Sunday, December 26, 2010

Cincy's ice bar serves holiday spirits 'on the rocks'

The "ice bar" is the chillest attraction amid my city's New Year's Eve festivities.
Every December 31, thousands of locals converge on Fountain Square in the heart of Cincy to ring in a new year. The event, dubbed the "Blast", is among my favorite winter festivities. I, personally, look forward to the very cool "ice bar", which will again be serving spirited drinks. But I especially enjoy the camaraderie and embracing high hopes for the coming year. My city likes celebrating, which might explain our high number of fireworks displays during winter months. This year's "Blast" starts at 8 p.m. and includes free ice skating, music by DJ Pillo, hot food, and, of course, plenty of merriment. Then close to midnight, we'll count down the final seconds of 2010 amid cheers, sing Auld lang syne, and, in customary Cincy fashion, enjoy a fireworks display above Fountain Square.

DJ Pillo

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Cincy Dweller finds beloved British culture at home

Cincy's John A. Roebling Bridge crosses the Ohio River to connect Ohio and Kentucky.
The Tower Bridge links north/south London.

Last Christmas, my daughter Elle was preparing to embark on a four-month stay in the United Kingdom. She returned from her trip in the spring, but left her heart abroad. So to counter her melancholy, I looked for British experiences in Cincy to embrace her faraway love. We begin our excursion with High Tea. Instead of The Brown's Hotel in London, we take our tea at The Cincinnatian Hotel Next, shopping at High Street for "fierce objects, studio designs, and London style." We recently attended High Street's "Black Friday, White Russian" party and had a blast ... another place high on my list of Cincy favorites. Our shopping continued with a visit to Hyde Park Square. Unlike London's Hyde Park, Cincy's is a haven for specialty shops. Pub fare at Rookwood Commons follows. I drink for the two of us - since Elle's of Pub age in the UK but underage in the States. For our nightcap, we watch the British movie Run Fatboy Run while enjoying an ale (ginger ale, that is). Our night concludes with recounts of her life abroad, including her 20th birthday celebration in a church turned Pub, events via Pure Groove Records, shopping at Miss Sixty, French Connection, Harrods, and Topshop, hanging out at Trafalgar Square and Tower Bridge, visits to Oxford, Wales, Edinburgh, and then Paris (EU) pour Easter, traveling on the Tube and international culture. The lesson: experience our world wherever you live -- Peace and Love!!!

Cincy Tea Rooms and Houses
Mrs. Teapots (adorable)
Essencha Tea House (trendy)
Basically British Tea Room up north in Dayton (charming)
The BonBonerie: (sweet)

British Shopping
High Street
Hyde Park Square

Handful of our Numerous Pubs
English: Cock and Bull
Scottish: Nicholson's
British: The Pub / Rookwood Commons
Irish: O'Bryon's

Friday, December 17, 2010

Fashion Streak: Uncanny message gains popularity

"Ohio Against The World" design is courtesy of Floyd at
Original Thought Required (OTR) reports that their "Ohio Against The World" T-shirts and sweatshirts sell out quickly, with each new shipment. Visit OTR at 1307 Main Street, Cincy, or order your merchandise here:
Also check out their blog:
In case you missed Graffiti City, in which the "Ohio Against The World" poster appears, experience the video here:

Monday, November 29, 2010

Heart of the Art / Photo Cafe: Graffiti City

Cincy street art and its stories of urban life.
Welcome to Cincinnati's urban street art! Set to a Dubstep remix of Brittney Spears' "Toxic," the graffiti images depict raw urban lifestyles. Experience it here:

Thursday, November 25, 2010

'Happy Thanksgiving' to the United States' Citizens

Thanksgiving in the U.S. is a day spent feasting on good food and quality time spent with family. In my family, there'll be lots of music -- live and recorded. As far as the recorded, we start our day with the smooth tunes of "Mickey Mouse Operation" by "little people." It's a great compliment to the hustle and bustle happening throughout my home. Midday to mid-afternoon is for video-gaming: "Guitar Hero" for the children and "Black Ops" for us! Next, a Thanksgiving feast of merriment, joy, and giving serious thanks to the Lord for our blessings! Later in the evening comes the party, livened by "old school" mixes and then graduating to Dubstep. Uncork the wine bottles, release the beer taps, and add a heavy dose of floor-burning! HAPPY THANKSGIVING -- OUT!!!!!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Fashion Streak: 'Snap Boutique's' designer chic

Snap Boutique teams up with Saks Fifth Avenue makeup artists for cosmetic event.

