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    Networking.

    What is it? What does it mean? How do you do it?

    It used to be that “Here’s my card” was enough. Today, with e-mail, Blackberrys and MySpace, you are going to need a telepathic personal assistant if you don’t have plans to get out there and fight to be noticed.

    Walter Chrysler once said, “The reason so many people never get anywhere in life is because when opportunity knocks, they are out in the backyard looking for four-leaf clovers.” So that means you have to do this on your own. You have to make this happen. It used to be about who you know. Today, it’s about who knows you.

    How does one network in Cincinnati? How do you get out there and make it so that people wonder how they ever lived without you? These five tips should help you get started.

    1. Network with a Purpose
    Go to an event knowing that networking is what you are there to do. There are several organizations in town that have pure networking events. Consider it extreme home networking. It happens strong, and it happens fast. You go in, sell yourself, give out your card, receive cards from others and leave. There is the occasional Ally-McBeal-after-work-hang-out-to-meet-someone, but knowing you are at a definite networking spot helps tremendously since you are all there to do the same thing. Seek out those opportunities, prepare your 30-second verbal commercial and arm yourself with a stack of business cards. Here are some great local networking groups to look into:



    2. The Follow up
    When someone gives you their card, write a little something on it such as where you met, if that person is called by a nickname or something else that will help you remember them. This will also help give that personal touch to your follow up. And, please, follow up! It may seem quaint, but a written thank you/nice to have met you note is an incredible way to get noticed. “Who sends hand written notes anymore?” you may ask. The answer is “You do!” A thank you note sits on a desk and gets noticed. An e-mail gets lower down the list as numerous e-mails come each day. Do the math.
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    3. Presentation
    Now, this isn’t about the look of your business card. This, my friend, is about you. First off, know your audience and dress appropriately. A fundraiser benefit is different from a soiree or from a networking event. No matter what it is though, dress conservatively. Club clothes are club clothes. Yes, we are women in a male dominated business world, but don’t go showing off what makes us women. You will be remembered that way, that’s for sure; but you won’t get that follow-up call. However, while we’re at it, don’t go to the opposite extreme either. Just because we work with men, doesn’t mean we have to dress like them. Add a little sparkle to your black suit. Be the nicely dressed woman in the black dress and feminine pink scarf.

    Just a general “duh” here, but behave. A cocktail reception with an open bar doesn’t mean that people will “understand” why you’re a little tipsy. Watch your language, and avoid gossip of any kind. This town is too small. You are going to find someone who knows someone who knows someone. (And doesn’t it all just lead to Kevin Bacon anyway?)

    4. Branch out
    Volunteer. Take a class. (Shameless plug: Watch for my article on taking local classes in the upcoming Nov. 5 issue of Cincy Chic.) Expand your repertoire. Open your mind to the possibility that you may find what you need in a person at the doctor’s office, the zoo or in that person you thought wasn’t cool at all. Are you a member of your Alma Mater’s local alumni group? Check them out. I bet those school bullies that picked on nerdy Bill Gates are kicking themselves now.


    5. Sell Yourself
    Know who you are, what you do and your strengths, and be able to communicate it quickly and concisely. No life stories. We are all busy people, so be like Zorro: Get in, make your mark and get out. And keep in mind that a few good contacts are better than just a collection of cards.

    So, there you go. No more backyard four-leaf-clover-pickers. Walk right through opportunity’s door. Shake a hand, make a contact and be proud of who you are and what you bring to the table. Go get ‘em girls!!

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      Selecting a doctor can be as confusing as picking out the perfect lipstick. You’re standing in the drug store, fluorescent lighting beating down and you’re having the worst time choosing between the mauvey pink or the pink with just a hint of plum.

      Similarly, one doctor may seem just as good as another, but actually, the opposite is true. There is a doctor out there who is the perfect fit for you. (Just as the mauvey pink looks the best with your skin tone.) Finding your medical soul mate can seem a daunting task, but Cincy Chic is here to help with a user-friendly guide to finding a great doctor.

