The only online publication for women in Greater Cincinnati

    by -

    Lisa Hogeland, associate professor of English and Women’s Studies at the University of Cincinnati puts it perfectly, “I am a feminist. Anyone who participates in a robust critique of social norms, policies and practices… can be expected to be ridiculed on a good day. That is the American way.”

    With that said, isn’t every woman today a feminist at some point? The short answer is yes, but no one can deny, women have changed and society has changed with them. It’s a breaking point. Not only do women have more rights today in a broad sense, but it’s about access. Access to things like credit, loans, education, leadership and the belief that women can and will do whatever they want; buy a home, start a business, make more money than their male counterparts, even have children without a husband and through a fertility center. Sound radical? Not in the least, these are the women of today.

    The Housing Market “Boom”

    Why rent, when you can buy? Sounds like an ad for a condo or housing subdivision, but women across the country are hearing it – and living it – loud and clear. They’re taking on home ownership at a feverish pace. Many of them are young, just starting out, financially secure and ready for the challenges that come with owning a home. Studies from as early as 2000, show single women spending billions in real estate across the country. The National Association of Realtors says in 2002, twice as many women bought their first homes as single men.

    In Cincinnati, condos like “The Edge” downtown and “Southshore” in Newport have an appeal to successful women who want to live in an urban setting. Visit a model; you’ll notice large bathrooms, made with dual sinks, vanities, balconies, large kitchens and lots of light. Not to say that men don’t like these same designs, but there’s an appeal women can’t deny.

    So how are women doing it? Unfortunately, there’s still a disparity between earnings for women and men; but the difference is access. Enter the Equal Credit Opportunity Act. Basically, it says no lender can deny your application, discourage you from applying for a loan or give you less favorable terms than another applicant because you’re a woman or minority. Seems simple today, but it gave women the legal means to purchase a home. This act, coupled with society’s changing view about what women “should and shouldn’t do” opened the door for home ownership. It’s no longer necessary to be a "Mrs" to have a home, bank account, credit report and so on. Still, Hogeland says, “Women navigate what’s legally, socially and psychologically permissible in all kinds of ways.” And we’ve always been pushing the envelope.

    Business Moguls?

    Take a walk around Cincinnati. Think about your favorite restaurant, hair salon, boutique, even where you buy treats for your pet. Not only are these businesses privately owned, but some by women entrepreneurs. In cities across the country, women are taking stock of their lives, and following their professional dreams; a luxury once reserved largely just for men. Loans for women, small businesses and that all-important line of credit are opening doors and creating successful places, to shop, relax and treat oneself like a lady. On the Web, sites like and the “Women’s Business Initiative” from OPEN by American Express help women understand what it takes to run their own business. From teams of investors that will help get your ideas off the ground, to scores of women offering advice, the World Wide Web is a great place to start and continue your business.

    If women aren’t opening their own businesses in Cincinnati, they’re working hard to reach the top. A recent study by the Women’s Fund, called “Pulse: Women in the C-Suite” suggests women are working hard, and climbing the ladder one rung at a time, but the top is still dominated by men. There’s good news though, women hold more than a third of the top jobs in hospitals and hospital systems in Cincinnati, up from 28 percent two years earlier. And the percentage of women directors at the top 25 largest public companies is steadily inching up. To name a few, take a look at Procter and Gamble, Omnicare and hospitals in the area. Women are holding their own, and it's a trend that's here to stay.

    The Next Generation

    No one can deny there’s still a stigma attached to single mothers. It’s a situation that brings up so many questions about a woman’s personal life. People talk, other women whisper and soon there’s a rumor mill churning. While the US Census Bureau points to a jump in the number of babies born to unmarried women, it’s hard to examine the statistics because of race, income and socioeconomic status. Single Mothers by Choice , an Internet support group for single women who are, or want to become mothers, has many more members than 10 years ago. On their Web site, moms to be can read up on adoption, find a clinic in their area, chat with other women who have become single mothers and learn what its like to raise a child on their own.

    It might sound like social suicide to some, but these women don’t feel like they need a man, or a husband to be a mother. They have overwhelming support on the Internet, from friends, family and community. Reading their online testimonials, you can’t help but understand their position. Many of them are working women in their 30s or 40s, successful, driven and for a variety of reasons, never married. But that doesn’t mean they don’t have support, the Web, friends, family or clinics across the country helping them achieve the goal of motherhood.

