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    Marble Hill Chocolatier

    This O’Bryonville chocolaterie takes a fashion approach to chocolate, offering different “collections” of chocolates depending on season. According to its Web site, Marble Hill is a specialty retailer of premium chocolates handcrafted by artisans in New York City, Vancouver and Chicago, among others, all hand chosen by owner Bill Sands. At the moment, Marble Hill is still featuring its summer collections, one of which, the tropical collection, includes chocolates flavored with pina colada, mimosa, pineapple, pink lemonade, key lime pie, banana, kahlua and mojito.

    With the cooling of temperatures comes the fall collection of chocolates at Marble Hill, including Earl Grey, chai latte and even pumpkin-flavored chocolate. Sample the fall collection Oct. 5, when Marble Hill will be holding “Flavors of Autumn,” a guided tasting of five fall collection chocolates and three wines. The chocolaterie holds such a tasting every month. However, beginning in October, customers can visit any time to sample a chocolate or wine or stop by on a “Flight Friday” (also starting in October), a tasting of three wines and chocolates held every week at Marble Hill.

    Liz Rettig, assistant manager of Marble Hill Chocolatier, recommends making reservations for one of the tasting events at least three weeks ahead of time. Call the store at (513) 321-0888 for details.

    Fawn’s Confectionery

    Founded in 1946, Fawn’s Confectionery, is best known for its down-home goodie Copper Kettle Fudge, which is made in vessels matching the name. Fawn cooks the fudge in copper kettles over an open fire in the same Harrison Avenue kitchen in which its other candies are made fresh daily. Fawn’s makes all its own centers and buys its chocolate from a supplier in Chicago, says Kathy Guenther, co-owner of Fawn’s and daughter of founder Paul “Pep” Guenther.

    Fawn’s makes a wide variety of chocolates aside from the fudge, including chocolate-covered cherries, turtles, truffles, caramel made from scratch and coconut and peanut butter brittle. Summer isn’t the best time for candy making, Guenther says, but with the advent of fall and Sweetest Day, the chocolate business gets a kick start. Stop by Fawn’s right now for a fall candy preview with its caramel apples covered with orange and black M&M’s in honor of the city’s beloved Bengals.

    Graeter’s

    Although this Cincinnati favorite is best known for its ice cream (notably Black Raspberry Chip), Graeter’s also “has been handmaking the finest chocolates and confections since 1870,” according to its Web site. Chocolate candy batches are made with recipes that have been “developed from years and years of making candy,” says Chip Graeter, vice president of retail sales. “With each recipe, we take a center, be it peppermint or caramel, enrobe it in chocolate, send it down a long tunnel to cool it, and then the candy is ready to eat or to go in a box.”

    Some chocolates you can pick up at Graeter’s are pecan patties, black raspberry cream chocolates (made from the same puree as the ice cream), opera creams and Bengals-themed sweets, including chocolate-covered Oreos decorated with tigers and orange and black nonpareils. Graeter’s is also gearing up to be Greater Cincinnati’s Halloween candy stop, the stores’ focus come October with be everything candy corn, gummy spiders and cream pumpkins (not to mention caramel-covered apples).

    With 13 locations in the Cincinnati area, Graeter’s is a convenient choice for any chocolate lover.

     

    Aglamesis Brothers

    Visitors take a step into the past when they cross the Aglamesis Brother’s threshold. Two immigrants from Greecefounded this nostalgic ice cream parlor, candy kitchen and ice cream plant in 1908 (antique photographs of founders Thomas and Nicholas Aglamesis hang in the parlor). Pink décor, tiled floors and traditional wire ice cream chairs complete the traditional look.

    Similar to Graeter’s in that it’s best known for ice cream, nonetheless, the brothers make chocolate “the sincere way,” using only pure can sugar, fresh cream, vanilla extract and other quality ingredients in their chocolates. The chocolate creams (the Aglamesis Brothers’ opera cream recipe is a guarded secret) are made from scratch, beginning in copper kettles and ending with a chocolate waterfall — immersing candies in the “grandest velvety chocolate,” according to the Web site.

    There are two Aglamesis Brothers locations in Cincinnati; one on Madison Road and the other on Montgomery Road.

    Schneider's Sweet Shop

    Across the river is Schneider’s Sweet Shop, a Bellevue, Ky., staple since 1939. The shop began as an old-fashioned neighborhood candy and ice cream store. Today Schneider’s candies are still made with the same tried and true recipes the shop started with, according to its Web site.

    Schneider’s is best known for its opera creams, a Cincinnati specialty made with pure rich cream to “tantalize the taste buds and to create the ultimate of creams,” proclaims Schneider’s site. Kentucky Cream Candy, made with fresh heavy cream, is another featured item at the chocolaterie.

    Haute Chocolate

    Who is this fabled love? It's a thing, for starters. Chocolate, of course! Cultivate your first love for chocolate and you and your friends' affection for one another by participating in a tasting. Haute Chocolate of Montgomery Road can arrange a tasting event for ladies' night out.

    "It's a great way to spend a hot summer night here in Cincinnati," says Lisa Cooper Holmes, owner of Haute.

