Thursday, May 28, 2009

Who's The Big Winner??!!

Oh. My. God.

I was a bit groggy this morning after last night's revelry... The start of Cookbook University Day 2 was slow going and I was doing my best to mainline coffee, knowing I was probably going to need toothpicks to prop open my eyelids at some point.

And that's when the DMs, emails and calls started coming.


"Have you checked Cincinnati Women Bloggers this morning?" said Shannan.

Amy In Ohio rang me up and I explained that I was sans computer and that my blackberry wasn't the most sophisticated tool where viewing videos is concerned.

And that's when Amy clued me in to the little nugget that I won the CWB contest for a free pass to BlogHer '09.

Needless to say, I perked right up for the remainder of my cookbook conference.

BlogHer, in case you didn't know it, is a conference for women bloggers scheduled for the end of July in Chicago. Tickets went for $300 a person, though now the event is sold out.

I knew I was going to have to do some tight budgeting to swing the entry fee - if I could actually find a pass up for grabs.

I cannot believe I won this opportunity.

And I am so grateful for it.

I promise to share the knowledge I learn about blogging with the intrepid readers of Kate's Random Musings and I promise to be a good steward of Cincinnati.

I also promise to do my best and have a fun time at the swanky cocktail parties and grab as much swag as my arms and bags can carry.


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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Elvis Lives...

In Nashville.

I swear.
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Kissing and Telling

Tiffy and I made our way to Nashville's Wild Horse Saloon with some new Junior League friends from Atlanta and Boston.

Along the way, we decided to steal a smooch from this strapping stallion.

I guess that's what drinking PBR will do to you...

We are obviously living up to the "white gloves and pearls" reputation in Music City...
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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Unwinding In Nashville

I'm in Nash-Vegas for a couple days for a conference on cookbook publishing.

My co-chair and I are staying at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel - its tricked out if you've never had the pleasure of exploring.

The beers above are a flight of the locally brewed Yazoo Hefeweizen, Pale Ale and Sly Rye Porter.

You might see other pics like this while I'm down in Music City.

I'm just sayin'.
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Saturday, May 23, 2009


I was never destined to star in Fiddler on the Roof.

My brush with the violin was brief. Fourth grade offered the first opportunity to participate in the school orchestra, and I vaguely recall wanting to play the cello, but I imagine my parents talked me out of it over it's more cumbersome portability challenges. So, it was the violin, complete with a chin rest, resin and bow made with real horsetail hair.

I toiled over a creaky, squeaky Hot Cross Buns until I got used to the graceful flow of the bow over the strings, eventually graduating to more complicated tunes of Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star and Edelweiss (also creaky and squeaky).

They say practice makes perfect, but for all my practicing, I remained frustrated with my fingering and developed a fierce, 10-year-old disdain for the instructor.

Field Day at the end of the year brought with it a list of games, a cookout and the end of my love affair with the violin. 5th grade launched my somewhat longer singing career.

Thankfully, these days I do not have to pick up a violin case to get my fiddle fix.

The fiddlehead fern is a fleeting seasonal delicacy that allows only weeks of culinary revelation. This leafy green, so named because its unfurled leaves remind us of the carved scroll at the end of a stringed instrument, is typically eaten after some kind of preparation including blanching or sauteing.

Popular in New England, the fiddlehead fern comes into season in Connecticut, Massachusetts, etc. in May. Twitter pal @geekjames tells me his friend and local vegetable aficionado Sallie Ransohoff says fiddleheads aren't quite yet in season in Greater Cincinnati, but a bumper crop can be found in Adams County, due east of the Queen City.

Many epicureans compare the fiddlehead's flavor to something of a cross between asparagus, artichoke and okra. Chock full of vitamins A and C, the fern requires cooking before eating so as to neutralize a toxin naturally found in the green.

Just boil your fiddleheads for five to ten minutes, then swirl some olive oil in a pan, saute at medium heat for a few minutes, and you'll be good to go.

I've been dying to prepare fiddlehead ferns and hear they're typically found at Madison's in Findlay Market, though my informants say you might also be able to score some at Hyde Park Kroger or Jungle Jim's in Fairfield.