    There’s an old saying out there, somewhat trite, but bears mentioning: “you might have lost the battle, but you haven’t lost the war.” In some ways, feminism is a war of silent means. It’s not fought on grand battle fields where good and evil are clearly defined. You could say boardrooms, offices, clinics, doctor’s offices, even homes have become the new battlefields. Whether or not you want to call yourself a feminist, at some point, more than likely, you’ve become one. That’s the thing, you can try to define a woman’s role in society, but like the creatures women are, it’s really indefinable.

    If owning homes, climbing the corporate ladder, and starting businesses are the strides we’ve made, things like using sperm donors, female breadwinners, decorated CEOs and gaining greater equality appears to be the next step. We might not burn bras anymore, but we can’t forget about the women that did. We might not march with our voices held high, but every woman that pushes the envelope adds her thoughts to a silent majority that rises above what society thinks is normal. We’d like to think it’s not a man’s world anymore, but in some ways it always will be. What women have found are ways around some of the detours, and they're full speed ahead.

      by -

      According to Julie Nolan, science teacher and ecology club director at Harrison High School in Harrison, what being environmentally friendly does mean is making a conscious effort to understand how the Earth is affected by consumer choices and how tweaking a few of those detrimental habits can have a huge impact on the environment.

      “Everyone thinks that you have to do everything right to be an environmentally friendly person,” Nolan says. “I disagree, because even one small step to help the environment matters. You do not have to be a vegetarian, drive a [Toyota] Prius and join PETA to be environmentally friendly.”

      Nolan says she tries to communicate to her students the importance of understanding their actions and how even one small green change can affect the environment, but it’s hard to get her environmental message through to them for one simple reason: state-mandated testing.

      “Teachers are forced to focus on the material that is on the State Proficiency and Ohio Graduation Tests, and as a result the practical, useful information is getting left by the wayside,” Nolan says. “Ohio has put so much emphasis on these tests that they are creating a generation of students who are disconnected from nature and the environment.”

      Connie Brockman, education and visitor services director of the Cincinnati Nature Center agrees that communicating about the environment is harder in today’s society.

      “A few years ago, a Roper study indicated that while people seem to be increasingly concerned about the environment, they are not well informed about environmental issues,” Brockman says. “One of the reasons might be that environmental education is not mandatory in most schools and people are getting their information from informal sources that might not be accurate.”

      Brockman says that even though it is increasingly difficult to communicate to the community about the environment, people need to be aware of the environment for their own benefit.

      “People must learn about the environment for their own survival,” Brockman says. “We can’t trust that that someone else is looking out for our wellbeing. Each of us must take personal responsibility to learn about and make the right choices to move us toward a greener, healthier society.”

      After the choice is made to begin living a more eco-friendly life, switching, according to Nolan and Brockman, can begin with a few easy steps:

      The Organics Have It
      Purchasing organic food, produce grown three years without the application of synthetic pesticides or chemicals or livestock raised on organic feedstuffs for at least a year, is a step in the right direction.

      “I buy almost all organic food, with the exception of some favorite junk food items,” Nolan says. “It (organic food) is better for you – the soil and water – and with regards to agriculture, the person working in the fields.”

      Nolan recommends taking the time to look at the local grocery store to see what organic foods are available.

      The Green House Effect
      Maintaining an environmentally friendly environment around the house can start with avoiding pesticides in the home and yard, making the house as energy efficient as possible and recycling.

      And according to Brockman bringing the green feeling into the home, can also leave a person with a sense of pride in her efforts.

      “I am fortunate to have almost four acres of land, and I’ve worked hard to create (in her yard) a certified Backyard Wildlife Habitat through the National Wildlife Federation,” Brockman says. “I feel a great deal of responsibility and compassion for the plants and animals with whom I share the land. Stewardship is a deeply moving experience, and I’m grateful for a little piece of land to protect and cherish.

      Become an Advocate
      Working to spread the word about the environment can fall under a broad spectrum of actions from voting for candidates with environmental platforms, purchasing from companies that are making environmental choices, supporting environmentally friendly non-profits and communicating environmental issues with children.

      Nolan, who has two nieces, understands the importance of providing a message to children outside of school. “Kids will live what they’re taught. If they are taught to respect the environment, it will simply become a part of who they are and they won’t consider doing things any other way,” she says.

      All Talk Leads to All Play
      Brockman encourages people who are trying to become more environmentally friendly to get out and experience the fruits of their labor.

