The only online publication for women in Greater Cincinnati

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    There was a huge buzz about “Sex and the City” during its impressive six-year stint on HBO. You know why? Because women relate to it.

    At some point in time, women either have been or wanted to be the successful yet free-spirited Carrie who is perpetually torn between two men and can’t fully commit to either, Miranda who struggles to keep a work-life balance with her successful career, new baby and friend-turned-husband-because-of-baby, Charlotte who longs for a good husband but can’t seem to find one and Samantha who is the unattached, self-proclaimed “try-sexual” – she’ll try anything once – of the group.

    So, we created the “Sex and the Cincy” guide for you local ladies, based on our four beloved characters of “Sex and the City.”

    The high-fashion, high-dollar, who’s-who places for YPs at play


    Bang Nightclub
    Dress to the nines, spend a couple hours perfecting your makeup and hair, because this is THE place for a special occasion or celebration. But be prepared to part with quite a pretty penny. 314 W 4th St., Cincinnati, OH 45202. (513) 651-2264.

    Beluga Sushi
    Part sushi bar, part nightclub, Beluga is high-fashion from its clientele to posh atmosphere. 3520 Edwards Rd., Cincinnati, OH 45208. (513) 533-4444.


    Contemporary and sleek atmosphere and a menu that goes well beyond the standard offering of steaks/chops/seafood. The bar/lounge draws an even younger, hipster crowd. 2724 Erie Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45208. (513) 871-3200.


    Pigall’s Twist Lounge & Bar (a.k.a. Twist)
    Twist is Jean-Robert de Cavel’s newest venue and “Fourth Street’s answer to big-city style with wine and nibbles in a setting worthy of ‘Sex and the City,'” according to City Beat. (See, we weren’t lying about this whole “Sex and the City” bit.) 129 W. Fourth St., Cincinnati, OH 45202. (513) 721-1345.

    Carrie Groups/Organizations/Events

    Posh V.I.P. Ltd
    Providing entertainment and event options for a diverse group of local, young professionals.

    The Carnegie YP Group

    Get involved with an up-and-coming YP group that supports and promotes a staple in Northern Kentucky’s art community. 1028 Scott Blvd., Covington, KY 41011. (859) 491-2030.

    The new leadership development program for young professionals developed by the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber.

    ZipScene Raving Fan

    Get invited to the newest places, tickets to the latest shows and lots of free stuff as a member of the ZipScene Raving Fan Club.

    A Finger on the City’s Fashion Pulse
    Click here to view UC’s DAAP calendar, where you can get the heads up on free lectures and cutting-edge fashion shows.

    Where the outgoing, but slightly-more-reserved, like to reserve a spot when going out

    Mokka Bistro
    This breakfast bistro looks cozy and chic enough to be decorated by Charlotte herself. It’s the perfect place to meet girlfriends or treat yourself to brunch on a Sunday morning. 527 York St., Newport, KY 41071. (859) 581-3700.

    Koka Coffee
    (or any independent coffeehouse, really) 1101 St. Gregory St. in Mt. Adams -or- 2726 Riverside Dr., Cincinnati, OH 45202. (513) 321-4200.

    Hyde Park Kroger
    No we’re not joking. This place is a hot-bed of hotties. 3760 Paxton Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45209. (513) 871-4142.

    Contemporary Art Center
    We recommend their TGIF parties and art exhibit openings. 44 E 6th St., Cincinnati, OH 45202. (513) 345-8400.

    Cincinnati Art Museum
    Their popular One World Wednesdays offer a diverse group. And by group, we mean a standing-room only crowd. Come with friends or by yourself… no one will know the difference! 953 Eden Park Dr., Cincinnati, OH 45202. (513) 721-2787.


    Charlotte Groups/Organizations/Events

    Spring Fling
    This pre-Flower Show gala in Ault Park is the royal matriarch of all singles events in Cincinnati. It features drinks, food, spring air and a gorgeous setting.

    Parties in the Park
    Make your summer hump days happy and join 8,000 of your best friends down by the Serpentine Wall. These Sawyer Point events are prime time for employed singles to mingle.

    Dog Parks
    Your furry friend is the perfect conversation starter! Click here for a list of on- and off-leash dog parks in Greater Cincinnati.

    Habitat for Humanity
    A great way to get involved and a booked social calendar with all the new friends you meet. If you have the time, it’s worthwhile and rewarding to lend a hand to this or any other non-profit group.

    EQ Cooking Classes/Tasting Events
    A tasty way to enjoy good food, cooking tips, spirits and new company.


    Book Clubs
    You never know, intellectual stimulation may lead to other types of stimulation. Get your mind out of the gutter… we were talking about economic stimulation of the Tri-State’s library systems! But since you mentioned it, your idea might be better for snagging a bookworm buddy. Click here for a book club in Northern Cincinnati, click here
    for a calendar of book club events at the Cincinnati/Hamilton County Public Libraries and click here to learn more about the “Really Good Book Club” that meets in Northern Kentucky through the Boone County Public Library System.


    The places that can make the busiest of business professionals actually forget about their Blackberry *gasp!*

    The Reserve
    The new piano lounge bar on the Levee, in the old home of Southview Restaurant. 1 Levee Way, Suite 1116, Newport on the Levee, Newport, KY 41071.

    Omni Netherland Lounge
    Its high ceilings, wooden banisters and an art-deco style attracts a higher-brow crowd, and the gorgeous bar is the perfect place to meet someone new or chill with a co-worker after a long day. 35 W 5th St., Cincinnati, OH 45202.

    McCormick & Schmick’s
    Good professional crowd between 5-6 and unbeatable $1.95 appetizers for happy hour. 21 E 5th St., Cincinnati, OH 45202. (513) 721-9339.

    Miranda Groups/Organizations/Events

    Parents without Partners
    This group is a non profit support and social group devoted to the welfare and interest of single parents and their children.

    Cincinnati Sport and Social Club
    The CSSC hosts a bevy of happy hours and special event parties throughout the year, such as Halloween, New Year’s, Fall bashes and Reds games. Their co-ed sports leagues are perfect for the busy professional needing to get in her work-out, socializing, networking, girlfriend bonding and man-hunting done in one “foul” swoop (We hope you enjoy our sports humor).

    Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce Social Events
    Beef up your business network and your little black book.


    A gathering place for sophisticated women ready to paint the town red


    A sophisticated place for the mature crowd to eat, drink, dance and mingle. 5980 West Chester Road, West Chester, OH 45069. (513) 860-5353.

    The Wine C.A.R.T.
    Fun events, top-notch atmosphere and outgoing crowd. 6206 Muhlhauser Rd., West Chester, OH. (513) 860-WINE.

    Sturkey’s Restaurant
    A divine menu, but if you’re looking to meet people, call to learn about their wine tasting events. 400 Wyoming Ave, Wyoming, OH 45215. (513) 821-9200.

    Wine Cellar
    High-class crowd, coupled with live music, wide selection of wine and convenient location to nearby shops, restaurants and city views. 1101 Saint Gregory St #2, Cincinnati, OH 45202. (513) 241-9009.

    Samantha Groups/Organizations/Events

    Wine Events
    Click here for a list of upcoming events to satisfy anyone with a palate for fun, mingling and – oh yeah – wine!

    Browse the Tri-State’s finest art and jewelry vendors as you glow under the summer sun.

    AdClub Cincinnati
    Get involved in an edgy organization like the AdClub that hosts unique events like its upcoming “Party in Our Pants: ADDY Awards Show” on Feb. 9 at Paul Brown Stadium.

    Wednesday Salsa Nights at Havana Martini Club
    It’s like speed dating without the pressure! The salsa dance floor gets you up close and personal with many new people, as the culture of salsa dancing is to switch partners with each song. This gives you the opportunity to check out the chemistry and dance moves of mucho Salsaros throughout the night. Caliente! 441 Vine St. Carew Tower 5th & Race, Cincinnati, OH 45202. (513) 651-2800.

    Photo: Neysa Ruhl Photography
    Location: Fischer Homes Granite Spring Model Home
    Models: (left to right) Jen Swendiman, Shannon Johns and Amy Storer.

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      Happy birthday to us, happy birthday to us, happy birthday to usssssss…happy birthday to us! That's right, Jan. 15 marks the one-year anniversary of Cincy Chic being live online!


      What you see here today on is an award-winning, comprehensive resource for women in Greater Cincinnati with more than 50 freelance writers, three people working on it full time and sponsors galore.

      It wasn't always that pretty and well-put-together. So, to help you appreciate this "Point B" as much as I do, I'll tell you the story of how we've grown from "Point A."

      It all started a few years ago when I moved out on my own after college at Miami of Ohio, where I received an electronic journalism-focused communications degree. A single girl with an outgoing personality and an open social schedule. You'd think I'd be able to find places to go and people to meet; but I didn't, really. Instead, I found a need for a dummy's guide for living in Cincinnati. A place where I could connect with other local women with the same interests as me, and one that keeps me informed about the places, products and services available here in the Tri-State. I wanted a publication, preferably online, where I could read all the topics that Cosmopolitan or Women's Day magazines covered, but with local places featured, and local experts interviewed.

