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    Cincinnati, Food

    Abby Reckman of Happy Belly Gives Tips on Eating Clean, Shopping Smart, and Snacking Right

    Ribbet collageAbby Reckman, the owner of Happy Belly on Vine, knows a thing or two about living a healthy lifestyle. She’s passionate about creating wholesome, healthy menu items for patrons, and her enthusiasm shows. I had the chance to step in the kitchen, take some photos and watch Abby and her staff go to work creating good-for-you sandwiches, smoothies and light bites. I’m easily won over by food, so naturally, my favorite part of the morning was when I indulged in a breakfast sandwich and smoothie (you just don’t mess with a girl and her breakfast).

    But if one thing’s for sure, it’s this: Abby and her staff are the sweetest. I asked Abby everything, from what inspired her idea for her own restaurant, to her tips for choosing healthy choices at the grocery store. Check out our interview below! Untitled-3I’ve always been passionate about food and how it affects the body. I studied nutrition in school and worked in restaurants through my mid-twenties, serving mostly bar food. I felt bad doing it because I thought there should be healthier options. Obviously, cooking at home is always an option, but today’s culture is social and fast-paced. I wanted to provide something that would meet the needs of the busy, health conscious person. The food at Happy Belly is healthy, but customers still leave feeling satisfied!

    Untitled-4Many things!  Everything from my dad’s cancer to my personal experiences have proven to me that diet can affect the whole body, mind, and soul. I believe your overall health is affected by what you eat the most.  I want for myself and others to live not only long lives, but also fun, joyful lives.  Your mood, your energy levels, your sense of well-being — it all starts with a healthy diet!DSC_2134

    Untitled-6Fruit, fruit, fruit!  Fruit is so easy to grab and take with you!  I also love RxBars.  They are Whole 30 approved and full of nothing but real food ingredients.DSC_2131

    Untitled-8Haha, again fruit!  I love to chop up some apples, sprinkle some cinnamon and nutmeg on them and add in a few raisins.  You can heat them up however you prefer and it’s like eating a little apple crisp!

    Untitled-9Stay on the outside of the grocery store. Kroger’s natural section is packed with good stuff. However, make sure to avoid the gluten-free and vegan goodies if you’re not gluten free. Many people think these options are healthy, but they’re actually loaded with sugar. I also just discovered this app called OpenLabel. It allows you to scan an item and will come up with any articles or information on it..pretty cool!

    Untitled-10All over!  I have tons of clean eating, paleo, and Whole 30 recipe books. Pinterest has many great ideas — even if they’re unhealthy, I’ll tweak them until they are clean-eating approved. The staff at Happy Belly is truly passionate about the restaurant and are always coming up with great recipes. We’re focusing on daily specials now, so we get to have fun in the kitchen and play with new ideas every day!

    ————————————————————————————————————————————–Thank you Abby for your time and insight! To read more about Happy Belly, view my previous post about it here.

    Happy Belly is open from 7 a.m. – 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. on Saturdays.

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    Cincinnati, Fashion

    5 Spring Trends to Wear Now

    Spring Trends

    I don’t know about you, but I am this close to torching every black and gray item in my closet. The weather is finally warming up, and I can’t wait to incorporate florals, pastels and lighter pieces into my spring arsenal.

    While I’m dreaming of sundresses and shorts, Courtney PeGan is stocking her store with trendy pieces fit for the upcoming seasons. The owner of Curate Boutique is the definition of a #GIRLBOSS. She has an eye for style, a penchant for all things business and the courage to go after what she wants, even if it means leaving a secure corporate job to pursue her dreams.

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    “I always knew I wanted to have my own business, but I knew it had to be a labor of love because it’s hard,” Courtney said. “You have to love what you do in order to get out of bed every morning.”

    Some might view fashion as a superficial hobby — one that’s centered around consumption and material goods. But for Courtney, fashion is a form of self expression and a way to help a woman feel more beautiful and confident in her own skin. 

    “One woman came in and she was in the process of losing weight. Still still saw herself as a size 12. I encouraged her to try on the size 8 dress and immediately saw how different she carried herself – it was an incredible feeling,” she said.

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    Courtney recently traveled to a buyers’ show in Chicago, where she mingled with brand representatives, and selected pieces for Curate’s spring collection. During our interview, I had the chance to browse the racks, catch up on her life as a newlywed, play dress up and talk spring trends.

    Here are some of the trends you can start wearing now (yes, please):

    1. Graphic Prints: According to Courtney, these aren’t your standard graphic prints. The new trend of graphic prints is more abstract than what you might be used to. Look no further than this dress. OBSESSED.

    2. Luxe Textures and Fabrics: This season’s trend requires taking it up a notch. This includes rich brocades, tweeds, chiffons, silks, and other luxe fabrics. This gorgeous fringe skirt really brings the wow factor.

    3. Ladylike Details: We’re talking bows, lace and all things girly. If you’re looking for an Easter dress, this lavender one is the perfect combination of sweet and feminine.

