Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Bar 506

Wingman and I decided to check out Bar 506 last night, before all the hub bub.

We strolled in to the Residence Inn (506 E. Fourth St.) and were greeted by several doormen and a hotel desk clerk. A few steps away from the front door, Bar 506 channels a little bit of Frank Lloyd Wright and cozy country club, what with its stained glass, stained wood, nice tile treatments and arrangement of upholstered seating space.

The bar area spills into a lounge-y seating area that shares space with the hotel lobby. There are a few big-screen televisions for folks who want to grab a drink or bite while watching the Big Game (pictures to come).

We grabbed some plush chairs next to a two-sided fireplace and a flatscreen and perused the cocktail menu.

Some basic standbys - an old fashioned and cosmos - all priced at around $9 or $10 a drink. That seems to be the industry standard for a "crafted cocktail" in Cincinnati these days, doesn't it?

Rather than choose a few drinks, Wingman chose a moderately priced Malbec. It was smooth, on the spicy side and very warm in flavor. It was a perfect wine to enjoy as we sat by the fireplace and warmed up on an unusually chilly March evening. The server also brought us a complimentary paper cone full of wasabi peas for our munching pleasure.

After we enjoyed our wine, we nosed around to the back courtyard behind the hotel, where we're told bar guests can enjoy cocktails in warmer weather. A variety of outdoor seating options invite guests to unwind beneath the evening glow of Procter and Gamble's twin towers.

In all, I was impressed with the attentive staff and the ambiance. However, I wish the bar had a more defined separation from the lobby space and the lounge space. I imagine the peace and relaxed ambiance of the bar could be interrupted during a busy check-in period, and loud bar patrons could disturb hotel guests who are enjoying a moment in the lobby.

We did not choose to sample any of the hotel's tapas menu offerings (the menu was pretty standard and reliable - nothing overly exotic per my recollection), so that's something I'll comment on another day.

The Residence Inn is not on the beaten path. I imagine this bar will be a great haven for folks who are looking to enjoy a cocktail or glass of wine away from the hoi polloi in the core of CBD.

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Monday, March 28, 2011

Showing My Ass

We all know that slow, dull twinge that comes with embarrassment, yes?

The fever that sets in your cheeks when you realize you've committed a completely silly faux pas. The hazy regret that comes with hindsight.

Those occasions when you scrutinize every word, every action, every thought tied to the incriminating deed in question.

Embarrassment is flush with humility and humble regret.

Maybe it rears its head after an unfortunate exchange of text messages. I know that I, myself, have fired off a missive or two when I shouldn't. Anger, hurt and the romance of wine are all quick to cloud our judgment, and sometimes social media is the Achilles' heel that allows us to run with reckless abandon.

I really need to download one of those apps that forces me to summon all my knowledge about algebra before allowing me to send a late night text.

Embarrassment can arise, too, during cases of mistaken interpretation. This unfortunate scenario involves your saying something completely benign and perhaps even self deprecating, only to have the listener totally misconstrue the meaning of your statement.

It's only after the fact that we realize someone completely took us for a douchebag, when the intent of a statement was far less inflammatory.

The third frequent scenario of eating crow - let's call this one the Janet Jackson Clause.

The always unfortunate Wardrobe Malfunction.

This one got me in the end on Saturday. Literally.

There we were, a handsome group of ladies and solo gentleman, chauffeured in a private car to Turfway Park for a day at the races in the clubhouse, courtesy of the lovely Vinery Stables out of Lexington.

We were fresh faced, fancy with hats and feathers and ready for a fantastic time at the track.

I wore a little black dress. Emphasis on little. It's a cute frock I've pulled out from the archives as my physique has slimmed down a bit. Classic, tailored lines with a boat neck and a short hem.

I'll admit. It looks great when I'm standing. Sitting is a little bit of a problem. I had no idea how much of a problem until I got into the car that morning.

Cue the massive, "As big as a spaceship," hat that is just big enough to double as a lap cover. My style has never been demure and understated, and Saturday was one day where I was glad my massive hat could serve dual purpose.

Cocktails. Conversation. The afternoon in the clubhouse dining room was just charming.

