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Editor in Chic

Looking for something unique to get the littles on your list this year? Read on as our Editor in Chic shares her secret to Santa-esque success.

One of the reasons I love shopping with Miss Em’s (other than the fact that she’s locally based and a rockstar #GirlBoss) is that she not only has great jewelry and accessories for ME, but also fun gift items for the kiddos on my list. It’s stuff you don’t see picked over at all the department stores, or worry if they’ll have four duplicates of it under the tree. Here are a few of my favorite unique gift items for kids on missems.com!

“How you Doin’?” bib

($13) And there are a TON of other bibs with funny sayings like “Taco Tuesday,” “I’m so fancy,” and a mermaid-themed “Call me on my SHELL phone.”

 

 

Santa Sack

($18) This is an oversized canvas holiday drawstring gift sack that features printed holiday graphics and a chalkboard banner so you can personalize it with the kiddo’s name. You can wrap up a bigger item with this, or put several smaller items in it. Helloooo, easy gift wrapping!

 

 

Santa Evidence Kit

($20) This is a 6-piece set that includes a reindeer bell, Santa glove, button, glasses and footprint stencil kit with glitter. There’s also a poem on the box explains the discovery magic! So fun!

 

 

Countdown Blocks

($20) Make counting down the time until the big day fun AND educational. Plus, it’ll help remind you of how much time you have left to buy all those last minute gifts and get it all wrapped, haha! 

 

 

Tickle Monster Book

($35) I bought this for my daughter last year at the Miss Em’s Holiday Open House, and it’s seriously been one of my best purchases EVER for her. It’s easily her most-requested book at night time — unlike any of her other books and it always induces the best belly laughs — and I just love the bonding time we get from it. 

 

Buckeye Piggy Bank
($22) Ok, if you have a kiddo on your list who’s first letters were O-H… I-O, then this is the gift for them. And hey, tell them to start saving their pennies for OSU tuition, or at least season tickets for lots of OSU games in the future!

 

 

Elf Door

($15) You can’t have an Elf on the Shelf in your house without a door for them to come in, right? This is such a fun idea for your Elf on the Shelf lovin’ littles to spark their vivid imaginations, or if you just want to add something unique to your holiday decor.

 

Sparkly Time of the Year Onesie

($20, 0-6months) I love getting the little holiday-themed onesies that make the littles look extra super cute for the season. There are lots of cute onesies, socks, and adorable accessories like a bowtie and suspenders set on her site, so check them out, too!

Looking for an easy but unique fundraiser for a charity you love? Want to update your wardrobe and help local causes while you're at it? See how you can through one locally-based online retailer.

I love shopping on my friend Emily’s site, www.missems.com, because there’s a TON of cute jewelry, bags/scarves and baby stuff (at SUPER affordable prices). But I also love doing business with her because she supports lots of local charities.

The first kind of charity she supports is YOURS. Click here to see a video I did last year that documents how to host an online shopping party with your friends and family to fundraise for a cause of your choice. For the sale I did last year, I raised funds for a family who needed money for fertility treatment… so your cause doesn’t necessarily need to be an official 501c3 charity. 

You can also host online shopping events that are not related to a charity (like this one I’m doing on Oct. 23) where you earn credits to use on her site instead. But in case you’d like to host a Miss Em’s fundraiser, here are some highlights:

  • 15% of total sales from a Miss Em’s party get donated back as a check for your organization
  • Can be done online as a virtual/Facebook party (can you include the video you did last year as a party) OR…
  • It can be an in-home party where your friends and family come to you
  • All pieces of jewelry are $5-$25 or less so everyone can feel comfortable purchasing something without breaking the bank

Miss Em’s also hosts events throughout the year in Columbus and Cincinnati where a portion of proceeds benefit a local cause. Here are groups they’ve done fundraisers for previously: Boy Scouts, cheerleading teams, volleyball teams, southern Ohio survivors, Pelotonia, Cincinnati Children’s, and many more.  

Click here to check out the “Upcoming Event” section of her site so you can see if there’s an event coming up (where she’s either hosting or being a vendor at) that you’d like to attend. It’s always neat to see and try on the items in person instead of buying online! You can also “like” Miss Em’s on Facebook so you get invited to events in the future. Here are a few pictures of previous Miss Em’s events and fundraisers so you can see how fun they are! Hope to see you at one soon!

