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The Kite Runner
Khalid Abdalla, Atossa Leoni, Homayoun Ershadi, Shaun Toub, Zekeria Ebrahimi as Young Amir, Ahmad Khan Mahmidzada as Young Hassan

Rarely does a film resemble so completely the vision of the novel it is based upon. In “The Kite Runner,” we have found a winner.

This film is an adaptation of the best-selling novel by Khaled Hosseini. “The Kite Runner” is a story of two Afghani boys’ youth and the relationship they have forged amidst the political events of the Soviet invasion and the creation of the Taliban regime.

As children, these two boys are inseparable. The young Amir is a privileged son. His friend and defender is the smaller Hassan who is of mixed race and the child of his father’s lifelong servant.

The author describes the Afghanistan childhood of Amir as lush, beautiful, bountiful and beloved. The film depicts this Afghanistan just as beautifully while showcasing the citizens as they celebrate a party in the home of Amir’s father, Baba, and also as the street children from the city engage in the annual kite running competition.

This is the story of one Afghanistan American’s life completing the reclamation of the tragedies that beset him as a young child. At the center of this story is Amir.

Our film begins as the adult Amir has met success as an author now living and married in America. In the midst of this triumph he is called to return to Afghanistan to help find a young child. Returning to the Afghanistan of the present is far removed and dangerous from that of his childhood.

Amir and his father fled the Taliban regime and the destruction of their homeland to begin a life in America. As Amir grew to be a young man he held a secret and a childhood betrayal he could never forget. Would going back to face his past ever reconcile it?

Told in a visually stunning backdrop entrenched in treacherous odds and credible recreations of the inhumane treatment of people in Afghanistan and its horror of the conditions within it.

There are many layers to this story of redemption, struggle and forgiveness. Tastefully depicted in this film is a pivotal scene where one character is overpowered and raped. This scene is vital because it serves to represent the social similarity of the rape of an entire country; people being overpowered, oppressed and submitted to silence for survival.

This film was poignant. It was a beautiful story ensconced in the cruelties of war. It eloquently served to tell a story about human injustices: prejudice, ignorance and ethnic cleansing. It told of our collective frailties and most certainly our collective hope.

Although no film could ever encapsulate the nuisances and depth of character development or plot that a novel promulgates; this film makes a praiseworthy effort.

Rating: Five Chic Stars

Jan’s Movie Rating System:
5 – Top notch entertainment
4 – Compelling, Heartwarming, Thrilling, Comical
3 – The a) story b) actors c) special effects saved/made this movie.
2 – If you are bored watch it, or wait for DVD
1 – Don’t bother. Too morose, too violent, too blasé, an enigma.

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You will be met with challenges and opportunities in 2008; your Aura color personality can help guide you through the maze of choices that will impact your education, family, wealth, health and even politics. You have the ability to make changes that not only make you feel happier, healthier and more successful, but will also affect your family and community for a brighter year.

If you have not had an aura reading, first click here to take the free, two question Aura Test to determine your color. If you are a solid color, just read the content under your color heading. If you are a combination color, read the content related to your primary color (for example, if you are a Yellow Magenta, you would read the Yellow Aurascope).

RED – You are bright, strong and physically active. You are loyal to your mate, friends and co-workers. Choose a cause this year where you can make a physical improvement to the neighborhood or environment. Recycle used furniture and clothing to the needy. Make sure your commitments are well researched and documented.

ORANGE – You have emotion, passion, courage and strength. You love your physically-challenging outdoor excursions, so this year, help walk, run or train animals at your local shelter. You would also be a great guide or teacher for a handicapped athlete. You should plan a journey that will satisfy you physically as well as emotionally this year.

MAGENTA – Your colorful, sizzling energy will want to experience new fashion and technology trends. You may want to work and wear some of the new smart fabrics and intelligent textiles that will be color changing or perfume emitting. You could be part of the cutting edge at work and play.

YELLOW – Your great optimism and love of life is going to lead you into new frontiers this year. You have no fear of change, so welcome new job or educational opportunities that may take you to distant places. You will forge new lasting friendships that also will lead to financial gains.