We decided to take a stroll down to the trackside VIP tent to catch up with some friends. More cocktails. More conversation.

About an hour passed and our group gathered to return to the clubhouse.

We walked. We walked. And then a woman with Security cruised by in a golf cart.

"Psst. Pull your dress down."

It seems the wind had blown my back slit wide open, allowing the entire world to see my London and France.

Adding insult to injury, one of the racing spectators ran up to me to warn me of the wind and its affinity for my caboose.

Talk about embarrassing.

We all have moments when we show our ass, figuratively, or in my case - literally.

It's what we do with that moment that has the potential to turn around that opportunity. Maybe you shut your phone off when you're having a saucy night on the town. Maybe you choose your words more carefully.

In my case, I'm going to have to reconsider when I wear that dress.

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Friday, March 25, 2011

House Frau

Last night someone said I'd been talking about S & M too much lately.

Tonight, the pendulum swings the other way. I'm going to be the perfect freaking housewife.

This Friday evening I'll roast a chicken (in my Flirty Aprons getup, no less), drink craft beer and watch NCAA basketball on television.

I'll painstakingly chop some small, red potatoes, zucchini and Vidalia onion and remove the tops of six heads of garlic - the perfect blanket upon which my greased up chicken will lay as it bakes in my 400 degree sunshine.

Beneath the layer of supple chicken skin, I'll lather a coating of real butter, sea salt, freshly ground black pepper and other seasonings perfect for my poultry plaything. Breast side down, I'll tie up the chicken's legs after stuffing it with lemon wedges, sage, and half an onion.

As my stilettos click-clack on the hardwood, I'll slide the roasting pan in the oven, fling open the fridge and crack open a Magic Hat.
A sweet, sudsy reward for a well prepared meal.

And then I'll direct my undivided attention to the boob tube and five men dressed in blue. Kentucky Basketball. Unadulterated adrenaline in action in a match up that could only be penned by Dickie V. Ohio and Kentucky. Border states. Brother vs. Brother.

It's like the Civil War all over again, except this time each side is fighting for another night in Newark.

I can't remember the last time I longed to go to Jersey.

Friday night doesn't always have to be Out on the Town. Sometimes my favorite hot spot is the one that's at home.

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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Stilettos and Silk Ties

I'm wearing one half of the equation this morning.

This song makes me want to DANCE!

Today's video clip is for every Bad Girl out there.

Speaking of BGV, have you signed up to attend Class #2's graduation on March 30?

It's going to be at the spectacular Palisades of Mt. Adams. The opportunity to check out this amazing place is worth the $25 price tag in itself.

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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Eye On The Clock

This blog post could easily veer into Too Much Information territory.

It comes after a visit to the OBGYN this morning - the annual chore of every woman of childbearing age.

The experience is humbling. The doctor never sees the patient as she wants to be seen. She doesn't see me in my Calvin Klein stilettos, cashmere cardigan and pearls.

The only thing she sees is my perfectly coiffed hair, my painted toenails and the most intimate parts of my body.

Last night, as I showered, my razor blade paid special attention to my knobby knees, my underarm and my bikini line. Places my doctor could possibly contact during the exam.

It's these tiny grooming habits that likely make up the pieces of a doctor's judgment.

Our exhange was swift. Small talk about my trip to India and the medications I take regularly. She commented on my very irregular and completely casual social smoking habit. I made comments about my monthly cycle.

And then we talked about the big pink elephant in the room. I am 34. I am single. I want to have children someday.


Instead of responding with soft words and a reassuring list of scientific ways I can tease my fertility as I age, she was blunt and dismissive. Your time is running out, she quipped.

Well, then, I thought. I can cross you off my list, Doc.

Okay. So the doctor was pragmatic. I know time is flying with each year. But I also know my mom had her last child at 37. That's a tiny genetic shred to which I cling as I consider the logistics of my fertility.

The office exhange prompted me to make a couple comments on Twitter and Facebook. The latter resulted in an outpouring of comments from other women my age and older. Even men offered encouragement and examples of other women having children in their late 30s or 40s.

I am not alone in sharing this concern about conception.

