The only online publication for women in Greater Cincinnati

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Lindt Chocolates conducted a survey for Valentine’s Day 2007, and the results are shocking. Ladies, we aren’t looking too hot when 70 percent of men do not expect to get a gift in return on this day of love. Don’t believe it? The numbers don’t lie – 52 percent of women say those men are right. They aren’t giving a return Valentine’s Day gift.

How did it get to this point? For starters, it is hard to buy a man a gift for Valentine’s Day. After all, a fluffy teddy bear holding a heart doesn’t exactly scream masculinity when sitting on your guy’s desk. That’s not to say chocolates and flowers are a no-no, but what do you get a guy when you really want to say, “I love you.”

Big Spenders ($100-more)
Around the Tri-State, there are many places to go and things to buy for your man when you want to splurge. So there are many options when it comes to getting a stellar Valentine’s gift. Here are some ideas for women who want drop some dough:

Get Him “The Good Seats”
Check out for an upcoming show or game you know he’ll like. The key thing here is to spend the extra money for the front row or box seats. Check out the Official Reds™ site and pick a set of season tickets from all sorts of packages, or see what Riverbend has scheduled – and get the pavilion seats. The important thing here is to get the tickets for something he likes, not a show you want to see, or might be more of a duty than fun for him to attend.

Bet on Your Love
Take your man to one of the gambling boats in Indiana and let him take his chances with the cards. Stick a ton of cash in a Valentine’s card and let him have some fun. Go together and try playing numbers like your anniversary or birthdays on roulette, or blow on the dice for a lucky set. Whatever you do, go together and leave your credit card at home. The important thing here is to have a night out and let him take a chance with money that’s not his – not to lose everything you own. Maybe even foot the bill for a nice hotel room if the night gets a little late.

Bring out the Sports Fan
If your man fancies himself a sports fanatic, get him something that works for his sport of choice. Try Golf Galaxy for a customized grip for a club, or take him to Dick’s Sporting Goods and let him pick out a new bat. This way, you get the points for letting him choose the gift, plus you can see the kid in him come out when he runs down the sports store aisles with eyes the size of footballs.

Take Him out for a Night on the Town
Make dinner reservations at a nice restaurant. Then, go out to his favorite hot spot. Pay for his meal, his drinks and do the driving for the night. For an added kick, wear that outfit that you know he really likes. For a romantic setting, check out places to eat along the river from Bellevue to Lawrenceburg. Or, take him to a place offering a Valentine’s Day dining special, such as The Golden Lamb, Morton’s The Steakhouse and McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood Restaurant.

Take a Breather
If you have kids, or just find it hard to get some alone time, find a sitter and turn off your cell phone. Use a hotel search engine, such as or , and get a hotel room for a weekend.

Get Him His Toy
Men like their toys, whether it is a TV, gaming unit or expensive power tool. Whatever he’s had his eye on, surprise him with it and earn yourself remote privileges for years to come.

Pseudo Big Spenders ($31-$99)
Not all of us are fortunate enough to be able to spend a pretty penny on our sweeties, but that doesn’t mean we don’t love them any less! It’s easy to show how much you care about your Valentine without breaking the bank. Some thoughtfulness, love and a little cash can get you a long way:

Food: The way to His Heart
If you are good in the kitchen, prepare a meal with all the fixings. Don’t skimp on anything; ask the butcher for a high grade of meat and go for fresh versus canned products. Buy a nice bottle of wine for the meal and his favorite drink for relaxing when dinner is finished. Add the good old lover’s touch and have a dessert of strawberries dipped in chocolate or whatever might tickle his fancy.

It’s a Date
Instead of your man footing the bill for date night, treat him. Let him pick the movie and you pay for the tickets and all the movie snacks. The kicker here is to enjoy the movie of his choice – avoid rolling your eyes or making that face when he tells you he wants to see a guy flick. Newport on the Levee has an awesome theater, and the Rave Cinema in West Chester has a ton of great restaurants surrounding it.

Get Comfy
Get your guy some nice pajama bottoms. Don’t just get any PJs, go for a high quality fabric, even a designer label. Skip the cheap cotton, flannel kind that cost less than the gas you burned driving to the store. Men love lounge wear like this, and they look hunky in it too, so it’s really a win-win.