I discovered Snap Boutique serendipitously. While intending to visit a nearby retailer, my daughter pulled me into Snap. What a delight! The selections of Dolce Vita, House of Harlow, and Juicy Couture fashions are less mainstream, more classy boutique, and rival the salacious attire at Kenwood Mall. Simply put, Snap is another dessert on my tray of Cincy delights
Hours: Mon-Weds 10-5 / Thurs-Sat 10-6 / Closed Sundays
Contact: 513.871.8333  2732 Erie Avenue  Cincy 45208
How to get here

The Crazy Lazy Cookbook: Thanksgiving feast to go

Thanksgiving Day is upon us here in the United States. The first Thanksgiving Day was a celebration by the pilgrims, thanking God for helping them survive their first New England winter. Turkey and other wild fowl were included in the meal. While I was growing up, "Turkey Day" meant family celebration. Nowadays, the feasts include far fewer loved ones and often chef-ordained meals. Eight of my last 12 Thanksgiving Day "turkey" feasts were catered courtesy of the "HoneyBaked Ham" store. I added a couple of "bake 'n' serve" pies and gave thanks for 12-24 extra hours to enjoy my family! 

Every day is a blessing for which I give thanks -- and ponder who'll be preparing my next Crazy Lazy meal!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Lend Me Your Ears: 'little people's' ingenious sound

Among my favs are Basique, Moon, and the uncanny operatic Unsaid.

On a scale of one to infinity, "Mickey Mouse Operation" by little people has soared to the top of my heavy-rotation playlist. Best I can tell, Laurent Clerc of London, UK, is the singular musical genius of little people. Clerc claims to make down-tempo electronic music or as he puts it: "It's part beats, bleeps, and snippets of other people's music." Whatever he calls it, his string and drum fusions are uncanny and brilliant! "Mickey Mouse Operation" made its debut back in 2006, so it is unfortunate that Clerc's talent is still low key. Click to hear "Mickey Mouse Operation" and get acquainted with little people!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Heart of the Art / Photo Cafe: Shepard Fairey

If you dwell in Cincy and haven’t experienced the Shepard Fairey street art exhibition, shame on you. Tour the exhibit in person at these locations or view the slideshow via the link below:

Shepard Fairey street art exhibition:
¤ 4041 Hamilton Ave.
¤ 4156 Hamilton Ave.
¤ 609 Walnut St.
¤ 1200 Block Walnut St.
¤ 210 E. 8th St.
¤ 1301 Main St.
¤ 212 E. 14th St.
¤ 1401 Reading Rd.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

A Healthy Dose of Realism: Park + Vine = green

The original Park + Vine on Vine Street prior to its move to 1202 Main Street.
Bicycle rims recycled into furniture.
Park + Vine is among the top reasons I enjoy living in Cincinnati. Dubbed the "green general store," this Eco marketplace was my first stop en route to discovering Cincy. I spotted it along lower Vine Street while driving around the city. That was when I met Dan, the proprietor, and formally introduced to green living. Since finding Park + Vine, I am slowly morphing into a "green" lifestyle: Now I reuse salad dressing jars for storing small items and doggy treats, never buy tin foil, exchange my "Lush" tubs for free Oatifix facial cleanser, and feel guilty about any continued waste.
Thanks Park + Vine for mainstreaming Eco living. 
Park + Vine: 1202 Main Street or

Friday, September 24, 2010

Heart of the Art / Photo Cafe: Porkopolis' Pigmania

The "Swine Lake" statue hogs the facade of the Cincinnati Ballet
Shortly after moving to Cincinnati, I began noticing pig statues everywhere -- downtown, atop buildings along Interstate 75, in front of restaurants, and inside businesses. The unusual sites made driving around the city much more interesting, but I couldn't help wondering -- why pigs?
Well, according to my research, Cincy hosted a public art exhibit back in 2000 called the "Big Pig Gig." As a fundraiser for the ArtWorks organization, local artists decorated fiberglass squealers that were later auctioned. Although the event was supposedly based on a Swiss cow display, it was fitting for Cincinnati to use pigs because of a history hog-tied to pork and resulting nickname -- Porkopolis. So from a fiberglass pigpen to being a "boar" on Cincy streets, the big pigs are an endearing element in the Queen City landscape.
Click to learn about ArtWorks.