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Need free and super fast wi-fi while you're out and about? Watch as we used Cincinnati Bell's Connect Cincinnati app to find a fioptics free wi-fi hotspot downtown and see why we gave it two geek chic thumbs up!

Designed by Cincinnati Bell, the Connect Cincinnati app is the first city-wide, free mobile app that connects consumers, businesses and the community. It has has TONS of information about things to do, discounts on fun stuff all over town, PLUS it has a amazing additional feature: it tells you where all the fioptic free wifi is all over town!

And these hotspots are in the most popular and vibrant locations of the Greater Cincinnati area like Fountain Square, Riverbend, Washington Park, US Bank Arena, Findlay Market, and Newport Aquarium- just to name a few.

This app and its hotspots are a dream come true. Whether you need to hop on to do some work between meetings, share some video at a concert, or look up recipes at Findlay Market, you’ll have the speed of the incredibly fast fioptics internet at your fingertips.

Download the free app now to check it out for yourself and learn more about it at cincinnatibell.com

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Our Editor in Chic shares the story of a plant that taught her a lesson about learning and adjusting.

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The hydrangea plant in our back yard is starting to bloom. I know, I know. It’s spring and that’s what plants do. But this plant has an interesting story.

It had big, beautiful flowers when we first moved into our home three years ago, and then it didn’t bloom for the next 2. I actually almost uprooted it last year because I thought it was dying, but then I learned that I was just pruning it at the wrong time of year. And now look at it!

The same holds true for a lot of things in life. They don’t “work” the way you want. You get frustrated and sometimes even give up hope. But just a little learning and adjusting can make you both blossom!

Our editor in chic Amy Scalia chats with Styling with Amy about a hot new trend: Off the shoulder. Read on and watch for great styling tips (like using a skirt as a top!).

Check out our first of many “Styling with Amy and Amy” segments with Amy Scalia, founder of Cincy Chic, and Amy Elberfeld, owner of Styling with Amy! To learn more, order one of these pieces for yourself, or get more details about Ava Gray Direct, contact Amy Elberfeld at 513-260-2696 amy@stylingwithamy.com.

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Watch as our Editor In Chic Amy Scalia shares her personal message about child safety

About a year into being a mom, I joked that I could write a book about all the things mom-to-be books don’t tell you. That was before my daughter could walk, so now I feel like I could fill an entire library!

Here’s one of my biggest lessons learned, and I hope sharing my story helps you, too…

Like I said, I read all those mommy-to-be books, and I thought I had my house prepped for Lola’s arrival. But once she took those first steps, everything changed. She was all the sudden getting into things I never dreamed she could reach or open yet.

Thank GOODNESS, right after she started getting mobile, I saw a commercial that was my “a-ha” moment. The commercial was about everyday dangers in a home, and one of them were laundry pacs. At first, I thought “well, duh, who would just leave those sitting out in front of a baby?” And then I realized that I was essentially doing just that.

My laundry room door was closed, but Lola can now open doors. If she did, all my products – including laundry pacs – were on a shelf she could probably reach, and the container was opened because it was easier to not have to fuss with opening it each time I needed one. Holy. Cow.

I realized I had to make that room safe if she ever did get in there (which you know she eventually would). So, I made a promise to myself to always keep all my laundry and cleaning products up and closed from that point forward. But, of course, with style. I took to Pinterest to find some cute DIY shelving that keeps everything out of reach for her but still within reach for me to grab-and-go when I need it.

I feel a MILLION times better with that little afternoon shelving project, and now, I want to spread the word so other parents can do the same. When it comes to laundry pacs, keep them up and keep them closed to keep your kiddos safe!

Watch the PSAs below I recently did on Star64 with an Injury Prevention Specialist from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and then please share this page with parents, grandparents, caretakers, and anyone with little ones at home! Click here to learn more great safety tips.

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Our Editor in Chic writes a letter to her daughter about their dog they said goodbye to over the weekend, and the footprints he forever left in their hearts.