     

    Haute's evening of chocolate would begin with an introduction to chocolate, as well as a sampling of the three most common varieties: milk, white and dark. You can also watch employees make chocolate in the kitchen, and help out in the process yourself. Cooper Holmes says what happens at the event is up to you. Haute offers a full menu and confections for dessert.

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      Friends are a very important part of our life. But, before you start trying to forge life-long friendships with the person sitting next to you, remember that knowing which friends are really your friends and which ones are keeping you down is not an easy task. So, how do you find the right friends you might ask? Well, that is a good question. One thing you can’t do is put out an ad for a good friend. Good friends are hard to come by and can take a lifetime to establish. But it’s worth it!

      The problem of differentiating friends and foes has existed since the time of Aristotle, who tried to answer the question, “What is a friend?” His answer: “A friend is "one soul inhabiting two bodies." Other thoughts on friendship from the famous philosopher: "Without friends no one would choose to live, though she/he had all other goods."

      There are all kinds of different friends with which to contend. Some friends are at a “high level,” or what you might call “acquaintances.” This means that when you are with your high level friends, you act like everything is going great, you’re in a great mood and you’re happy, whether this is true or not. They are people to just go out and have fun with and not share any intimate conversation or problems. These friends are needed in your life and are worth keeping. They can help you get through a bad day.

      There are other friends that are very close to you. They may even be qualified as your "best friend." These ladies (or men) would be there in a heartbeat if you got into any trouble and needed help, no matter what the circumstances. Close friends like these won’t judge you when you make bad decisions. They are always there to talk through your problems or celebrate your greatest accomplishments.

      You can have two kinds of close friends; one that will allow you to cry on their shoulder any time, day or night, and will be a great comforter. They can give you encouragement when you most need it. And, one that you just laugh with and keep you vibrant. You can share anything with them as well, but they are your “PMA” friends (positive mental attitude). They keep you striving for your goals. Close friends are always worth keeping.

      Finally, there are those friends who claim to be your friends, but are always busy when you need them. They always have some excuse as to why they can’t be there when you need them. This can be hurtful. They can also be the friends whose ethics are not what they should be. They like pushing the envelope and seeing if they can get away with doing things that aren’t ethically kosher. And they want to bring you along for the ride. Be careful of these kinds of individuals. They may not be worth keeping.

      Also, there are people who say they are your friends, but are just using you to get something for themselves. It could be because of your stature (coming from a wealthy family), resources, who you know, where you work or what you do for a living. You will be able to tell which friends fit into this category. Be careful of these friends. You may want to re-evaluate if they are worth keeping.

      Friends accept one another’s differences and realize that it’s OK to be different from each other. Opposites attract in friendship just as much as in relationships. Be proud of your differences. This world would be a boring place if we were all the same. Just remember what the angel wrote in “It’s A Wonderful Life”: “No one’s a failure who has friends.”

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        Hairstylist

         

        Your hairstylist is not only the one that makes you look and feel beautiful, they're also your underpaid therapist.

        Over the years, you will not only tell this stylist about the latest celebrity you'd like your look to emulate. You'll also tell them the intimate details of your life, job, relationships, family and friends. So, you need someone you can trust with all of that.

        Rosina Luca, a stylist and the marketing director at Avalon Salon in the Hyde Park plaza, says, "Words of advice when looking for a stylist: [look for] friendliness, communication and education."

        The education piece is important. Find out how often they're educated about hair styles, client relations and given motivation as an employee. For example, Avalon provides weekly education for their stylists. This gives them the opportunity to bring outside experts in to teach cutting edge trends, share experiences, learn from each other and be motivated to do the best job possible for you as a client.

        As in any relationship, communication is key to getting what you want. That holds true for your stylist, too. "We can offer suggestions and ask questions, but if you're not specific, you will not get what you want," says Luca. "Pictures help as long as you take into consideration your own hair type (i.e., curly, straight, long, short, etc.)."

        When looking for a stylist, Luca says, word of mouth is always a great place to start, so ask friends. "Or, if you see someone with a great style, ask them," says Luca. "People love compliments!"

        Business Mentor

         

        To be mentored or not to be mentored, that is the question. "This one is a no-brainer. Denying the need for a mentor says you know it all," says Kay Fittes, founder of Strategies for Women’s Growth. "No one knows it all."

        Fittes provides the following information about what a mentor can do for you and how to find the right one for you and where you want to take your career.

        What can a mentor do for you?

        • Be your role model
        • Give you warnings and insights about the culture and politics of your workplace
        • Push you to take well chosen next risks and steer your career path
        • Be your advocate and supporter in upper circles of the organization
        • Give you insights and feedback about your strengths, weaknesses and behavior


        How do you choose?

        • Choose a couple of mentors, female and male
        • Another woman understands struggles in the workplace and work/home issues that a man has never encountered
        • A man may be able to give you entrée into “the club” that no woman has yet achieved in your workplace
        • Choose someone you respect and has similar values
        • Choose someone in the “inner circle”
        • Choose someone with whom you are comfortable
        • Choose someone willing to take the time
        • Choose someone that will give you candid, yet diplomatic, feedback


        Mechanic

         

        As a cute, well-dressed woman, you turn heads when you walk into any room. But when you walk into an auto body shop, you turn heads and the mechanics often peg a big bullseye on yours.