      “All people, especially children, benefit physically, emotionally and intellectually from frequent contact with nature,” Brockman says. She added that at the Cincinnati Nature Center guests can benefit, all year round, from the 20 miles of trails on 1,600 acres for hiking and viewing wildlife.

      Stay Motivated
      While Nolan understands that changing to an environmentally friendly lifestyle can be intimidating, she continues to encourage people to at least try. “Give yourself credit for the changes you make,” she says. “You don’t have to try to do everything overnight.”

      And as Kermit the Frog says, “Being green isn’t easy.” But, according to Nolan and Brockman, it doesn’t have to be difficult.

        by -

        1.    MFJ vs. MFS – married filing joint and married filing separate. Try both ways. It could save you taxes.

        2.    You could receive up to $500 max “energy credit” back on your tax return for home improvements.

        3.    If you are in business for yourself, make sure to keep your mileage for business use. Mileage rate for 2007 is 48.5 cents.

        4.    You’ve been supporting a war that’s been over for years. A refund is available for you called “phone excise tax credit” up to $60 max.

        5.    Have some kiddies at home? There’s an increase in the “Kiddie Tax” for a child under age 18, any unearned income over $1,700 will be taxed at parents’ tax rate, not the child’s.

        6.    Interested in a hybrid vehicle? A “hybrid vehicle credit” is now available for the purchase of such a vehicle thru Dec. 31, 2010. There is a max of $3,400 credit with a few stipulations.

        7.    All charitable cash contributions must have a receipt from the organization indicating; amount, date and name of the charitable organization. In other words, use checks if putting money in the collection plate at church or for the sidewalk Santa.

        8.    Since Aug. 17, 2006, no deduction will be allowed for non-cash contributions of clothing or household goods that are not in good condition or better, unless total value is over $500 and the taxpayer attaches a qualified appraisal to her/his return.

        9.    For ages 50 or older, your contribution into an IRA for tax year 2006 is $5,000, up from $4,500 last year. Everyone less than 50 is $4,000, same as last year. You can contribute up until you have your taxes prepared or April 15, 2007, whichever is closest.

        10.    For those of you who are 70 ½ years and older; you are required to start taking from your IRA account (RMD – Required Minimum Distribution). Good news, though! If you don’t need the money, for tax year 2006 and 2007 only, you can directly transfer funds to your favorite charitable organization up to $100,000 per year. That could save you a bunch in taxes depending on your tax bracket.

        Contact your accountant for more details on any of these tax tips.


          by -

          Budget Tips

          • Spend less than you earn. There are hundreds of thousands of men and women that spend way more than they earn with the help of car loans, home equity loans and credit cards. The only two options available to help in this situation is a large pay increase or reduction of spending.
          • Save for important things first. It is nice to have a budget, even though we all don’t follow them 100 percent. It gives us a roadmap for our finances. You need to try and save a percentage of your pay each month, equal to approximately 12.5 percent, then pay your monthly expenses. If you can’t do this, then it’s time to cut out unnecessary spending so you get to the place where you can.

          Ways to Save

          • Emergency Fund – put a percentage away in a savings account for a rainy day. You never know when that roof will leak or car repair will hit your pocketbook.
          • Christmas Club – take a few bucks every pay period and stash it where you aren’t allowed to touch it until Christmas (or whatever holiday you celebrate) time. It’s always nice to get that check in October from the bank to spend. Just remember, it’s for other people, not you.
          • Vacation Fund – set aside a separate account just for your vacation for that year. This way, you won’t have to use those high interest credit cards for fun and relation.
          • Purchasing Fund – maybe you want to buy a new car, boat or any kind of expensive play toy. This is a great way to be able to pay cash for it when you are ready to buy!
          • Retirement Fund – let’s not forget to have a savings for those days ahead. If you don’t save for retirement, nobody will save it for you. Whatever you do, don’t lean on the government for that help.

          Credit Card Tips
          Balance Transfers
          Not recommended due to either a higher interest rate or additional fees on the amount transferred.

          Negotiate a Lower Interest Rate
          You can call the credit card company and get them to lower the interest rate while you are trying to pay off the balance. Most of the time they will lower it because they don’t want you to go to another credit card company.

          Keep Yourself at Two Major Credit Cards
          It’s always good to have a spare in case a company won’t accept the one you use the most. I’ve had that happen when out of town and it’s no fun!

