Friday, December 30, 2011

Gesegnete Weihnachten und ein glückliches neues Jahr Zinzinnati!

Or rather, a Blessed Christmas and Happy New Year! This Christmas marked my first holiday season in Cincinnati, and I can say I’m happier then ever to call this festive town my home. Every week it seemed there was a different festival to go to, holiday party to attend, or mall crowd to fight through J
My favorite aspect of Christmas in Cincinnati, however, has to be the German heritage. So many American Christmas customs were originally German, including the Christmas tree (Tannenbaum), fruitcake (stollen), and the advent calendar. My family even adopted the Weihnachtsgurke tradition of hiding a pickle ornament on the Christmas Tree. Whichever kid found it Christmas morning (I usually let my little brother win) would gain an extra present from Santa! However, I learned recently that this tradition isn’t authentically German, but invented by German-Americans.
Whoops! So maybe my family needs a little schooling in the traditional German Christmas. Well, we got that a couple weeks ago. My wonderful mom, dad and brother trekked out to Cincinnati from Wilmington, Delaware (10 hour drive = not fun) just to see little old me and enjoy Christmastide in the town.
My Dad, who speaks German, had read about the German heritage here and was itching for a Bavarian Christmas meal. Where better to take them but Hofbräuhaus in Newport? Believe it or not, this was my first time at the restaurant, and it certainly won’t be my last. We ate schnitzel, drank Christmasbier (a pint each for me and the folks, a stein for my “little” brother), and chicken danced our tails off. The next night we dined at Montgomery Inn in Mount Adams. True, not a German institution, but home to the most delicious (and messiest) ribs I’ve ever had. Bibs recommended.
After food, the first thing on my holiday to-do list was the Cincincinnati Zoo’s Festival of Lights. It didn’t disappoint. Not only did we stroll around the beautifully decorated park, but also got to see many nocturnal animals usually not out-and-about during normal zoo hours. I particularly liked the American cougars (I am a cat lady J). I discovered that the zoo was founded by a German immigrant, Andrew Erkenbrecher, and is very similar to traditional German zoos and botanical gardens. Watch the FOX19 morning news on Monday. I take a closer look at the history of the zoo and its tenacious founder…
How better to wrap up the weekend than by enjoying a cup of Graeters hot chocolate and hitting the ice rink in Fountain Square? It was pretty cold Saturday night, so I opted to watch rather than skate. The folks were impressed by the huge Christmas tree – my Mom even said it rivals Time Square’s! But the main attraction for my family was the Genius of Water, or the Lady. As you all know, the Lady is another German facet of Cincinnati. Ferdinand von Miller Jr. created her, after his dad sculpted “Patrona Bavaria” for Munich’s Oktoberfest! You’ve probably heard the story, but in case you don’t know:
After this holiday season, I can’t wait to see what Cincinnati brings us in 2012. Happy New Year!
- Stephanie

Thursday, December 29, 2011

2011… What a Year!

Good Morning, happy Thursday! Katy here… can you believe 2011 is coming to a close? I sure can’t. It’s been quite a year for me, and boy does time fly when you’re having fun! 2011 was a great year for me and Tom. It was our first full year in Cincinnati, experiencing everything that the city has to offer, and it didn’t disappoint! We’ve visited tons of festivals, restaurants, and of course… Reds games! (That’s our favorite thing to do, by far!) But 2011 was the year of the wedding! Oh my gosh, what a wedding it was! Starting last January I began planning for the most important day in my life and it was a blast! From wedding colors, to bridesmaid dresses, reception venue and vows, there were tons of things to iron down, but thanks to a great group of bridesmaids, girlfriends, and my mom.. I got it all figured out. (And Tom got a few of his ideas in too!) Ha.

2011 was a great year, but I’m really looking forward to 2012. With my new husband, I’m sure we’ll find many more adventures in the Queen City!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Holiday Eve’s in Cincinnati and Nashville

Good Tuesday morning and happy holidays to you. Does it get any better than the Nutcracker and Here Come The Mummies?
Brad here and thinking about one great show from Christmas Eve and an upcoming show that I know will be great on New Year’s Eve.