        Oh, you just came in for an oil change? But did you know that you need to buy a new timing belt, transmission, muffler and left wiper blade? Well, according to Biff-the-mechanic-that-you've-never-seen-before-in-your-life, you do. But take your car to the family-friend mechanic, and it turns out, all you really need is an oil change, and maybe a new left wiper.

        If only we all had that family-friend mechanic! No better time to start than now to start finding one. Finding a mechanic is like choosing any other small business. Look for quality, value and service. Here are nine steps, provided by www.ehow.com, to finding the right mechanic for you:

        Step One
        Ask trusted friends for recommendations.

        Step Two
        Talk to people who have cars similar to yours if you are new to an area.

        Step Three
        Make sure the mechanic you've chosen services your type of car. Look around the shop and see what kinds of cars are being worked on.

        Step Four
        Call the Better Business Bureau to check whether the shop has any complaints on file.

        Step Five
        Check whether the shop is accredited by the American Automobile Association (AAA).

        Step Six
        Ask whether the shop's mechanics are certified by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE).

        Step Seven

        Check the warranty on the repair work before leaving the car at the shop. Six months is great; 90 days is good; 30 days is a little suspect. Find out whether the warranty covers both parts and labor.

        Step Eight

        Ask for a full explanation of what is going to be done to the car.

        Step Nine
        Find out what the shop's hours are. Will it be open when you get off work? Is the shop near the Metro bus route? Will you get a loaner while your car is being worked on?

        Keep in mind, don't wait until your car needs major repairs or a tow to find a good mechanic. Bring your car into the shop for small stuff like oil changes and brake checks to get a feel for the place and develop a relationship.

        Also, don't choose a shop based solely on price. The least expensive repair shop might not be the best place to go. At the same time, the most expensive shop (usually the dealership) may not give you the best service or quality.

        Life Partner

         

        The term "Life Partner" can be interpreted in many ways. Essentially, a life partner is a friend on steriods… not literally on steroids, though. That could be dangerous! A life partner is a person that takes friendship to a whole new level, and that can mean many things: Someone, such a sibling or parent, that's been around – a partner, per se – for all, or the majority, of your life; Your spouse; The equivalent to a marital partner in the gay community; A commonlaw marriage partner; Your God; Or even a friend that understands you on another, almost spiritual, level, that has been around for years, and will be there for many years to come.

        As a human, especially a female human, your genetic makeup yearns for a deep relationship. The one you tell your most intimate details. The one that knows  the song in your heart and sings it back to you when your memory fails. The one that holds you with both hands when your world isn't just bad, or really bad, but when it comes crashing down. Usually, we only come across one person in our entire lifetime that can carry that kind of weight for you. When you do, make them your life partner.


        Friend

         

        We all have good friends. The entourage of sorority sisters that you convene with at reunions, the group of gals from the office, etc. That's not what we're talking about here. We're talking about the one you'd ask to be your bridesmaid if you were getting married tomorrow. The one you call at 4 a.m. without a second thought if something's bothering you. The person you'd use your one phone call on if you somehow found yourself in jail (if they weren't sitting in the cell with you).

        This person is different than your life partner. This person is the one that knows everything about your relationship with your life partner, good and bad. This person is actually a key ingredient to your relationship with your life partner because you vent to this friend, spend time apart from your life partner with this friend and share tips on how to spice up the relationship with this friend.

        William Penn once said, "A true friend unbosoms freely, advises justly, assists readily, adventures boldly, takes all patiently, defends courageously and continues a friend unchangeably."

        Read that quote, every word of it, carefully. And that is what you should look for in your one true friend. Oh, and don't forget to be all of those things back to your friend.

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          Did you get more frustrated than usual with your lazy co-workers, flip out at a loved one for calling at a bad time or breakdown when the mail was late today? If you can relate, the stress in your life might be starting to take a toll. It's okay; it happens to the best of us. Just take it as a sign that you need to do something about that stress. Giving yourself time to relax, just a few minutes a day, can actually help reduce those negative responses to stress.

           

          Wash Away Your Worries
          One great way to destress is mindless time alone. If you're lucky enough to have a bathtub and silence at home, commit to a nightly bubble bath without distractions (i.e., Blackberry, phone, laptop, day planner). This routine helps to calm restless thoughts before sleep. Put some lavender scent into your water to welcome aromatherapy's calming powers.

           

          Bird's Eye View of the Corporate World
          If you have a little more going on at home that doesn't afford for that kind of peace and quiet, take a detour on your way home. If there's one thing Cincinnati has a lot of, it's beautiful city skyline overlooks. Watching the busy city below from a serene bird's eye view can help you differentiate your personal life from the hectic corporate world you see in the distance.

           

          If you're on the West Side, Mt. Echo offers a panoramic look of Cincinnati and the winding Ohio River. On the East Side, you'll have to trek up to Mt. Adams for a good city view. But Kentucky offers numerous skyline views, such as DeVou Park in Covington, General James Taylor Park in Newport… heck, even the Barnes and Noble in Newport on the Levee has a great city and river view.