      I would have loved to start this e-zine then, but the market wasn't ready. So, long story short, I found a publishing job in Philadelphia where I grew a national healthcare trade publication from its infancy to one with more than 200,000 subscribers. For the majority of my time with the Philadelphia-based company, I was driving back and forth from the home of 3-ways to cheese steaks about every other weekend. I remember having an interesting conversation with myself on one of those long drives. It kind of went like this:

      "Hey, Amy, this 9-hour drive stinks."
      "Yeah. This is definitely not the best, but there are no good jobs for me in Cincinnati."
      "Why don't you start that Cincinnati Women's e-zine you thought up a few years ago?"
      "Good question. But I'm too young to start a business."
      "You pretty much started the one in Philly, though. Why couldn't you start your own?"
      "Good point. But don't you need a lot of money to start a business?"
      "Probably not, especially if it's online. You know a Web designer, graphic designer and lots of writing friends. You could get it started with their help…and 'friend discounts.'"
      "Good point. But I don't know how to start a business."
      "Your boyfriend's dad owns a business. Ask him."
      "Good point. But…"

      And really it stopped there. I realized that I didn't really have any good excuses.

      Pretty much immediately after driving onto Cincinnati soil, I was talking to my boyfriend's (now fiance!) father, who mentored me on getting a business idea together and helped me map out a course of action. Then, I worked with Veronica Rolfes, a high school friend of mine who is now our assistant editor and business administration manager, to develop a business plan, and later, an editorial calendar. That business plan was key for documenting projections and implementation. Although I didn't see the need for it at first, I now see why it's important to have this living document to keep you on course.


      Carolyn Martinez, a former co-worker of mine who is now our associate editor, used her focus group experience at Cincinnati Bell to determine the wants and needs of our target demographic and readership. Cassandra Pedersen, a former co-worker of mine, developed our logo. Mike Harness, another former co-worker of mine, and now our IT manager, designed this beautiful site and all the bells and whistles we keep adding to it. So, essentially, the point I'm getting at is keep in contact with old friends and associates. You never know when you'll need them.


      Early December 2006, we had a demographic, logo, Web site, a few writers and a lot of excitement. Yet, I still wondered if this whole thing was going to be a big flop. Was I going to be stuck in Philadelphia for the rest of my life because that's where the jobs were? Was I going to lose the money I invested in developing the site? Were all those sleepless nights going to go to waste? Will people even care?


      After letting all those questions swirl in my head, I remember going to a Chinese buffet right before we launched the site and my fortune cookie said, "Through greater effort and hard work, a precious dream comes true." I'm not very esoteric, but I couldn't help but take it as a sign that I was on the right path. I now have that fortune paper in a frame in my office.


      So, Jan. 15 2007 rolled around and we launched our first issue. It was simple, but I was proud of it. I remember just staring at it once it went live. I knew it would change my life. We got the word out about it via personal e-mails to friends and family, with pleas to forward.


      I also caught wind that MySpace wasn't just a place for teenagers and pedophiles. So, I created a Cincy Chic MySpace Page. With it, you can add friends, message them about new issues and events and blog about updates. I also posted messages on Basically I was looking for anything with a free (and popular) forum where I could spread the word, and that surprisingly was a huge success.

      At first, Cincy Chic simply offered monthly online articles and a social networking community where people could message each other, have a blog or talk on forums. By the way, signing up for a Cincy Chic profile (to get all those networking capabilities) is free, and we also have a VIP program for subscribers wanting to up the ante and get discounts.

      We checked the stats on the site and realized the people that knew about us were coming back several times a month. So, we decided to go twice-monthly, and eventually went weekly in April. Now, each week, we publish a feature story, a fitness Q&A column, a movie column, a "Chic Spotlight" which highlights a newsworthy local woman and five editorial departments in the following topics: health, beauty, fashion, social and career.

      Also in April, we added the e-newsletter capability. With it, we list all the new editorial content, pictures, blogs and a list of upcoming events. You can just click on the things you're interested in. By the way, you can sign up for our free e-newsletter (complete with exclusive coupons and invites that you don't get through the Web site) by putting your e-mail address into the pink "Sign Up for Our Newsletter!" box on your right. I've learned that these e-newsletters are the way to go. They're a quick, concise way of updating you with what we've been up to, because – let's be honest – I know you're too busy to be on our site every day, all day to see what's new.


      We decided to put our marketing efforts and dollars into events so that we could physically tell people what we are, and what we do and get them subscribed on the spot. After having a vendor booth at the Flying Pig Marathon and an Arthritis Foundation 5k/Walk, attending many bridal shows and many other heavily-populated events, we developed quite a subscription list.

      At the events, people would often ask if we not only promoted events, but also hosted our own. So, after a few of those comments, I talked to several venues across the city and started our twice monthly ladies nights we've been having since June. Those are a lot of fun. At those, we have The Plastic Surgery Group giving away $100 gift certificates, a massage therapist doing free back massages, the bar doing drink specials and a bunch of vendors there to pamper the women that attend. Our next one is on Jan. 24 at the Latitudes Cafe in Anderson, so we hope you you'll be there!

      To help us to promote the events we attend, we added the calendar feature, which is powered by Zipscene. Click on any of the highlighted-blue dates on the calendar to see the events we're either hosting, helping to promote (usually non-profits) or taking photos at. We love events, so if you want us to help you promote an event or take pictures at an event to post in our photo section, please e-mail me.

      June-ish, I decided that Cincy Chic was definitely a hit and I needed to move back to Cincinnati and finally make this my full-time gig. Ahh… no more long drives from Philly, no more two full-time jobs, no more all-nighters to keep it all together.


      In October, we decided to take the whole event element of Cincy Chic to the next level, and hosted the Bras with Flair on the Square campaign to raise awareness about breast cancer through the art of decorated bras. That was a huge success, and we look forward to Bras with Flair '08!

      Over the past several months, I've heavily focused on networking with business women in Cincinnati. Large or small business, employee or owner, I feel like they all have such interesting stories to tell. Two of the best networking groups I've found in town are the eWomen's Network and the Women's Idea Network (aka W.I.N.). They have the highest attendance and very dynamic women. Feel free to comment below if you have a networking group we need to check out.

      I've also been trying to keep you readers engaged on the site. Give you a reason to come to the site when you're bored at work, have some free-time at home or just need a mental break while you're at your computer. Our photo section is often a good go-to for that, or if you need something that's updated on a daily basis, check out my blog. I usually have a Quote of the Day, pictures of my new puppy or the occasional video blog if I'm feeling extra productive.

      In early December 2007, we started to close the books on our first year. I was quite happy with our accomplishments and our site… but things soon got a whole lot happier. On Dec. 13, Cincy Chic was honored with the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber's "Best New Product or Service" 2007 Women’s Business Award. That was definitely a great way to end the year!

      Now that we start our second year, I hope to see this site grow in interactivity with more people commenting on our forums, writing blogs and commenting on stories. I hope to unearth even more great places, people, products and services available to Greater Cincinnati's women. So, if you have ideas for things we can do, places we can feature, people we should talk to, please e-mail me.

      This year, we'll also be solidifying a working business model here in Cincinnati and expanding the Chic title into other mid-sized markets. But no matter how far we expand or where I go for future endeavors, my heart will always be here in Cincinnati.


      This is where a very precious dream came true.

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        Tea Time
        Have afternoon tea at Churchill's downtown.
        Tucked away in Tower Place Mall, you'll step into Churchill's and feel like you were whisked away to an authentic tea room in London. We recommend getting a spot by the windows so you can get in some quality people watching while you have a spot of tea.

        Go to Market
        Visit the oldest public market and one of Cincinnati's most cherished institutions by going to Findlay Market downtown. Yes it's in Over-the-Rhine (so go during the day), but this area is also a dense historic neighborhood, rich in 19th century architecture. Open Wednesday through Sunday, Findlay Market is home year-around to about two dozen indoor merchants selling meat, fish, poultry, produce, flowers, cheese, deli and ethnic foods. On Saturdays and Sundays from April to November, the Market also hosts a thriving farmers market, dozens of outdoor vendors, numerous street performers and lots of special events.

        Take Dance Lessons


        In Vino Veritas
        If you think flights are just for planes and brix are on the outside of your home, may we recommend a wine tasting class? The Wine C.A.R.T. (stands for Courses, Art, Retail and Tourism) in West Chester is a perfect place to do just that. Give them a call at 513.860.WINE to see when their next beginner wine courses are. Or, you can join the "Wine Divas" club at the Polo Grille in Mason. These popular 3-class sessions are held on three Mondays and cover Basic Whites, Basic Reds and Old World vs. New World. You can attend one or attend all three.

        Work it Out
        Gone are the days of the boring treadmill and useless crunches. Today, there are so many options for the woman looking to have fun while burning off a few calories. First thing's first. Define "fun" for yourself. If you enjoy attending structured classes with women you end up going to happy hour with afterwards, we recommend The Fusion Studio in Ft. Thomas. Fusion offers a small, intimate setting for those interested in Spin, Pilates, Yoga, strength training or personal training. If you're more of a Pilates fanatic, check out Pendleton Pilates, which has locations in Loveland, in West Chester, on Madison and downtown. If Spinning gets your wheels turning, take Revolution Fitness for a spin. While they offer an assortment of cardio equipment and classes, Revolutions is best known for its stellar Spinning classes and top-notch instructors. Its Spin room houses 40 Spinning® bikes, with a two-story garage door and a state-of-the-art sound system. If you like to get your exercise G.I. Jane style, Cincinnati Adventure Boot Camps are for you. Essentially, it's a four-week outdoor program of fitness instruction, nutritional counseling and motivational training. These sessions aren't an in-your-face-and-humiliate-you type of bootcamp, but they do get you outside and push you further than your Tony Little VHS workout tapes will.