MENTAL/PHYSICAL TAN – You are a thinker and a leader; step forward this year to lead a new project at work or to finish a home project. You will be surprised and happy at your success – no one else will be surprised – they are just waiting for you to take the helm so you can showcase all of your abilities.

LOVING/NURTURING TAN – You are all about your family and community; this is the year for you to educate and illustrate good environmental habits. You will lovingly engage your mate, friends, family and coworkers to join you in a community project that will benefit everyone and will result in positive recognition for your efforts.

GREEN – You are highly successful – you have friends, prosper at work, enjoy the best of what life has to offer you – and now it is time to spread “the green” to others. You will be a valuable mentor to someone, so invest in their future as you did your own and you will enjoy an emotional reward of love and kindness returned to you.

BLUE – There will be a major housecleaning for you mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically. You will need to write your goals – not too many, but enough to stay with them – and check them off as you complete them. You should get rid of the clutter – bad friends, mates, clothing, etc. – and save your money for yourself this year.

LAVENDER – You are happiest in your dream state where everything is perfect, beautiful and happy. Try to catch up with the rapid technical advances – just learn how to navigate through a computer and make sure you keep your cell phone charged so you can be reached easily.

INDIGO – You intuitively know the global changes that are coming, and that will affect you personally. You will be protective and proactive about securing money, shelter, supplies and safety for your mate, and family. You will surround yourself with the latest technology and research tools so you can understand all options.

VIOLET – You will be using your personal success and power to train others how to succeed and lead with dignity, loyalty and spirituality. You can be a great mentor and have valuable information to pass to others; they will appreciate your time and input, so let them approach you with their quests.

CRYSTAL – You are the ultimate thinker and healer; globalization and technological innovation will drive you toward increased prosperity for yourself and others that you touch. Allow your inspirations to guide you and move you to work hard with others so that continued global healing can succeed.

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It is the season of glitz and glamour and you will definitely feel and look your best when adding the appropriate gemstone, placed boldly on your body, which matches your Aura. Gemstones enhance your inner beauty and energy and are thought to protect against illness and to produce good luck. There are multiple gem choices for each Aura color, so try one or all that fits your personal style.

If you have not had an aura reading, first click here to take the free, two question Aura Test to determine your color. If you are a solid color, just read the content under your color heading. If you are a combination color, read the content related to your primary color (for example, if you are a Yellow Magenta, you would read the Yellow Aurascope).

RED – Red gemstones are meant to stimulate and excite your mind, body and spirit. Choices include the Ruby, Red Garnet, Hematite, Agate or Red Coral. You will feel renewed warmth and balanced energy that will keep you moving with vitality and self confidence through Holiday madness.

ORANGE – Orange gemstones are rare like your Aura color; Carnelian, Coral and Moonstone will inspire and illuminate your personal energy. Each of these gems may protect you from fear and help you feel and send positive energy to others. These are gems of tenderness, emotion and physical attraction.

MAGENTA – You love innovative, creative, and trendy creations. You can wear multiple gems at the same time to express your unique style and character. Choose colored Pearls, and shades of Quartz, such as Rose, Aqua or Turquoise, that will cool, protect, soothe and balance your energy for your dusk to dawn parties.

YELLOW – Your sunny Aura denotes your extroversion, expressiveness and vitality. Amber, Citrine and Yellow Sapphire will protect your energy and your personal “sun” throughout your busy days and nights. Amber increases energy flow, and Citrine and Yellow Sapphire will draw others to you because of its brilliance.

MENTAL/PHYSICAL TAN – You will want to remain balanced and positive through the mental and physical strain of the Holidays; surround yourself with Smoky Quartz, Tigers Eye or Topaz gems to dissolve mental and emotional blockages. You will achieve calming clarity in both business and personal relationships.

LOVING/NURTURING TAN – Your wardrobe should include vibrant Imperial Yellow Topaz and calming White Topaz to quiet your emotions yet offer you renewed life force metabolism. You need balance in your busy community and home lifestyle; these gems could carry away that nervous exhaustion of the Holidays.

GREEN – You possess a positive attitude and you are a true leader; growth, healing, and prosperity will draw others to you when you wear brilliant Emeralds, Peridots, Jade or Aventurine. Jade and Aventurine are know for their luck; Emeralds and Peridots represent money, fertility, healing and growth.