           

          Put Pressures Away with Pottery
          Are you the type that needs to feel productive while you're relaxing? Maybe a pottery class would be the thing for you. Hey, get in your relaxation time – with the concentration and diligence pottery making requires – while hand-making all your holiday gifts. Sounds like a plan! Out towards Amelia is a beautiful pottery studio called Scarborough Fair Pottery, located on 2288 Berry Rd. This group has a lot of fun with their pottery hobby as they host cookouts, visit other potters' studios and hold occasional all-night pottering parties.

           

          Taking up a pottery class is great way to unwind right through your fingertips. Funke Fired Arts in Hyde Park offers a variety of classes from beginner to the more advanced student.

           

          Classes are offered year around by knowledgeable instructors eager to relieve your tension through the art of clay. Interactive workshops are an extra bonus that Funk Fired Arts offers as well. Gifted artists from all over the country are regularly featured at these workshops to teach you the latest techniques.

           

          In addition to treating yourself to a touch of relaxation, just imagine the sense of accomplishment you'll feel by creating a beautiful piece of art. Check out Funke Fired Arts by visiting their Web site, www.anniesmudpieshop.com/index.htm.

           

          Fun with Friends
          There's nothing better than pampering yourself with friends. Whether it's a group trip to the spa, makeovers at a local salon or your own private wine tasting party at home spending time with friends can be the perfect escape.

           

          How many times have you said, "We need to get together!" Stop putting it off and plan a relaxing outing today. And don't just stop there; make it a point to plan restful events regularly to help you remain stress free.

           

          Friends are an excellent source to help you work through stress and rejuvenate yourself. Visit these Web sites to organize your next girl's day or night out:

           

          Shall We Dance?
          When's the last time you put on your dancing shoes? Dancing can help you relax by making you focus on something other than your to-do list, all while meeting new people. Not to mention great exercise! Belly dancing for just one hour burns 400 calories.

           

          If you're not quite ready to bare your midriff, ballroom or salsa dancing may be more your speed. No partner? No problem. Several dance companies provide private lessons to get you on your toes.

           

          The Best of Ballroom Dance Studio in Kenwood offers great rates and a free introductory lesson; visit them at www.thebestofballroom.com. For the latest in salsa dancing try Kama Salsa at www.kamasalsa.com. Relax and dance your stress away!

           

          Yogis Unite
          Yoga is a great way to relax mentally, while physically exercising. With its breathing exercises, meditation and visualizations, it leaves your thoughts quieted; and with its stretches and poses, it leaves your body flexible and strong. Visit the
          Cincinnati Yoga School, which offers yoga classes for all levels of students, or your local gym, as most mainstream gyms have incorporated some type of yoga into their offerings.

           

          If a salon spells relaxation in your book, check out this week's Cincy Chic social department to see which Cincy salons will help you kick back and relax in style. If you'd rather relax on a budget, read this week's Cincy Chic beauty department to learn how to destress on a shoestring. And believe it or not, the best relaxation can actually take place at home, at no cost.

           

          The Mayo Clinic suggests several relaxation techniques that help to reduce the long term wear and tear of life's challenges. "Although health professionals such as complementary and alternative medicine practitioners, doctors and psychotherapists can teach relaxation techniques, you can also learn some on your own," according to MayoClinic.com. "Relaxation techniques usually involve refocusing your attention to something calming and increasing awareness of your body. It doesn't matter which technique you choose. What matters is that you try to practice relaxation regularly."

           

          There are several main types of relaxation techniques, including:

           

          • Autogenic relaxation. Autogenic means something that comes from within you. In this technique, you use both visual imagery and body awareness to reduce stress. You repeat words or suggestions in your mind to help you relax and reduce muscle tension. You may imagine a peaceful place and then focus on controlled, relaxing breathing, slowing your heart rate, or different physical sensations, such as relaxing each arm or leg one by one.
          • Progressive muscle relaxation. In this technique, you focus on slowly tensing and then relaxing each muscle group. This helps you focus on the difference between muscle tension and relaxation, and you become more aware of physical sensations. You may choose to start by tensing and relaxing the muscles in your toes and progressively working your way up to your neck and head. Tense your muscles for at least five seconds and then relax for 30 seconds, and repeat.
          • Visualization. In this technique, you form mental images to take a visual journey to a peaceful, calming place or situation. Try to use as many senses as you can, including smells, sights, sounds and textures. If you imagine relaxing at the ocean, for instance, think about the warmth of the sun, the sound of crashing waves, the feel of the grains of sand and the smell of salt water. You may want to close your eyes, sit in a quiet spot and loosen any tight clothing.

           

          So, now, when someone tells you to "just relax," you'll actually know how!

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            Michelle Yi, a UC fashion design senior that landed a contending spot in CBS' "Survivor: Fiji" show, is a rock climbing fanatic, and she gets her fixes at Climb Time in Blue Ash. Climb Time has great "bouldering," she explains, which is a type of rock climbing undertaken without a rope and normally limited to very short climbs so that a fall will not result in significant injury.