       

      Get a Referral

      If, when looking for a doctor, you become overwhelmed by the sheer number of choices, ask help from someone close to you to narrow it down, says Dr. Carl Rafey, owner of Rafey Chiropractic on Kipling Avenue.

      “One thing I recommend,” Rafey says, “is that you want to look for a referral from a friend or family member, someone who has had a positive experience with that doctor in the past.”

      This is an effective method because the person recommending the doctor presumably knows you very well, and therefore has a good idea of how you would mesh with the doctor in question.

      Another referral route is to talk to the head nurse in the hospital or practice, advises Dr. Jacqueline T. Hanson, an OB/GYN physician in Fort Thomas, Ky. This is a method Hanson employed herself once when her child was sick on vacation. She called the Labor and Delivery/Birthing Center of the local hospital and asked to speak with the nurse in charge. Hanson asked her which doctor she took her children to or who she would recommend. “We were referred to one of the best, and when we are on vacation we still use the physician when necessary,” she says.

      Head nurses are valuable witnesses. They work with physicians on a daily basis, observing them work under stress and through major emergencies or complicated illnesses or situations. “Paperwork and credentials do not always indicate a great physician,” Hanson says.

      Get a Second (or Third) Opinion

      You’ve heard what your loved ones have to say about a certain doctor, but you’re still unsure. Another way to find the right doctor for you is to get information from a third party. In other words, have a chat with a past or existing patient of your possible physician.

      “Call the office and ask if they have any second opinions or a patient who has the same issue as you,” Rafey says. “Talk to that person for input on what to expect from the doctor.”

      It’s a great way to find out how well the doctor in question handled a condition similar to your own, without having to talk to someone associated directly with the office, who may just tell you what he or she thinks you want to hear.

      “Talk to other people who have had a good experience with that doctor,” Rafey says.

      Have a Talk with the Doc

      Once you’ve had the pertinent talks with people about your possible healthcare provider, it’s time to get the word straight from the horse’s mouth, as the saying goes. Interview your doctor to “make sure the doctor’s philosophy and what you’re looking for go hand in hand,” Rafey says.

      “Make sure the doctor’s reasoning, opinions and treatment plans coincide with what you want.”

      Come prepared to the meeting with a list of questions concerning issues important to you, Rafey says, such as “How long does it take to get an appointment?” or “Am I always going to see you, or do you have coverage doctors?”

      Hanson agrees. “I also think it is a great idea to simply meet the physician on a short pre-visit before ‘settling,’” she said. “Always bring copies of previous records, especially if you have ongoing medical problems.”

      You won’t be alone in this. Women today are much more proactive with their healthcare, Hanson says. “They demand your time and answers to their questions. They do not just want to be told what to do, but also why and all the alternatives. My patients come prepared.”

      The better prepared you are, of course, the more likely you’ll get an accurate idea of how well the doctor fits you.

      The other purpose of the interviewing process is to get a “feel” for the physician.

      “You want to find someone you’re comfortable with,” Rafey says. “You’re looking to create a relationship — you’re trusting your health to that person.”

      Sometimes certain people and personalities don’t click, he adds. Trust your gut: it’s hard to trust your wellbeing with a person you find annoying or pompous. The goal? Find someone with whom you can have the type of relationship Hanson enjoys with her patients.

      “Most women develop a professional relationship with their OB/GYN physician that lasts a lifetime,” Hanson says. “I have so many patients that I have ‘grown old’ with — delivering their babies, watching them grow, sharing grief and triumphs, and now sharing the trials of menopause and age together. They are my friends, part of my life, not just patients.”

      Do a Checkup

      Finally, do your homework. There are many resources available to potential patients wanting to find more information about a physician.

      “Local hospital referral services, credentialing boards and state licensing boards can provide information on board certification and the Continuing Medical Education (CME) status of physicians,” Hanson says. For example, to maintain her Ohio license, Hanson has to complete 100 hours of CME every two years.

      Visit the State Medical Board of Ohio’s Web site, to search a doctor’s profile and status in order to check on the training, credentials and disciplinary status of medical professionals licensed by the board. You can also download a roster of currently licensed registered physicians, osteopathic physicians and podiatrists containing the license number, name, address, county and specialty.