Many recipes pair the fiddlehead fern with morel - a perfect, springtime union (here's a delicious and easy recipe from San Francisco's 5th Floor Restaurant), but in a nod to the fiddlehead's New England roots, I'd prefer to prepare a dish that includes seafood. This recipe of fiddlehead ferns, shrimp and linguine makes for the perfect savory symphony to soak up spring.

I imagine your exclamations of joy after eating this dish will be anything but creaky and squeaky.

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Friday, May 22, 2009

Eat Me

An unusual bento box showed up in the break room this morning. Our admin put me up to trying some of the foreign delicacies as she was too cautious to dive in to the strange packages with Japanese writing.

The item above featured two McDonald's-like pancakes sandwiched together with a sweet, bean curd-type filling.

Don't know if you can get this with a side of hash browns at the drive-thru.

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See & Be Scene Friday - May 22

Usually, no matter what I put in my mouth, my taste buds are longing for more.


I really try to savor the flavor. The textures and seasonings dance on my palate as I analyze the complications (and sometimes lack there of) of the dish - tasting fats and starches, reductions and purees. I assess textures, temperatures and consistencies.

With each bite, imagination whisks me away to colorful dreams - bucolic scenes that include French farmers gently harvesting milk for emmental or a rancher lovingly stroking his wagyu months before it's offered up as a gift to the gourmands.

When a vision in blackberry confection is served before me, I recall dozens of times I battled thorns while picking my own tart berries, then grow grateful for the hands that gingerly toiled in the thicket for the sweet finish to my repast.

During each flavor, each delectable dimension of dining, time stops and I briefly enjoy the moment before snapping forward and desiring more.

Thankfully, Taste of Cincinnati is upon us, and I am allowed to indulge my impatience.

Almost anyone who has ever spent some time in the Queen City has made a point of taking in this tasty trip through the city. You are practically expected to eat your way along the congested path of food stall after food stall, offering up aromas of roasted nuts and enough fried food to seize Dick Cheney's bionic pacemaker.

This year will be especially sweet - the music lineup includes a variety of great bands. I'm hoping to check out The Chocolate Horse Sunday evening at the Katie Reider Stage.

Hope to see you there, too!


May Festival Opening Night
Music Hall - 8 to 11 pm
Tickets starting at $22
Broadway legend Patti Lupone kicks off this annual tradition. Opening night also features Mozart's Requiem, a demanding piece in which I performed a solo many, many moons ago. Check out this challenging work and then sweep across the dance floor at the gala afterwards.

Final Friday
Pendleton Art Center - 6 to 10 pm
Cincinnati's special topography of rolling hills offer local artists an unusual collection of vistas, landscapes and urban scenes to put down on paper and canvas. Final Friday is a great way to peruse a variety of artistic mediums while you enjoy complimentary wine and nibbles. Bring your walking shoes - the eight floors of art can make for a bit of a hike in this old factory building. My favorite local artist, Joanne Honschopp, keeps a studio studio on the 8th floor - be sure to check out her Cincinnati-style play on Van Gogh's Starry Night.

Taste of Cincinnati
Downtown Cincinnati - noon to midnight (also Sunday and Monday)
Menu items $1 - $5
Whether you fancy tawook, Thai or tempura, you're sure to find something to tempt your taste buds. I recommend La Petite France's veggie crepe and Bella Luna's bread pudding (ask for extra rum butter drizzle on top - you'll be doing a good bit of walking, after all). Mythos also makes some great baklava (eat at your own risk - the FDA is winding down its investigation in connection with the pistachio recall).

Rocky Horror Picture Show
Esquire Theatre, Clifton - 11:45 PM to 2 AM
Tickets - $9.50
I know, I know. RHPS already got a mention on last week's See & Be Scene, but last week's version involved a convention at Drawbridge Inn. This mention involves a showing at the Esquire, one of Greater Cincinnati's most delightful movie theatres. I'm guessing you'll still want to bring your squirt guns, newspapers and playing cards to this showing. Before you head to the cinema, stop by Sitwell's for a Stella and a Brie Plate - I could eat that app dish morning, noon, and night.

