley Foundation.


Below is some background info they gave me on the program, events, and how you can learn more!

BACKGROUND

  • Perfectly Pink is sponsored by the Dearborn County Convention, Visitor & Tourism Bureau’s Tour for the Cure® initiative.  Tour for the Cure® raises funds for breast cancer research through a partnership with the Vera Bradley Foundation for Breast CancerSM, a nonprofit foundation affiliated with Vera Bradley Designs, Inc. that supports various research-based initiatives in the fight for a breast cancer cure. 
  • Through a variety of overnight travel packages, day trips, luncheons, group excursions and events, Tour for the Cure® has raised more than $27,000 for the Vera Bradley Foundation since 2008.
  • This is the fifth year in a row for the Perfectly Pink Tubing event, and is a great way for visitors to “have fun and give hope” (the Tour for the Cure® motto) while raising funds for a worthy cause.

EVENT DETAILS 

  • Perfectly Pink participants are invited to wear pink to show their support throughout the three-day event. 
  •  Perfect North Slopes – a valued Tour for the Cure® partner – is home to a large snow tubing park at their ski area where Perfectly Pink is held.  At the end of Perfectly Pink Tubing Days, Perfect North will make a special donation to help benefit Tour for the Cure®. 
  • New this year:  Perfect North Slopes is offering a special $5 off Perfectly Pink Tubing coupon available on www.tourforthecure.info.  Participants must print and present the coupon at time of purchase in order to be eligible for the discount.

FOR MORE INFO

For more information on Perfectly Pink, or to learn more about Tour for the Cure®,  log on to the official Tour for the Cure® website at www.tourforthecure.info or visit Tour for the Cure® on Facebook at www.facebook.com/tourforthecure.  More information is also available by calling the Dearborn County Convention, Visitor & Tourism Bureau at 800-322-8198.  To learn more about snow tubing at Perfect  North Slopes watch the exclusive webcast below or visit www.perfectnorth.com

This is a special advertising supplement, paid for by the Dearborn County Convention, Visitor & Tourism Bureau.

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010912SOCIAL


I suppose this is how a mother feels when her child – who she remembers as an infant like it was yesterday – holds up a whole hand and says “I’m five years old, mommy!”


About six years ago, I had the idea to create an online publication for women. For several months, I worked with a talented group of friends and previous co-workers who specialized in graphics, IT and writing. Lots of testing, tweaking and sleepless nights later, the site was ready.


On January 15, 2007, I sat alone in my apartment and made a little website called CincyChic.com go live. I whispered a little prayer, “I hope they love it as much as I do.”


Fast forward five years and 22,000 subscribers who love the publication later, and I sit here alone again on my couch. But this time I sit and write this as the most grateful girl in the world. It’s been a dream making this publication a reality, bringing you fun and informational weekly editorial as well as fabulous and philanthropic monthly events. But I couldn’t have done it without my trusty team.


That’s why I decided to treat them to a fun night out to celebrate the holidays, our fifth anniversary and just thank them for being amazing. I wanted everything to be a surprise, though, because surprises make everything more fun!


Each day leading up to the night out, I sent them one hint to get them buzzing:

  • Hint #1: 5:30pm… we’ll meet at Newport on the Levee valet… but come dressed to impress… it’s a night to hit the town Chic style!!!
  • Hint #2: With all the bubbles and bling, you’ll love all the joy our chic night has to bring!
  • Hint #3: Bah, HUMMbug…
  • Hint #4: Prepare to feast on Cincinnati’s newest fare.
  • Hint #5: Fly me to the moon, let me play among the stars… and silver mannequins.


I rented a sleek black Hummer limo from Elements Event Centre. So, that was the “Bah, HUMMbug…” hint. They loved it and so did I. It was much bigger (or at least it felt like it) than regular limos. It had a great sound system, which of course we pumped up and danced to all the way to our destinations!