      Other helpful Web sites include www.bestdoctors.com, which is accredited by the Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME®), the agency responsible for certifying physicians continuing medical education, and features a worldwide database of 50,000 top medical specialists in more than 400 subspecialties who are chosen by their peers.

      Another site, www.physicianreports.com, allows patients to rate a doctor’s care, office services and support staff. HeatlthGrades, provides independent ratings and profiles of hospitals, nursing homes and physicians to the public.

      However you go about finding the doctor for you, Hanson says “women need to find a physician whom they can relate to, feel comfortable with, and share or work jointly with to achieve the best of care.”

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        French Lick, Indiana
        Paying homage to a long tradition of health, wellness and relaxation are the spas in French Lick, Indiana. For over 150 years, French Lick's famed Pluto Mineral Spring has drawn visitors to this region. Their "Pluto Water" has a notorious odor, smelling of rotten eggs due to an abundance of Sulfur in the water, was once thought to have supernatural purifying and healing properties. The wealthy would travel hundreds of miles to enjoy this spa's Pluto mineral baths.

        It turns out that our ancestors were on to something. Scientists have since learned that this mineral plays an important role in the treatment of skin diseases, as immersion in Sulfur water produces physical, mechanical and chemical effects on chronic skin diseases. Sulfur-rich waters interact with free radicals in the deeper layers of skin, providing chemical compounds producing antifungal and antibacterial activity. This makes sulfur mineral springs effective for acne, infected leg ulcers, and fungal infections. Sulfur water also increases the proliferation of lymphocytes in the blood of patients.

        So, the French Lick spas still offer guests the ever-popular Pluto mineral baths. In addition, guests may take advantage of full salon services including hairstyling, manicures and pedicures, swedish massages, facials and Vichy Showers for head-to-toe rejuvenation.

        While you're there, take advantage of the newly renovated French Lick Resort Casino, two historic hotels, shops and restaurants. Click here to learn more about the region, hotel, spring and spa. It's only 150 miles west of Cincinnati, and a scenic rural drive with the fall foliage.

        Minges Pumpkin Festival
        Once again, the owners of Minges Greenhouse & Garden are opening up their farmland located at 10109 New Haven Road in Harrison from October 20-21 2007. This will be the 23rd year that hundreds of Cincinnatians will head out to Harrison Ohio to pick up a pumpkin, take a hay ride, enjoy some homemade hot cider and shop more than 170 arts and crafts exhibtors.

        Shine up your boots, ladies, because this is the perfect opportunity to embrace your inner cowgirl! Enjoy a funnel cake as you watch cloggers dance, pig calling and a pie eating contest. Then, make your way through a straw maze and listen to live country music. Ye-haw!

        Hocking Hills
        After enjoying the changing foliage on a long trail walk, you relax on the porch swing and rock your troubles away and then slip into the hot tub as you watch a sunset that gloriously guilds the evening skies. Make that rustic dream come true with a short trek to Hocking Hills for a weekend getaway.

        Hocking Hills is located approximately 50 miles south-east of Columbus, which is about two hours from Cincinnati. Rent a log cabin for a romantic getaway, family vacation or just a stress relieving weekend (because don't even think you're going to find wi-fi or cell phone service out there).

        Enjoy the state parks and nature areas of the region, star gazing, canoeing, fishing and hiking. Looking for more unique activity ideas? Check out this event calendar for an updated list of fun things to do in the Hocking Hills wild, such as a women's retreat weekend, full moon romantic canoe trip, photography workshop and murder mystery weekend at the Ravenwood Castle & Medieval Village.

        Mammoth Cave
        It might be getting a bit colder out, but it's always the same temperature at Mammoth Cave. Since 1816, visitors have toured the subterranean labyrinths of Mammoth Cave, which maintain a 54° Fahrenheit temperature year-round.