        Be a Museum Maven
        When you go to another city or country, you usually hit up one of their famed museums. But when you come back to the Queen City, you leave its museums to a rainy day that never comes. This is the year to turn that trend around. Here's a list of must-see museums:


        Get an Extreme Makeover
        Nothing puts a perk in your step like a new look. Whether you need to revamp your wardrobe, hair or makeup, we have the recommendations for you. For a wardrobe makeover, we suggest giving J. Lee Tyer with Doncaster Fashionistas a call at 513-543-5891. While she's an independent representative for the Doncaster clothing line, she'll also evaluate your wardrobe, colors and fit, then make suggestions on how to spice it up without a huge overhaul (or huge price tag!).

        For a hairstyle makeover, we suggest Rosina Luca at Avalon Salon. She's at the top of her game, going to weekly training sessions, so you know you're going to get a cutting-edge style (yes, pun intended) when you see her!

        010708FEATURE2.jpgFor makeup, we recommend Jocelyn Sparks of Zoë Custom Cosmetics. In fact, she's the official Cincy Chic photoshoot makeup artist! She's worked as a makeup artist and esthetician in L.A., New York City, Hollywood, Chicago and Philadelphia, so we're lucky to have such a nation-wide talent here in Greater Cincinnati. To assess the right colors and styles for you, she has what's called a "Palette Party" where you learn techniques, tips and trends in a fun setting. For $50, you learn how to update your look in the comfort of your own home, with the personal attention you won't get at a department store and the skill you won't get from your Avon Lady.

        Set a Goal
        Resolutions-schmezolutions. While we agree that smoking is icky, chewing your nails isn't ladylike and chocolate shouldn't be consumed by the ton, setting a goal is much more fun and rewarding. Think of something you've always wanted to do – run the Flying Pig despite your spare tire, ride in a hot air balloon despite your fear of heights, volunteering your time despite your lack of free time, start your dream company despite your I'll-do-it-next-year mentality – and do it! Honestly, what are you waiting for? Whatever it is, it's probably not that great of an excuse. You're not getting any younger, so our ultimate recommendation for '08 is to pick that star in the sky and start reaching for it.

        First photo: Neysa Ruhl Photography
        Location: Fischer Homes Granite Spring Model Home
        Models: (left) Michelle Landon, BeautiControl Spa Consultant, and (right) JoAnna Straughn-Moxley, LMT, Symmetry Nutritional Consultant
        Makeup Artistry: Jocelyn Sparks, Zoë Custom Cosmetics
        Second photo: Neysa Ruhl Photography
        Location: Fischer Homes Granite Spring Model Home
        Models: (left) Katherine Janszen and (right) Jocelyn Sparks, Zoë Custom Cosmetics
        Makeup Artistry: Jocelyn Sparks, Zoë Custom Cosmetics 

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          Karen Sacksteder
          Owner, CEO
          Sacksteder's Interiors and Design

          Grab your tissues, ladies. This woman has had one heck of a year. And not just in a volunteering-board-serving-business-success kind of way. (She definitely had that, though) We're about to tell you why this woman is deserving of the first annual Cincy Chic Woman of the Year Award.

          Two years ago, Sacksteder lost her husband of 30 years. A few months later, her two sisters, Linda Nixon and Connie Acra, were diagnosed with breast cancer. This prompted Sacksteder to get a mammogram, which detected a cancerous tumor. Although she received numerous chemotherapy treatments and lost her hair, she still maintained her humor, grew even closer to her two boys and her business – Sacksteder's Interiors and Design – thrived more than it has in its 21-year history. She maintained her community presence by attending networking groups and inspired others by listening and encouraging during their own cancer experience. In addition, her company was recently certified as a Women's Business Enterprise for the National and the Southeast Council for minority, women-owned businesses.

          To help her and her sisters through the difficult breast cancer treatments, Sacksteder got involved with the Pink Ribbon Girls, a non-profit organization whose focus is on young breast cancer paitents to educate, support and inspire.

          Sacksteder recently wrote about the humorous side of breast cancer in a forthcoming book, due in November 2008. Part of the proceeds of the book, which will be titled Vivacious Vivian, The Wig That Helped A Girl Through Breast Cancer, will go to the Pink Ribbon Girls.

          "[She] chose to not become just a victim of her circumstances," says her nominator, Kathy Smith. "Karen is both and inspiration and a mentor in her life and in business."


          The Cincy Chic staff congratulates Sacksteder on turning major life stumbling blocks into building blocks, inspiring others personally and professionally and her dedication to local women, her career and family.

          (In alphabetical order)

          Susan Archer
          Community Manager
          Towne Properties

          Archer started as a concierge at The Falls at Landen, and using her dedication, hard work and personality, she soon climbed the ladder to her current high-ranking position. Archer recently won a coveted award from her company, recognizing her determination and southern hospitality. According to her nominator, Carrie Moak, the particular community she manages is heavily populated by female divorcees. "Over the years, Susan has formed bonds with women who were starting over again- on their own, often with children to support," says Moak.

          Stephanie Coffey
          Social Worker
          Hopple Street Medical Center

          "Not only does Stephanie face a different family crisis daily with her profession, but she does so with poise and grace," says her nominator, Carrie Moak. Above and beyond Stephanie's typical job decription, she also heads up a program every year called Adopt-a-Family. She gathers wish lists from the children in the families she works with then finds volunteers to "adopt" the family.

          Lauren Darr
          LOI International and Left Paw Press

          Darr is truly living the American dream. She spent many years climbing the corporate ladder and at the pique of her career, she decided she wanted more. She started her own marketing business, and has since branched out and also started Left Paw Press, which focuses on works by and about children based on observations and needs of her own children, who are now 13 and 5 years old. "She juggles both companies and running a household like a well-rehearsed circus act," says her nominator Bradley Tinkle. She serves on the National Board for American Women in Radio and Television (AWRT) and The AWRT Foundation, as well as donating PR support for numerous local organizations.

          Lindsey Eger
          Community Relations Coordinator
          Turfway Park

          It's fitting that she's the community relations coordinator for Turfway because she is involved with many organizations in the community. Just to name a few things: Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, Northern Kentucky Leadership Foundation, Covington-Kenton County Jaycees and Leadership Northern Kentucky. She also organizes some major events in the area. Most recent of which was the "First Annual Date Auction for a Cause." That event raised thousands of dollars for eight local charities. Eger also organizes the Charity Night at the Tables, which benefits the same eight local charities.

          Carol Gibbs
          President, CEO
          Accountability & Credibility Together (ACT)
          We've told you about Gibbs before. It's time to revisit her awesomeness. More than 10 years ago, she launched ACT, a non-profit dedicated to help people work themselves out of the welfare system. She also serves on numerous non-profit boards and is actively involved in the DRC, Downtown Council (DCI) and Art WORKS. Gibbs has hired many of ACT's "clients" and gives them the opportunity to do the same.

          Erin Hamilton
          Executive Director, Founder
          Girls on the Run of Cincinnati, Inc. (GOTR)

          Hamilton founded GOTR in early 2005 with personal funds and today it's a nationally-recognized non-profit prevention program that encourages the development of self-respect and healthy lifestyles through running. It has jumped from seven fall program sites in 2006 to 21 sites in 2007 and this is the first year that Hamilton, as executive director, will earn a salary for her position.

          Michelle Harbin
          Executive Director
          Amy's Hope International

          Professionally, she ranks second in worldwide sales for Motorola, a fortune 500 technology company. "Her dedication and hard work has placed her among the most valuable people in her company," says Jason Johnson, one of her many nominators. These world travels took her to places where she witnessed communities of suffering children, namely in Romania. She soon founded Amy's Hope International, a not for profit public charity established to help private orphanages in Eastern Europe. Amy's Hope has now aided countless children and Harbin travels the country to speak to schools and churches about her work with the charity and raise awareness about the issues these countries face. "Michelle didn't think, she acted," says another nominator, Amy Hanavan. "[She] started something so wonderful and is truly inspiring to others."

          Sarah Katsetos
          Executive Assistant
          American Cancer Society

          On paper, Katsetos' accomplishments represent a mature business woman and mother. But when you meet this fresh-faced 24-year-old, you realize what the term "old soul" really means. As a teen, Katsetos lost a close girlfriend to cancer and recognized the importance of volunteers, education and advocacy at a young age. In 2004, her mother and older sister were diagnosed in with breast cancer within a month of each other. She decided to dedicate her career and free time to finding a cure and advocating awareness. She works in American Cancer Society's (ACS) Planned Giving Unit and through walks and races, she has raised more than $8,000 for ACS programs. As if she wasn't enough of a do-gooder, she donated her hair to "Locks of Love" and is also involved with the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.

          Crystal Kendrick
          The Voice of Your Customer

          Kendrick is the president of an award-winning marketing company, The Voice of Your Customer. As the Arts and Entertainment editor for the Cincinnati Herald, she increases African American awareness and participation in both the fine and performing arts programming. "She routinely invites underprivileged children to view performances and meet artists using her press passes," says her nominator, Jan Michele Lemon Kearney. As if that's not enough to keep her busy, Kendrick also established a mentoring program with undergraduate members of her sorority at Xavier University.