Our first stop was Krombholz Jewelers. Even though I thought the “bubbles and bling” would give them a clue, this is the one thing no one guessed from all the hints. When we arrived, owners Lee and Heather Krombholz handed everyone a glass of champagne and had a whole spread of food for us to nibble on. Then, we went back in the Versailles room (where all their estate pieces are) and there was a pretty present for everyone. Inside were gift certificates for everyone to pick out something of their choice. They lost their minds when they unwrapped the gifts and we set them loose into the store (see video below to watch for yourself!).


After everyone picked out their item, we hopped back into the limo and headed downtown. From the “Prepare to feast on Cincinnati’s newest fare” hint, everyone guessed we were going to Jimmy G’s and that was correct! Man, they’re good!


I’ve heard a lot of good buzz about it, so I thought we should check it out. And it did not disappoint! For an appetizer, we had cheese raclette, which I haven’t seen on a menu since my days as a foreign exchange student in Dijon France. We had to get it since it was my favorite thing to eat in Dijon and it’s so unique to see here in the states! Everyone loved it! For dinner everyone got something different – from salads and sides to steaks and fish – but everyone raved about the food. Then, we all split a crème brûlée for dessert. Chef Jimmy Gibson came out to check on us several times, which was nice, and we even snapped a picture with him.


Then, we headed next door for an after dinner drink at Lunar. This venue, with their silver mannequins in the window, is actually attached to Jimmy G’s. That made it nice and close for our chic staff to stay chic and avoid the rain that night! Usually on the weekends, Lunar is pretty “nightclubish,” but we were there on a Tuesday and it was remarkably calm and quiet. Perfect for our group who just wanted to enjoy each other’s company for an hour more before we parted ways for the night.


It was such a great evening and I want to thank Elements, Krombholz Jewelers, Jimmy G’s, and Lunar for making it so special. And most of all, I want to thank my staff for everything they do to make the publication, the editorial and our events a success. This dream wouldn’t be a five-year-old reality without them.


Check out the webcast below to see pictures from the night and see their reaction to the Krombholz gift certificate that I caught on film – Best. Reaction. Ever!


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beforeafter

I started growing out my hair this summer because I wanted a new ‘do. It’s not that I didn’t like my old haircut, it’s just that I had been getting the same thing done for several years and I just needed a change. While I didn’t exactly know what cut I wanted, I did know it needed to be different.


So, fast forward to a few weeks ago when I was talking with Vivian Moore, managing vice president of Mitchell’s Salon and Day Spa. She asked if I was growing it out and what I planned to do with it. When I explained I didn’t have any particular plans, her eyes began to twinkle.


It’s as if someone turned on a faucet in her brain and ideas came pouring out. She asked if I would let her “play” with my next cut and color. Of course, I agreed, and we decided to go big with a glam girl makeover, complete with a fancy dress and photo shoot. Watch the embedded video below to see the transformation and photos from the shoot. 


But there was a lot that went into getting to that “after” shot. So, I asked Vivian to explain what she did and what she used to get the look. Here’s what she said:


When designing Amy Scalia’s new look for her “Glam Makeover,” it was important it fit her lifestyle. Because she’s in the public eye, I felt it was also important it remained somewhat consistent with the look she’s already well-known for, in addition to meeting her request for a “new-do.” She had been growing her haircut and color out for about six months, so I had a great starting place. Amy’s hair was past her shoulders with very little layering or interior shaping and her natural medium blonde hair with very pale highlights had approximately three inches of new growth. Blown out straight either worn down or pulled back in a ponytail have been the styling options she’s chosen from for quite a while. Before meeting on the big day, I asked her to send me pictures of haircuts and colors she liked, even if they just showed certain elements so I get an idea of what she would be open to and liked. She created a Pinterest board of the looks she liked. Fortunately, everything she posted, I liked too. We had a thorough discussion of each picture and what she liked about it. I agreed with her opinions, and also explained what I thought wasn’t a great idea (i.e., brunette) and came up with a plan for her makeover.