Newport Gangster Tour
723 Monmouth St., Newport - 1, 3, 5 and 7 PM
Tickets - $15
Forget Vegas. In it's sinful heyday, Newport was the place where real shit went down. Strippers, casinos, brothels and gangsters - this town south of the Ohio was the mecca for everything naughty. Discover why the Rat Pack (yes, THE Rat Pack) made this little town a major tour destination and how local gangsters inspired the Sin City of today - Las Vegas.

Bluegrass All-Stars
The Comet, Northside - 7:30 PM
Free (though you should be nice and buy a drink and/or a bite)
Drive up Hamilton Avenue early and pick a perch in the dining room well before this band begins (you might actually want to get there around 6:30 or so to make sure you have a seat), because the Bluegrass All-Stars consistently pack the house. Banjos, mandolins and harmony - this band will have you toe tappin' and head noddin' before long. Order a cold Barrel House and make sure you try the special Salsa of the Month on your burrito - you won't regret it.

Burlesque 101
The Aura Studio, Bellevue - 7 - 8 PM
$12 per session
I saw this and had to include it in this week's list because it's something I'd want to see (rather than be seen doing). The class (through August 24) teaches students "New Burlesque" by using steps from old school burlesque as well as bellydance and hip hop. I took a bellydance class a few years ago and really enjoyed it - I'm guessing this class would be just as much fun. Note: make sure you get a hip scarf that jingles... it's so much more fun that way.

As always, if you know of something that you think belongs in See & Be Scene - shoot me an email -

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Thursday, May 21, 2009

#OTRTweetup: June

I've said it before, and I'll say it again.

You don't have to be on Twitter to come to the #OTRTweetup.

Hell, you don't even have to be on the internet to go to the #OTRTweetup. Then again, if you weren't on the internet, you wouldn't be reading this fine piece of virtual pulp. Would you?

Maybe your mom's not on the internet (mine's not), and maybe we would be missing out if we didn't get to invite her to the #OTRTweetup. Maybe your best friend hates technology but loves meeting new people. Invite 'em to the #OTRTweetup.

The invitation is open - for one and all. The latest #OTRTweetup is scheduled for Wednesday, June 3 at 7 PM.

Destination? It's still a little cloak-n-dagger, but I can tell you that it's definitely in OTR. That narrows the neighborhood down a little bit, doesn't it? (Note: the #OTRTweetup will never, ever be in the suburbs. It has yet to even venture as far out as CBD... but someday it just may take a field trip. Who knows.)

I should tell you, this #OTRTweetup is going to be a little different - we plan to showcase some of the cool things happening at June's Second Sunday on Main event, scheduled for June 14.

If you love dogs, love food, love beer, love shopping, love walking, love people or love breathing - then you will also love the Second Sunday on Main event.

See you at the #OTRTweetup!

Friday, May 15, 2009

See & Be Scene Friday - May 15

There's an upside to being a gal-about-town with a full calendar.

I've made a great and diverse crowd of friends across Cincinnati.

Single, married, parents, childless, anti-kids, gay, straight, attorneys, artists, activists, pretty, smart and funny - my circle of friends includes an eclectic group of people, something for which I'm really grateful.

These unique, brilliant people bring with them a host of activities that span everything from crazy street parties to VIP fetes in shadowy clubs. My calendar includes something for every foodie, culture vulture, club kid and family.

Some dining companions this week encouraged me to share this wealth of information - elements like the new restaurants and bars people are frequenting and the fun parties that belong on everyone's calendar. Their original idea involved me writing a book about these nuggets (watch your back, Zagat), but I decided this blog is a better venue to showcase the Queen City's goings on.

Every Friday, I'll run a franchise aptly titled See & Be Scene. My goal is to post cool weekend activities and hot spots that are worth your time and money - because let's face it, both are at an extreme premium these days.

Please email me if you've got a hot nugget that deserves a mention.

Westside Pub Crawl, hosted by Cincinnati Imports
7 pm, beginning at Luckey's Irish Pub, 3722 Harrison Ave., Cheviot
Cost - Free (though drinks, etc., are on your own)
If you think you need a passport to get to Montana (Avenue), this is the thing for you. Liz, Avani and Lauren will take you to five bars all within walking distance, though if you have a few too many, there will be plenty of new friends who may agree to carry you through Cheviot (Note: some people call it Shiviot).