          Beware of Retail Credit Cards
          These can be a “snake pit." Be careful when they say, “save an extra 15 percent when you use your retail credit card." That’s fine if you pay it off when you get the statement. Otherwise, they just made money off of you by charging a 21-22 percent interest rate.

          Always Use Your Debit Card as a Credit Card
          It’s best to use your debit card but always say it’s a credit card. That way, you’re not charged a $1.50 fee per every time you use it. Not only does this money come out of your checking or savings account, but also saves you from using any credit cards in the future and paying those high interest rates.

          Be Disciplined

          Try to pay off the balance each month, and only use your credit card if for two reasons:

          • You have the money sitting in the bank instead of your pocketbook to pay it off the next month, or
          • An emergency has occurred over and above your savings. Just make plans to pay it off in short order.

            by -















































              by -
              1. Never eat lunch alone.
              2. Write thank you letters. Thank you e-mails don't count. We're talking card, handwriting, envelope and stamp.
              3. Remember your server's name. You want the person handling your food and credit card to like you.
              4. Do housework in your skimpies – you have to do something to make chores more fun!
              5. Manage your stress; don't let it manage you. When you feel stressed, close your eyes and imagine yourself in your "I want to be there right now" vacation spot.
              6. Smile at people on the street instead of looking through them.
              7. Keep a gratitude journal. Write about what you're grateful for before you go to bed.
              8. Don't diet. Make lasting changes to your lifestyle.
              9. Make something homemade with your girlfriends.
              10. Holding a grudge? Let it go today.
              11. Every once in a while, surprise your coworker with a cup of coffee, bottle of water or an apple.
              12. Welcome change – good change, difficult change, destructive change and transformative change.
              13. Throw pennies in fountains.
              14. Talk to strangers in the elevator.
              15. Mentor someone.
              16. Make a monthly resolution.
              17. Invest in monthly massages. Buy the package now, because you'll come up with excuses later. Other than just feeling good, massages can reduce signs of aging, blood pressure and stress.
              18. Surround yourself with people who encourage you. Let those that don’t fall by the wayside, and embrace those that do.
              19. Go to, find an inspiring quote, write it on a Post-It and put it inside your medicine cabinet so you see it every morning.
              20. Fanning an old flame? Don't. There's a reason why he's in the past, and you can't move on until he's fully extinguished.
              21. At work, dress not for the job you have, but the one you want to have.
              22. Go to the mall and have someone show you how to put on eye makeup, and match you for a good lipstick.
              23. Through the good, bad and ugly – remember to laugh.
              24. Do your "Dr. Kegel-recommended exercises." Confused? Look it up.
              25. Pay it forward.
              26. Don't do work in bed. Your sleep will suffer if you do – seriously.
              27. Walk with your shoulders rolled back to exude confidence.
              28. Find a good shoe cobbler to keep for favorite kicks kicking without looking like they're about to kick the can.
              29. Lean in when people talk to you.
              30. Write love letters.
              31. Believe in karma.
              32. Buy a 32 oz Nalgene bottle, fill it up with water and make it a goal to drink two every day.
              33. Get into aromatherapy. Put lavender on your pillow to relax you at night, burn a citrus candle in the morning to wake you up and chamomile at work to relieve stress.
              34. Wear clothes that fit.
              35. Learn about your family lineage.
              36. Invest in a good eye cream – no matter how young or old you are – and apply it with your pinky finger.
              37. Fix your teeth. People look at them. A lot. Just warning you.
              38. Make a point to compliment at least one person every day. It feels good, and it will score you serious popularity points.
              39. Buy those comfy shoe insoles.
              40. Have "date night" with your favorite gal pals. Get dressed up and go to a cute swanky place.
              41. Volunteer.
              42. Invest in a new pair of sunglasses. Prevent those squint-related wrinkles and revamp your look at the same time.
              43. Get up 10 minutes earlier so you can apply your make-up in a well-lit room, not on your drive to work.
              44. Buy a planner and use it daily. Make sure to add address and birthday info.
              45. Send friends birthday cards. Or at least call. Remembering birthdays is beginning to be a lost art.
              46. Work out in the morning. Too many excuses can pop up if you do it after work.
              47. Get measured for your bra size. Time Magazine just reported that 80 percent of women wear the wrong bra size. You're most likely one of them.
              48. If you have to watch TV, at least do something productive. Stair master, paint your nails, iron tomorrow's outfit. Whatever. Just do something.
              49. Make a list of things you want to do before you die.
              50. Make the necessary plans to cross the first thing off that list.