Box It Up
Pick up a box set of your sweetie’s favorite movies. Check out movie sets or even grab a couple of television series. The older the season, the cheaper they are, so you can score big if they are into some oldies but goodies.

Reds™ : The Color of Love
If you can’t fork out the cash for Reds season tickets, go for just a couple of games. The ballpark is always fun, plus it’s a local pastime. This is also a way to extend the romance well past the cold months. Who knows, maybe you might end up on the Kiss Cam!

Laughter is the Key to Happiness
Check out a comedy show at a local comedy club. Funny Bone at Newport on the Levee and Go Bananas off of Montgomery Road are both great spots to have a night of laughs and are sure to put anyone in a carefree mood.

Flowers Aren’t Just for Girls
If you want to be daring, get your Valentine a floral arrangement. The important thing is to not, we repeat N-O-T, send them to the office or have them delivered anywhere. Bring them home to give to him, and hand them over in a hot little number you picked up in the lingerie department. According to Michael Skaff, ’s head floral designer, the top flowers for Valentine’s Day are: 1) Red roses (romance), 2) Pink roses (grace), 3) White roses (innocence), as well as the additional gifts of assorted chocolates. So, get the gift that gets your message across and play up the emotions. Yes, men do have emotions somewhere in there.

Taste the Love
Use a fondue pot to melt assorted chocolates, dipping a variety of sensual foods in them. As with flowers, flavors of chocolates suggest certain emotions. In the Lindt survey, 42 percent associate milk chocolate with love, and 53 percent say white chocolate stirs “innocent feelings of friendship.” As for that rich, dark chocolate, almost a third of people surveyed connect it with lust. Grab all different kinds and see what kind of feelings you can muster up.

Itty Bitty Spenders ($0-$30)
So, you’re eating Ramen soup three times a day because you “accidentally” bought cute Manolo Blahnik pumps the other day. Your sweetheart probably won’t enjoy a candlelight Ramen Noodle dinner, so you’re going to have to get creative with his gift this year. And so he doesn’t think you’re cheap, tell him anyone can splurge on a formal dinner or a pricey gadget, but it takes creativity, forethought and time to be truly romantic.

Valentine Heart Jar
Make a heart-shaped stencil and tape it onto the front of a jar. Spray jar with the spray paint and let dry. Spray a second coat, let dry. Once dry, take maroon paint and old toothbrush, and splatter paint around your heart design. Let dry. Gently pull stencil off gently, and tie ribbon or raffia around the top of the jar. Secure with bow. Fill the jar with his favorite candy to make a cute gift he’ll fall in love with.

Valentine’s Day Screensaver
Surprise him with a Valentine’s-themed screensaver to remind him of you when he opens up his laptop at work. Go here to select your free Valentine’s Day screensaver:

Love Letterhead
Go ahead and confess your undying love for him. But don’t do it on a boring piece of paper. Go to and download a free “love letterhead” to make your message go straight to the heart.

Love is Like a Box of Chocolates
Empty a box of chocolates. Then cut out 50 to 100 hearts from lace doilies, construction paper, or fabric. On each cutout, record something about him that you love. Be specific. Then, fold the cutouts, place them in the chocolate box and top with a red satin bow. The time you spend coming up with these ideas will contribute to your own romantic mood, and what he thinks is a plain box of chocolates will be a gift he’ll keep close to his heart forever.

Mentally Recreate Your First Date Together

What were you wearing? Where did you go? Do you remember what you talked about? Spend the evening reminiscing and reflecting on how far you’ve come as a couple.

Songs From the Heart
Make a tape of the songs special to your relationship. Include “your song,” songs from your favorite movies and songs that remind you of him when you hear them. Add a personal voice dedication and leave it in his car stereo.

card3.jpgHave a Scavenger Hunt
Write a few poems, wrap candy kisses inside and hide them around the house. Each poem should be a clue to finding the next one. Make sure the final clue lands your man someplace you want to end up for the entire evening. A romantic touch, such as a bottle of champagne or a new piece of lingerie, is a nice “treasure at the end of the rainbow.”

