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    Cincinnati

    local loves: volume I

    Despite the dreadful, never-ending winter we’ve experienced, Cincinnati is a great place to live. If you ask my closest friends, they’ll tell you I’m obsessed with the old architecture, the equally-impressive building murals, Findlay Market and the City Flea.

    The rivalry between the East and West side is real. “Where did you go to school?” almost always means high school, and our idea of chili is concocted using cinnamon and chocolate. Sure, we have our quirks, but that’s what makes Cincinnati so unique. It truly is a big, small town.

    Several years ago, our historic Over-the-Rhine neighborhood was brimming with crime and notorious for its dilapidated buildings and memories of “what used to be.” Now it’s home to many new, up-and-coming businesses. Foodies flock to its hipster-cool restaurants, and its revitalization efforts are getting head nods from national publications. Cincinnati has stood up to New York, Chicago, Rome and Florence and even has a love letter to prove it. People have so much pride in our city, and for good reason.

    It’s my plan to make this post part of a series. If you live here, I hope these posts will inspire you to venture out and explore our city. And if you’re from out of town, I hope you to plan a trip soon. Here are some of the moments that made this past week special. Have a great weekend!

    local loves edited[Morning view from my desk]

    local loves3 edited[An assortment of delicious gourmet cupcakes from Abby Girl Sweets]

    local loves4 edited[Keys to my new apartment]

    local loves edited 2[One-of-a-kind earrings by local artist Tara Lea Smith, found at Curate Boutique]

    local loves 7mnd[Fun mustache props at my high school’s annual fundraiser…and my debut as an auction model]

    Dress [Francesca’s], Shoes [Thrifted]

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    Living

    apartment inspo: the living room

    apt4

    I just moved into my first apartment, and I couldn’t be more thrilled. It’s a charming one bedroom situated on a main road. It’s bright, inviting and most importantly, it’s mine.

    I found it on a whim. I was driving through Norwood (a neighborhood in Cincinnati where I went to college), trying to kill time when I happened to spot the “For Rent” sign in the front yard. I called the number, looked at the apartment 20 minutes later, fell in love with the quaint little space and filled out an application. The rest is history. It’s funny how something so perfect comes along when you don’t even realize you’re looking.

    I’ve spent hours browsing Apartment Therapy since moving in, and actually look forward to trips to Home Depot and Bed Bath & Beyond, two places that used to make me cringe. If this isn’t adult world, then I don’t know what is. I can’t wait to start decorating and working on all of the projects I have planned.

    living room

    My style has definitely evolved over the years. I used to gravitate to darker, more earthy tones. Now, I can’t get enough of bright, white spaces. I love how a lack of wall color can bring a sense of crispness to a room. I’m not allowed to paint in my new space, and don’t have a ton of cash to spend on pricey decor items, but this just forces me to get more creative. This includes perusing my local Goodwill and accepting hand-me-down furniture from family members. Both of which I’ve already done, and plan to keep doing.

    I claimed an old coffee table and round table from my college house that were left behind by the previous tenants. Although they need some TLC, they have classic shapes and so much potential. It’s like those movies where the Plain Jane gets a makeover and suddenly she’s gorgeous and all the guys notice her (She’s All That, anyone?). Yeah, kinda like that…but with furniture. I’m planning on giving the coffee table a coat of bright paint, and the round table will be transformed into a bar to greet friends as they walk in the door.

    It will be a process, that’s for sure. Making an apartment feel like home isn’t something that happens overnight. And with a limited budget, it can be tricky. But that’s the fun part. I can’t wait to get started and track my progress. Stay tuned.

    bar

    images via here, here & here

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    Cincinnati

    top Cincinnati restaurant picks for Fat Tuesday

    I’m all for Fat Tuesday. A day where it’s perfectly acceptable to eat copious amounts of comfort food? Sign me up. As much as I wish I could be wandering bustling Bourbon Street, and sitting at a local oyster bar with a mixed grenade drink in hand, I am staying put this year. Not that I’m too upset about it. Cincinnati has some great spots serving up dishes that are sure to knock your socks off and maybe bump you up a pants size.

    Here are my absolute favorite places in town for Fat Tuesday appropriate food:

    Tom + Chee – These guys are creating a lot of buzz. You may have seen them on Shark Tank, Man vs. Food or Amazing Eats, nbd. And there’s a reason they’re getting so much attention. This place is known for their amazing grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup. My go-to is brie cheese on a glazed donut. Try it. You won’t regret it. tom + chee

    Eli’s Barbeque – Eli’s is hands down the best barbeque place in town. The little hole-in-the-wall is cash only, but its finger-lickin’ good pulled pork sandwich and jalenpeno corn bread are to die for. eli's

    Holtman’s Donuts – If you know me, you know I love my sweets. And donuts are no exception. Holtman’s is notorious for their maple bacon donuts. Salty + sweet = the perfect combination. holtman-s-doughnut-shop

    Shanghai Mama’s – In my opinion, this is the best Chinese food in Cincinnati. This place is delicious, affordable and as an added bonus, it’s open until 3 a.m. every Friday and Saturday. You can never go wrong with one of their noodle bowls, and my friend Max swears by the Shanghai Ribs.

    shanghai mamas

    Senate – This restaurant’s gourmet style hot dogs may have the attention of Food and Wine Magazine and Forbes, but I’ve got my mind on one thing – the poutine. I can’t even tell you how amazing this dish is. French fries and braised pork ribs that are doused in cheese curds and gravy. Hold on while I wipe the drool from my mouth.

    senate

    I picked up a King Cake from one of my favorite local bakeries, and am having friends over for a night solely dedicated to eating anything and everything in sight. I hope you all have a sweet, greasy, fried and extra savory Fat Tuesday!