          Kelly Mahan
          Mahan Advertising, Inc.

          Mahan launced Mahan Advertising, Inc. in 1996, and today it's a full-service advertising and marketing firm. And to say she gives back to the community is an understatement, as she volunteers for the American Cancer Society, March of Dimes, Beech Acres and ACT. She currently serves on the "Council on Child Abuse" board of directors and previously served on the "Impact 100" board for four years, of which she is still an active member. "Kelly is a friend and a mentor; she has an open door policy and has been an inspiration to our interns and employees," says her nominator and employee, Julie Metzelaar. (Who wants to bet Julie gets a raise when she shows this to her boss?)

          Ginny McCabe

          As an accomplished reporter and author of five books, McCabe is successful in her career. But as her nominator, Karen Hawley, says, "Most importantly, Ginny always places greater value on maintaining her integrity and character above any ambition or monetary gain."

          Tracie Metzger
          Pink Ribbon Girls

          This woman deserves a separate aware for just defying science. Metzger had two children, but was then diagnosed with breast cancer, which caused her to go through a double mastectomy and an early menopause. Soon thereafter, Metzger had two more children! Pick up your jaw and read on… After recovering from her treatment, Metzger realized there was no specific group for young women dealing with breast cancer. So, she founded an online community for breast cancer patients and survivors to unite via a national searchable database of survivors, private message boards and electronic newsletters. Through this non-profit organization, young women are offered education and awareness for early detection, support and an outlet to express fears.

          Tisa Powell
          Pure Romance Consultant

          As a leader within her Pure Romance group and in the community as the team leader for several networking groups and non-profit initiatives, Powell is dedicated to helping women gain the confidence and skills to become a success. "Tisa is making her mark within the community. She is to be commended and recognized for her continuous efforts towards encouraging, educating and helping to provide leadership to women," says her nominator Katherine Steele.

          Christine Schoonover
          Senior Vice President
          Huff Realty

          This award certainly won't be lonely in Schoonover's trophy case. She was one of Cincinnati Magazine's top 40 people this year, the Women's Business Cincinnati's Top 10 Women in Real Estate in 2005 and was awarded the Business Courier's award for Top Sales Person in 2002. Schoonover is also impressively involved in the community as she boasts a list of 22 organizations for which she volunteers. It isn't just for show, either. "[She] works personally with young women starting out in the professional world," says her nominator, Casey Gilmore. "Myself included."


          Editors Note:
          More than 200 entries were submitted in response to our call for nominees via and press wires, from which a diverse group on the Cincy Chic staff selected the above honorees. The Cincy Chic Woman of the Year Award nominees were requested to meet each of the following three criteria:
          • Demonstrate excellence, initiative and accomplishments in their business or profession
          • Demonstrate their dedication to promoting, supporting and uplifting the community
          • Demonstrate their dedication to inspiring other women


          The Cincy Chic staff would like to thank its readers for shedding light on these awe-inspiring individuals. We regret that we were only able to feature 15, as each nominee made us even more proud than before to be a part of this amazing community of powerful women.

          PHOTO CREDITS:
          Photo: Neysa Ruhl Photography
          Location: Fischer Homes Granite Spring Model Home
          (from left to right)
          Susan Grause with Mary Kay, Stephaney Theobald of Impeccable Planning, Maureen Jacob, Mandy Jacob and
          Tisa Powell
          Makeup Artistry: Jocelyn Sparks, Zoë Custom Cosmetics


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            The Cincinnati Mansion
            Price: $25 per person/$40 couple. Call 513-381-5580 for reservations.
            Includes: Dress up in Vintage Hollywood or Black Tie and dance the night away to the beats of DJ Mowgli in an elegant ballroom. Enjoy delicious appetizers by and complimentary champagne tost at midnight. Amazing silent auction items from downtown shops, restaurants, theaters and artists. Proceeds Benefit Cincinnati Free Store and Food Bank.

            The Cincinnati Symphony
            Join Kristjan Järvi and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra for a swanky New York-style New Year’s Eve. The concert celebrates the 50th anniversary of Leonard Bernstein's groundbreaking musical, "West Side Story," with Cincinnati favorites Rodrick Dixon and Ellie Dehn as Tony and Maria.
            Price: $168-225.25 per person (Includes concert ticket)
            $218-275.25 per person (Includes concert ticket, preferred seating and name in program)


            Fountain Square
            Price: Free
            Includes: Events will kick off at 8 p.m. New Year's Eve with free ice skating until 1 a.m. DJ Pillo will play eclectic music, with the countdown to midnight on the big screen above the square, followed by Rozzi's fireworks.

            RX Studio Cafe

            River of Faith International Harvest will be hosting Cincinnati's New Years Eve "2008 New Beginnings Pre-Call Celebration" Beginning at 6:00PM December 31st.
            Price: Free
            Includes: Live music beginning at 7pm in full service Studio Cafe featuring Starbucks Premium Lattes, Cappuccinos and Espressos. Children can enjoy a free featured family film in our Celebration Cinema with free popcorn.

            Mount Lookout Tavern and Millions
            Price: $50 presale tickets/$60 at the door.
            Includes: Live music by Ten Foot Big and Deeper Water, admission to both bars all night, party favors, full appetizer buffet from 9pm-11pm, five drink tickets and champagne toast at midnight.

            Lodge Bar and McFadden's Restaurant and Saloon
            Price: $25 in advance.
            Includes: Cover into two bars. From 7-9 Appetizer Buffet, $2 miller lite drafts and $3 well drinks, champagne tost at mindnight and party favors.

            Havana Martini Club
            Price: Cost is $50 per person with cash bar. Reservations will be taken first come, first serve. All reservations must be seated by 10 pm. Tables will not be held after 10 pm. You are not confirmed until you receive a call back. A 20 percent gratuity will be added to your bar tab. There is a two-drink minimum per person or $20 minimum per person for drinks.
            Includes: Live Music by the Groove, party favors, hors d’oeuvres and champagne toast at midnight. Spend the night! Rooms are available at the Hilton (next door to Havana) for $99. When this block is gone, the rate is gone! Click here to book a room.

            Cadillac Ranch Rock-N-Country Bar & Grill

            New Year's Eve 2007 Dinner Packages

            5p-7:30p – Stay for dinner
            $50 per person

            8p-10p – Stay for the night life, floor table
            $60 per person

            8p-Close – Keep booth all night
            $100 per person

            8p-Close VIP – Keep booth all night
            Including Dom Pérignon champagne
            $1,000 per person

            Dinner Includes:
            New York Strip & Fried Shrimp Or
            BBQ Chicken and Fried Shrimp Or
            Salmon Filet and Fried Shrimp
            With House Salad, Baked Potato, Vegetable and Cheesecake
            Champagne, Beer and Liquor Sold Separately (Except VIP Package)

            All Night, No Dinner (no guaranteed seating)
            $25 Cover Starting at 5pm

            Mt. Adams Pavilion

            Price: $30
            Includes: Ticket price includes Montgomery Inn buffet, a complimentary champagne toast at midnight and three DJs spinning everything from dance to deep soul house music.

            The Stand

            Price: $20
            Includes: Ticket price includes Montgomery Inn buffet, a complimentary champagne toast at midnight and music by DJ Matt Joy.

            Funny Bone Comedy Club and Restaurant
            On New Year's Eve the Funny Bone Comedy Club and Restaurant – featuring comedienne Tammy Pescatelli – will have several different dinner options to choose from. The 7:30 show has two options; one option is to order early show tickets. For $45 per person, early show tickets include a plated dinner with your choice of entrees from the following:

            Plated Cheese Lasagna, Fillet Mignon, New York Strip Steak, or a Portabelle Mushroom Sandwich. Also included with your entree are chef's choice of vegetables and starch sides.

            The second option is to order show-only tickets for $20 per person. The tickets are to the same 7:30pm show. The full menu will be available during this show.

            The late show starts at 10:15, and the doors open at 9:45. For only $50 per person, this show includes party favors, the aforementioned entree options and a champagne toast at midnight.

            Price: $300 Golden Drink Package for 4

            • Entry
            • Bottle service with 1 bottle of liquor
            • 1 bottle of Moet "White Star" champagne
            • Hors d'oeuvres 10 p.m.- 12.a.m.

            $50 Dragon Package for 1

            • Entry
            • 2 Drink tickets redeemable for well drinks
            • 1 ticket redeemable for 1 flute of champagne
            • Hors d'oeurvres 10 p.m.- 12.a.m.


            • Entry after 12:30 a.m.
            • 1 drink ticket redeemable for a well drink

            $75 Four Course Prix Fixe Dinner

            • Entry
            • Seating in the dining room at 7:00, 7:30, 8;00 p.m.

            Includes: Music provided by DJ Hard Hittin' Harry from New York City, who will be spinning his exciting mix of Hip Hop, House, Rock and Reggae.