Christmas Eve started at the Aronoff. I attended the final performance of the new Nutcracker with the Dan Wells and his family. His girls, Alley and Kate were dressed in matching blue dresses. So cute. This was my first time inside the Aronoff and the first time ever seeing the Nutcracker. Really a great experience! Before the play we got a backstage tour. All the costumes, sets, it was really cool. The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra was incredible. I know this was the “new” Nutcracker but I didn’t have anything to compare it to. Some changes/additions were obvious to those in attendance, but overall the crowd seemed to enjoy it. Great job to everyone involved!

Onto this weekend, New Years Eve. I’m hitting the road to see one of my favorite bands in a city I’ve never been to, Nashville, TN. Here Come The Mummies, remember them? I blogged about them earlier this year when they played at Bogart’s. These Funky Mummies are incredible musicians. While I’m excited to see another show, I might be just as excited if not more to be in Nashville. I haven’t heard anyone say anything bad about this town and the music scene. I’m not crazy about country music but I am looking forward to walking around and listening to everything the city offers.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Want To Run A Marathon?

There's help if you do.
Hey everyone. Rob here.
Training for 26.2 miles is tough. Especially, if you do it alone. You don't to though. Bob Roncker's running group is a great way to have some help. The group is also a great way to have some company.
After the first of the year, hundreds of runners gather for the first run. There are two weekday runs in the evening. Then there's the long weekend run. By the end of training, you will run 18, 19, 20 plus miles run. This is when the groups expertise and company of fellow runners really help. The encouragement of fellow runners and carbs and water set out along the way help you to keep moving.
There's a staff of 25 coaches that map out the training runs to get you ready for the half or full marathon. That's Joe Fung. He comes up with some really tough runs. Finishing a marathon, especially the flying pig is tough. Training with the group with make it easier though.
The next informational meeting is tomorrow night at 7:30. It will be held at the Running Spot in Newport. That's across the street from Atlas Cleaners. (great place to take your clothes BTW)
If you can't make it, there are two more. You can find all the information by going to this website:
The first training run will be January 7th. Hope to see you then. Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Where's My Little Girl?!


So it seems it was just yesterday that I was putting my daughter...Lacey’s hair in pony tails and maybe on special occasions...letting her paint her sweet little lips with my lip gloss.
She is all girl. Always has been.

Saturday night....we fast forwarded. I'm not sure how we got there....actually I can barely look at the pictures from the night's event. It was Lace's Winter Formal at her school...Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy Middle School. To commemorate the event....Lace invited some of her very special friends and their families over before the big dance. Her friends arrived in their sweats......long dangling curls....NO MAKEUP! They were giggling and bursting with excitement. I caught my 14 year old boys rolling their eyes a few times...and mumbling..."Oh my gosh.” Oh...don't get me wrong...they like girls! So, we ate and visited. Thankful for the sweet friends Lace has found and their families. After dinner...the girls quickly disappeared upstairs.

Moments later....the transformations! OMG!!!!! Where did those little girls go?????? NO PONY TAILS... but, lots of lip gloss! We all gasped and stood in awe as they walked one by one down the stairs in their heels. The only saving grace.... they were still giggling.....acting like 13 year old girls do. AND …the blessing in it all? Not too grown up to kiss their parents goodbye. I even heard a few say..."I LOVE YOU!" Enjoy each moment!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

NBA Is Back!


Good Tuesday morning, Brad here.
Do you remember that song? I do and it feels good to sing it because the NBA IS BACK!

Don’t get me wrong, I love college ball, so much drama and passion. I’m from Indiana, if there is a game on I’m watching. Sure the NBA guys are a bunch of millionaire ballers that whine too much but there is just something about the NBA that I just can’t abandon like many did during this latest lockout.