            Yi says RockQuest in Sharonville is wonderful for routes, which is a type of rock climbing undertaken with a rope and is normally a longer climb. "If you want to go outside, spend a weekend at Red River Gorge, or even an afternoon at the old bridge in Eden Park," she adds. For more route information go to www.rockclimbing.com/routes.

            According to Yi, there are many people in Cincinnati that enjoy the sport of rock climbing. "There are a bunch of great people that climb in the city," she says.
            "Everyone is very friendly and it's a very positive energetic group."

            Rock climbing isn't the only unique sport Yi has taken a liking to. She has also practiced boxing, skateboarding, breakdancing and capoeira. "It's amazing the communities and people you can fall into as long as you have the interest," Yi says. "Sometimes in Cincinnati, it seems like it is hard to find, but I guarantee it's out there."

            It definitely is out there, and Cincy Chic is here to tell you where to go. Here are a few places you might want to check out:


             

            For other high-intensity activities just outside of the Greater Cincinnati area, West Virginia offers thrilling whitewater rafting adventure trips, mountain biking and caving explorations.

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              When I started writing health and beauty features for Cincy Chic, I immediately scooped up a couple of assignments that I felt I had complete expertise in. But, even though much of my work is now with medspas, my personal experience falls a bit short when it comes to the big guns of beauty: Cosmetic Surgery. Don’t get me wrong, I am ready and willing to be “freshened up”; and when I win the lottery I will bypass the Jimmy Choos and perhaps instead indulge in a subcutaneous musculoaponeurotic system rhytidectomy. But, in the meantime, I wanted to be able to share with our readers an overview of the ever-increasing menu of procedures that are available.

              I focused my research specifically on procedures that help turn back the hands of time, as opposed to procedures, like breast augmentation, that offer a “fix” for features that you simply may not be thrilled with. Also, while time does take its toll on the body, limited space required that I zero in on exclusively on facial procedures.

              Now, it probably goes without saying but, plastic surgery and, the other medical esthetic treatments that are rendered along with them, cannot be effectively selected from a list. Everyone and every face is different and only though a thorough consultation will you be able to determine what products and procedures are right for you. Some lifestyle issues, such as smoking, and medical conditions, such as diabetes, preclude certain types of treatment altogether. But the following will give you some of the details you may need to narrow your research and decide if any, or several, of these procedures might be right for you.

               

              Click here to view a comprehensive analysis of various procedures on the market. (Don't see all 14 pages, or want to save this chart for future reference? Right-click the link and select "Save As…" to save to your computer.)

               

              *Rosacea is a chronic (long-term) disease that affects the skin and sometimes the eyes. The disorder is characterized by redness, pimples, and, in advanced stages, thickened skin.

               

              For more information on these procedures I recommend the invaluable Web site for The American Society of Plastic Surgeons www.plasticsurgery.org. If you are seriously considering any procedures I encourage you to check out their Web site where you will find very detailed information about the procedures and locate the highly skilled physicians that render them in our area. Speaking of our area, the team at The Plastic Surgery Group, which has three tri-state offices, has written a series of articles about many of these procedures. These features contain vital and straightforward information for anyone considering a cosmetic procedure.

               

              Or you can hear about it from Dr. Lawrence C. Kurtzman, one of the six doctors at The Plastic Surgery Group.

              "My goal in all of my cosmetic surgery is to make someone look and feel as natural as possible," he says. "To me, if someone looks at a patient of mine and says, 'Gee, you had a facelift or other type of plastic surgery,' I feel as if this is a failure."

              Kurtzman is the only plastic surgeon in the Tri-State area who is a national educator for Botox Cosmetic. Many other doctors come to train with him in this capacity.

              Picking a plastic surgeon is very important, Kurtzman says. First, find someone who is board-certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, which is the only board recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) for full training in all aspects of plastic surgery. "It is important to understand that while there are a number of self-proclaimed 'boards' there is no board nationally recognized by the ABMS that contains the word 'cosmetic,'" Kurtzman says. "Moreover, your 'board-certified' surgeon may be certified by a board that requires no supervised training in plastic surgery."

              It is also advisable to look for a surgeon who is a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, Kurtzman says. "This indicates that they have been evaluated not only on the number of cases they have performed, but on the quality of the surgery. their surgical judgment and ethics as well."

               

              Learn more about The Plastic Surgery Group at www.theplasticsurgerygroup.com.

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                Imagine this situation: you’re on the way to a snazzy company party, and your boss calls you on the phone, asking you to pick up a bottle of some “real classy” wine for the party. You agree, hang up the phone and realize you are unprepared to face the towering walls of wines to choose from.

                Well, Cincy Chic is here to rescue you from that nightmare. What follows is a user-friendly guide to the world’s most complex drink. From a general overview of the most common wines to how to go about getting started on your wine discovery quest, curbing your fear of wine will no longer be a problem.

                Let’s Get Started


                Before you start running to the nearest wine bar, the first thing to think about is types of wine and the most common wine vocabulary you will hear used to describe the wine.