            Free Cab Rides on New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day
            Free cab rides will be available to impaired party-goers on New Year’s Eve to prevent drunk driving and help people get home safely. Care Cab, a joint effort between MADD and AAA, will be available beginning at 6 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 31 until midnight on Tuesday, Jan. 1, providing 30 hours of free service. The cab ride by Towne Taxi or Community Yellow Cab is free to the caller as long as they are calling from a public establishment and transported to a private residence within the I-275 loop. Call 513-768-FREE (513-768-3733) to request service (program it in your phone now). For the past 11 years, Care Cab, MADD and AAA have provided 1,500 safe rides home to over 3,600 passengers.

            PHOTO CREDITS:
            Photo: Neysa Ruhl Photography
            Location: Fischer Homes Granite Spring Model Home
            Model: Lyric with Lyric Originals
            Makeup Artistry: Jocelyn Sparks, Zoë Custom Cosmetics

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              The Modern Woman
              Women may seem like a silent minority when it comes to gadgets, but they influence approximately 80 percent of electronic purchases, which translates to about $55 billion worth of sales, according to the Consumer Electronics Association. That's a lot of gadgetry!

              And since money talks louder than gender, manufacturers are now paying close attention and catering women's buying habits, from the "store front" and "drawing board" aspects.

              On the "store front," companies such as Best Buy are catering to their growing women patronage by hiring more female sales associates and instructing all its employees to treat women shoppers as respectfully as their male counterparts.

              Back at the drawing board, women are no longer ignored, since manufacturers have women on the brain as they conceptualize new product development, marketing and retail initiatives. Sony's Walkman MP3 players were designed specifically to fit the scale of woman's hand, which is generally smaller than a man's, while Motorola focuses on providing gadgets that are "female-color friendly" in tones such as pink and gold as seen in its MOTOKRZR Gold, which is described as having "distinctive metallic gloss front finish and the reflective qualities of a mirror," according to the company's Web site.

              Cincy Chic knows you have the power of the gadget-filled purse, so we developed this "Chic Geek Speak" gadget guide. We surfed the Web, watched the holiday gift-giving TV segments, read the techie magazines, all in efforts help you find which of the hottest, coolest gadgets fits you and your loved ones' lifestyle needs.

              We've broken down the must-haves into the following categories:

              Cell Phones

              Voyager™ by LG
              The phone that many refer to as "Verizon's iPhone," because of its touch-screen and web-browsing capabilities, the Voyager is one of three of the latest phones under the Verizon Wireless brand (the other two are the LG Venus and the Samsung Juke.)

              The Voyager was even ranked highly by an CNET Editor. As a Cincy Chic editor who had the privilege of testing the Voyager out, I also found it to be a good substitute for those with Apple's iPhone envy (i.e., me!).

              Voyager perks include many features that the iPhone doesn't have: multimedia messaging (MMS), V CAST Mobile TV, Blue-tooth capability and a QWERTY keyboard with actual buttons, which is easier to use for text messaging and e-mail. The Voyager is a good alternative to the iPhone, as it has secure access to corporate email, as the iPhone does not yet at this point.

              Its full HTML Internet browsing feature and incredible screen output quality, made reading Cincy Chic articles, feel like I was viewing my laptop's screen. The only downside, for me, was not being able to download music from iTunes.

              The Voyager is definitely a phone in which to invest, if you are looking for a sleek, smart phone.

              MP3 Players

              For me, nothing beats a good MP3 player other than Apple's ubiquitous iPod. Whether you are the ultimate music freak who can't sleep soundly without the satisfaction of knowing that at any time you can take your massive collection of 5,000+ songs in your back pocket, or if you are a thirteen-year old girl who likes to rock out to Hanna Montana on the bus ride home, it seems like there's an iPod for everyone.

              My recommendations? Apple is continually reinventing the brand, but one of the latest that I think is just too darn cute not to mention is the iPod (video) nano. For only $149, you can have 1,000 songs (4GB model; 8GB 2,000 songs) and watch up to 4 hours (4GB) or up to 8 hours (8GB) of video…and it's only a few mm bigger than a standard U.S. postage stamp (the nano is 6.5mm)! That's crazy good and it comes in five cool colors, and the red one benefits project (RED), which donates money to the Global Fund, which helps women and children affected by HIV/AIDS in Africa. Cute and socially-concious…can't beat that!

              If you can't decide which iPod is the best for you, Apple has put together a convenient guide to help you figure out your "iPod personality." Happy Podding!

              Warning: Shameless plug ahead! If you already are a current Podder and are looking for a fun way to share your love and taste in music, then check out my story over in this week's Social department about iParties.

              Digital Cameras
              The Canon PowerShot SD750 (silver) is my pick for a great quality camera under $300.

              Canon is the leader of the pack for incredible cameras that are not only of professional grade, but are extremely sexy. A very chic addition for any girl's outfit, making it a nifty accessory that can stylishly capture all you Chicers in all your fabulousness!

              Oprah used this camcorder on her You Tube show and posted her own videos for her You Tube account. And you know if Oprah, who is a self-proclaimed technophobe, then you know that using this thingamajig is going to be cake.

              The Flip Video Ultra is yet another incredibly user-friendly, quality and snazzy gizmo that's also affordable. The main draw for this memory-maker is how idiot-proof it captures videos and shares them. Another cool feature is the automatic upload of your videos to the Web, like on You Tube or AOL Video for private or public viewing with a click of a button. Use the Flip with another ridiculously easy product like Apple's iMovie software, and watch out Speilberg! Point and shoot doesn't get any better than this.


              I personally don't believe in desktops. In this age of fast-everything, portable is the way to go. So instead of investing in a homebound machine, consider the Apple MacBook Pro.

              Admittedly, I'm a Mac-o-phile and am biased to Apple's products, but there's a reason why Apple products consistently rank high in electronic design, function and innovation. Investing in a Mac laptop is a decision that you can live with for five years or more, yet still be riding the waves of cutting edge technology.

              The MacBook Pro has cool features such as a magnetic power connection and an illuminated keyboard with ambient light sensor, making it ultimately geek certified. If you have been a PCer for a while, why don't you come over to "our" side?

              Who said women aren't gamers? You must've been living under a rock if you haven't heard of the revolutionary Nintendo Wii. It's the first game console that has such universal mass appeal, everyone, including parents and grandparents, want a turn testing out the Wii's motion-sensitive controllers that allow you to swing a sword, throw a punch or drive a car with a flick of the wrist rather than with the push of a button.

              And even though you don't need a Wii to play the crazy popular Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock game, I feel that the Wii would enhance my ultimate alter-ego fantasy of being a rock star much better than the other systems out there.

              Editor's note: I'm accepting donations for Maureen's Wii Fund. Email me your donation today. Thanking you in advance!! 🙂


              I couldn't resist including in this guide the following products. Consider them extra delights for either your, or someone else's, geeky enjoyment!

              • Kodak EasyShare EX-1011 Digital Picture Frame. Start viewing your pictures and videos right away by inserting a memory card or connect your digital camera and enjoy. Set the mood with music by listening to your favorite MP3s with built-in speakers while you view your photos. The convenient drag-and-drop feature makes transferring pictures easy.
              • Slingbox Solo. Want to watch what's on at home while you're stuck on a business trip elsewhere? The Slingbox allows you to watch and control your favorite TV source —including your HD content —from anywhere in the world on your laptop or cell phone. So now you can watch your DVR, digital cable, satellite receiver or DVD player wherever you see fit. With the Slingbox SOLO, you can watch your favorite TV shows and sporting events from anywhere. How awesome is that?!
              • Discovery Digital Photo Keychain. Take your memories with you – this compact photo keychain holds 54 of your favorite photos. Wish you could always be with your family, friends – even your pets? Now you can with 54 photos that you carry on your keychain! Stores up to 54 photographs and has a mini frame that displays images in vivid, hi-resolution color. Also features a digital alarm clock and calendar.
              • APC Universal Power Adapters. APC Universal Power Adapters allow you to charge and power your notebook computer and mobile devices anywhere you go. Three input plugs enable you to access power from a car, airplane or any AC wall outlet. USB charging ports also allow you to charge or power up to two additional mobile devices simultaneously, eliminating the need to carry multiple power adapters.
              • Mio C520 Navigation Receiver. The sleek Mio C520 is a good-value GPS device, packing in advanced navigation features, a large screen and other extras for affordable prices.

              In a League of its Own
              Because it is the ultimate device that replaces all the above mentioned ones (okay, I exaggerate), it deserves its own category. I couldn't have a gadget guide without mentioning Apple's iPhone.

              Once again, the iPhone is just another fine example of why Apple is an innovating leader in the field of gadgetry. I've had the pleasure of playing with one, and to say that the iPhone's Web browsing capabilities are fantastic would be an understatement. Imagine shrinking your current computer's screen and fitting it in the iPhone's 3.5 inches display and still be able to surf the web as you would on your computer. It's absolutely ridiculous… in a good way.

              There have been mixed reviews about the iPhone, but there is no other phone on the market that has executed the marriage of MP3 player and phone better.

              My only advice is to hold off on getting your own iPhone at this point, until Apple works out all the kinks, and inevitably releases a more affordable and almost-near perfect model.