Now, let me be clear. I am not hopping into every bed in town with the goal of finding a man to donate his precious seed.

Nor do I look at every date as a potential daddy (though I do regard every potential date as a potential mate). Rather, I know my world could serve up the real circumstances of my having (or adopting) a child as a single woman.

And that's okay with me. Really.

The mid-30s can be a biological rude awakening for a woman who has otherwise regarded time as a never ending continuum of youth.

I wish my doctor had been a bit more compassionate about my concern. I wish she had kindly presented a few options for me to consider as I age. I wish she was more encouraging about the possibilities of my future.

Thankfully, my social media circles rallied to share their own experiences and other encouraging words about my future.

This is the kind of stuff that keeps me up at night.
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Thursday, March 10, 2011

An American In India

Two months from now, I'll be on vacation.

Wingman and I are headed on a nine-day romp across India - Delhi, Agra and Jaipur, to be exact. Before we cross international waters, we're spending two days out East. We'll do a day/night in my old hometown of Madison, CT and then 24 hours or so in NYC.

I'm doing a damn good job of containing my excitement.

The thing is, my brain jumps to thoughts, concerns and dreams about this trip on an hourly basis. My two big concerns - What the hell am I going to wear? and What kind of camera should I buy?

The wardrobe question weighs the most heavily. I feel really shallow for saying that, considering I'm getting ready to visit some of the most impoverished regions in the world. I'm stressing out about whether a knee-length skirt would show too much leg while folks in India are worried if they'll have enough to eat on a given day.

First World Problem, no doubt about it, but it's one of my concerns with regard to this trip.

First off - India in mid-May is hot. Like "Africa Hot." Annual forecasting shows we can expect something between 79 and 103 degrees F. They say it's a "dry heat," but I don't know if that's really any comfort.

Take the insane heat and compound it with the culture's more modest tendencies. I've been in brutal temperatures before, but I've also had the freedom to wear shorter skirts, tank tops and other, less inhibiting options.

Most travel guides and other references suggest women wear skirts with hemlines at the ankles (!), no bare shoulders (!) and high necklines (!).

I guess I can forget packing those "Vegas Clothes."

I've spied some really cute, knee length skirts on (my mom would probably just love that I am considering shopping at Talbots) and a colleague of mine who is learning how to sew has offered to make some simple, half or three-quarter circle skirts for me. How lucky am I?

Just yesterday, I purchased online Birkenstock's Gizeh thong in silver and Crocs McCall ballet flats in cranberry. I've heard these two styles are really comfortable yet feminine shoes that are perfect for traveling. We'll see.

As for cameras, I have my heart set on the Canon Rebel EOS T2i (yes... I know the T3i was *just* released). It's supposed to be a great DSLR with nice video capabilities. I really want to capture some spectacular images while I'm traipsing around on a once-in-a-lifetime trip, and a good camera is the only way I'm going to do that.

Bluegrass Brit just told me last night about different options to rent photography equipment. Something to explore.

Other things on the brain as the trip approaches - my health. I've got two doctor's appointments to get in my shots (two rounds of Hep A, Typhoid, and an inquiries about the DPT vaccine and poliovirus vaccine). I'll also be asking for a prescription for Cipro to help stave of malaria.

I am simultaneously excited and nervous I'm taking a vacation that gives rise to these concerns.

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Monday, March 07, 2011

Oh. My. God.


No need to call out the dogs, send a search party or put up fliers in the neighborhood.

I am really alive and even have witnesses who can attest to my existence (please check with the OtR All Stars, who saw me Sunday at Bockfest, and attendees of this past weekend's Krewe event).

Rather than make a half hearted promise to blog, how about I tell you about the next awesome social event to sweep through Cincinnati?

Please join me and three hundred of my closest friends at Blackbook EMG and HYPE's latest MashUp, tomorrow evening at The Penguin at 441 Vine St., from 6 to 10 p.m. This latest version is Mardi Gras themed, so bring your beads, your Poken and get ready to meet a brand new social scene.

Blogging. Hmm. I'm really trying to work up the mojo. Life keeps getting in the way of my literary thought process.

Writers Block = a creative's ennui.
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Kate's Random Musings by Kate the Great is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.