Surreal Escape, hosted by Cincinnati Art Museum
8 pm, Cincinnati Art Museum, 953 Eden Park Dr., Eden Park
Cost - $20 in advance, $30 at the door, parking $4, cash bar
Reality can become pretty absurd sometimes, and when that happens, surrealism is the only way to make things right. Get down on your Dada to live music from the Seedy Seeds, enjoy delicious food and drink tastings and check out a surreal fashion show from some of UC's finest students.

Poseidon - An Upside Down Musical, hosted by Falcon Theatre
8 pm, Monmouth Theater, 636 Monmouth St., Newport
Cost - $15 for adults, $12 for students, seniors
If you have a feather boa, you might want to dig it out for this show. I haven't had the pleasure of seeing it, but I hear that it is camp, camp, camp! This show combines disaster on the high seas with the kind of song and dance numbers you'd expect at your favorite drag show. Note: Saturday night is sold out, so if you want to break it down Poseidon-style, Friday is your last chance.

Celluloid Jam, hosted by the Drawbridge Inn
Friday (12 p.m. to 1 a.m.) and Saturday (10 a.m. to 12 p.m.)
Touch-a touch-a touch-a touch me... I want to feel dirty. Rocky Horror was an institution during my college days in Lexington. The flick has had a cult following for decades, and this weekend Rocky and Magenta fans will take over the Drawbridge Inn to celebrate the king of cult films, along with Shock Treatment and Phantom of the Paradise. Break out the sequins, garter belts and face pant, this is sure to be an eclectic convention.

Note: Saturday is still in progress... stay tuned.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

What The Thuck Thursday

I randomly came across these while working with a video we're using for work.

Our organization video is pretty kick ass and wholesome... some of these videos are not.

Getting more than you pay for at the grocery store.

No, Sue Simmons, What the eff are YOU doing??!!

It said "worst laugh in the world." I thought, How bad can it be? BAD. Think Jerry Lewis-meets-Velociraptor.

In honor of the Cannes Film Festival, here's a pretty clever movie short. What would you do with a black hole?

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Monday, May 11, 2009

Good On Paper

The White House had a staff astrologer for seven years.

Thick in the decade of decadence and a desperation for meaning, Nancy Reagan turned to Joan Quigley for expertise. It was a relationship borne out of a chance meeting on the Merv Griffin Show, and Reagan relied on the astrological expert's insight after John Hinckley's assassination attempt on President Reagan in 1981.

If it's good enough for Nancy Reagan, then it's good enough for me.


I had the unexpected pleasure of having my tarot cards read twice in the past week - once at ONE, the quarterly cultural celebration at Cincinnati Art Museum, and once at Second Sunday on Main, an eclectic street fair in Cincinnati's Over-the-Rhine neighborhood (both spectacular events to get out and about and see the best friends you've never met).


The first reading last Wednesday involved me picking five over sized cards from a well worn, colorful stack. My hands combed through the deck spread before me, choosing my first card - a secret rectangle hidden behind another, more obvious choice.

My reader slowly turned over the first of five cards, remarking that success was on the road ahead. She glowed, saying I'd accomplish something significant - world changing, even - but this opportunity wouldn't show itself until I was in my 50s.

I guess patience is a virtue in the astrological world, too.

She skipped the second card, instead turning the third and fourth card, and waxed poetic about my intelligence and talents, offering up that I've been given all the tools I need to seize this great opportunity in two decades.

The reader's face had the map of time on it - beautiful, well worn wrinkles in every direction. Her sparkling, knowing eyes looked up from the table as she tapped on the fifth card. "You make your life harder than it needs to be, don't you?" It wasn't an accusation more than it was the admission of an undeniable fact, a revelation that pursed my lips as I held my head in hesitant confession. She tapped the card again and offered encouraging words that were much appreciated.

Card two. She flipped it over and quipped, "How's your love life?" I let out a single chuckle, laughing off the heartache I hold deep within. "Nonexistent."

"Don't worry. He's coming. You have nothing to worry about."