              Editor's note: I'll also be accepting donations for Maureen's iPhone Fund. Email me your donation today. Thanking you in advance!! 😉

              Gadget Resource
              Thinking about getting any of the items on our list? Or planning on buying another electronic device not mentioned here and you have no clue where to begin? Never fear…CNET is here! I've been using the site as my premier electronics reference tool for years and is my first stop in the research process of determining which gadget is worth my buck; I NEVER purchase anything without checking what the CNET editors have to say about the latest digital cameras, laptops, etc. According to the site's mission statement, "CNET creates an open environment for people to find and use the best products to fit their lifestyle. The powerful combination of CNET's award-winning news, lab-tested product reviews, safe and spyware-free downloads, and user-generated content give people information and inspiration to live and thrive in today's digital world."

              PHOTO CREDITS:
              Photo: Neysa Ruhl Photography
              Location: Fischer Homes Granite Spring Model Home
              Model: Mandy Jacob
              Makeup Artistry: Jocelyn Sparks, Zoë Custom Cosmetics

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                Toast to Tri-State Traditions

                The historic Labrot and Graham Distillery, home of Woodford Reserve, is unlike any other in America. Nestled amid the picturesque horse farms of Central Kentucky, Labrot and Graham is the only distillery that crafts its bourbon in copper pot stills. Whiskey was first produced on this site in 1812.

                Visit and tour Samuel Adams Brewery, which is a newly renovated facility on Central Parkway near downtown Cincinnati. It's certainly a sight to see, as 60 percent of Sam Adams beer is produced at this location.


                Found in Nature

                The Hocking Hills region in Southeastern Ohio is a natural winter wonderland this time of year. The waterfalls are frozen in an icy masterpiece and the ground is covered in a peaceful white blanket. The area is surrounded by cabins for rent and bed and breakfast inns. Check out the Hocking Hills site for more information.

                Want the beauty of nature in winter, without the blustery coldness? The Forest Discovery Center
                located in Starlight, Ind., features an indoor forest, theater, exhibits and manufacturing tour.

                In with the Old

                Antique Alley in Indiana is a famous antique mecca. You will pass more than 900 antique dealers if you drive U.S. 40 from Richmond to Knightstown, Indiana 38 through New Castle, Hagerstown and Greens Fork. The next famed Antique Alley starts at U.S. 27 in Richmond and heads north to Portland. However, the hub of this Antique Alley area is Centerville, a small historic village that proudly boasts Ohio's largest antique mall. While you are in Centerville, stay at the Lantz House Inn, a cozy brick bed and breakfast. Call (800) 495-2689 for more information.

                Here are a few other antiquing suggestions:

                • Lebanon: Lebanon boasts a historic downtown and 25 antique stores selling a range of items, such as unusual antiques at Mulberry St. Antiques to sports memorabilia at the Treasure's Dust.
                • Waynesville: This Warren County town is the self proclaimed antique capital of the Midwest, with more than 35 antique stores.
                • O'Bryonville: Eight antique shops are nestled in historic O'Bryonville on Madison Road in Cincinnati.
                • Miamitown: A strip of antique shops line a quarter mile of Ohio 128 in north-western Hamilton County.
                • Shandon: This small town tucked away in Butler County offers a variety of antique shops, such as a General Store, which specializes in advertising antiques and the New London Gallery, which has antique furniture and accessories.


                Warm up with that Special Someone

                Escape the cold weather with your someone special to an intimate setting and start a little fire of your own. Try booking a cabin. White Oaks Cabin offers luxury cabins with jacuzzi and fireplace along Patoka Lake in Southern Indiana. Other, more rustic cabins are also available.

                Or, stay in a Victorian mansion outside of Lexington. The 1832 Historic Rose Hill Inn is a precious bed and breakfast in Versailles, Ky., and the rooms have canopied beds and fireplaces.

                Going Down Under

                Caves are the same temperature year-round, making a spelunking trip a good winter activity. While you've probably already heard about Mammoth Cave in Kentucky, you may not have heard of these others. Marengo Cave in southern Indiana is open all year-round and features the one-third mile Crystal Palace Tour and the one-mile Dripstone Trail. The cave is considered one of the most beautiful show caves in the eastern United States. Squire Boone Caverns is also nearby.

                Calling All Snow Bunnies

                Believe it or not, Perfect North isn't the only place with slopes in the Tri-State. Paoli Peaks Ski and Snowboard Resort in Indiana is about a two-hour drive from Cincinnati. The resort has 15 slopes and eight lifts.


                Or try skiing and tubing at Mad River Mountain in Bellefontaine, Ohio. On the weekends, the resort is open until three in the morning for midnight madness. Make it a weekend trip and stay at Myeerahs Inn, an 1837 farmhouse near Mad River.

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                  "The love for all living creatures is the most notable attribute of man."— Charles Darwin


                  With the holiday season is upon us, you may be thinking about wowing that special someone with an unexpected, "surprise" gift. And nothing wows like a cute, fluffy, pouty fur ball.

                  Unfortunately, pets shouldn't be on anyone's lists — whether you are the gifter or the giftee— especially around the holidays, since it tends to be a chaotic time for most people who typically don't have a lot of time and commitment to spare on everything going on in their lives to raise this new member of the family. (WiseGeek offers other great reasons why not to buy a pet as a gift, especially around Christmas time.) It is also unfair, to both the animal and the giftee, to assume that particular animal will make a good companion for the person and that the person's lifestyle.

                  But if, even after the holidays have come and gone, you still have the desire to welcome a new pet into your life, or that someone special still insists on getting a new pet, here are some pointers for you!

                  Guardianship vs. Ownership

                  Instead of thinking of the new animal you are about to get as a thing you will "own," view it as a new "companion" that you will become the "guardian" of.

                  This attitude of "guardianship" vs. "ownership" is a belief that I stumbled across from the mission statement of the international animal protection organization, In Defense of Animals (IDA), and have applied to my own two cats, Fiona and Kitty. The IDA believes that we should consider ourselves our animals' "guardians," and that we love, care and protect and view our animals as our companions, rather than objects or property that we "own."

                  This renewed sense of semantics and mentality, will ensure that you have a happy and loving relationship with your new pet.

                  Answering the Tough Questions

                  As with any serious relationship to which one is about to commit, there are several variables to consider before getting a pet. Welcoming a pet can be – depending on the type of animal – a 10 year or more commitment on the guardian's behalf. If you can answer "yes" to the following questions, then you are ready for a new animal friend.

                  Are you…

                  …Willing to make a commitment for the rest of your new animal companion's life?
                  …Able to afford your new companion?
                  …Willing to adopt animals only through responsible rescues and ethical breeders?
                  …Going to spay or neuter your animal companion for their health and to prevent pet overpopulation?
                  …Able to provide nutritious food, fresh water and daily exercise for your animal companion?
                  …Ready to care for the emotional needs of your animal companion?
                  …Capable of understanding and working through your animal companion’s behavioral issues?
                  …Going to treat your animal companion with compassion and gentleness?
                  …Willing to call myself and others "guardians" rather than “owners” of animal companions?

                  Here's an expanded version of the questions to consider before you get a new pet:

                  1. Motivation: Why do you want a pet? It's amazing how many people fail to ask themselves this simple question before they get a pet. Adopting a pet just because it's "the thing to do" or because the kids have been pining for a puppy usually ends up being a big mistake. Your motivating factor for getting a new pet should always be rooted in responsibility and love.
                  2. Time Commitment: As with human children, animal companions cannot be ignored just because you're tired or busy. They require food, water, exercise, care and companionship every day. Many animals in the shelter are there because their owners didn't realize how much time it took to care for them. If you lead a busy lifestyle, working long hours, travel most of the year or are just never home, getting a new pet is not a good idea. Animals need companionship and if you buy a new pet and don't even spend time with them, what's the point?
                  3. Affordability: Make sure that you are financially able to support, ultimately, another member of your family. Licenses, training classes, spaying and neutering, veterinary care, grooming, toys, food, litter and other expenses add up quickly. On average, taking care of a dog can cost between $300 to $500 a year. If you are struggling to make ends meet with your current living situation, getting a new pet is not in the best interest of you or your pet. Companion animals, like human children, require a lot of basic needs, and you have to be able to meet both the expected and unexpected parts of your pet's life.
                  4. Logistics: Can you have a pet where you live? Many rental communities don't allow pets, and most of the rest have restrictions. Make sure you know what they are before you bring a companion animal home. Also, do you have room for a new pet? Large dogs such as the Great Dane can grow between 100 to 120lbs. So make sure that your living arrangements can accommodate a large animal. Do you know who will care for your pet while you're away on vacation? You'll need either reliable friends and neighbors or money to pay for a boarding kennel or pet-sitting service.
                  5. Timing: Is it a good time for you to adopt a pet? If you have kids under six years old, for instance, you might consider waiting a few years before you adopt a companion. Pet guardianship requires children who are mature enough to be responsible.
                  6. Health and Behavior: Another important aspect to remember before getting a new pet is to make sure that the humans in your household aren't allergic to the particular animal you are thinking about getting. Also be prepared to deal with special health and behavioral problems that a pet can cause. Flea infestations, scratched-up furniture, accidents from animals who aren't yet housetrained and unexpected medical emergencies are unfortunate but common aspects of pet guardianship.
                  7. Responsibility: Will you be a responsible pet owner? Having your pet spayed or neutered, obeying community leash and licensing laws and keeping identification tags on your pets are all part of being a responsible owner. Of course, giving your pet love, companionship, exercise, a healthy diet and regular veterinary care are other essentials.
                  8. Legalities: Certain states have different laws restricting the types of animals that can become pets. Michigan State University College of Law has maintained an extensive database of all the laws pertaining to animals by state, topic and species. It's a great resource to check out if you have concerns about the animal you are about to acquire.
                  9. Lifestyle: Make sure that you choose a pet that meets your lifestyle requirements. If you lead an active lifestyle and enjoy outdoor activities and are always out and about, then you should choose a pet that has those similar qualities (this really applies to dogs). Conversely, if you are more of a homebody and don't enjoy physical activity, cats may be more suited to your lifestyle and personality. Sometimes, people look for animals that bring out different aspects of their personality. Introverted people may get a rambunctious, active dog that needs to be walked daily so that they are forced to go out of their normal homebody routine, in an opportunity to interact with others.
                  10. Research: Make sure you research the different breeds and species of the particular animal you are interested in getting. Purdue University has a great database on the different breeds of animals that includes everything from cats and dogs to livestock. Researching about the different breeds gives you more information about the traits and personalities unique to specific breeds, thus ensuring a better match.

