Award-Winning Cincinnati

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    This big city might seem like a small town in many ways but not when it comes to how much there is to do around the Tri-State. With all of the people to see and places to go, we’ve helped you narrow your options a bit for a truly chic take on Cincy.


    Our staff came up with more than 15 categories that follow along our five editorial departments. But instead of coming up with just one "winner" for each, we decided that you might like all of the top recommendations we have up our sleeves. So each staff member had the chance to speak up and let you know their personal favorite (and of course chic) places around town — and here they are.


    Attractive Attractions


    The Chic Place to Have Your Hair Done


    For a go-to stylist, Publisher Amy Scalia recommends the best of the best, and she gets them right out of Fashion Week. Vivian Moore at Mitchell’s Salon and Day Spa and Cara d’Ambrosio from Me Salon both have styled hair for New York Fashion Week, and Moore has gone international with her Paris Fashion Week designs.


    For Sales Support Finance Manager Renie Heroux, Angela Gatrell and Sarah Caudill at Perfections Salon take care of her tresses. And for her cut and color, Sales Manager Asheley Wessling heads to Amanda Arias at Bella Rey Salon. "She does a great job, she’s affordable and fun!" Wessling says.


    The Chic Place to Grab a Mani/Pedi


    When it comes to her nails, editorial intern Amy Wray goes to Euphoria Day Spa. "It’s a small business, so it really gives it that personal feel to it," she says. "Their prices are perfect for a girl on a tight budget, and their service is awesome."


    If Scalia’s looking for a convenient, no-chip fix, she consults Bopha at Salon Beck.  Bopha’s the only permanent polish gal there, though, so Scalia heads to Mitchell’s when she’s looking for some girl time. "My mom and I like to go to the spa when she comes in to town, so last time she did, we went to Mitchell’s in Rookwood, and it was fun," Scalia says. "She got the no-chip pedi there (which is new), and I got the no-chip mani."


    Wessling also casts her vote for Mitchell’s. "They are friendly and do a really good job," she says. "Plus, they offer a much better atmosphere than the cheap salons offer."


    I, Editor Linda Palacios, love Simplicity Salon. This small-scale operation can compete with any of their larger competition with their color selection. And they offer several brands of permanent polish, so you can find one that best fits your fancy.


    The Chic Place to Build Your Makeup Wardrobe


    Business development intern Holly Hoover, editorial intern Michelle Tufano and I all turn to Sephora for our makeup needs. "Sephora offers a fabulous selection of makeup, fragrance and everything in between," Tufano says. "It’s a one-stop shop for a makeup wardrobe."


    Wessling and Wray head to ULTA for their makeup needs. "They have everything you could ever want, and they are constantly sending out coupons," Wessling says. Elizabeth-InStory.gif


    For Scalia, it doesn’t matter how many brands a store has. She is monogamous with her makeup, and Jane Iredale is the only brand for her. "I buy it at Mitchell’s because I’m in there all the time, but you can also buy it at Dr. Mendelsohn‘s office in Rookwood, Avalon in Rookwood plaza (by Biggs) and Tuscany Salon and Spa by Harper’s Point," Scalia says. "But Nancy [Dawson] at FACEing is my favorite for learning makeup application tips."


    The Chic Place to Care for Your Skin


    With admittedly dry, irritable skin, Tufano needs some TLC from her skincare products, and she finds just that in Rookwood Commons. "Origins offers products for all skin types and has transformed my skin from embarrassing to fabulous," she says.


    For a fresh face, Scalia gets a microdermabrasion treatment at The Plastic Surgery Group. "It’s good to do once a season to help your skin slough the dead cells. Especially in winter, your skin has a lot of dry flakes you want off for spring," she says.


    Wessling gets her glow at Pelle Medical Skin Care. "They offer medical grade peels and are far more affordable and every bit as effective as more costly options (at other doctor’s offices)," she says. "Chris, one of the owners, is extremely knowledgeable and really works with you to determine what the best fit is for your skin’s needs."