                The two basic categories of wine are white and red. Other than the obvious difference of color, the actual difference (and the cause of the color disparity) is the fact that red wine is the result of crushed fermented grapes, while white wine is the result of fermented grape juice that has been separated from the skins or meat of the grape.

                Here are some popular wines in each category:

                Popular Red Varieties


                • Cabernet Sauvignon
                • Grenache
                • Merlot
                • Pinot Noir
                • Sangiovese
                • Syrah (Shiraz)
                • Tempranillo
                • Zinfandel


                Popular White Varieties

                • Chardonnay
                • Gewürztraminer
                • Grüner Veltliner
                • Pinot Blanc
                • Riesling
                • Sauvignon Blanc
                • Semillon


                Now for the terms — so you won’t be too overwhelmed when the person next to you asks, “Do you think it’s a bit too woody?” We’re going to overview a few of the most common wine vocabulary words. However, remember there are a great many words used to describe wine, so research wine books, surf the web or grill your friends for the rest.

                General Wine Terms:

                • Acidity: Wines with natural fruit acids that give them a tart, crisp taste.
                • Body: The weight of the wine on the palate, ranging from light to heavy or full.
                • Corked: Bad corks can sometimes result in wine with a moldy smell or other flaws.
                • Legs: Teardrop impressions of alcohol weightiness visible on the inside of a wine glass.
                • Vintage: Year that grapes were harvested and fermented to make a wine.


                Descriptive Wine Terms:


                • Dry: A wine without sugar or sweetness.
                • Earthy: Flavors and aromas of mushroom, soil and mineral
                • Fruity: Obvious fruit aromas and flavors excepting flavors such as berries, cherries and citrus, which are considered sweet.
                • Oak: When barrel fermentation results in flavors such as vanilla, caramel, chocolate, smoke, spice or toast
                • Sweet: Wines with a higher concentration of sugar after fermentation.
                • Tannin: A drying, astringent impression on the palate generally associated with heavier red wines.


                Learning through the Grape Vine


                Once you’ve mastered the rudimentary terms and types of wine, it’s time for the fun part: hit the bar. Start with basic grapes, says Jane Wakerman, director of Public Relations at The Wine C.A.R.T. in West Chester. Then try selections of basic whites and reds, she says.

                But rather than aimlessly choosing a wine, Wakerman suggests newcomers to the wine world join a group or club dedicated to wine so that you can participate in their events and pick the brains of veteran members who can suggest wines or inform you on not-so-well-known wine trivia.

                Don’t get discouraged by the sheer volume of information out there about wine. “Learning just doesn’t happen all in a day,” Wakerman says.

                Something else not to get discouraged about is the development of your palate, Wakerman says. You may try a highly-praised wine and find it to be terrible, but in a few years your tastes may change. Starting out on the basic Vidal Blancs and such is normal, Wakerman says, and once your palate becomes more sophisticated, you will appreciate dryer or more complex wines as well.

                Also, don’t worry so much about whether a wine is “good” or “bad.” Bad is relative, Wakerman says. “All wine’s good I think, for anyone, it’s a matter of how they think or feel when they drink it.” Your friend may love one type, you another. And that’s fine.

                Keeping an open mind is also important to the learning process, Wakerman says. Cornering yourself with a wine or two you like without trying new ones is going to stall the path to wine knowledge. Try any wine that comes in your way, and you might surprise yourself.

                Tasting the Wine Flava


                Another great stop on your wine journey is the tasting, be it at a bar or winery. Tastings are great for extending both your general knowledge of wine and your palate, says Joe Henke, owner of Henke Winery on Harrison Avenue.

                “Look at the wine, look at the clarity, sniff the wine, and take a small sip. Then take a second sip. Let it linger in your mouth for a second and then swallow,” he says. This allows the taster to really sample the wine, and find out if that particular strain suits your palate.

                Start with a softer wine such as a Blush or a Riesling, Henke says, and then gradually move to the fuller-bodied wines. Wakerman also suggests starting with what she calls “basic grapes,” making slow progress from there.

                Wakerman asks would be wine-ites: “‘Why don’t I do a flight so you can evaluate with your mouth what to expect in each variety,’” she says. “They they make their own evaluation, what they like and start researching it.”

                Wakerman also suggests keeping a journal of your tastings to keep track of what you’ve tried and what you thought of them.

                Food and Wine, Oh My!


                The next integral step in your journey of wine is pairing it with food. Again, what goes best with what is relative, Henke and Wakerman say.

                The cliché rule is that white wines go well with fish, while red wines work best with hearty meats and meals. But that is not necessarily true. Henke has broken that rule himself and had a great meal, he says.

                “Pairing is another thing that is very personal,” Henke says. “It’s not up to a particular person to tell them what is right or wrong. Other’s experiences are not necessarily the answer.”

                Wakerman says pairing wines with cheeses is a good starting point. She recommends pairing a fruity, low tannic white with a creamy cheese, a crisp fruity wine for young and tangy tasting cheeses, a versatile white or red such as a Pino Grigio go with any salty or tangy cheese and dessert wines go best with very aged, salty cheeses such as a Stilton or Gorgonzola cheese.