Haircut: Because I wanted to give her more styling options, including being able to pull it back and/or up, I kept the length long enough to do this. I updated the shape by bringing it up to about shoulder length over a defined under cut section in the nape (bottom back of head), which I tapered in fairly short. This would give a fresher swing to her hair when worn down, but disappear under a ponytail on the days she wanted to wear it pulled back. I added a lot of vertical layering done with both a razor and scissors to take advantage of the natural wave and curl she had no idea was even there!


Color: Far more women are wearing light pale blonde hair than should be in my opinion. However, Amy is one of the women who looks great as a blonde. I suggested she give red some thought for the future if ever she got bored with the blonde since she could also wear it beautifully. But, for now, I wanted to keep her blonde. To make it more interesting and updated, I used a technique called “Ribboning.” We created this technique many years ago, before the idea of using more than one color to highlight with was popular. By using three colors, one the same level as her natural color in a red tone, one color two shades darker than natural color in a brunette tone and one color at least three shades lighter than her natural color (pale blonde), applied in a pattern mixing slices and weaves that compliment the haircut, I was able to keep her blonde, but better, healthier, fuller, shiny and sexier blonde. Plus, I loved the idea of “Ribboning” Amy for the holidays – it just seemed appropriate!


Styling: Options were a priority when deciding everything for Amy’s new look. They needed to be easy and fast to be practical. So, I taught her how to do a quick twisted pin-curl set by taking large sections, twirling them around her finger before curling them around her finger and pinning to dry. Only a few rules to remember to give lots of different finished styles. 1.) The larger the sections, the looser the curl. 2.) The tighter the twisting, the bigger the hair. 3.) The more moisture in the hair before starting, the more curl and wave in the finished style. After removing pins, all she needed to do was use her fingers to loosen the curls while spritzing in Oribe Dry Texture Spray and the scalp and a little Sebastian Trilliant Spray on the surface for shine.


Finished Look: A slightly retro inspired wave with a definite glamorous twist perfect for upcoming holiday parties that she can recreate herself in minutes.


Make-up direction: I asked for the focus to be on lashes and lips, sans glitter. A little Marilyn Monroe, a little Scarlet Johansson, with a perfect red lip and false lashes to the max.


Watch the webcast below to see the transformation from “before” to “after” as well as video and photos to learn Vivian’s tips and tricks for this look!


 

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Osa Adventure

It was my junior year of college and it was time to plan spring break. The year prior, my friends and I did the typical Ft. Lauderdale, pack in a small hotel room and pickle your liver kind of trip that every college kid does.

But my friends and I were disillusioned with the typical spring break scene at this point. We wanted something different. We wanted something that no other college kids were doing.

One of my friends knew Dirk Morgan, one of the five Morgan brothers whose dad started Morgan’s Outdoor Adventures, which you can read more about in this week’s social story.

Dirk apparently told my friend in passing that if she ever wanted to bring friends down to his summer home in Costa Rica that she was more than welcome to bring them down. It was one of those things you offer someone, never really expecting them to take you up on it. But we did and he couldn’t have been more thrilled.

He had recently built (yes, he did, by hand) this little sustainable paradise in one of the world’s most untouched areas, the Osa Peninsula. He was excited to have our group of spring breakers down to see his work. Not only that, but our group was hungry for adventure.

We flew into San José, Costa Rica’s capital city. We then took a hopper plane over a jungle and arrived in the Osa’s only town of Puerto Jimenez on the Golfo Dolce. We took a little buggy 15 minutes into the Osa’s countryside.

We quickly learned that Dirk is the adventurous type. Upon arrival, he was sharpening his machete. He looked up, smiled and directed us to our tents, in which you could zip open for an oceanfront view. And we ended the day by kayaking through the waves. I should probably note that in the entire two hours of kayaking, I never saw another building or tourist.

When we got up the next morning, Dirk was finishing up a Tai Chi routine and was about to head out on a long-distance barefoot run. That was a little too much adventure for us, so we relaxed on the beach, sipped some incredible Costa Rican coffee and ate fresh fruit prepared for us by Dirk’s mom.