Make a Handmade Card
This card, designed by , is made from a dark red piece of paper and a cream colored piece of paper. Cut a piece of the dark red paper to fit the front of your blank card and glue it in place. Cut a large square from the cream colored paper and glue it just above the center of the card. Glue the piece of paper in place. Tear a large heart from the dark red paper and glue it in the center of the cream colored square. Type “Happy Valentine's Day,” print it on cream-colored paper and glue in the center of the heart. Stitch around the cream colored square and the edge of the card. Voila!

main021207SOCIAL2_intext.jpgMake a Love Brew
Put hot chocolate mix (homemade or purchased packet), Hershey kisses, mini marshmallows, a red peppermint stick and an optional red napkin in a mug or Styrofoam cup. Place in tulle, bring up ends and tie off with red ribbon. Then print this poem on pink paper, and tie it on the peppermint stick with ribbon: “This is Cupid’s love brew, made special just for you. Pour it in a cup of hot water, and use the love stick to stir. Inside is tucked a kiss or two, that is sure to warm you through and through.”

Antique Valentines
Go to your local antique store – there are quite a few in Miamitown – and buy some antique Valentine's Day cards. They won’t be any more than a couple of dollars, but he’ll love the extra time you took to find it. Plus, everyone knows men are history buffs, so he’ll love looking at the date it was postmarked, the message written on it and reflecting on what was happening in the world at that time.

Love Coupons
Make him a coupon book full of romantic gestures, hot and steamy favors, household chores, etc. that he can cash in at any time.

Spoon all night
Enough said.

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Valentine’s Day is traditionally celebrated as a romantic holiday, but to a single woman that’s not necessarily so.

Michelle Kilpatrick, a human resource manager for a local corporation, isn’t dating anyone at the moment, but will still celebrate Valentine’s Day. She plans to see the new movie, “Daddy’s Little Girls.”


As a single, Kilpatrick gets to choose what movie she wants to see, can sit wherever she likes and doesn’t have to share her popcorn.

Sheri Florio, community liaison for Deaconess Home Care from East Walnut Hills, will get lots of lovin’ on Valentine’s Day. But not the traditional hugs and kisses. Her lovin’ will come from the cats at the O’Bryonville Animal Shelter. It will be just like any other day that Florio volunteers at the shelter.


She will be busy cleaning and caring for 70 cats. Not what everyone would call the ideal way to spend Valentines Day, but Florio wouldn’t have it any other way. The only thing that makes her sad is that she can’t take them all home. But maybe you can. If you need a little more love and021207SOCIAL2_intext.jpg affection in your life, check out the O’Bryonville Animal Rescue Web site at:

Having fun with people you care about is what Valentine’s Day means to Mary Beth Maitre, a community relations manager residing in Blue Ash. Maitre will slip into her Valentine’s Day PJs and meet up with her friends at their favorite bar. In fact, all of Maitre’s friends attending this slumber party-esque soirée will be wearing their Valentine’s Day PJs!

Carmen Taylor, a West Chester resident, knows how to budget and plan where her money should go. Taylor, a financial analyst, plans to treat herself to something special on February 14. She’ll be shopping at Tiffany’s for whatever her heart desires. Taylor knows she’s worth it and she already figured it into the budget.

Valentine’s Day can be celebrated with or without romance, but not without love and appreciation. It only comes around once a year so take a moment and reflect on the things you love in your life, and celebrate whatever that may be. Enjoy time with friends, felines or yourself; just do whatever makes you happy. After all, you’re not half a woman just because you’re not half of a couple.

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As the Fine Arts Fund (FAF) campaign director, Dorward managed 10 successful campaigns to raise funds for FAF. Dorward currently manages fundraising at the Cincinnati Art Museum as the deputy director of institutional advancement.

Since Dorward is always trying to raise money, you’d think people would run in the opposite direction when they see her coming; But that’s not so. Dorward balances out her fundraising efforts by giving back as a volunteer.

Dorward served on the board of the College-Conservatory of Music, serves as the advisor to the president on the board of Catholic Women, recently retired from the board at St. Rita School for the Deaf and is on the Leadership Cincinnati Alumni Board. Dorward has also been involved with the community theater group, Footlighter’s Inc., where she served as president, worked behind the scenes in a variety of ways and even starred in a play.

Through Dorward’s fundraising and volunteer efforts, she developed many of treasured friendships. She says her family and friends are priceless to her.

With an exciting job, a myriad of community involvement, great friends and family, the only thing Dorward is short on is time. Go, girl!