    4. Wearable Tech: Designers are incorporating tech into fashion and it’s brilliant. Think purses that actually charge your phone on the go (something I NEED). Courtney has some awesome stuff on the tech front in store for spring, so be sure to stop in!

    5. Jumpsuits & Rompers: Jumpsuits and rompers aren’t new, but the trend doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon. I love this option. If you’re looking for a way to switch up your look, try layering a tee under your jumpsuit for something casual and unexpected.

    Courtney’s trend watch first appeared on Curate’s blog. For more style inspiration, head to curateboutique.com

    P.S. – I’ll be at Curate tonight from 6-8 p.m. learning how to make gorgeous paper flowers. Grab your girlfriends, and stop by for some shopping, DIYing and light sips and snacks. Get the details here. Hope to see you there! 

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    Cincinnati, Fashion

    Meet Clothe Ohio + GIVEAWAY

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    [Tee: Clothe Ohio Ohio Circle Black Tee c/o | Skirt: Pink Tulip Boutique (similar) | Boots: Ann Taylor (similar) | Clutch: Target (similar) | Jacket: the leather market in Florence, Italy (similar) | Bracelets: Forever 21 (similar), Charming Charlie (similar) and RocksBox c/o]

    Truth: I love playing matchmaker. That’s why I’m beyond excited for this post, guys. I teamed up with some fellow Cincinnati bloggers and we’re just dying to set you up with Clothe Ohio. The company’s mission is simple:

    “Clothe Ohio is a company that gives when you get. Combined with our love for producing comfy, artsy, yet fashionable Ohio apparel, donating clothing was an undeniable solution to fulfilling our passion to give back. With each order placed, we will give a new t-shirt or sweatshirt to an Ohioan in need. Teaming up with different non-profits and charitable organizations throughout the state, we are able to give directly to the people who need it most.”

    This, my friends, is what they call a total package.

    If Clothe Ohio’s philanthropic efforts aren’t enough to win you over, then I can guarantee its tees, sweatshirts and hoodies will. And to all the men out there — you’re in luck. Clothe Ohio has some great stuff for you, too.

    DSC_1891_editedDSC_1875_editedDSC_1887_editedWe’re showcasing some of our favorite tees from Clothe Ohio’s collection, but there are so many great options to choose from. So sit back, grab your credit card and start browsing. And while you’re at it, be sure to enter our giveaway below for a chance to win a sweatshirt of your choice (we love this one)! The contest ends 3/19 and is open to US residents only.IMG_8563_edited

    Let’s pump up that Ohio pride. Good luck!

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Photography by Aline Tabet and Annie Butler.

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    Cincinnati, Fashion

    #CincyStyle: February 2015

    DSC_0947_editedIt’s that time of the month again. The time where I share pictures of fashionable people I’ve bumped into around town (remember last month’s post?). Spring is just a few more cold days away (please, no more snow). I don’t know about you guys, but I’m so excited to stuff my winter coat in a bag and toss it into the depths of my closet.

    I have to admit, though — seeing these ladies rock the layers almost makes me wish winter would stick around a bit longer. Almost.

    DSC_0946_editedDSC_1368_edited DSC_1517_edited DSC_1518_edited DSC_1536_edited DSC_1549_editedThanks for tuning in! To see past #CincyStyle posts, click here.

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    Cincinnati, Food

    Eat Local: Pontiac Bourbon And BBQ

    pontiac2I debated posting this for a few reasons. One, I ate my food so fast, I forgot to take mental notes. Two, I’m a procrastinator. And three, I knew I’d get the “How does it compare to Eli’s?” question. So, here we are three weeks later.

    Pontiac is another glorious addition to Vine Street – Cincinnati’s foodie mecca. And because it’s owned by Chef Daniel Wright (the genius behind Senate and Abigale Street), I had pretty high expectations.

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    The truth is, I loved this place. The meat was melt-in-your-mouth tender, the grits were infused with bacon and jalapeno, and everything washed down nicely with a sweet tea. One downside, this heavy, stick-to-your-bones meal is not conducive to a productive afternoon. I just wanted to crawl under my desk and take a nap. But it was so, so worth it.

    I should mention that I am by no means a food critic. I am, however, Italian. And Italians love food. So I think that gives me some sort of food critic prerequisite. Maybe.

    DSC_0750_editedI studied the menu for a bit before deciding on 1/2 lb. of the Texas Style Brisket (fatty, of course) with a side of bacon fat grits. I laughed for a brief second because fat was mentioned twice in my order. But got over it a minute later because YOLO.

    The metal tray came with all the fixin’s: a side of white onions and pickles, four slices of buttered white bread, my side of grits and the star of the show — the meat.

    Not only was the food delish, but the atmosphere was on point. Think old fashioned diner meets Texas style roadhouse. The plush booths and the neon signs take it to the next level. This is the kind of place you want to go and just hang out.DSC_0746_editedDSC_0754_editedNow, for the Eli’s comparison. Eli’s will always, always have my heart (and my stomach). You just can’t beat getting together with your closest friends, grabbing your favorite bottle of booze and parking yourself at one of their picnic tables.