BLUE – Many gems are perfect for your health, harmony and communication with loved ones. Use Turquoise for optimum health issues, Lapis for feeling devoted to a cause or person for daytime work, and Sapphires and Aquamarines for feeling a special lift for your Holiday parties or family gatherings.

LAVENDER – Your delicate nature will be enhanced by your special gemstone jewelry; light weight, light colored, opalescent gems should adorn you for maximum comfort and attunement. You should wear Opalescent Quartz, Lemon or Lavender Jade, or delicate, feminine Opals to add sparkle to your smile.

INDIGO – Three rare gems should surround you; Iolite, Alexandrite and Tanzanite are exotic, complex, alluring and captivating. You will draw others to you by your cool, calming exterior that shields others from your true natural intuitive nature. You will enhance your inner knowledge of love and money.

VIOLET – You should adorn yourself with Amethyst, Sapphire, Blue Topaz and multi colored Diamonds. You need not be afraid of projecting your positive, loving, spiritual and giving nature. These gems will bestow strength, peace, warmth and the extra power of sight and wisdom to you, the wearer.

CRYSTAL – Choose any clear or colored gem; your Crystal White Aura absorbs all rays of color and can be cooling and soothing or inspiring and stimulating. Choose a clearing color of Clear Quartz or Diamond, or a power feeling of “knowing and seeing all” with brilliant Rubies. Green and Yellow gems will renew your spirit with love.

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Who says you need to be in a couple to ring in the new year? In fact, there are lots of reasons why facing midnight unattached could be the very best way to celebrate. Here are a few:

Embrace the Unexpected
There's something delicious about the possibility that at midnight you could kiss anyone.

More "Friend Time"
Being women, we all know that the one thing we cannot ever live without are our dearest friends. So, as these holidays come into play, remember your friends. From the friends that have been there since day one to the new ones you're excited to get to know more. Invite them to do something special. feminine and memorable this New Year's. Once you're attached in the future, you'll look back at those memories with great fondness because there's no way your future Mr. Right will fill his New Year's Eve with manicures, chick flicks and formal wear.

No Baby-sitting Duties
Nothing rings in the new year with discord like a date who drinks too much, or wants to stay four hours longer than you do.

Helping Hands
While everyone is hustling and bustling to get their family schedules together, you can be like a breath of fresh air for your coupled friends. If they need an ear to fill with in-law woes, or they need an extra two hands in the kitchen. Giving that time to them will in turn help fill your heart with gladness. Being there for your friends during the holidays is one of the best ways to spread some solo holiday spirit. Plus, just imagine all the extra goodies you might come across (mmmm, chocolate). So go out and lend a helping hand for your friends this holiday season and bring some smiles to those who have helped you throughout the years.

Be Adventurous
Now being solo isn't like this horrible brand you have been stamped with that you must wear with slouching shoulders and a frown. Embrace your solitude. After helping your friends create a wondrous holiday memory, go out and take on a new adventure. We have that luxury, being solo and all, that the "coupled" do not get to embark on. Just like being there for your friends, make sure you are there for yourself as well. Do something out of the ordinary. Escape from the day-to-day monotony. Get a massage. Paint a room a bright new color. Dye your hair. Buy a fabulous new outfit online. Take your dog on a weekend adventure to Hocking Hills.

Spending the holidays solo is all in how you decide to do it. You can spend it alone in front of the TV with a box of cheese nips and eggnog, moping about your solitude or you can acknowledge the beauty of it and go out and spread your holiday solo happiness with the 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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The Savages

Laura Linney, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Philip Bosco

A good indication of the merit in viewing a film is how well it succeeds in holding one’s interest. For the movie “The Savages,” I found myself looking at my watch not once but three times throughout the length of this film.

This is not to suggest this film unworthy of seeing. It just seemed to appeal to a limited target audience – either those who are fans of Philip Seymour Hoffman and Laure Linney or perhaps the subject matter: aging parents, dementia, forced care giving and unfulfilled childhood expectations.

“The Savages” is a film about a brother and sister who have long gone their separate ways. Their father, played in an Oscar worthy performance by Philip Bosco, lives in an assisted living community in Arizona. It becomes clear that Lenny Savage can no longer function independently. As his needs become greater so does his dementia.