    Fashionable Finds


    The Chic Place to Find High Fashion


    Wessling heads to Soho Boutique and Scalia and Wray both hit up Paris J Boutique for a knockout wardrobe. "She [Owner Teresa Washington] has some great, one-of-a-kind stuff (for work, casual and black tie), and it’s affordable," Scalia says. "I’ve seen dresses in there for only $30, sweaters for $40/$50 and some great jewelry for $20 — not your typical prices for a boutique."


    For her high fashion needs, Tufano checks the racks at Nordstrom or Nordstrom Rack. "With an elite array of brand names, personal shoppers at your disposal and a Bistro, Nordstrom is the chic place to find your new style," she says. "Hoping to find designer jeans for a bargain? Check out Nordstrom Rack for discounted styles."


    The Chic Place to Accessorize Your Wardrobe


    FENNOfashion and Elysium Originals are Scalia’s go-to accessory stores, and Hoover doesn’t mind when her man stops by the Pink Box . "My (amazing) boyfriend has picked out great items from Pink Box, " Hoover says. "I always love each piece he gives me."


    Heroux heads to TJ Maxx while Tufano and I make our way to Charming Charlie. "Charming Charlie has everything from headbands to shoes to jewelry galore," Tufano says. "Did I mention it’s completely color-coded? Who doesn’t love inexpensive accessories and organization!" 1209KROMBHOLZ.gif


    Wray divulges her accessory secret: Charlotte Russe at the Cincinnati Premium Outlets. "I have found that this particular store has a phenomenal selection of cocktail rings, statement necklaces, earrings, scarves, etc., and I have practically gotten all my accessories from here lately," she says.


    The Chic Place to Shop for Your Man


    Wessling and Scalia love the recently opened Knickers XY . "My husband raves about everything we’ve found for him there," Scalia says.


    I always love a nice tie, and Krimson by Kwame, carried by Corwyn Apparel offers some unique designs with stand-out features. I bought my husband a purple paisley tie for his birthday, and it’s definitely my favorite of his ties.


    Healthy Hideaways


    The Chic Place to Break a Sweat


    Scalia and Wessling recommend heading to Mason to Keep It Tight Fitness for a tough workout. "It’s a beautiful facility, it’s female-only, and their instructors kick butt," Scalia says.


    Tufano saves herself the drive and works out in her own room. "With Zumba on DVD, there is no reason why you can’t get a hardcore workout in between work and making dinner for the family," she says.


    While the weather isn’t optimal quite yet, I love breaking a sweat at Veterans Memorial Park (aka "the Helicopter Park") when the weather’s warm. They have basketball and tennis courts, a track that runs by a pond, and soccer fields. The best part is that there’s no gym fee.


    The Chic Place to Relieve Some Tension


    While Tufano breaks a sweat with Zumba, Wray uses her Zumba classes at Premier Fitness to reduce her stress levels. "Not only is it a great workout but it always manages to clear my head when I need it," Wray says.


    For a less physically active stress reducer, Wessling heads to Mitchell’s for a massage, and Tufano and I like to give ourselves some "me time" with bubble baths. Miss Selby’s Soap offers some wonderful all-natural bath bombs that add an aromatherapy element as they sooth your skin.


    The Chic Place to Find Fresh/Local Food


    Scalia, Hoover and Tufano all check out Findlay Market when they’re on the market for some fresh food. "I love to go there on the weekends and spend the whole day scoping out the local veggies," Hoover says.


    Wessling and I go for a sit-down version of fresh food with local restaurants. Wessling heads to Honey, and I check out Lavomatic. I really like the whole concept behind the Relish Restaurant Group with their gardens providing the food they serve in their restaurants and their rain barrels helping to water their gardens. Fresh, local and sustainable — who could ask for more?


    Social Spots


    The Chic Place to Have a Drink with Your Girlfriends


    Heroux and Scalia meet every Tuesday to split a bottle of champagne and some conversation with their girlfriends. In their weekly jaunts around town, Heroux has found her favorite in Neon’s Unplugged, and Scalia loves Jean-Robert’s Table. "They have a great Andre Tissot Sparkling Wine, created especially for the chef, that we love," Scalia says. "Palomino’s, The Lackman, Via Vite and Lavomatic are some of my other favorites."