Growing up in Indianapolis I went to countless Pacers games each season. The roar of Market Square Arena, Reggie Miller sticking it to the Knicks and even Michael Jordan on a few occasions and who can forget the Indy Car sound effect that drove other teams nuts when it played over the PA system!

The lockout is over, training camp is underway and the season starts on Christmas Day. What a gift! There are five games on television starting with a classic rivalry, The Boston Celtics vs. The New York Knicks. Then a Finals rematch from last year, The Dallas Mavericks and the Miami Heat followed by The Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers, then The Oklahoma City Thunder take on the Orlando Magic and the night ends in California with the Los Angeles Clippers and The Golden State Warriors. Wow, my DVR will be working overtime.

I also can’t wait to see how my favorite team, The San Antonio Spurs will do. They are old but I feel they have one more good run in them. How can we forget, the last time there was a shortened season because of labor disputes The Spurs won the title beating The Knicks. I’ve been a spurs fan as long as I can remember. Wearing Spurs jerseys as a kid to flying down to San Antonio about once a year to see friends and catch a game!
As they say...I LOVE THIS GAME. Welcome back.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas Shopping... Almost Done!

That is big for me. Usually, I'm the idiot hitting Kenwood Towne Center the 4 days leading up to Christmas. This year, I have a lot of gifts already out of the way. I started about 3 weeks ago with a visit to Crestview Hills Towne Center. I actually saw Sheila's sister-in-law at the Hallmark Store. To this Sheila texted, "what are YOU doing in a Hallmark store." Not my kind of store because I really don't like cards. (Yes, I do know that's little crazy) However, I was able to pick up a gift there. I also picked up a new pair of boots at Dillards. They were actually a good buy. I wear them all the time. Probably too much.

I also saw a segment on the Today show and found the perfect gift for a friend of mine. Before the show was over, I already ordered it online and it was being shipped. I bought Sheila's gift about two weeks ago. It was a good one. Already gave it to her.

Usually, I stink at buying gift. This year it's different. This is the reason why I think. I'm listening more now. All you have to do is pay attention.

Merry Christmas

Monday, December 19, 2011

Windy City Christmas

Good Morning, Marzullo Here. Do you like last min road trips? I always do, unfortunately very rarely do I do them unless I do a little planning at least. I am a big time planner! On Saturday morning my girlfriend and I decided let's take a road trip to Chicago. The drive only took us 4 1/2 hours so it was well worth it. We had all of our Christmas shopping finished and nothing to do Saturday night so we left at 7am on Saturday morning and was able to get into Chicago by noon or 11am on our time. ( The time change makes these trips a lot easier ) It was the perfect time to head up as the Windy City made the spirit of the Christmas Season come alive. We stopped by Millennium Park and watched the thousands of ice skaters who come to the city every season. One of our favorites was seeing the Christmas Display Windows at Macy's which is the old Marshall Fields Department store. We spent the night at the Conrad which I highly recommend it is connected to the North Bridge Shops and Nordstrom right on Michigan Avenue, perfect location. After a lot of walking we were very hungry, here are a few restaurant recommendations I like if your heading up to the windy city. For some great Italian food we tried Piccolo Sogno, I tried the Italian pork and the lentil and sausage soup so good. My girlfriend loved her lobster and shrimp ravioli. This is off of Grand Avenue near my other favorite Italian joint La Scarola, which has the best veal I have ever head. We then woke up early Sunday morning and walked the city one more time before hitting the road. I am officially in the Christmas mood now and hope to make this a yearly tradition. Have A Merry Christmas.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Holiday In Lights

I can't believe what I've been missing all these years!

Hi, it's Sheila. Friday night my husband Ric and I took the kids to Sharon Woods to see the Holiday In Lights display. This is the 20th year for the massive light show, but we had never gone before. This year, Cincinnati Magazine's Best of the City issue named the attraction the number one Christmas light display in our area, so I really wanted to get there this year.