This film will certainly speak to those who are of the sandwich generation — your health is good. Your children are out of the house and now instead of reveling in new found independence you find yourself having to care for aging parents.

Depicting the frailties of declining mental capabilities in the people who were once our caregivers is a difficult subject to portray. Linney and Hoffman do an admirable job.  

What was hopeful in this story was the brother’s role and how he did not abandon his responsibility for his aging father. Often in real life the care of a parent falls upon one adult child with the other(s) refusing any share in the care giving and decision making. In this film the character of the brother was wonderfully attentive to the situation. And realistic in his honest, if not harsh, take on reality of what assisted facilities really are: “They are fancy names for nursing homes where people go to die.”

Hoffman’s ability to get to the crux of their situation and blatantly name where his father is going and what his inevitable future will be plays well against the guilt and sadness of Linney’s character. Her character portrays the emotions and the reality of seeing your parent die.

It is this type of acting that makes this film so worthwhile especially for those who are experiencing a similar situation. This film offers a fine cast, a touching, difficult subject matter and several outstanding performances to tell this tale of aging parents.

Rating: Three Chic Stars

Jan’s Movie Rating System:
5 – Top notch entertainment
4 – Compelling, Heartwarming, Thrilling, Comical
3 – The a) story b) actors c) special effects saved/made this movie.
2 – If you are bored watch it, or wait for DVD
1 – Don’t bother. Too morose, too violent, too blasé, an enigma.

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Cincy Chic: Tell us how you got the idea to start your own business and how you're growing it.
Alison Wenstrup:
I've always wanted to own my own business, ever since I was a little girl. I must have caught the entrepreneurial spirit from my dad, who is also a small business owner. I started working on events while I was in college, assisting another coordinator on a freelance basis and planning events for the organizations I was involved with at Xavier. Knowing that I eventually wanted to work for myself, I decided to start my business part-time after I graduated. Keeping the business part-time while I was working full-time in other positions allowed me the time I needed to build up my contacts and experience. I officially went full-time in November – Aviva Events has grown quicker than I expected it to and I couldn't be happier!

 

Cincy Chic: Any advice you'd like to share on how you're growing your business?
Wenstrup:
The vast majority of my business comes from referrals, so the key for me has been networking. It is so important to get out there and meet everyone in the industry, to demonstrate your creativity and to earn their trust. I started going to ISES (International Special Events Society) meetings in the earliest stages of starting my business, and the contacts I have made there have been valuable. It's not always easy to get started in an area as popular as the special events industry, so you can't be afraid to create your own opportunities. Early on I volunteered my services for several non-profits, gaining more hands-on experience and developing some wonderful contacts.

 

Cincy Chic: Why did you name it Aviva Events?
Wenstrup:
"Aviva" is a Hebrew name that my grandmother Bess gave me. Bess Kanter certainly knows style and fun, so any name she chose I decided would also work well for a company that produces stylish and fun events. Plus, doesn't "Aviva Events" just sound so much better than "Alison Events"?

 

Cincy Chic: Why do you feel so passionate about what you're doing?
Wenstrup:
The people! I am so lucky to get to work with such a great group of fun, creative people on a regular basis. I love meeting other event professionals (photographer, caterers, florists, etc.) and learning about their talents so that I can share them with my clients. In addition to the great professionals I get to work with, I absolutely adore my clients. Every single client is so unique and I love working with them to bring their individual personalities and styles into their event. Events take place in celebration – in celebration of love, of achievement, of a cause, of a person, the list goes on. Being able to take part in that spirit of celebration with so many different people is totally and completely satisfying, and is why I love what I do.

Cincy Chic: What's your favorite type of event to plan?
Wenstrup:
It's a toss up between weddings and fundraisers. Weddings are the bulk of what I do, and it's so much fun to help a couple's vision come to life! When planning a wedding you very quickly become immersed in a couple's life and their families, and the excitement is contagious. I work on fewer fundraisers, but look forwarding to planning them more. They are a ton of work, but so rewarding. This past year I partnered with the Bridal Studio to produce the Bitter Bridesmaid Bash, which will be an annual event. Getting it started this first year certainly wasn't easy, but it was well worth the hours we put in; we ended the night with 200 dresses to give to Kenzie's Closet. I can't wait to see how the event grows next next year!