"The Days of Swine and Roses" is a mosaic mirrored pig, holding a wine bottle and white wine glass. Other Cincy "Big Pig" statues.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Lend Me Your Ears: Dubstep invades Cincy

There's no cover charge for "Wobble Wednesdays" at The Main Event.
Cincinnati's underground electronica scene had been set ablaze with Dubstep, claiming thousands of fans in its wake. Started in 1999 UK, this music genre has spun across Cincinnati and the U.S., consuming sound systems at venues such as The Main Event. The electronica-fused drum and bass format meshes with dub (reggae) and is backed by occasional vocals. The newer music reputedly is not quite as dark as earlier experimental garage tracks, but no less grimy. The Main Event is among area hot spots for Dubstep. Go on "Wobble Wednesdays" when some of the area's best Dubstep DJs lay down hardcore mixes for floor burners to bust their moves!
The Main Event
835 Main Street; Cincinnati, OH 45202; (513) 421-1294
Hours: Mon-Thu 5:30 p.m.-2:30 a.m.; Fri-Sat 5:30 a.m.-4 a.m.; Sun 11 a.m.-2:30 a.m.

Dubstep music samples:
- Mt. Eden via
- Galactik Knights at
- Graffiti City dubstep remix of Brittney Spears' TOXIC:
... or check out DJ Psyfer's FB page for Cincy music and more:

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Fashion Streak: 'Unheardof' sneaker boutique

Unhearof dubs itself the "Street Pusher of Rare Goods." This Friday (Sept. 17, 2010), the store will host the Bengals Art Show. Click on to view art and get information on boutique merchandise.

Specialty baseball caps are among popular items.
I love the mural above; however, let's get to the real business of this post: the coveted sneaker boutique "Unheardof." This downtown boutique carries many rare sneakers and atypical clothing. It also hosts special events like September 2010's Bengals Art Show and T-shirt Release Party w/ MTV's Rob Dyrdek ("Rob and Big"). Exclusive - yes, pricey - perhaps, but I have yet to find a better boutique catering to sneaker aficionados and those who want to sport casual, independent fashions.
323 W 4th St., Cincinnati, OH 45202, (513) 744-9444
Sept 17th
Cincinnati Bengals Art Show w/ paintings from Shawn Voelker 

Sept 23rd
T-shirt Release Party w/ Rob Dyrdek (MTV's Rob and Big)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Lend Me Your Ears: Ben Harper

Headbanger: In my opinion, Ben Harper’s “Fight for your mind” CD is an awesome blend of rock, soul, folk, blues, and Gospel, stirred with a hint of country. I've already worn out three burned copies of this CD since January 2010. Borrow the disc from your local library, give it a listen, and then play it for your friends. Here's a sampling: 
Excuse Me Mister
God-Fearing Man

Heart of the Art / Photo Café: Fabricate

Fabricate hosts Art Openings from 7 to 11 p.m.
on the second Saturday of every month 
Fabricate: Great art isn’t just found in museums or art shows. Many introspective and eclectic pieces reside in unassuming places like Fabricate. Located inside Red Polly on Hamilton Avenue, Fabricate sells art and accessories by many gifted local artisans. My typical experience at Fabricate, “I want that, and that, and that, and that, and, ooh, two of these, please!!!

Note: Fabricate's Web site provides limited information, so contact Chris Salley or Aileen McGrath to learn about upcoming events, consigning your artistic wares or visit Fabricate online at

4012 Hamilton Avenue (inside Red Polly)
Cincinnati, Ohio 45223

Friday, September 10, 2010

Lend Me Your Ears: 'Shake It Records'

Shake It Records owner Jim Blase is a living history book of music. 
Many of us are familiar with the phrase: the key to success is embracing your passion. And it is a passion for music that lead Jim Blase and his brother Darren to open Shake It Records. Jim recalled that, as kids, they would cash their checks and go straight to their local record store. Their love of music so strong, it was inevitable that one day they'd give in to their passion for music by owning Shake It Records.