Holiday In Lights is an outdoor light display which takes up more than a mile of wood roadway in Sharon Woods. It's easy to get there - just a mile off I-275's Mason/Sharonville exit. And you don't have to bundle up, because you view the whole thing from your car. We tuned the car radio to Christmas music, and turned off the headlights as we started our little tour. I was amazed by just how many characters, stories, and themes are depicted -- everything from a Godzilla wearing a Santa hat, to a Christian Nativity, to the Jolly Old Elf in a helicopter. Eric and Katie loved the massive light tunnel and the reindeer which seemed to jump over our car. I don't how many lights are used, but the display just went on an on.

It was great fun. After your ride through the woods, you can get out of the car for hot chocolate and a visit with Santa at Santaland. The Holiday In Lights website says: "Nightly entertainment is provided throughout the week. The Dickens Carolers will stroll throughout Santaland on the weekend nights singing traditional holiday melodies. Santa's Confectionaries will have holiday baked goods and candies available, and the Nature's Niche Gift Shop will be open for holiday shopping. Santaland also features a train display and photos with Santa for $5.00."

Cincinnati has so many great things to do during the Christmas season. I love finding different ways to have fun each year, and I was so glad we checked out this one.
Holiday In Lights is open nightly starting at 6 p.m. through December 31. It's $12 dollars per car, but if you go to the attraction's website, you can print a coupon for two dollars off.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Are You Ready ?

Good morning, Katy here…The countdown continues… 10 days until Christmas! Are you ready? Surprisingly, I am almost ready for it this year. I’ve got decorations up, presents wrapped… but there is one last thing that I have to do before Christmas Day. I have to go see The Nutcracker! For me, The Nutcracker has always been a part of my childhood. I took ballet for several years, and too me, the Nutcracker is a yearly staple! I remember when I was in elementary school my mom treated me to the Pacific Northwest Ballets performance of the Nutcracker in Seattle. And for two years, I got to live one of my childhood dreams and perform in our island company’s version. My first year I got to play two parts (which I thought was a pretty big deal). I had a solo dance in the first act as one of the dolls Uncle Droselmeyer gave to Clara. In act two, I got to be one of the Chinese dancers in the Land of the Sweets. Then a couple years later, I got to dance with a group of girls in the Waltz of the Flowers. For me, it was a great experience, and to this day I credit ballet as one of the reasons why I’m so comfortable in front of the camera.

As for this year’s Nutcracker, I’ve got my tickets for opening night this Thursday for The New Nutcracker at the Aronoff Center! I’m already humming the tunes in my head…
For information about getting tickets to The Nutcracker, here’s the link:

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


Planet of the Apes, that is.

Good morning everyone. Rob here.
Rise! Planet of the Apes comes out on DVD today.
I could not be more excited. I have been urging everyone to see this movie. It would also make a great gift. I plan to buy it, and I own very few DVDs. This one, however, is worth having.

It's surprising that I liked this movie so much. Not a big James Franco fan. Didn't really like the "Planet of the Apes" movie starring Charlton Heston, or the remake with Mark Wahlberg. I went to the movie with very low expectations, urged to see it by a very enthusiastic Brad Underwood. Not to sound like a nerd, but it was awesome. It is about a super smart chimpanzee named Caesar. His mother was given a drug which gave her a human level of intelligence. James Franco's character, a scientist, cared for Caesar like a child. I don't want to give too much away here. However things happen, and Caesar leads a revolution. By the end of the movie, you are rooting for the apes. Also, by the end of the movie I wanted to be Caesar. Is the weird? It may seem so. However once you watch the movie, it will make total sense.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Running On Empty