Cincy Chic: If you had to give us one event planning tip, what would it be?
Wenstrup:
If I could only give one tip, it would be to plan ahead. Give yourself plenty of time to take care of the details. A great event can be planned in a short amount of time, but you'll have many fewer options as the majority of venues and vendors may already be booked.

Cincy Chic: What's your favorite thing about Cincinnati?
Wenstrup:
On a professional level, my favorite thing about Cincinnati is the number of unique locations that we can choose from for events. If you're looking for something a little bit different, Cincinnati has many options.

On a personal level, my favorite thing about Cincinnati is the arts. Despite our conservative reputation, Cincinnati has an amazingly diverse arts scene. From our museums to galleries to theaters, there really is something for everyone. My personal favorites are the Contemporary Arts Center and the Know Theatre.

PHOTO CREDITS:
Photo: Neysa Ruhl Photography
Location: Fischer Homes Granite Spring Model Home
Model: Alison Wenstrup of Aviva Events

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Cincy Chic
is the proud recipient of the "Best New Product or Service" award, which was presented at the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber’s second annual WE Celebrate awards program.


The WE Celebrate program, part of the Chamber’s women leadership initiative Women Excel (WE), presented awards in four categories: Best New Product or Service, Mentor of the Year, Woman of the Year (corporate, nonprofit and entrepreneur) and Woman-owned Business of the Year.

Cincy Chic was recognized for growing — in its first year — a readership of 11,000 and a staff of three full-time employees and more than 50 freelancers.

"Cincy Chic was nominated among some of the most powerful businesses and women in Cincinnati, and it says a lot for an online-only venture like this to be recognized with such prestigious accolades," says editor and publisher Amy Storer. "It says we’re providing a great resource for Cincinnati’s women, and this first year is only scratching the surface of all the success we’ll see in years to come."

Cincy Chic, published by My Dime Publishing Group, LLC., provides weekly content with a circulation of 11,000 and a distribution ranging from Florence to West Chester to Lawrenceburg. Each week, Cincy Chic publishes a new feature story as well as five departments covering the following topics: health, beauty, fashion, social and career. There is also a social networking aspect of the site where members can sign in, create a profile, interact on blogs and forums, etc.

General membership of CincyChic.com is free, and a VIP membership — which provides free cover at Cincy Chic events, discounts at a number of local vendors and many other benefits — costs $10. Learn more about Cincy Chic at www.cincychic.com.

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If you have not had an aura reading, first click here to take the free, two question Aura Test to determine your color. If you are a solid color, just read the content under your color heading. If you are a combination color, read the content related to your primary color (for example, if you are a Yellow Magenta, you would read the Yellow Aurascope).

RED – You will enjoy receiving gifts that will require the use of your physical strength, and stamina. You need the challenge of putting together high tech appliances, games, puzzles, or environmental projects that will be pleasing to your eye and fun to touch and move. Anything that is practical will also be appreciated.

ORANGE – You are not shy about sharing your passion for adventure and physical challenges. You will appreciate receiving the latest clothing or gadget associated with your favorite outdoor activity or next planned trip. You will want to receive the very best equipment and outfitting for your sport, so let people know what is on your “wish list”.

MAGENTA –
Big, bold, colorful and whimsical will please all of your senses. You like gifts that are very creative and “one of a kind”. Holiday Bazaars, Art galleries, and boutiques will offer a wide variety of unique gifts for your tastes. Gifts for you could also include moveable parts or sparkle and glitter that will catch and hold your interest.

YELLOW – You love to both entertain and be entertained by others. Gifts could include tickets to a movie or live show, dinner out with a group of friends, or a gift certificate for spa days including “sunning” for that extra glow. You need to be with your friends, and loved ones and will appreciate gifts that do not exclude anyone.

MENTAL/PHYSICAL TAN –
You probably already have your gift “wish list” assembled and posted for others to see. If not, vocalize your wishes; you give a lot of thought to exactly what you want. Pleasing gifts for you would include gift certificates to a book store, museum store and/ or to an outdoor store for adding inventory for your favorite hobby.