        In addition to the many tours through the world's longest known cave, you can hike, bike, ride a horse, canoe, kayak, take a riverboat ride, watch a film, enjoy a campfire program and more. Click here for a list of things to do and places to go on your trip to Mammoth Cave.

        A Day in the Park
        The Hamilton County Park District features 17 developed parks, which offer Cincinnatians numerous trails and picnic areas, playgrounds, camping, fishing lakes and golf courses. At Miami Whitewater Forest Harbor, you can pedal and spray your way through water geysers on the lake with a three-passenger pedal boats equipped with water cannons. Other water-bound activities at Miami Whitewater include renting a row boat, pedal boat, canoe or hydrobike to explore the 85-acre lake.

        The Shaker Trace Trail at Miami Whitewater Forest has a 1.2 mile inner loop with 18 fully accessible Parcours fitness stations and an extended 7.8 mile outer loop which weaves through this beautiful park. There are paved hike/bike trails at Sharon Woods, Francis RecreAcres and Winton Woods. Woodland Mound, located at 250 Old Kellogg Road, offers an 18-hole Frisbee golf course, Parcours Trail, nature trails, picnic areas, playgrounds and play fields.

        Thanksgiving Day Race
        More than nine decades after 18 runners raced from the Fort Thomas Gym to the YMCA in downtown Cincinnati, the Thanksgiving Day race – the oldest road race of any kind in the Midwest – has become an integral part of the holiday for the thousands who run it annually and the thousands more who cheer them along the 6.2 mile course.

        Taking place on Thursday, Nov. 22 at 9am, the 98th annual Thanksgiving Day Run and Walk with start and finish at Paul Brown Stadium. Not in shape yet? That's okay, Bob Roncker and The Running Spot is hosting a personalized training program for runners and walkers. It includes a variety of benefits including group runs, expert speakers, coaching advice from Bob, shoe and foot analysis and the secrets to running a great 10k.

        Brown County, Indiana
        Pan for gold? Go to a play? Jam with Bluegrass musicians? Watch the Oaks change color? All of the above and much, much more can be done in Brown County, Indiana.

        During its heyday, the Brown County Art Colony was considered the most important regional art colony in the United States. Today, the region is still known for its strong art community, so take a stroll through this walkable town to take in all the various art shops and museums Brown County has to offer.

        Click here to check out Brown County's list of upcoming events, such as its Brown County Music Festival, 4th Annual Bean Blossom Biker Fest and 6th Annual "Back Roads of Brown County Tour."

        The Wilds
        Want to take a walk on the wild side? You can at The Wilds, a 10,000-acre endangered species center in Cumberland, Ohio. You'll find 25 exotic species at this 10,000 acre research facility, which has been open to public tours since 1994.

        Board one of the The Wilds' regularly scheduled safari transports for their signature experience. Knowledgeable guides will take you through open-range animal areas, where you'll see rhinos, giraffes and many other animals roaming in large, natural settings. Several stops along the way – including the new Mid-Sized Carnivore Conservation Center – offer opportunities to explore, learn and relax while you observe the wildlife around you. With transports running every few minutes, you choose how long to enjoy each destination before moving on. You can also experience The Wilds on a guided tour aboard a unique open air safari vehicle, or on a sunset safari tour where you can enjoy a buffet dinner and twilight tour of the open range animal areas.

        There are also opportunities for enjoying outdoor recreation like mountain-biking or fly-fishing, bringing a group for a special tour or staying overnight in the Lodge at the Wilds. Only three hours away from Cincinnati, it's one of the largest and most innovative wildlife conservation centers in the world. Make it a weekend trip and explore the neighboring communities of Appalachian Ohio.


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          You remember everything about it.

           

          You remember where you were, what you were doing, who told you and exactly how you felt when you learned about the September 11 attacks. As if it were yesterday, you have capsulated that moment and locked it in your long-term memory bank, never to be forgotten.

          But it wasn't yesterday, it was six years ago. And even though your memory of that moment hasn't changed, a lot has changed across the nation – and here locally – in response.

          Retail Remorse

          More than 2,700 people were killed when two hijacked planes plowed into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center. In response, American people went into a deer-in-headlights mode and didn't travel, shop or invest.