                Experimentation is key to this process, and as Wakerman says, “It’s in the palate, it’s all in the palate.”

                Collecting and such


                Once you’ve found a few wines to call home, you may want to stock up on some of these favorites. But there are some things to think about first.

                Older is not always better. Some uneducated folks think the older a wine is, the better quality or taste it has. That belief can be problematic, Henke says.

                “Wines have their own particular life and certain wines are to be [consumed] young and fresh while other wines can mature gracefully,” he says.

                Not knowing the life of your wine can lead to disappointment, he says, especially when you’ve been saving your wine for a special occasion and uncork it only to find spoiled vino.

                Blush and Rieslings are generally meant to be drunk early, while Cabernets and Red Zinfandels have a longer shelf-life with the aging potential to sit back and enjoy year after year, Henke says. The best way to determine the life of your wine, however, is to ask the winemaker, who can give you the most accurate idea of when to uncork your prize wine.

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                  Have a Spot of Tea

                  If you’re into Britain’s favorite beverage, Yesterday’s Café and Tea Room, located in a historic 115-year-old building in Olde Florence, Ky., is your answer.

                  Hardwood floors, a fireplace and friendly employees set the stage for experiencing a bit of “Merrie Olde England” in the new world. You can drop in for a solitary cup of one of the shop’s 30 loose leaf teas, eat the special of the day or call ahead and make reservations for an afternoon tea, which Yesterday’s has every day at 2 p.m.

                  This afternoon event features all of the hallmarks of the famous British variety: food and drink served on antique china and tiered trays, scones, Devonshire clotted cream, curds and, of course, a perfectly brewed pot of tea.

                  Yesterday’s also has a gift shop to peruse while the tea is steeping, which boasts the Tri-State’s largest collection of tea, tea pots and tea-related gifts. The shop also carries books, jewelry, Fine English bone china, scone mixes and curds, bulk tea and coffee and gift baskets.

                  When in Greece

                  Taste Cincinnati’s Greek influence by stopping in Sebastian’s, a staple in West Price Hill for more than 30 years. The gyro sandwich (pronounced “year-oh”), made up of ground meat with herbs and spices, sliced thin, wrapped in pita bread with tomatoes and onions, is this restaurant’s specialty. (Be sure to eat it with sadziki sauce, made of cucumbers. It’s delicious.) Other than gyros, Sebastian’s also serves a select menu of authentic Grecian cuisine, including baklava and spanakopita.

                  Started in 1976 by Alex Sebastian, a Greek immigrant from a small village near Kastoria, Greece, (who will more than likely be simultaneously chatting with customers and serving gyros), Sebastian’s has a customer-friendly atmosphere. The restaurant, though small, is nonetheless packed full everyday with families and professionals seeking its down home Grecian flavor. Tiled floors, statues of Greek gods and souvenir hats from around the world complete its warm ambiance.

                  Sebastian’s, located on Glenway Avenue, is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

                  Stop by the Mariemont

                  Barely 8 miles away from Cincinnati is the suburb of Mariemont, a community meant to resemble an authentic English village. In this suburb, which was planned and designed for pedestrians by Mary Emery around 1910, you’ll find the Mariemont Theatre, a welcome alternative for movie-goers sick of the latest cartoon movie or action flick.

                  This theatre, recently re-opened by the Esquire, makes showing unusual or simply non mainstream its claim to fame, or in its own words, “offers films you won’t see anywhere else.”

                  The Mariemont has stereo surround sound, three screens and reasonable ticket prices, from $5.50 for Tuesday discount tickets, to $8.50 for evening ticket prices. Expect the regular movie concessions, then some: the theatre sells imported chocolate and soft pretzels to its film buffs. Visit www.mariemonttheatre.com for movie showings.

                  Try a New Kind of Ride

                  Rather than catching some waves this summer, why not catch a train? Stop by the Lebanon Station in Lebanon, Ohio, for a nostalgic train ride on the Lebanon Mason Monroe (LM&M) Railroad through Warren County. Every weekend on LM&M’s one hour excursion, travelers can walk to the back of the vintage 30s’ era train to the open-air gondola while conductors inform passengers on railroad history and operation and conduct a locomotive tour.

                  The LM&M also offers special events, such as the one coming up on July 20, 21 and 22, which is a ride on the Hogwarts Express. Harry Potter fans can travel to Platform 9 3⁄4 (a.k.a. the Lebanon station), shop in Diagon Alley, (downtown Lebanon) and eat a start-of-term feast at Hogwarts (a.k.a. the Golden Lamb). Passengers can dress up as their favorite characters and expect to be welcomed by Professor Dumbledore himself at the feast. Other LM&M events include Murder Mystery Dinners, the Madcap Puppet Train and a Civil War train and reenactment.

                  Rides are offered Saturdays at 10 a.m., 12 p.m. and 3 p.m., and Sundays at 12:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. Costs are $17 for adults and $12 children ages two through 12.

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                    That person looking back at you in the mirror has the right to her own goals, dreams and some "me time" too. And there are plenty of ways to get focused on you.