LOVING/NURTURING TAN –
Your friends, family and/or lover know how community oriented you are. You will be very appreciative receiving donations to your favorite organization or charity in your honor. You will also enjoy receiving a gift certificate that entitles you to go to a dinner or outing that will benefit a favorite community program.

GREEN – You really like the best of everything that money can buy; your friends and loved ones know how difficult it is to choose a gift for you. Gift choices should include gift cards to high quality boutiques or frequented restaurants, or, go out and purchase the best bottle of wine, champagne or candy that you can afford.

BLUE –
Your sensitive, loving, giving personality is very apparent to friends and loved ones. You would love to receive gifts of framed photographs of your special friends, family or pets that will serve as lasting memories around you. You also love knick knack gifts that are very personal reminders of a friendship or love.

LAVENDER – You love to relax your body and mind and be engulfed in thoughts of fantasy; the best type of gifts for you will include bath salts, gels, lotions and candles that create a mood shift. You will also enjoy receiving gift certificates to a spa or to your favorite hair dresser and manicurist. You like to be soothed and pampered.

INDIGO –
You are powerful, self-confident and yet, need space and freedom. It is really difficult to gift you as you are a better “giver” than receiver. Gifts should be well thought out for you – a loved one must really understand your habits – choices could include book certificates or spa visits where you can be alone with your inner thoughts.

VIOLET – You are highly successful, giving and always busy. Your loved ones and friends should gift you with a special outing event that will relax your mind, body and soul. You will also want a gift to be highly personalized to your tastes – no generic gifts for you. You will enjoy receiving monogrammed gifts – small or large.

CRYSTAL – You are a reader, thinker, and have a strong spiritual and healing nature. Gift certificates to a book store will be greatly appreciated. You may also enjoy receiving crystals, candles, angels and other religious or healing gifts from a Metaphysical store. You will also appreciate donations made in your name to healing charities.

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Cincy Chic
: We featured you on the site a few months ago as a Real Estate agent. Now you're a vintage clothing store/art gallery owner? Tell us how all that happened!
Meghan Ferguson: From being in Real Estate and my boyfriend in the mortgage business, we came across a really special opportunity. A friend of his had The Manly Estate listed. We toured the building the day before a major price reduction and got very lucky. We are now converting the building to condos. We decided to lease out the first floor commercial space to artists. We opened "Sanctuary Living at the Mansion," We create a retail atmosphere with unique gifts such as clothing and jewelry to create a boutique buying experience for art of all kinds.

Cincy Chic: What's your vision for the Mansion?
Ferguson: Our vision is to create a sanctuary for urban dwellers, artists and shoppers. We are located on the beautiful 9th St. Historic District. A street lined with residential brownstones which house our forward-thinking neighbors. Our vision is to see the Cincinnati art renaissance in its full glory. The School for Creative and Performing Arts will offer a free education to the talented youth of Cincinnati, located only two blocks away. The street car, which will hopefully be making its return around the same time, will regain the connectivity that once made this city so desirable. It will also lend itself to less polution and a decrease in the number of city parking lots. We want people to know that it's okay to live downtown; that new urbanism is on the horizon.

In order for people to share our vision, we want to throw an event every six weeks. The next event is New Year's Eve, and the theme will be "Vintage Hollywood." Dress up in fabulous vintage Hollywood or black tie and dance the night away to the beats of DJ Mowgli in an elegant ballroom. Fabulous appetizers by Creative Confections and a free champagne toast will be included in admission. A silent auction will benefit the Cincinnati Free Store and Food Bank. It will be an elegant affair – to help the revitilization of Downtown Cincinnati – not soon to be forgotten. Click here to learn more about it.

Our vision for the mansion is for it to grow into what it is supposed to become. A place to live, shop and create a future of Cincinnati.
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Cincy Chic: Why do you feel so passionate about what you're doing?
Ferguson: Ghandi once said "be the change you wish to see in the world." To make a change, you must start in your community. I didn't grow up in downtown; it was always a destination for me. While I traveled around the world, when asked where I lived, I replied Cincinnati. When I first moved back from California, I started my Real Estate career in Northern Kentucky. I was excited with the rise in development in Newport and Covington. Yet, I thought neither city would be emerging if not located in the Cincinnati region. Passionately, my boyfriend and I would admire the Cincinnati skyline from the balcony of our condo in The Bluffs located in Covington. We are now a part of the beautiful view attempting to make the city's future a little brighter. Just like a small seed can become a giant oak tree, an idea of new urbanism has taken root in Cincinnati. We are just a small part of this.