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You might not remember Dino, but he was our first child. With us before we got married, since we bought our first house, and there when we brought you home from the hospital. He loves giving you big, wet kisses. You love laughing at him as he races up and down the hall chasing a ball. He’s your personal garbage disposal, looking forward to every little morsel that drops from your high chair.

He has been our funny, spirited and loving companion for eight years now. He is and always will be an integral part of our family, but yesterday we had to send him away to a place where he’ll live out the rest of his days.

Over the past few years, Dino has developed severe anxiety. And as a result, he has bitten quite a few people — me and your daddy (multiple times) included. Ninety-nine percent of the time, he is the most loving, “velcro dog” there is. But there’s that unexpected and unpredictable one percent of time where his “fight or flight” reflexes kick in and he lashes out.

We’ve tried everything — vets, behaviorists, trainers, week-long camps, special collars, sprays and a variety of different medications — to cure his anxiety and stop the biting. Nothing worked. Eventually, we ran out of options to try, and we simply couldn’t risk anyone else getting injured.

So, your daddy and I had to make a difficult decision this weekend to send him back to his first home. Thankfully, the breeder we got him from said she would gladly take him in. Not only does she still have his mother and one of his siblings, but she lives in Riverside California, so they go to the beach and on hikes often. The breeder is also a vet tech with ample access to healthcare resources for Dino.

It’s comforting to know he’s going to a familiar, healthy and happy home. But that doesn’t make our hearts ache any less. He’s our precious little boy. We love him so very much.

The perfectionist in me hates that I couldn’t fix him. The realist in me knows we tried absolutely everything. The mom in me knows it’s what we had to do. The dog lover in me knows he’ll be happy in his new home.

But sometimes the best decisions are the most difficult. You just have to be thankful you had something that made saying goodbye so painful.

So, thank you, Dino. Thank you for all the memories, furry cuddles, and wet kisses… You’ll always be our little boy. And he’ll always be your big brother.

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Our editor in chic shares a letter to her daughter about holding hands, and the happy tears a mama sheds when she lets go for those first steps.

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Today I let go of you for the first time. In my mind I didn’t want to, and in my heart I know I never really will. Today, though, my hands slowly released you into the world for you to take your first little steps.

I realize you won’t understand this Titanic movie reference (sigh), but as I let go, I kind of felt like Rose when she told Jack “I will never let go, Jack. I’ll never let go…” and then let go of his hand. There’s a lot that’s different here (no ocean, romance, Leonardo DiCaprio… again, sigh) but the meaning is still the same. She let go, but really, she didn’t. She loved him, and continued to do so from that point on, even though she couldn’t be with him.

At some point, I know I have to let go, even though my heart never will. You have to get independent and learn how to do things on your own. But I’d hold on to you forever if I could.

It’s back-to-school time right now, and many of my friends say they cry on their kids’ first days every year. So, I know this letting go and growing up thing is something a lot of moms struggle with. Every time we let go a little more, that means you need us a little less.

That’s part of the job description of a parent, though. We selfishly want that close bond of your dependency, but know it’s more important to see you grow, excel and succeed as an independent person.

So, as you grow up and get older, just know that I’ll always want to be holding your hand, even if you don’t need it. My arms will always be out-stretched, spotting you each step of the way, even if you can’t see them, even when you’re an adult, even as I’m old and gray. I’ll want to hold your hand.

Any time you need them, or want them, just reach out and my arms will be there.

Before, you needed to hold my hand to hold yourself up, then you needed me just to steady yourself, and now you can walk all on your own. While it still takes my breath away to see you walk on your own because it’s still so new, I know it’ll get easier. Soon, you’ll be walking (er, running) every where and it’ll be just an every day thing. The sting of you not needing me to take you here or there will fade, I’m sure.

And then, years from now, I’ll see you walk on graduation, and then down an aisle toward someone who will take your hand in marriage. All of this without needing to hold my hand. But it’s always there if you want it (and I’ll be secretly hoping you will).

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Our Editor in Chic shares a letter to her daughter as she reflects on her first birthday, and the second “birth” she wasn’t expecting.

Our Editor in Chic shares what she's learned in the first year of motherhood.
Our Editor in Chic with her daughter, Lola, the first day after family went home.

One year. Tomorrow marks one year since your beautiful, happy, bright light entered this world.