                    The first step to rediscovering yourself begins with realizing that you’re worthy of it. You won’t get the “Worst Mother of the Year” award or a “Bad Best Friend for Life” trophy by taking time for yourself. And don't worry about falling behind at work if you don't work 60-hour work weeks. It's all about working smarter, not harder.

                    Define Your Goals


                    Establishing a clear definition of your goals is the second step, and it's the best way to get motivated and accomplish them. Set goals that can easily be measured and realistic to what you truly want.

                    Define your goals by deciding what you want to achieve in your lifetime. What makes you happy? Write the main goals first, followed by smaller, attainable targets to reach and get you there.

                    Top Achievement.com recommends using this S.M.A.R.T. guide when developing your goals:

                    Specific- A specific goal has a much greater chance of being accomplished than a general goal.

                    Measurable- Establish concrete criteria for measuring progress toward the attainment of each goal you set.

                    Attainable- When you identify goals that are most important to you, you begin to figure out ways you can make them come true.

                    Realistic- To be realistic, a goal must represent an objective toward which you are both willing and able to work.

                    Timely- A goal should be grounded within a time frame.

                    Keep track of each goal you accomplish. This will help you stay on course while building your self-confidence.

                    Remove Obstacles


                    Is there anything preventing you from reaching your dreams? Too many times we let fear, self-doubt or negative naysayers stand in our way.

                    The only person responsible for your happiness is you. Failure is a part of life and often the best teacher on the path to success. So, stop hesitating and jump out there.

                    When making a lifestyle change, a positive network of family and friends is a must. Attaining your goal may require a great deal of sacrifice and change. The last thing needed as you start your new journey is any negative conflict. Surround yourself with those eager to encourage and support you.

                    Pamper Yourself


                    Susie never misses practice, your husband enjoys his favorite meals and Rover gets his morning walk, all thanks to you. How about a little self-indulgence?

                    There’s no better way to get centered back on you than a relaxing visit to a spa. From acupuncture to a mud body wrap, spas provide the perfect environment to meditate and reflect on what’s important to you.
                    Spas are an excellent choice to rejuvenate your mind body and spirit. Check out the following Web sites and treat yourself to a little R&R:

                    www.avalonss.com
                    www.siaspas.com
                    www.tuscanyspaandsalon.com

                    Try a New Look


                    Still wearing the Jennifer Aniston bangs from 1998? Well, my friend, there’s no better way to start your new journey than with a new look.

                    Makeovers are great for building your confidence and improving self-esteem. If you’ve neglected yourself over the past couple of years, make an appointment with a stylist and get an update on your look.

                    Be open to trying something totally different, but stay within your comfort zone. If you’ve had long hair since your teens, try a shorter look. Always been a brunette? Go blond, or maybe red.

                    Makeover solutions is a great Web site that lets you take a virtual makeover with your picture online. You can search hundreds of celebrity hairstyle pictures to find your new look.

                    Here are a few beauty and style tips from www.makeoversolutions.com:

                    • Keep ends looking healthy and neat in the summer heat by getting a trim every 4 to 6 weeks. Also, a good leave-in conditioner with SPF may be your hair's best friend this season.
                    • The best place to test if a foundation color is right for you is against your neck or on your jaw line. To see if the color is correct for you, examine the color under a good light (natural daylight is best).
                    • Never apply mascara before using a curler on your eyelashes. You should apply all other eye makeup (liner, shadow, shimmer) first, but keep your lashes clean before you curl them.
                    • When using a powder blush, be sure to shake off all excess color from the brush before applying. If you're not sure where to apply, just smile as you look into your makeup mirror and dab on the apples of your cheeks.
                    • If your hair gets poofy or frizzy as it dries aggressive towel drying may be the culprit. After shampooing, squeeze moisture from your hair with a towel and smooth downward along the hair shaft to keep the cuticle laying flat. Apply some leave-in conditioner and detangle with a wide-toothed comb.
                    • Don’t forget about your wardrobe. Take an honest look at your closet. Are your clothes drab or fab? Not sure? Ask a good friend to come over for a fashion show and ask for her honest opinion.


                    Plan Events That Interest You


                    When’s the last time you planned an event that got you revved up and excited? The kids' birthday party or your sister’s wedding shower doesn’t count.

                    Plan something that appeals to you, whether it’s skydiving or taking a cruise. Too many times, we get caught up in supporting everyone else’s activities, while forgetting to plan things for ourselves.

                    Suggest checking out live music, a wine tasting, riverboat tour or comedy show for girls night out with friends.

                    It’s easy to lose yourself in the day-to-day tasks for family, career and friends. But we have to remember that we can take care of ourselves, as well as others. Start a plan, get rejuvenated and put the focus back on you. Who knows? There may be a dancing queen itching to come out!

                     

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                      Prescription for Surviving Work and Home

                      • Manage your guilt
                      • Follow the guilt-busting 8 steps
                      • Carve out time your self-care
                      • Heed self-care basics
                      • Prioritize with the "Kitty Factor"
                      • Follow "Kay's Rule"
                      • Ask the critical 2 questions
                      • Cultivate your female relationships
                      • Tend and befriend for oxytocin release
                      • Prioritize social connections
                      • Capitalize on networking opportunities