Cincy Chic: What's your favorite thing about the Mansion?
Ferguson: Aesthetically, it would be the chandeliers, high ceilings with crown molding and the hand painted Zuber wallpaper in the ballroom. Emotionally, it would be the effect it has on all its visitors. Everyone who is drawn into this place is in awe of the building, its history and its purpose. People find a treasure in the shop; something one-of-a-kind and it makes it makes them happy. They are proud to discover the one thing they never knew that they always wanted.

Cincy Chic: How are you keeping alive the memory of the Mansion's previous (and quite legendary) owner?
Ferguson: The funny thing about living in this house, is that 7 out of 10 people that we talk to have eaten at our home. Bob Manly was well known for his dinner parties catered in the 650 sq. ft. kitchen and lended his luxurous dining room to simply recieve a plate from the feast himself. We have a very unique space available for private parites etc. and have already catered a rehersal dinner here. All we ask is that you clean up when you leave. Mr. Manley was also a big advocate for downtown living and "fighting eminnet domaign before it was cool." We, too, reach out to the community to support the local businesses. With our day jobs, we specialize in selling and leasing urban properties. We live, breathe and eat this city.

121707SPOTLIGHT3.jpg Cincy Chic: How do you feel about being a young female business owner and do you have any advice to share?
Ferguson: Be passionate about what you do. If you have a dream of owning a shop, follow your dream. Dreams never go away until they are realized. If they are ignored, one day they will only be a "what if."

Cincy Chic: What's your favorite thing about Cincinnati?
Ferguson: We love the community. We love that there is always something going on. Fountain Square has family-friendly entertainment. During the summer, we took the kids to movie night on the jumbo tron, square dancing in the fall and now ice skating. The kids have a horse named "Bob" that is our usual way home on a full-filled Saturday. The have a huge backyard full of museums, theaters, libraries, events and even a large swingset down at Sawyer Point.

PHOTO CREDITS:
Photo: Neysa Ruhl Photography
Location: Fischer Homes Granite Spring Model Home
Model: Meghan Ferguson with The Cincinnati Mansion

 

See below for a slideshow of pictures taken at the Mansion.

 

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You might have heard of a purse party, candle party, scrapbooking party, a "fun" party, pajama party, cocktail party, Tupperware party or even a Botox party, but have you ever heard of or been to an iParty?

These "iParties," or iPod parties, are broadening musical horizons at parties, get-togethers and hotspots across the nation.

Two Guys and a Pod
The year was 2002, it was around 10 p.m. on an ordinary Tuesday night in the trendy nightclub APT in New York's West Village, when two-guys, both named Andrew — dressed in white lab coats, white high-top hats and black-rimmed reading glasses — whipped out their iPods and mixer and rocked the house. And that's how the revolution — or like DJ Andrew Andrew (they refuse to reveal their last names) like to call it — the democracy started.

According to their Web site, Andrew Andrew describes an iParty as "bringing democracy to the dance floor," allowing anyone to become DJ for a night. In an interview, one Andrew explains, people do not usually think they will be allowed to play in a club, because most club DJs are thought of as superstars. "For the first time they're actually given a chance to play music on their own."

The other Andrew adds: "The iPod is something where it's so saturated that everyone knows what it is. Even if they don't know how to operate it, the concept of operating one is familiar to them."

In a process very similar to a Karaoke bar, party-goers take a number (or as they would at a supermarket's deli counter), have a drink or two, while browsing through a playlist book. When the neon "Now Serving" sign flashes their number, it's showtime! Instead of old-school turntables, the novice DJ operates two iPods loaded with more than 1,000 songs, docked on a special mixer formatted for iPods, and is allowed seven minutes' worth of solo DJing. And for those unfamiliar with the mechanics of an “iPod turntable,” the Andrews are close by to offer techie support.