Learn about the fun events and exhibits coming to the Cincinnati Art Museum, how you can get involved or just drop Dorward a line at

Cincy Chic: You manage fundraising at the Cincinnati Art Museum today. So, as a kid, did you draw and have lemonade stand?

Dorward: No, I can’t draw, and “no” on the lemonade stand. I learned how to make money from my dad when I was eight years old. He bought my sisters and I a few shares of Brunswick stock. My dad wanted us to learn how to read the stock page. Of course, we quickly learned the point of owning stock is to make money. I can still remember how embarrassed my sisters and I were as we cashed our dividend checks for just three cents each.

Cincy Chic: How did you start your career in fundraising?

Dorward: The first time I raised money was in grade school. I sold chances on a Cadillac for a penny. Shortly after that, I moved on to selling Girl Scout cookies.

I really learned about fundraising and what I like to call “friendraising” when I worked at St. Rita School for the Deaf. I formed many friendships with people based on our common goal. We were all working hard to raise funds to support the school. Growing up in Cincinnati, meeting a variety of people through my career and knowing many generous people made it possible to move from selling penny chances to asking for my first $10,000,000 gift for the Art Museum.

Cincy Chic: Not to be Debbie Downer here, but how do you deal with falling short of your fundraising goal?

Dorward: Fortunately, I haven’t had to face that at the end of a fundraising campaign. In the ten years I have raised funds for the Fine Arts Fund, we have always achieved our goal. It wasn’t always easy, but we would start each campaign with a solid strategy. Our plan included “Plan A” and a solid “Plan B.”

We would build on what we learned the year before, too. We would begin with Plan A, and if the campaign was coming to a close and looked like we weren’t going to reach our goal, we kicked into Plan B. Creative methods for raising the additional funds, along with contacting donors and friends, are examples of what might be included in Plan B. Having an idea of what you should do if you are not hitting the mark reinforces what I learned early in my career at St. Rita’s: the importance of friendraising in fundraising.

Cincy Chic: What’s been the highlight of your career so far?

Dorward: That’s easy! I was the interim co-director of the Art Museum. Although it was temporary until they found a director for the Art Museum, I never in my life imagined myself in such an honored position at one of our country’s finest museums. In my work at the museum today, I still consider it an honor to work with such a great staff and dedicated group of volunteers.

I had a blast at the museum’s 25-hour day of fun activities in honor of the museum’s 125 anniversary, too. I wore my favorite pajamas to the celebration. That wasn’t quite the same as being interim co-director, but it was grand.

Cincy Chic: What drives you to be so involved in your community?

Dorward: I’m very blessed so it’s important to me to give back to the community. If I can use my background and skill set to better an organization, I find it difficult to say “no” when they ask for help. A t-shirt that my sister gave me says it all: ”Stop Me Before I Volunteer Again.”

Cincy Chic
: Is your office setting as lovely as the Art Museum, filled with fabulous pieces of artwork?

Dorward: No, but I am surrounded by photos of my family. I’ll tell you, though, when I leave my office and walk through the galleries every day, I pinch myself. It’s a reminder to take advantage of the opportunity I have to view the wonderful artwork as I pass though the galleries during a regular workday.

Cincy Chic: What’s work to you?

Dorward: Budgeting! The process is just not rewarding to me.

Meeting my goal is hard work, but it’s rewarding. Shaping your team, while allowing them to make their own choices and getting them on the right path to a common goal is hard work, but very rewarding.

Budgeting is just no fun!

Cincy Chic: What’s fun to you?

Dorward: I enjoy many of the special events we have at the museum including Jazz in the Courtyard and bringing my nephews to Family First Saturdays. Other than that, I spend a lot of time with my family. No matter what we do, I always have fun. Friends and family are important to me. I also, enjoy a simple walk down the street with my cocker spaniel, Abby.

Cincy Chic: What’s up next?

Dorward: I don’t know. I’ve never had a plan for my life. I think that’s the best way to live, though. With a plan, I would have limited my ability to consider opportunities outside my comfort zone.