Dirk didn’t let us sit on our laurels for long, though. We went surfing on some of the biggest waves I’ve ever seen. We rode horses bareback on the Osa’s breathtaking beaches. And probably the biggest adventure of all: an 8-mile hike through the rainforest.

This wasn’t a guided tour, on a well-worn path through some plants. This was Dirk getting a Costa Rican man, who also had a well-sharpened machete, to hack our way several miles into a thick and lush rain forest. Our destination: A lagoon. Mind you, we didn’t have a GPS or cell phones with us. We were relying on Dirk’s friend, who we hoped had a stellar sense of direction

Turns out he did. Dirk, his friend and their machetes led us right to the lagoon. It was so disgustingly hot, we all jumped in. It wasn’t until later that Dirk told us how much gators, snakes and flesh eating fish love lagoons. Gulp.

After our dip in the lagoon, we headed back. Dirk would often slice through the air, cutting off a piece of starfruit for the group to have as a snack. But one time, Dirk’s friend sliced through the air and killed a small snake that was just a few feet from my leg. In his broken English, he said "The smaller, the deadlier," he looked me in the eye holding up half of the snake. "This one very deadly." He dropped the snake, turned around and kept walking.

I’ll never forget that. It was then I realized this wasn’t your typical rainforest hike. Dirk wasn’t your typical host. And this certainly wasn’t your typical trip.

I think about that trip often and how it was so unique and unlike any other vacation I had ever been on, or will will ever take again. When we were researching adventures for this issue, we did discover that Dirk is now making a tourist attraction out of his little Osa compound.

At first I was sad that our adventure was being duplicated. But then I realized that even though Dirk is now commercializing his little Costa Rican getaway spot, people won’t get exactly what we got the pleasure of experiencing. They won’t get to have breakfast prepared by Dirk’s mom, they wont get the tours with Dirk’s snake-spotting friend and Dirk’s probably been advised by his lawyers to not take people to the who-knows-what’s-lurking-in-there-lagoon.
 
But I’m glad I did. Even though I was one small snake away from not being able to tell you this story!

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I knew immediately what I wanted to write about for this week’s column. It’s our Men’s Issue, so naturally, I wanted to write about my "man."

When we started dating five years ago, I knew we were the quintessential yin and yang couple. But it wasn’t until we got married a year and a half ago that I realized how different we really are.

He’s a pack rat, I’m a neat freak. He’s a spender, I’m a saver. He has a sweet tooth, I have a garden. He loves to sleep, I get five hours a night on average. He leaves work at work, and I’m a work-o-holic addicted to my Blackberry.

On paper, it doesn’t look like we’d be a good match. But we are. We are two extremes who force each other to meet in the middle.

He keeps the important documents I’m usually throwing out on accident. Now, he saves more than he ever did, and I pinch those pennies a little less. I’m introducing healthy green foods into his sweet-stacked diet, and he’s taught me to enjoy an occasional yummy dessert. Through him, I’ve enjoyed several Saturday morning sleep-ins, and I’ve inspired him to rise and shine to be productive more often. He’s also enforced "No Phone Zones" around the house and yard so that we can enjoy our personal life without interruptions from our professional lives.

None of these adjustments have been easy. We’re both headstrong and stuck in our ways. But we love each other, so we make compromises.

That’s not to say meeting in the middle doesn’t still cause friction. We still get into arguments about dirty dishes, busted budgets and productivity plunders. But we’re learning how to vent without being vicious and find solutions through the steam.

I remember on Pete’s parents’ 35th wedding anniversary, I asked Pete’s dad what one piece of advice he’d impart. And he promptly responded, without hesitation, "Learn how to fight right." He said there’s a way you can grow closer through your grappling. If you do it constructively, cautious of your partner’s feelings, you end up respecting each other more when the dust settles.

Those wise words have stuck with us ever since. And "fighting right" is one thing we’ll agree to do for the rest of our lives.

On a related note, Jewel just came out with a song called "Ten" that perfectly applies to this topic. I embeded a video of her singing it live below. Enjoy!