This old-school record store hosts live performances amid a plethora of LPs, CDs, DVDs, art, and more. There are vinyl toys, Asian stationery, and great magazines I didn't know existed. The store also sells artwork by graffiti writer Scribe, artist Rapes, and Elder High School art teacher Robert Beemon. Also, there are depictions of musicians produced by King Records, which was a major record label in Cincy during the 1940s, '50s, and '60s.
Store hours are Monday to Saturday 
11 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sunday noon-6 p.m.

As for me, I'll always remember the day I went to purchase Santogold's "Santogold" and found a treasure trove.

Shake It Records
4156 Hamilton Avenue
Cincy's Northside

A Healthy Dose of Realism: Mating Season

On a recent episode of "Tyra (Banks)," female guests complained that their husbands and boyfriends, who had accompanied them to the show, needed to stop their annoying habits. I observed that many of the couples did not seem well suited to their mate, which got me thinking -- if you want to change your mate, perhaps, it is indicative of a relationship that was never right for you! As a female, I grew up hearing older women suggest to younger ones how to "hook" a man. Nothing in those conversations suggested waiting for that special one. No, just go out into the world, find a man you like, and snag him before another woman gets him!  To this day, plots are being formulated to snag a "significant other" -- just take a look at reading material that permeates society on this subject! Perhaps if we actually take time to get truly acquainted with the object of our heart's desire, we might decide to keep looking, and looking, and looking ... until we meet that special someone, who takes our breath way. Unfortunately, too many women still need marriage for validation and so they look for just about any decent employed man to lock down. In the words of a dear friend, "... find someone who can provide for you!" ... never mind that she has been married three times!!!

Note: The U.S. has the highest divorce rate in the world. Here are the latest stats:

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Fashion Streak: Consignment shopping

Clifton's "the mustard seed boutique" is one of Cincinnati's hidden gems. 
The mustard seed boutique is a charming consignment shop nestled along Ludlow Avenue’s business district, the boutique carries new and resale designer labels and quality vintage apparel. I find the merchandise often rivals top local retailers, making this boutique well worth the trip to Clifton.
For more information, visit “the mustard seed boutique” online at

"the mustard seed boutique"
Christy Reinshagen, owner
311 Ludlow Avenue
Cincinnati, Ohio 45220

From right:: vintage wear; a silk taupe-colored frock by Marc Jacobs for just $110 that my daughter salivates over; and vintage red patent leather shoes.

Welcome to Cincy Dwellers: Embracing Cincinnati’s art, music, and dining subcultures, and lesser-known facts.

Friday, May 28, 2010

The Crazy, Lazy Cookbook: Eat out often (The Pub)

Who knew that a bit of jolly ole England could be found in Cincinnati for a fistful of U.S. dollars rather than the traditional pounds and a pence? I recently got a taste of English culture at The "Pub" in Rookwood Commons.
The Pub is authentically British, says my daughter, who recently returned from across the "pond." So I'll take her word that pubs are very casual, social establishments, offering patrons seemingly endless brew and lager options. 
At her suggestion, I drank Hoegaarden and Stella -- two popular Belgium brands that have unique heritages: Hoegaarden is a wheat brew whose history is rooted in the middle ages; Stella traces its beginnings to 1366. 
My Hoegaarden was served in a huge glass with a slice of orange -- or was that Stella? Hmmm -- don't twist the orange and bring a designated driver!!!

A few days later, and much more sober, I returned to complete the experience. What I learned: the Pub serves free brew samples upon request and classic Pub fare is a must. I enjoyed a delicious pizza appetizer while awaiting the Monday night, half-priced Fish 'n' Chips special. Next time, I'll try Bangers and Mash or Shepherd's Pie but plan to leave the Fried Pickles alone!  

Monday, May 24, 2010

Fountain Square is the heart of Downtown Cincinnati and the center of Urban Lifestyles.