          In the first month after the attacks, the Commerce Department reported that retail sales declined by 2.4 percent in September, the largest drop in nearly 10 years at that point. The sharp falloff in retail sales was three times the size of the decline predicted by many economists. Local companies, such as General Electric, immediately trimmed down. Just as an example, by late October 2001, General Electric announced it would eliminate approximately 400 jobs from its Cincinnati facility.

          And thriving small businesses, such as Donna Salyers' Covington-based Fabulous Furs business, saw their darkest hour immediately after the 9/11 attacks. Fortunately, Salyers – unlike many other local small business owners – is now able to say she survived and is now thriving again.

          "Shopping was the furthest thing from people's minds and the economy went spiraling out of control. It was dreadful. We had half-price sales just bring in cash to pay the few people not laid off yet," Salyers recalls. "I feel very lucky and blessed to have a company that lived through such a dark time."

          Health Disaster Relief

          Approximately 25,000 rescue and recovery workers responded to the scene of the World Trade Center collapse. For as long as nine months, these individuals were exposed to a mix of dust debris, smoke and chemicals. Now, of those 25,000 individuals, 3.6 percent are developing asthma after working at the site, which is more than 12 times the expected figure for adults over a similar time period. In addition, many rescue workers are now suffering from a variety of other symptoms, including gastrointestinal problems and debilitating back pain.

          Thanks to September 11 recovery grants totaling more than $16 million from the American Red Cross Liberty Disaster Relief Fund, an estimated 15,000 respondents will receive medical and social work services over the next two years for health problems related to the disaster. According to the American Red Cross, uniformed and non-uniformed workers and volunteers who participated in the arduous recovery and reconstruction effort at Ground Zero are the primary beneficiaries of the Red Cross September 11 recovery grants.

          These temporary grants will help pay for the additional diagnostic tests and medications currently not covered by the federal government as well as provide funding for ancillary services, including programs that will assist them in applying for workmen's compensation and disability. These programs will serve individuals predominantly in New York and New Jersey. However, a grant to the Association of Occupational and Environmental Clinics will provide screening and treatment for September 11-related health problems available to workers and volunteers from Cincinnati who responded to the World Trade Center site.

          Immigration Concerns

          Last October, Vice President Dick Cheney came to The Phoenix here in Cincinnati to deliver a speech that, in part, underscored the importance of immigration reform and Homeland Security. "The 9/11 Commission focused criticism on the nation's inability to uncover links between terrorists at home and terrorists overseas. The term that was used is 'connecting the dots' – and the fact is that one small piece of data might very well make it possible to save thousands of lives. If this program had been in place before 9/11, we might have been able to prevent it because we had two terrorists living in San Diego, contacting terrorist-related numbers overseas," Cheney said.

          More recently, on August 7, the Bush administration opted for a regulatory assault to toughen workplace enforcement and crack down on employers who hire illegal immigrants, in response to Congress' failure to enact a new immigration overhaul. The package of enforcement tools will force employers to dismiss thousands of workers whose Social Security numbers don't match those in federal databases, a requirement that already has come under attack from business and labor groups.

          Other measures include a 25 percent increase in civil penalties, expanding the Border Patrol to 20,000 agents by 2009, additional detention facilities for illegal immigrants and beefed-up training to help state and local officers to combat illegal immigration. The administration also renewed its commitment to the controversial border fence.

          But by "connecting the dots" with increasingly strict immigration regulations, a Green Township woman was almost disconnected from her home and family.

          Maha Dakar and her husband, Bassam Garadah, legally came to the U.S. in 1997 and filed an asylum application in 1998. The couple bore four daughters here in the U.S. and they are all now citizens of this country.

          Bassam is considered a “stateless” Palestinian and immigration officials have not yet found a country that will accept him for residency. Maha holds a Jordanian passport and can return to that country. However, Jordan will not allow Bassam to enter the country with Maha and her children face several difficult obstacles because of their U.S. citizenship. Other countries have been approached about letting the entire family immigrate, but all have refused based on their complicated situation.