    I also love Palomino’s. They have all-day, everyday happy hour, and it’s always fun to look out over Fountain Square while sipping a cocktail and having some girl time.


    Wessling and her girlfriends go to Teller’s of Hyde Park, and Wray prefers FB’s. "It’s great service, great drinks and a great place to people watch," Wray says.


    The Chic Place to Take Your Out-of-Town Guests


    Outside of the Cincinnati staples (Montgomery Inn, Graeter’s and Skyline), Scalia and I take out-of-towners to Jungle Jim’s and Newport on the Levee, and if a big event like Oktoberfest Zinzinnati or Taste of Cincinnati is going on, we’ll be sure to show off our city by taking our guests there.


    Heroux and Wessling show their guests a taste of the city’s culinary offerings with Via Vite and Nada, respectively, and Wray heads Downtown to Mynt Martini, Nada, Bartini’s and/or FB’s.


    The Chic Place to Grab a Pizza


    Even when out-of-towners are out of town, Heroux likes to grab pizza at Via Vite. Hoover escapes to Italy with Balboa’s. "I almost felt like I was back in Italy — great atmosphere and wonderful pizza!" Hoover says.


    While Wessling and Scalia satisfy their pizza cravings at Dewey’s, Wray gets her Windy City fix at Chi-nnati’s. "Hands down this place has the best pizza I have EVER tasted! The Four Cheese Deep Dish is to die for!" she says.


    I’m a wine and pizza kind of gal, so I always like to grab The Popular at 20 Brix. With goat cheese, mushrooms, tomatoes and basil, they don’t call it The Popular for nothing! And you have a wide selection of vino at your fingertips to wash it down.


    Professional Places


    The Chic Place to Have a Meeting over Coffee


    Heroux and Hoover recommend grabbing your next coffee meeting at Coffee Emporium on Central Parkway. While I frequent Coffee Emporium for meetings myself, I am in love with Red Tree Gallery in Oakley, and Wessling shares my love. Owned and operated by a local woman, this coffee shop/art gallery lets you grab your cup o’ joe and browse some local artwork while you’re waiting for your appointment to arrive.


    For a meeting-turned-networking-opportunity, Scalia heads to Awakenings in Hyde Park. "You end up seeing a lot of familiar faces, who you can introduce to who you’re having a meeting with and really build your professional networks that way," she says. " If I’m meeting someone Downtown, I like to meet upstairs at Tazza Mia. It’s owned by a local guy, it’s comfortable and the coffee is good."


    The Chic Place to Host and Off-site Meeting


    "I love having meetings and events at the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber," Scalia says. "They have a learning center there that’s really turnkey. You show up, plug in your computer and go. They have the screens, AV and mic set up for a presentation, and they’ll help you set up the tables and chairs however you need them."


    For a more out-of-the-box setting, Wessling and I recommend Venue 222 and BOOST…for meeting’s sake, respectively. Like the chamber, these venues offer all of the equipment necessary to make your meeting a success, and they also offer a non-office atmosphere to get creativity flowing. BOOST even has a roof-top terrace with a gorgeous view of Downtown.


    The Chic Place to Build Your Network


    Wessling recommends the eWomen Network and their events, and Scalia heads to the "Who the Heck do You Know" events thrown by Karen Sacksteder. "There’s no presentation, just hundreds of other business professionals socializing and networking," Scalia says. "She has a group on LinkedIn where she announces the new dates of her events, and that’s how I found out about them."


    So those are our picks of places, but did we miss any of your favorite chic places around town? Share your thoughts on our Facebook page.




    Photographer: Linda Palacios

    Models: Drew Ross, Amy Scalia, Holly Hoover, Asheley Wessling, Libby Hodapp, Amy Wray and Michelle Tufano

    Location: the Cincy Chic office