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Remember that quote from "Forrest Gump" about how you can tell a lot about someone by looking at their shoes — where they’re going, where they’ve been? Well, I feel that way about my car.

 

My little 2004 Hyundai Tiburon might not look like anything special, but it really is to me. I bought it my senior year of college. I commuted every day from Oxford to downtown Cincinnati for an internship and the hand-me-down I drove didn’t even have airbags.

 

I figured I should at least have a safety restraint system in place if I was going to spend 10 hours a week on a road people eerily referred to as the "Highway to Heaven."

 

I worked three jobs and was able to buy that car. I was pretty proud. It had all the bells and whistles of its time — namely a CD player I didn’t have to jimmy-rig to my walkman like I had to do in my hand-me-down car. (Yes, I said walkman.)

 

After college, I got a job in Philadelphia. This was the first time I would be moving away from the Tri-State, so it was sad to think I wouldn’t get to see my loved ones (or that cute new guy I had just met in Mt. Adams) very often.

 

Despite the distance, Mr. Mt. Adams and I got serious. We talked a lot and traveled to see each other whenever possible. Airfare was expensive and didn’t really save too much time, so the Tiburon and I made many, many nine-hour Cincy-Philly trips.

 

The first couple of times I made the trip, it was grueling. I surely sprouted some premature greys as I drove alongside speeding trucks on the Pennsylvania Turnpike’s hairpin turns. But then, I learned how to make the most of my time in the "Tibby."

 

As I mentioned in a previous column, I called my mom and we’d talk for hours. It was great catching up and strengthening that bond. Over time, I grew restless in my Philly job and I wanted to come back to the Queen City. I began to devise plans for how I’d get back. And somewhere, between the West Virginia border and Hershey Pennsylvania, the idea for Cincy Chic was born.

 

It dawned on me that there wasn’t a decent publication for women — let alone women with a sense of fashion — in Cincinnati. I made the decision right then and there that I would be the one to make that happen! After that, I looked forward to the nine hours of peace and quiet the Tibby offered. I used it to brainstorm and mentally create what we now know as Cincy Chic, the only online lifestyle publication for women in Greater Cincinnati.

 

I started to make the entire drive with no music. I didn’t want to be distracted. I let my mind wander, dream and create. I’d use a voice recorder to document my ideas and to-dos. All that "Tibby Think Tank" time helped me to quickly launch the business as a side project while still working in Philadelphia.


I grew it with every ounce of spare time and money I could scrounge up. Six months later, I made Cincy Chic my main focus and the Tib and I made our last drive back to Cincinnati from Philly behind my now-husband (Mr. Mt. Adams) in a U-Haul van.

 

Fast forward three years: I was recently in a head-on collision and my car got pretty banged up. Luckily, no one in either car was seriously injured, but my Tibby was in bad shape. I had to make the decision whether or not I wanted to fix it and keep it or use it as a trade-in on a new car.

 

My husband thought it was the perfect excuse to get a new car. But the decision wasn’t so easy for me. I test drove a few, but it didn’t feel right. I wasn’t ready to let go of my special car. I made too many memories in it to let it go so abruptly. I loved it too much to see it for the last time as a crumpled pile of metal.

 

I know it sounds silly, but this car is so much more to me than four wheels that gets me from Point A to Point B. I don’t care if it’s not the newest model out there, if the CD player isn’t so high-tech any more or if the headlights got a little foggy.

 

I decided to keep my car and get it fixed. When I got back in it for the first time, I apologized for being unfaithful and test driving those other cars. To make it up to the ol’ Tib, I decided to spruce it up and make it look like new again.

 

I de-fogged those headlights and buffed, waxed and shined the body up like the day I bought it. I’m kind of glad the accident happened now. It made me realize how much I love my car.

 

And, you know, I’d love to sit and write more but my shiny new Tibby and I have some more memories to make! Please enjoy this week’s Transportation issue and then go out and make some good auto memories of your own!