                  Adoption vs. Purchasing

                  The most important tip that I can give you regarding welcoming a new pet into your life, is to make sure you adopt and not buy.


                  According to the Human Society of the United States (HSUS), here are the top five reasons why you should choose adoption when thinking about getting a new pet:

                  You'll Save a Life
                  Sadly, between three and four million dogs and cats are euthanized each year in the United States simply because too many people give up their pets and too few people adopt from shelters. Because there is limited space at shelters, staff members often make very hard decisions to euthanize animals who haven't been adopted. But the number of euthanized animals could be reduced dramatically if more people adopted pets instead of buying them. By adopting from a private humane society or animal shelter, breed rescue group or the local pound, you'll help save the lives of two animals — the pet you adopt and a homeless animal somewhere who can be rescued because of space you helped free up.

                  You'll Get a Healthy Pet
                  Animal shelters are brimming with happy, healthy animals just waiting for someone to take them home. Most shelters examine and give vaccinations to animals when they arrive, and many spay or neuter them before being adopted. In addition to medical care, more and more shelters also screen animals for specific temperaments and behaviors to make sure each family finds the right pet for its lifestyle. Most people assume that all shelter animals are abused and neglected, and in poor condition. While some of the animals may have come from such homes, once at the shelter, they have been taken care of in order to be eligible for adoption.

                  It is a common misconception that animals end up in shelters because they've been abused or done something "wrong." In fact, most animals are given to shelters because of "people reasons," not because of anything they've done. Things like a divorce, a move, financial constraints or lack of time are among the most common reasons why pets lose their homes.

                  You'll Save Money
                  Adopting a pet from an animal shelter is much less expensive than buying a pet at a pet store or through other sources. In addition, animals from many shelters are already spayed or neutered and vaccinated, which makes the shelter's fee a real bargain.

                  You'll Feel Better
                  Pets have a way of putting a smile on your face and a spring in your step. Not only do animals give you unconditional love, but they have been shown to be psychologically, emotionally and physically beneficial. Caring for a companion animal can provide a sense of purpose and fulfillment and lessen feelings of loneliness and isolation in all age groups.

                  Pets can help your physical health, as well. Just spending time with an animal can help lower a person's blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Dog walking, pet grooming and even petting provide increased physical activity that can help strengthen your heart, improve blood circulation and slow the loss of bone tissue. Put simply, pets aren't just good friends, they're also good medicine and can improve a person's well-being in many ways.

                  You Won't Be Supporting Puppy Mills and Pet Stores
                  Puppy mills are "factory style" dog-breeding facilities that put profit above the welfare of dogs. Most dogs raised in puppy mills are housed in shockingly poor conditions with improper medical care, and the parents of the puppies are kept in cages to be bred over and over for years, without human companionship and with little hope of ever joining a family. And after they're no longer profitable, breeding dogs are simply discarded — either killed, abandoned or sold at auction.

                  Puppy mill puppies are sold to unsuspecting consumers in pet stores, over the Internet and through newspaper classified advertisements to whomever is willing to pay for them. Marketed as coming from great breeders, well-rehearsed sales tactics keep money flowing to the puppy mills by ensuring that buyers never get to see where the pups actually come from (a vital step in puppy buying). Many of the puppies have serious behavioral and health problems that might not be apparent for months, including medical problems that can cost thousands of dollars to treat, if they are treatable at all. Unfortunately, a lot of people are not even aware that puppy mills exist, so when they buy a pet from a pet store, online or other retail outlet, they are unknowingly supporting this cruel industry.

                  People usually turn to breeders or pet stores because they are looking for a specific breed of animal, and buy into the myth (which is perpetuated by the breeders themselves) that all shelter animals are "mutts" or "mixes" and that they can't get a pure-bred animal from a shelter. This is not true. About 25 percent of the animals in shelters are pure-bred, and if you don't believe me, take my darling Fiona for example. My family and I adopted her from the Boone County Animal Shelter in Burlington, Ky. Fiona is a pure-bred seal-point Siamese cat, who was picked up as a stray. And there are countless other pure-breds like Fiona in shelters across the state waiting to be adopted.

                  Also, there are breed specific shelters and animal rescues for those interested in a certain animal. For instance, the North Shore Animal League America has a pure-bred dog rescue, while sites like this offer many options for cat lovers.

                  By adopting instead of buying a pet, you can be certain you aren't supporting cruel puppy mills with your money. Puppy mills will continue to operate until people stop purchasing their dogs. Instead of buying a dog, visit your local shelter where you will likely to find dozens of healthy, well-socialized puppies and adult dogs — including purebreds — just waiting for a special home like yours.

                  Going Exotic

                  I love all animals, and as a devote animal lover and defender, (Editor's note: Maureen is a vegan who is involved with the local animal rights advocacy group Mercy For Animals) I realize that to have certain animals as companions, is ethically wrong. Therefore, I don't condone keeping wild and exotic animals such as tigers, birds, snakes, fish or lions as pets, because in order for these animals to be "domesticated" as pets, they had to be removed from their natural habitat in the wild, and be captive-bred. So, if an animal has to be raised in any sort of confinement, whether it be a cage or aquarium, I don't get them as pets and try to discourage others from doing so.


                  If you have any other questions regarding welcoming a new animal companion into your life and heart, here are a few resources to help you along the way:

                  • The HSUS's one-stop guide for all adoption-related questions, from finding a local shelter near you, to what to expect during an adoption process.
                  • Be proud for adopting! Order the HSUS' Free Adoption Kit and you even get a coupon for pet food!
                  • Learn more about why getting a bird as a pet is a bad idea.
                  • Thinking exotic isn't hot. Why you should never consider getting a lion, lizard, or snake as a pet.
                  • Think that puppy in the pet store's window is too cute too resist? Read to learn more about the horrors of puppy mills.

                  PHOTO CREDITS:
                  Photo: Neysa Ruhl Photography
                  Models: Tammy Schulte and Cole

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                    1. World-Class Fashion, Cincinnati Convenience

                    A trip to L.A. to purchase Jessica Simpson's latest zebra print handbag not in the budget this year? No sweat. Liz Cook, owner of Mt. Adams-based Elizabeth's Closet, already made the trip for you. She shops around the world for the latest and greatest bags, baubles and bling, and makes it all available for you to drool over – and, of course, eventually purchase – in her space above Daveed’s Restaurant. As if she needed to sweeten the deal, she has special events called "Sips and Shopping" where she offers drink specials for her shoppers. Her next one will be on Thursday, December 6 from 6-9pm.

                    2. For Those Keen on Green

                    The Covington-based Cher-Chique Boutique + Beauty Bar offers beauty products from across the world that are not only exclusive to their newly opened boutique, but will support any "go-green" lifestyle.

                    These certified organic products will help your recipient live their ethically "chique" lifestyle in luxury! Get started with Vada Pure & Natural skin, hair and body care products. Or give them NVEY ECO, a fabulous "everyday occasion" gift set including a bronzer, lip lustre, powder blush and a five-shade eye shadow palette. You will also find a unique selection of men and baby personal care products at Cher-Chique.

                    3. Amuse Your Muse

                    Goddesses, faeries, mermaids, Celtic myth, Arthurian legend, magical animals, seasonal celebration, folklore and fairy tales, green men, moon magic and tree wisdom… these mystical fascinations grace Carew Tower Place Mall-based Mightnight Muse's selection of art, books, jewelry, statuary, notecards and calendars.

                    According to owner, Tess Avelland, her mystical shop also offers tarot and oracle decks, handcrafted stained glass panels and ornaments, velvet pouches, embroidered bags, candles and candleholders, incense, essential oils and Nature's Emporium luxury handmade soap. Tarot readings are also available in the store, for which you may purchase a gift certificate!

                    4. Be a Secret Santa

                    Using the Laws of Attraction and positive affirmations made popular in the best-selling book, The Secret, Troy, Ohio-based Jody England and business partner Kim Yardlay launched BuzZen, a company dedicated to inspiring women to intentionally create lives that are worthy of their true potential.

                    If you know someone that lovesThe Secret and its principles, give them something that gives a new twist to an old love. Jody England, CEO and president of BuzZen, offers the following gift ideas:

                    • Manifesting Bracelets They come in several different natural stone choices. Each stone has its own metaphysical meaning. "A great product because it is related to The Secret, which is big right now, and lots of people are into the Law of Attraction," says England.
                    • BuzZ Builder CD This 16 minutes long CD is recommended for someone wanting to boost sales, foster a positive attitude or be more grateful for the little things in life. "This is a phenomenal guided visualization," says England.