I remember this day last year. It was filled with so much worry and so many unknowns. Would you be healthy? Would I be a good mom? Would I be able to balance everything ok?

You were fashionably late, so we enjoyed the convenience of a scheduled induction, which was nice (thanks!). The family didn’t have to rush into town. They got there the night before, we had a nice dinner together, and then got up super early to head to the hospital.

Although that part wasn’t stressful and I had our family surrounding me, I was absolutely terrified of labor. Especially when being induced — it wasn’t my body’s natural timing to have you, science was getting involved. Was that ok?

Oh, and the labor pains you always hear about. “The worst pain you’ll ever feel.” Would I be ok?

I just kept thinking, get through the birth and things will get back to normal. At least, that’s what I thought.

But eventually, after your daddy and I headed home with you from the hospital, and our family all went their separate ways, there we were. Alone. Brand new parents. Brand new baby. Brand new life. Brand new normal.

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Everything all the sudden seemed new, different, and foreign. I was re-learning my life, my work-from-home-mom schedule, my breast-feeding body, my everything as I knew it.

From that point forward, you became my number one priority. This was very different for someone who quite frequently put myself first. I remember feeling guilty the first time I took a long shower. The first time I exercised. The first day I went back to work. It was like I was borrowing myself from you.

Over the past year, I’ve watched you become more independent. With every step, sippy cup, and word-like sound — you need me a little less and you’re becoming your own little person. Yes, your increasing independence means I need to “borrow” myself from you a little less each day. But now, it feels less like borrowing and more like I’m becoming someone new.

I think back to the person I was 365 days ago, and it’s a very different person from who I am today. Because I didn’t just give birth to you. Over the past year, I also gave birth to the new me: the mother. I learned how to push out that selfishness to make way for great sacrifice. Great love. A love deeper and more whole than I’ve ever known.

So, when we blow out the candles at your first birthday party this weekend, and you dive into your cake face first, I’ll also celebrate the mom I became a year ago. Because I’m raising her, just as I am raising you.

It’s not perfect. There is no manual. We’re both still a little wobbly. We’ve each taken a few tumbles. But even so, I’m proud that we always get back up and keep taking more steps toward the exciting new people we’re becoming.

Happy birthday, baby girl. (You too, mom)

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Our Editor in Chic shares a letter to her daughter about the time they’ve spent in front of the mirror lately. See how a toddler’s joy with her own reflection has important lessons for us as adults.

072715LOLAI never realized how many mirrors we have in our house until you came along. Even when you were a newborn, your eyes would light up when you’d see yourself in the mirror.

And now, as a toddler, who can stand on the bathroom counter and lean up against your reflection, you could spend hours (well, at least several minutes, but that’s like hours in toddler time) just staring, pointing at, and trying to lick/kiss that happy baby looking back at you in the mirror.

So, needless to say, we’ve been spending a lot of time in front of mirrors lately. And when we do, my mind eventually drifts… “Don’t forget to call the salon and make an appointment – your roots are showing.” “Wear some extra concealer today – your dark circles look extra dark this morning” “Pick up one of those microderm brushes – your pores look clogged.”

This morning, I sat you in front of the mirror, and my mind drifted as usual. Hair… pores… circles… BANG BANG BANG! All the sudden you were banging your hand on the mirror as if to get my attention, and then you cracked up just looking at yourself.

That’s when it hit me. There you were, enjoying the absolute fascination and pure joy you have with your own reflection while I was picking apart the person looking back at me. And I’m not even a self-loathing, low self esteem type. I actually make a concerted effort to be a strong, confident female role model through the things I do and say around you. But my inner voice still drifts.

It made me wonder if I was more like you when I was your age. I’m sure I was. At what point do we stop smiling at ourselves and being happy to see that reflection? Why do we think it’s narcissistic to actually like – to the point of wanting to kiss – what you see in the mirror? Who told us we need to start seeing the things we need to fix instead? Maybe no one in particular did. Maybe it didn’t happen overnight. But, eventually, it did happen.

That’s when I decided I wanted to be more like you. Just be genuinely happy to have another day where I get to look in that mirror and smile back. And maybe, on a good day, I’ll kiss myself and crack up – your signature move. 🙂