Good Morning, Marzullo Here...So Monday's are tough to begin with, you have a great weekend, running errands, spending time with friends, and sleeping the best thing is to have a easy start to the day. My day started like any other with a quick shower and a glass of milk all by 3:15am. Then it was out the door, I spent 5 minutes scrapping ice off my car and then as I started down the road I realized I needed some gas, so I pulled into the gas station. However, the gas tanks were not working, there system was down, so I said to myself " I will be okay, I can make it. " So I was driving down Columbia Parkway when I heard my car sputter for a moment, and then the car lost it's get up and go. I started to coast for a little bit all while alarms went off in my car. Yep, I RAN OUT OF GAS! I got nervous because of all the stories we do on accidents on Columbia Parkway, so I wanted to make sure I made it to the turn off just before the Mt. Adams ramp. I made it just into the pull off and then I put on my flashers. So what was I to do? I called in to work, I knew I was going to miss the 4am show, then I had to call my WONDERFUL GIRLFRIEND! Yep, I had to wake her up, she ran to the gas station at 3:45am and got me 2 gallons of gas. This was so sweet, once she arrived however, I had to figure out how to open this darn gas can. This process took 20mins, pull the cap off, pull out this long funnel thing, and then try to figure out how to break the seal on the top of the can. This was the part that was a bit crazy, but after some time and gas spilling on my clothes I finally figured it out. The moral of this story do not run out of gas at 3:30am !

Friday, December 9, 2011


Good Friday Morning! Dan Wells writing, I hope this note finds you well and in good spirits.

My blog today, December 9th is all about this "cold weather" that seems to have settled into Cincinnati. I don't know if you think it's about time, but for me December means winter weather.

With that said, I thought I'd pose this topic...what are YOUR favorite winter things?

Busting out the flannel sheets, it's one of my favorite parts of the winter season. Yup, I said it, oh flannel sheets, you are so soft and warm. You put the mmmm, in winter sleep. NOW don't laugh...come-on who is with me? This is what I'm talking about, the simple pleasures of winter that just make the cold weather better.

So the question this morning is did YOU ever sit and think about how great winter is and what YOU love about it?


1) Christmas (one of my favorite holidays)

2) Family time

3) Snow, because the kids enjoy it, and when it snows, it creates beautiful scenery.

4) Driving through town at night, because my little girls look at all of the lights awestruck

5) Hot chocolate, because it's good :) 6) Wrapping presents, because I think I buy the best gifts

7) Christmas music and movies, because they lift my spirits (The Polar Express is my personal favorite, well National Lampoons too)

8) Skiing (if I didn't have to work for a living I'd be skiing every day of my life)

9) I like sitting by the fire, eating homemade soup or chili.

10) And finally (as stated above I love my flannel sheets)

So what are your winter time favorites? Think about it and have a great December weekend!

Kind Regards
Dan Wells

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Merry Christmas


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Firsts & Lasts

Ever stop to think of all of the firsts and lasts in life?

Sheila here, and I've been thinking of so many of them this week. This Friday, I will be the mother of an 18-year old woman. It's so hard to believe that much time has gone by since Katie was born.

Being a mommy is highlighted by a long line of firsts. First tooth, first step, first time your baby sleeps through the night. First word (Katie's was Mama), first birthday pictured here, first day of school. I cried and cried the first time Katie climbed on the school bus and didn't look back. And the first time she was allowed to walk through the neighbors' yards to go to a friend's house one street away, I had a vision - "like a prophecy" as Elphaba sings in Wicked - of my little girl walking away from me for good.

This past year or so has been full of firsts too. First college visit, first job, first prom, first serious boyfriend, and first trips without Mom and Dad - visiting a girlfriend at college and visiting another country with her high school. It felt a lot like climbing out on a limb, trusting that she would come home safely without having me and Ric there to guide and protect her. The first college acceptance came just weeks ago - the University of Louisville. (Katie is waiting to see which others accept her before she makes her decision.) It feels as if we are racing down a road with no way of stopping or slowing down, each first a measure of my worth.

What I never thought about when Katie was younger is that parenthood also is marked by so many lasts. There's no way of possibly knowing which night will be the last when you will rock your sweet baby to sleep or the last time she'll want you to read a bedtime story. Katie and I were a couple of volumes into the Harry Potter book series when she was in elementary school, and one night she decided she would read the rest herself. Last week we went to her last school Christmas concert to watch her dance with the Pom team. As she and Eric carved pumpkins on our kitchen floor in October, I was thinking that she might not be here for this next year, and this week I've been wondering if this weekend will be the last one when she's home to put up and decorate our Christmas tree.