In hindsight, I wish I had plied a bit more information out of her about this last card, but courtesy and timeliness got the best of me, and I scooted out of the seat to make way for someone else's mystical moment.

My next encounter wasn't as "telling," but I was pleased and encouraged by what the cards revealed.

Sunday's tarot card reader had barely a year or two on me, but I trusted him with my deepest wonder - a yearning to know when true love would make its way to my days.

Five dollars and three cards. He chose each one for me and layed them out, saying the beautifully drawn cards indicated love was on its way.

Well, yeah. But death's on it's way, too. Is it "two years on its way," or "50 years on its way?" my brain wondered.

Knowing my thoughts, he graciously tossed out a few more cards, and said this "Bed Is On Fire" eternal love would show itself in a year or two.

Patience prevails in matters of the heart, too.

The reader went on to mention this huge success in life that keeps following me around from tarot reading to tarot reading (aside: wouldn't everyone want to hear their life includes huge success? Is this something these readers say to all the girls, or just the ones for whom it's true?), and I humbly thanked him for the positive energy.

Because I guess these days I'm all about the juju.

Next up? Maybe acupuncture and chakra therapy.

Sunday, May 10, 2009


Two hearts beat at once
Womb. One lifeline connecting
Time changed forever

Tiny hands held tight
Instincts, love, a bond of steel
Strong arms hold with care

Testing boundaries, youth
Seasoned life doubts naive spring
Willed wits blocks blind drive

Two women turn friends
Passing on interests, stories
Admiration grows

Time passes, distance
Unspoken words; love remains
Two hearts beat at once

Saturday, May 09, 2009

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Friday, May 08, 2009

It's Business Time

Friday is finally here.

I don't know about you, but I am limping along, desperate for a moment to catch my breath and think a little bit about life.

The schedule allows me to pencil that in for, oh, maybe 2 pm on Saturday.

Every minute today will be a struggle, as my body and brain are longing for a break and an opportunity to recharge and return to normalcy.

Thankfully, Bret and Jermaine are a perfect pick-me-up whenever I'm having an ennui kind of day.

Business Time, indeed.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

I Feel G-r-r-r-r-r-r-reat!!!

Boot Camp Week 3.

The stomach is starting to shrink a little bit, my legs are getting back into fighting form and I feel full of energy.

I feel great!

Special thanks to @kellyhudson for the link to this spectacular video.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Give 5 - Diaper Drive

(Full disclosure: Kate is employed by United Way of Greater Cincinnati).

Think quickly - which of the following could you live without:

Toilet paper

I've had to live lean during different times in my life, and one thing remains constant: I need food to survive. I need electricity to prepare said food (and watch TV and charge my cell phone and computer) and I need toilet paper to help dispose of the remnants of said food in a sanitary fashion.

Food. Electricity. Personal care items. Those things are pretty much non-negotiable.

Thankfully people in need get assistance with most of those items.

Folks who struggle with money matters can rely on local food banks for canned goods, dairy, meat and produce and there are agencies that will help pay utility bills for families and individuals struggling with financial stability.

Even with all this assistance, local families face challenges when meeting basic needs, including covering the costs associated with diapers.

Local food pantries and community service agencies aren't receiving adequate diaper donations, and many families are faced with tough choices, especially when considering the cost of diapers can top out at between $60 and $100 a month depending on a child's size.

United Way of Greater Cincinnati is striving to help those families out.

The Give 5 - Diaper Drive aims to raise enough money between May 5 and June 21 to buy 100,000 diapers to help local families struggling with the economic crisis.

These diapers will be distributed to more than a dozen local agencies that will pass them on to families in need.

Because families shouldn't have to make tough choices between buying food, paying their utility bills or buying diapers. Right?

And children shouldn't be forced to wear re-used, soiled diapers.

The need is great, but the ask is simple:

Please give five dollars, and then spread the word to five other friends. Whether you prefer to spread the word on Facebook, Twitter or through email, please pass on the Give 5 link to five friends.

A fundraising effort with this kind of viral focus is revolutionary in Cincinnati, and it's a great way for us to show the reach and influence of our area's social media network.