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The Gift

#1: Gift Cards
According to USA Today, consumers purchased $24.8 billion (yes, “illion” with a B) of those little plastic cards. Yes, gift cards or a few Jacksons are great when you asked for them specifically, but are far from thoughtful when your significant other tosses one your way. Sheryl Kurland, a speaker about creating and maintaining healthy relationships and author of Everlasting Matrimony: Pearls of Wisdom from Couples Married 50 Years or More (Noble House, 2004), says that gift cards are good for friends when you know where they shop, but aren’t so certain about what exactly to get. So, if you got a gift card from your friend during Secret Santa, it’s more likely she didn’t want to embarrass you – or herself for that matter – for getting that size small when really you wear a large. Don’t despair, though, if your man gave you one to the mall, he could just be, well, a man. You know they don’t “do” shopping.

#2: Big Ticket Electronics
Score! You got that brand-new, top of the line, laptop under the tree and an iPod in your stocking. Besides being one lucky lady and the envy of the office, you have been blessed by having someone who loves to spend their money on people who matter. In addition to having deep pockets, these gift-givers have even deeper hearts. “Whether you’re a significant other, family member or close friend, the gift-giver wants you to have the latest and best because you really deserve it,” says Kurland.

#3: Jewelry
“Bling bling,” ice, shiny treats, call it what you want, but you are now the rightful owner of a jewelry gift. If you received jewelry this year, you must have been on Santa’s good list! Sterling silver or gold; diamonds or pearls – anything that comes in those telltale boxes is certainly special, just like you. People say you can’t go wrong with jewelry, and boy are they right. Kurland says that jewelry “is very personal” and when you get it from your one and only “it represents that you have a truly special bond with each other”.

#4: Clothing
Getting that top you were eyeing with your friend and getting that sexy lingerie from your man are two different things. Kurland shares many different meanings of receiving clothing as a gift. Get that cute top from your friend? That means: “I like you. You’re a good friend.” What about an entire ensemble from your sister? This costly number means: “I treasure our kinship.” Now let’s not forget that little black something-something your significant other gave you. This says, “You are very, very special to me. Being with you makes me feel great, and I want to reciprocate.”

#5: Personal Meanings
Wondering why you received “The Phantom of the Opera” Soundtrack this year, and you didn’t even ask for it? Well, chances are you got it because you loved the movie and the person who gave you it knows that. Kurland says that gifts with personal meanings say “I want to make your life more fun!” and that they “show ‘endearment’ of the individual.” Lesson on this one? Your grandmother who knitted you that scarf isn’t just trying to keep you warm; she is showing just how much you mean to her.

Ultimate Shopping Championship: Men vs. Women

There’s a reason men don’t have “Born to Shop” signs hanging in their office. So, your man bought you a barely-there nightgown – and it’s two sizes too big. Or maybe he gave you oil change coupons. Before you relegate him to the doghouse, check out these explanations.

“What Kind of Woman Does He Take Me For?!”

The mall is like kryptonite to a man. Have you ever been standing in an aisle of power tools and thought, “Dear God, get me out of here!” Nail guns and drills and saws, oh my! Now picture your guy in Victoria’s Secret, sticking out like a sore thumb amongst 50 gabby women, staring at endless rows of panties as far as the eye can see.

A man would not put himself in that kind of situation unless he thinks you are the hottest thing next to the sun. Your gutsy guy probably felt like a pervert trying to find such an intimate item. So, cut him some slack for his pink-boxed gift and don’t assume he thinks of you as an over-sized adamant object. If you got lingerie or bedroom-appropriate items, he doesn’t look at you as “just sex.” Instead, be thankful that your man thinks of you as the goddess you are!

“Can’t He Just Get It Right?!”

Kate Zabriskie, founder of Business Training Works, Inc. and etiquette expert, says that men are cursed with “selection neglection,” while we women suffer from “analysis paralysis.” We slip into a mode where we have to find the specific item with every possible feature, where men can see a blender and say, “Great! I can scratch that mixing bowl off the list!”

According to Zabriskie, “women analyze, and reanalyze, everything they receive.” So, when we get the mixing bowl, not the blender, we start asking ourselves if Mr. Sensitive thinks we can’t even cook. Your guy probably thinks you are as great in the kitchen as you are in other places, and that you can whip up something tasty no matter what you use.

Next time you rip open the wrapping for any occasion, like it or not, say “Thank You,” and remember: appreciate the fact that someone thought enough about you to get you a gift – even if it’s just mixing bowls.