Variations of the iParty or iPod night revolution has spread to other clubs around the world from The Tonic Room, in Chicago's London Park neighborhood, to the 21st Amendment Brewery, Restaurant, and Bar in San Francisco, to nightclubs in Australia and London (the Brits' iParty sometimes morphs into an iRave.)

Mass Appeal or Individual Stardom?
In this narcissistic age, where everyone wants their 15 minutes of fame, or wants their existence to be acknowledged, iParties can turn into popularity contests and ordinary club and party attenders into local celebrities. The newbie DJs compete to see whose playlist can bring the most people onto the dance floor, stroking egos further. The founders behind Playlist who host their own version of iParties, awards DJs that dealt the most crowd-pleasing set with iPod accessories donated by sponsors as prizes. "We're looking for people who in 15 minutes can make an inert audience move," explains Jonny Rocket, who, along with his wife Lisa, were inspired by the Andrews iParty concept and are now hosting Playlist parties all over the United Kingdom, and have plans to take their parties to the U.S.

From the Clubs to Your Living Room
So how do you take an iParty from the hottest nightclubs to your next shindig? It's easier than you think and if you follow these tips you might throw an iParty that the Andrews would be envious of!

  1. Save the Date. I recommend the wonderful resource that is Evite.com, for sending out customized electronic invitations for your iParty. Make sure that it's mandatory for guests to bring their iPods loaded with a playlist to share…remember, people, it's an iPod party! If one or two of your friends doesn't have an iPod, let it slide, but don't let someone that has one get away with not bringing one…it defeats the whole concept.
  2. Get in the Mix. As the host of the party, you want to set the tone of musical DJ prowess for your guests, so make sure you choose the creme of the crop and create your playlist on your iPod. I recommend a random mix of songs for your playlist, so people get a wide variety of songs, rather than just a themed playlist such as all Rap, or Country.
  3. Crank It. What good is a great playlist if no one can hear the music? The success to a good iParty, or any party for that matter, is a great sound system such as Apple's iPod Hi-Fi, which claims to be the best system to showcase the iPod's true sound quality, because it's made by the people that made the iPod.
  4. House Rules. You are the master DJ at your party, but your friends are the guest DJs for the night, and to ensure that everyone gets a chance to shine, you have to establish some rules. WIth their prepared playlists, allow each guest 5-15 minutes of play/DJ time – this keeps the music fresh and exciting and allows more people the chance to show off their musical tastes.
  5. Top DJ. Your iParty doesn't have to be competitive in nature, but why not?! It'll be more fun that way. Have party attenders vote who was the best DJ with the most rockin' playlist and award the winners with iTunes gift cards for as little as $10. If you mention this in your evite, it might give incentive to everyone to up the ante with their playlist before they come to the party.
  6. Be a Traditionalist. You might be throwing a really geeky-high-tech iParty, but don't forget the basics! Nothing, not even the iPod, beats good ole party food and libations. Make sure you have lots of edible…and drinkable fuel for your guests, they'll definitely need it after burning all those calories (whether from the alcohol or the chips) dancing away on the dance floor.
  7. Impress Your Guests. And not just with your DJing skills. Apple's Party Pro for iPod will take your iParty to a whole new level. Download the software to your iPod, and you instantly have access to the 800 most used drink recipes with photos of select drinks, 55 drinking games, a global bar and club database for every US and European city, bartender 411 (tips and tricks), and if you spot that cutie smiling at you from across the room (that you're friend just happened to bring along to your party), use one of the 100 pick-up lines for men and women! The Party Pro also offers advice for cleaning up after your iParty as well!

 

Apple sure knows how to throw a party!

Geek Speak

  • Do you have iPod envy because you don't own one? Visit the Apple Store to see which iPod is right for you.
  • Can't tell the difference between a playlist and a smart playlist? Go to iTunes for your MP3 related questions and a jump start on getting, organizing and sharing the music you love.
  • Want to be a real DJ and mix songs with an iPod mixer like the Andrew boys? Read a DJ's review about the hottest mixer on the market right now, the Numark iDJ Mixing Console for iPod.

 

Click the play button below to see how the Numark's iDJ Mixing Console works.