                    5. For the Busy Bee

                    With all this "buzz" talk, we have a great gift for the busy bee on your list. Get a cute makeup bag (may we suggest Vera Bradley, if she's a collector), fill it with travel size concealer, mascara, powder, lip gloss, nail file, dental floss, breath mints, perfume samples and smudgees. Yes, smudgees, the self-proclaimed "original eye makeup smudge remover," which in plain terms, simplifies the daunting task of eliminating those annoying "raccoon eyes" and 5 o'clock mascara smudges. She can keep this bag in her car for on-the-go touch ups.

                    6. Blending Fashion and Function

                    While some family members are a pain in the neck, some of your loved ones may be suffering from pains in the neck, joints and even muscles. Katie Umberg, Wellness Consultant for Nikken, sells jewelry that blends function and fashion. "Each piece features Nikken’s patented TriPhase Technology, designed to give the body energy and allow it to perform at its optimal level," she says. "Magnets are used to replicate Earth’s natural magnetic field, Far-Infrared Technology reflects energy in far-infrared wavelengths to soothe sore muscles and tendons and relieve tension, and Negative-Ion Technology produces ions like those found in nature to improve mood, relaxation and well-being."

                    They're not kidding about the fashion element either. Internationally-renowned Italian designer Antonio Rosso created the jewelry collection exclusively for Nikken that includes bracelets, necklaces and pendants. Each item is 24k gold plated, and the bracelets and pendants sparkle with Czech crystals.

                    7. Handmade Jewelry

                    Love to give handmade jewelry, but don't have the time? Go to Cooper Osborne, a college student in the fine arts program at DAAP who has been designing and creating for more than seven years and now sells creations to local salons, boutiques and online shoppers.

                    Have a bling-lovin' babe on your list? You may want to go with another local jewelry designer that puts a little more shine in her design. The Tess Martin Collection makes Otazu pieces that are bound to attract attention, whether at a formal party or a casual lunch, with their Swarovski crystals.

                    8. Spice Up the Relationship

                    Add some sugar and spice because Pure Romance by Tisa has everything naughty and nice! Create some great gift packs; one naughty and one nice. Invest in your relationship with the Intimacy Kit, which is a unique collection of Pure Romance’s most popular products. Or just get a little "warmer" during these cold months with products such as the Hot Heart Massager, Burning Desire Massage Oil Candle and any of the Romance Bubble Baths. "However you decide to do it, that special person will definitely enjoy their gift," says Powell.

                    9. Fit-ness to be Tied

                    Have a fitness buff, or someone aspiring to be one, on your holiday gift list? Wrap up a gift certificate for Western Tennis & Fitness Club personal training sessions at any price point: $210.00 (6 sessions of 30 min), $360.00 (6 sessions of 60 min), $350.00 (10 sessions of 30 min) or $600.00 (10 sessions of 60min).

                    Western Tennis & Fitness Club
                    also offers gift certificates for a Fitness Membership (includes unlimited use of fitness center and fitness classes) for $37.00 a month, or a Tennis and Fitness Membership, which also includes a member tennis court rate, and that's $40 a month.


                    10. Tell Your Man About This One

                    Jayne Moening, VP of product development for The Assistant Product Group based here in Cincinnati, says they have a unique product called "The Decorating Assistant Organizer" for anyone who is decorating, remodeling or building a new space called home. "It's targeted towards women homeowners – since they make 80% of the buying decisions – designers, redesigners, stagers," says Moening. "And being the holiday season, it's a great gift for a man to purchase for their own decorating diva in their life."

                    11. Mary Kay for Men?

                    When you hear "Mary Kay" you might think of your mom's makeup bag, not your man's shave gel. But it's true, Mary Kay expanded her horizons according to sales director, Jane Henke. Give him something practical, but unique with the MK Men's Skin Care line, hair and body shampoo, aftershave balm or one of their four men's colognes. And, heck, Henke makes it easy saying there's free delivery and gift wrapping for any $40 or more purchase.


                    12. Just Believe

                    Have someone on your list with a strong faith? Make it even stronger with Believer Beads, a line of unique, faith-based jewelry gifts that are packaged and manufactured by disabled groups and facilities serving the disabled here in South Central Ohio.

                    "When you give a Believer Beads bracelet, purse charm, biblemarker or zipper-pull, you are giving more than just a beautiful hand-assembled piece of jewelry," owner Kim Koss says. "You are also giving a gift of hope, a gift of faith and a gift of opportunity to a disabled individual."

                    13. Give a Little Piece of Heaven

                    Think of a candle-lit room. Now think of being massaged in that candle-lit room. Ahhhhh…oh yeah, back to the explanation, here. So, Heaven Essence combines the best of both worlds and makes "massage oil candles," which are soy candles augmented with natural oils. "They burn warm, not hot," says Colleen James, a Heaven Essence independent representative. "Just light the soy candle and let it burn until the oil is a luxurious, comfortably-warm liquid. Snuff out the flame and use the warm oil from your massage candle to pamper your partner." Give your partner a few massage candles this holiday and tell him it's going to be the gift that keeps on giving. We already see him worshiping you.

                    14. Pretty Fun

                    Uninspired by the cliché holiday gifts for Mom or your favorite co-worker? Invite your loved ones and friends to your home for holiday cheer and a Zoë Custom Cosmetics Palette Party. Adorable custom invitations are provided by Zoë Custom Cosmetics for you to send out to your guests. Palette Parties include one-on-one consultations with Jocelyn Sparks, a Hollywood trained Makeup Artist. (Editor's note: Sparks is also Cincy Chic's photo shoot makeup artist.) Sparks does awe-inspiring makeup applications and gives tutorials tailored to each person’s individual tastes and makeup concerns. Zoë Custom Cosmetics are demonstrated and available for purchase that night. Exceed expectations by giving each guest a Zoë Custom Cosmetics gift card to splurge on themselves.

                    15. Twelve Days of Christmas

                    Can't wait until Christmas to start giving gifts? Want to drop lots of little hints to your Secret Santa? Antoinette "Toni" Green, a BeautiControl Independent Consultant, has a great idea called the "12 Days of Christmas" for your loved one. For $99 (worth $177) you can give 12 daily gifts – such as candles, foot creme and a warming masque – for 12 days of pampering and thoughtful gift giving. "[This] is a great Christmas gift to show your loved one how special she is," says Green. "I'll do all the work and shopping for you [and] I’ll put personalized, ribbon-tied notes on each item."

                    Photo: Neysa Ruhl Photography
                    Location: Fischer Homes Lifestyle Design Center
                    Model: Vicki Gianfagna

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                      It’s been said that men are simple creatures; they are driven by the need to achieve and the desire for gratification. Their emotional spectrums seem to range from happy to not happy, and many don’t possess more than a few words to describe the stages in between. They like gadgets and electronics, they can spout multitudes of facts about sports and cars, and they categorize movies without massive explosions as “chick flicks.”

                      When writing for a women’s publication, the first inclination is to pen a piece that extols the many differences between the genders… usually in a way that celebrates our point of view and makes fun of men.

                      For once, though, let’s take a few “typical” male characteristics and appreciate those things that make men the perfect complement to us women.


                      Men should be credited for using logic to invent processes and create solutions that make life much more comfortable. From indoor plumbing to organ transplants, men’s application of logic to humanity’s problems throughout history have shaped our lives in many positive ways. Used improperly, however, logic can sometimes lead to poor decision-making. Surely it made sense to then-Cincinnati mayor Jerry Springer when he paid for a female escort with a personal check. What else do you do when you don’t have cash?


                      This characteristic led men to set sail from repression to find freedom in new lands, and their beliefs in a government run by its people led to the foundation of our country. On a smaller scale, assertive men negotiate lower prices for a new car purchase and they are great at squeezing up to a crowded bar to order drinks.


                      Since the beginning of time, men have used their brute physical strength to hunt for food and to construct shelter. Such tasks also built up inner strength, allowing men to face difficult conditions without falling apart emotionally. Today, the majority of American men who develop muscular bodies do so as a source of male pride rather than as a means for survival. Modern man faces different, yet equally stressful, life situations and must rely on his inner strength more than ever.


                      If any attribute results in more jokes about men, it is the infamous male pride. He refuses to ask for directions, he won’t admit he’s wrong and he insists on wearing the same “lucky” shorts every time his favorite team plays. Pride, however, also inspires him to coach his son’s soccer team and to place his hand in the small of his wife’s back as they walk into a restaurant together.

                      These characteristics are by no means exclusive to men, and each man possesses them in varying degrees. Traits like the above give us ample reasons to admire our fathers, brothers, boyfriends and husbands, and they should be remembered the next time we’re tempted to engage in male bashing. For all their frustrating quirks, men are truly the yang to the female yin, and the resulting duo is stronger for their differences. Let’s appreciate how our male co-workers, friends and family members add harmony to the melody of our lives!

                      PHOTO CREDITS:
                      Photo: Neysa Ruhl Photography
                      Models: Chris Saunders and Rosina Luca, stylist and marketing manager at Avalon Salon and Aesthetic Day Spa in Hyde Park.