The more people hear about this effort, the greater our chances of hitting our goal, and thereby helping local families and children in need.

You can follow United Way of Greater Cincinnati on Twitter at @UnitedWayGC (I hear the person who sends out their tweets is BRILLIANT).

Five bucks and five friends.

I'm almost certain you have both - pay it forward and help someone who might not.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Other People's Lives

I've been touring homes since I was, like, four.

My memory recalls a time when my parents dragged me to a spectacular For Sale home on Lake Minnetonka near Minneapolis. An eye for real estate (my dad has said he dreamed of being a land baron), my parents have always scouted out property, making note of design trends and aesthetics.

When we moved to Cincinnati, we'd comb through new subdivisions for homes that were almost completely built but unlocked and easily accessible. If the front door was locked, my parents would check the windows and sometimes hoist my seven-year-old self through the window and ask me to go unlock the door.

There's one house in particular where I distinctly remember squatting under the deck because the plumbing wasn't working, and I really needed a potty break.

All of this vague B and E happened way before people stole copper pipe out of constructions sites.

This was when yuppies broke into homes to admire berber and built-in bookcases.

While Mom and Dad inspected wainscoting, bead board, hardwood and landscaping, I was running from room to room imagining a life that involved an in-ground pool and a bedroom with my own bathroom.

Years later, I still get worked up over a good house tour.

I try to make a point of cruising through the annual Homearama tour, if only to inspect disgusting conspicuous consumption and the latest trends in McMansionry. I imagine being the kept-woman-of-the-house and all the various scenarios where a full kitchen is a necessary feature for the master bedroom.

My favorite tours, though, involve homes with a little history.

Whether in Williamsburg or Newport (that's VA and RI, respectively, not Clermont and Campbell counties), there's something about inspecting an old house with a past and the craftsmanship that went into making the homes of yesteryear. I feel like a home tells me a story when I step on creaky staircase boards and turn polished brass or crystal doorknobs. My brain envisions Jay Gatsby hosting a party or the cast of Clue thick in the middle of a murder mystery, with a horrific crime going down right in the butler's pantry.

I can't wait to feel and hear the stories of Clifton.

The Clifton House Tour flings open its doors this Sunday, giving people a rare chance to explore nine homes from the 1800s to the 1950s.

Every third year on Mother's Day, a group of Clifton homeowners give people a chance to peek inside their homes and explore a little Cincinnati history. This year people can inspect a variety of architecture styles, including Victorian, American Four-Square, Tudor and Frank Lloyd Wright.

I am DYING to see a FLR - and I imagine I'm not the only one.

By the way, I think I said this happens only every third year, didn't I?

Over the years gracious homeowners have showcased 62 Clifton properties, a true testament to the community atmosphere and the appreciation these folks have for their neighborhood.

A free shuttle is available at four area parking lots: Clifton Merchant's Lot (Howell Ave.), Fairview-Clifton German Language School and Clifton Recreation Center (both at the corner of Clifton and McAlpin Aves.) and the Annunciation Church (Resor and Clifton Aves.).

The tour runs this Sunday, May 10 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets are $15 in advance or $20 on the day of the tour.

You can purchase tickets in advance at any of these Ludlow Ave. merchants: Columbia Savings Bank, Esquire Theatre, Ludlow Wines, Olive’s, Skyline Chili and U.S. Bank.

You can also buy tickets at or by phone at 513-861-2000.

One lucky KRM reader will win a pair of tickets to the Clifton House Tour. If you're interested in participating, please leave a comment about your dream historic house and the name of the actor who would play you in a movie about the home's era.

Good luck!!

The Tide Is High But I'm Holding On

The Derby is over.

The Flying Pig is over.

The weekend is over.

I think I finally have found a moment to take a break and blog.

This evening, be on the lookout for a post about one of the most stunning opportunities to get an up-close-and-personal look at 19th and 20th century architecture in one of Cincinnati's most eclectic neighborhoods.

And tomorrow, I'll be featuring one of the most innovative fundraising attempts ever for Greater Cincinnati (full disclosure: this campaign benefits my employer, United Way of Greater Cincinnati). I can't wait for this effort to begin!!!

Until then, have a great day...

Your #1,