          But, thankfully, the Dakar family has a powerful ally in their corner. U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot is taking their case to Congress to introduce a private bill, an unusual piece of legislation intended to help an individual with a problem that threatens to cause American citizens hardship. Chabot says Maha qualifies because her four children are U.S. citizens.

          For the past two years, the family has worked closely with immigration officials and Chabot’s office to find a suitable solution that would not divide the family. The legislation Chabot is introducing allows the family to stay in the U.S. while Maha's application to become a permanent U.S. resident is being considered.

          Click here to learn more about the Dakar family and the progress of Chabot's private bill.

          Supporting the Troops

          More than 4,100 US troops have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan since Bush declared a "war on terror" in the aftermath of the attacks. And with every drop of American blood, it's making many across the nation question the war and administration. But, thankfully, Americans are supporting the troops now more than ever.

          Lisa Shull, owner of Cincinnati-based Shull's Facility Cleaning Services, is a a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces, and so is her husband, two brothers and brother-in-law. "Pre-9/11, I cannot remember ever hearing a 'thank you' for my service. In fact, my veteran status was often the center of humor amongst my peers who had pursued the corporate dream. The military was not revered or respected as much as it should have been. In fact, ironically, one of the places you could guarantee a poor veteran experience was the VA Hospital," says Shull. "However, I am pleased to update that post-9/11, I have been thanked for my service countless times. I find that American's are now proud of their military, their country and their veterans. Also, I am extremely grateful that the service at the Cincinnati VA Medical Center has dramatically improved."

          It's evident that people are doing whatever they can to support the troops. Shull herself is serving here at home through her business. "We use our business to serve veterans in need by providing free housekeeping services and errand running services for disabled and disadvantaged vets," she says.

          In places like Villa Hills and Crescent Springs, "Adopt-A-Troop committees" are forming. The committees provide an outlet for local residents to show their support. For example, at the St. Joseph Fair in early August, they sold postcards for $1 at the festival. Those postcards were sent to soldiers in the 1-320th Field Artillery Regiment, who are expected to be re-deployed to Iraq in September for their third tour of duty.

          Others are supporting the troops in person. According to Allison Leonard, director of the MDX Reds Crew, several Crew members visited soldiers at Fort Lewis and Fort Huachuca this summer to show their support.

          Shull is happy to see this array of support and hopes it continues despite the apparently confused reasoning behind the war. "Always support our men and women who are fighting, even when we don't know what it is we are fighting for. They are the reason we live and die a free people," she says. "I personally don't believe in 'the war' because I don't believe our government has sent our troops over with a clear purpose. I know they don't have the tools to do the job they are being asked to do and I don't believe our government is even sure exactly why we are in Iraq anymore."

          Nevertheless, Shull says, citizens are dying daily for this country and that is what matters. "Our administration needs to get it together," she adds. "If we must fight, let us fight with clarity of purpose, goals and a government that is true to its word. Only then will the sacrifice of our men not be in vain."

          Bush said last month in a speech that the main problem right now is to fight extremism, to recognize that history has called American people into action. "By fighting extremists and radicals, we help people realize dreams. And helping people realize dreams helps promote peace." He and the administration are promoting peaceful remembrances of the attacks that occurred six years ago.

          In New York, rescue workers will read out the names of the dead in a solemn ceremony on Tuesday. Most of Tuesday's ceremony will be held at a park near Ground Zero, the area where the Twin Towers once stood, and not in the site itself, where work is under way on new skyscrapers and a memorial. Church bells are to toll at 8:46 a.m. to mark the exact moment that the first plane, American Airlines Flight 11, crashed into the North Tower.

          Here in Cincinnati, places such as the Kenton County Public Library and Mary Ann Mongan Library are holding "Remember 9/11" events. In Clermont County, the Clermont Commission vice president Mary Walker is encouraging citizens to fly the American flag at half-staff on September 11 to honor the innocent victims of that tragic day in history, and observe a moment of silence, beginning at 8:46 a.m.

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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!

                    by -

                    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.