    Images via here, here, here, here & here

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    Beauty

    winter skin

    winter

    Oh, winter. Don’t even get me started on you. While I longed for spring in my last post, it’s time to face the disheartening reality that with 10 inches of snow on its way, winter is still here.

    With that in mind, let’s talk about products. I’ll be the first to admit that I totally judge a book by its cover, and a lotion by its pretty packaging. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years (through countless purchases that left me with disappointing results), it’s this: just because a bottle has bows, flowers and/or rainbows on it, does not mean it’s going to work. I just wind up with a bad case of buyer’s remorse and stubborn, dry skin that couldn’t care less about the vanilla cupcake-scented lotion I’ve lathered on it.

    When plagued with dry skin, some of the best remedies I’ve found are housed on drugstore shelves. Full wallet + moisturized skin = happy me. Here are the products I’m using now to endure the rest of winter (for less than $10 each):

    POND’S Dry Skin Cream: I feel like my face is always so dry. I stumbled upon this at Bed Bath & Beyond, and now I’m hooked. Even though it has a thick consistency, it’s hypoallergenic so it won’t clog my pores. I layer it on before bed and wake up with glowing, moisturized skin.

    O’Keeffe’s Working Hands: Cold air leaves my hands uncomfortably dry and cracked. This product is a lifesaver. It was formulated for people who work with their hands on a daily basis, so it’s non-greasy and contains a high concentration of glycerin to help the skin draw in and retain moisture. I keep a jar of this stuff on my desk and apply it throughout the day.

    O’Keeffe’s for Healthy Feet: Like Working Hands, this product is perfect for keeping my feet “sandal ready” in the dead of winter. I usually apply it at night and throw on a pair of socks. A lazy girl’s pedicure.

    EOS lip balm: Okay, so this product is adorable. I walked into its trap while in line at Target. But not only does this little baby have the looks, it also works and smells great, too. I love a triple threat.

    Carmex Original Lip Balm: This was the product I forgot I had. I found it stashed in my bathroom drawer. Little lip balm, I’m sorry I neglected you because you seriously rock. I apply this every morning before my lipstick. It gives my lips a bit of sheen and keeps them from drying out.

    Nivea Essentially Enriched Body Lotion: This is my favorite body lotion of all time. It claims to provide moisture for more than 24 hours, and it really does. When my skin is at its worst, I know I can count on this product to work like a charm.

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    Fashion

    spring fever

    Living in Cincinnati has its perks, but winter is definitely not one of them. I go to work every morning looking like the Michelin Tire Man. Most days are gray, chillingly-cold and gloomy. The warmer months seem like a distant, foggy memory. It’s as if winter is here to stay. Permanently. See ya never, spring.

    Sweaters, coats, scarves, gloves, hats…I loved you four months ago, but I’ve moved on. You make me feel trapped. I miss the freedom I used to feel in my spring and summer clothes. Shopping in a heavy coat and what feels like 10 lbs of layers…it’s a chore. The effort it takes to try something on? You can forget about it. And the static cling. Over it.

    The brief stint of warm (I use this term loosely) weather we had Saturday left me yearning for sunny days ahead. I’m currently sitting in my favorite local coffee shop, sporting my over-sized, puffy coat, and daydreaming of the springy garments I wish I were wearing. Emerald green is a favorite of mine, as are most jewel tones. And nothing beats fun, bright accessories. Let the countdown to spring begin.

    Picture 1

    Top [River Island], Skirt [T by Alexander Wang], Shoes [Forever 21], Denim Jacket [Gap], Nail Polish [Essie, Fashion Playground], Earrings [Baublebar], Bracelet [Baublebar], Cross-body Bag [Coach]

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    Real Life

    new adventures

    say yes

    I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I rewrote this post. Actually, I can. We’ll go with seven or eight…maybe 20. The truth is, the first really is the worst. I mean honestly, writing the first blog post is a lot harder than I thought.

    While I’m still trying to figure that out, I can tell you this: as a twenty-something, young professional, two years out of college (and counting), I’m ready for a new adventure. Something that’s exciting and completely, 100% mine.

    I’m a public relations professional by day at a marketing agency. But in my off hours, I’m a lover of fashion, cooking, vintage, travel, home decor, DIY, and Cincinnati, the place I call home. This blog will serve as my creative outlet, so I can document the things that inspire me most – whether it’s a skirt I’ve been coveting, a recipe I’m dying to try, or a cool, new restaurant in town.

    If you know me, you know that I tend to ramble. But, I really just want to say hey. Thanks for stopping by my small space on the web. I just moved in, so excuse the cyber dust. It’s not really furnished yet, as you can see, but it will be soon.

    I hope you stay awhile, and come back. A party is more fun with friends like you.

    image via

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