    But, at the end of the day, Pontiac was good. If you saw my empty tray, you would know. If you’re in the OTR neighborhood, be sure to pop in and chow down.

    Katie made a visit to Pontiac, too. Check out her review over at OUT + OUTFIT.

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    Cincinnati, Real Life

    5 Things To Do In Cincinnati This Weekend

    Girl in CoatHappy Friday, friends! You officially made it to the best day of the week. Did you guys work from home at all? Chances are, if you live in Cincinnati or anywhere else that doesn’t know how to handle snow, the answer to that question is yes. On that note, I forget what warm weather feels like and I’m writing this post from under a mound of fleece blankets. It’s a sight to see. Spring, the jig is up. You can come out now…

    I’m out of town this weekend, but I rounded up a list of things I’d be doing if I were home. So, if you’re looking to get out this weekend (but stay inside), I’ve got you covered. Hopefully these suggestions will help you cure that cabin fever:

    1. Curate Boutique’s Dollar Sale: Curate Boutique is having an AWESOME sale this weekend, and I am beyond bummed I’m missing it. Seriously, 5 items for $50?! On top of that, all winter clothing is 50% off (as if you needed more convincing). Please go, say hi to Courtney and rub all the good deals in my face. curate2. Cincinnati Beer Week: For all you beer lovers out there, Cincinnati Beer Week is here to quench your thirst. Check out the events calendar here.Beer

    3. Winter Farmer’s Market at Findlay Market: Local vendors will be setting up shop between Eli’s BBQ and Maverick Chocolate. Head there on Saturday from 8 a.m. – 2 p.m. or Sunday from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. to pick up fresh produce and support local farmers. Learn more here.Findlay5

    4. Anything Goes: So, I don’t know if you guys know this, but I was a major musical theater nerd in high school. Anything Goes was one of my favorites. It will be at the Aronoff Center until Feb. 22. View show times and purchase tickets here.broadway_anything_goes_650X370

    5. The Big Show at the Esquire Theater: If you have plans to watch the Academy Awards this weekend, get glammed up, grab some friends and head to the Esquire Theater in Clifton for a night of movie trivia, drinks and hors d’oeuvres. If you’re looking to channel old Hollywood vibes, stop by the photo booth and get your picture taken on beautiful vintage couches provided by Queen City Vignette. Grab your tickets here.esquire_web

    Hope you have a great weekend! P.S. – I’ll be taking over Divine Caroline’s Instagram page (@DivineCarolineTeam) until Sunday, so be sure to stop by and say hi!

    Images via here, here, here, & here

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    Cincinnati, Real Life

    5 (Inexpensive) Valentine’s Day Date Ideas

    v-dayLet me preface this post by saying that I’m not a big fan of Valentine’s Day. From the fancy dinners to the over-the-top gifts, V-Day can get expensive quickly. But it doesn’t have to be that way. In my opinion, Valentine’s Day should be spent doing something together – and that doesn’t always require extra funds.

    Let’s be real, as a girl on a budget, it doesn’t hurt that life experiences often come free (or close to it!).

    Here are five inexpensive date ideas for all you lovers out there:

    1) Make Dinner: A couple of years ago, Fritz and I stopped by Findlay Market to grab ingredients for our Valentine’s Day dinner. We went all out. From the hand cut pasta and fresh seafood, to the bottle of wine and homemade french baguette. We played music, slipped into our fanciest sweatpants and cooked together. The experience totally trumped spending an arm and a leg at some swanky restaurant downtown. If you’re looking for menu options, check out Lauren’s Lobster Mac & Cheese recipe. Drool.

    2) Go Ice Skating: It’s actually a bit weird I’m recommending this for one obvious reason. I’m the girl who clings to the wall for dear life, and who sucks at anything that involves coordination. But, it’s still fun to give ice skating a whirl. You might fall a few times, but nothing “breaks the ice” more than laughing at yourself (and each other) in the process. If you’re in Cincinnati, bundle up and head to Fountain Square’s ice rink (open until Feb. 14).

    3) Take a Class: Groupon has so many ideas for fun, inexpensive dates. Learn how to make sushi at Findlay Market, or head to a BYOB painting class (selling point: WINE).

    4) Explore Your City: A few months ago, my friend Aline took me on the Queen City Underground Tour for my birthday. I loved every second of the 90-minute tour, and I was surprised how much I learned about a place I’ve lived my entire life. We wandered through old buildings and underground brewery tunnels in OTR before ending the day at the Christian Moerlein bottling plant and tap room. So, beer.

    5) Grab Dessert: No matter how full I am from that home-cooked meal, I always, always save room for dessert. Put on your party dress, and head to one of your favorite restaurants for dessert and coffee. It’s a “sweet” way to end the night. I swear by Sotto’s Ricotta Donuts (life-changing). And you can’t go wrong with Graeter’s Ice Cream – a Cincinnati staple.

    So, whether you’re planning on celebrating Valentine’s Day or Galentine’s Day, I hope this list gave you some ideas! And I’d love to know, what are you favorite ways to spend the holiday?

    Image via

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