When Katie blows out 18 candles on her birthday cake this Friday, it will be both a last and a first - the last of her childhood, the first for a young woman with so much of life in front of her. And December ninth will renew Katie's birth day surprise for her mother - that moment when I looked at her on the day she was born and experienced a whole new level of what it means to love another person. Happy Birthday, darling girl.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


Planet of the Apes that is.

Good morning everyone. Rob here.

Rise! Planet of the Apes comes out on DVD a week from today.

I could not be more excited. I have been urging everyone to see this movie. It would also make a great gift. I plan to buy it, and I own very few DVDs. This one however is worth having.

It's surprising I liked this movie so much. Not a big James Franco fan. Didn't really like the "Planet of the Apes" movie starring Charlton Heston, or the remake with Mark Wahlberg. I went to the movie with very low expectations. Urged to see it by a very enthusiastic Brad Underwood. Not to sound like a nerd, but it was awesome. It is about a super smart chimpanzee named Caesar. His mother was given a drug which gave her a human level of intelligence. James Franco's character, a scientist, cared for Caesar like a child. I don't want to give too much away here. However things happen, and Caesar leads a revolution. By the end of the movie, you are rooting for the apes. Also, by the end of the movie I wanted to be Caesar. Is the weird? It may seem so. However once you watch the movie, it will make total sense.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Queen City Joe

Stephanie Here...I’m a newbie to the Queen City, but I already love it here. The food, culture, warmer weather, and most importantly, warm people. I’ve made a ton of new friends and never am short on things to do.

However, I can’t say I didn’t have chilly feet when I moved here in August. Although I grew up in Delaware, went to school in Virginia and Maryland, and worked in New York, I’ve been an east coast girl all my life. Cincinnati was a big, scary, but exciting new adventure for me, and I only hoped that it would love me back.

After I accepted my job at FOX19, I spent the next few weeks in a giddy state of disbelief. Then the panic settled in. The morning I was supposed to make the 10-hour drive to Ohio, Hurricane Irene was making her merry way up the coast. My mood matched the storm: moody and uncertain.

I was drinking our favorite coffee (Birthday Cake flavor) with my Mom in the kitchen during a break from packing. As all moms do (and mine is the best) she was calming my nerves and telling me everything was going to be okay. I felt like I was back in 1st grade on the 1st day of school: “You’ll do fine…we’ll only be a short ride away…and everyone will want to sit next to you at lunch.” Thanks Mom.

That’s when I looked down at the coffee package. Queen City Coffee. Wait a minute, I was moving to the Queen City! Sure enough, I checked the label, and it’s made in West Chester, Ohio. Around here they call it La Crema, and it’s the best coffee I’ve ever tasted.

My mom and I laughed at the irony of it, and she said, “Well, now we might be far away from another, but we can talk on the phone and drink the same coffee.”

So we do, and it’s usually the highlight of my day. We’ll gossip on the phone and sip our coffee (Mom’s drinking Cupcake now, I’m on Blackberry Cobbler) and it’s almost like we’re sitting at my parents’ kitchen table on a sunny Saturday morning.

I know it may seem silly, but a simple thing like a cup of coffee can tie your new life to your old, and put an extra spring in your step.

Do you drink La Crema? What’s your favorite flavor?

- Stephanie

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Congrats Todd Kelly !

Good morning, happy Thursday! Katy here… and do I have a Christmas gift idea for you! Yesterday evening, Frank and I had the pleasure of attending an event at the Hilton to honor their executive chef, Todd Kelly. Todd just finished his cookbook, which features a behind the scenes at Orchids at Palm Court and some of his favorite recipes. Frank and I were able to sample some of the dishes last night, and let me tell you, he is the best of the best! Todd was recently named the 2011 American Culinary Federation’s Chef of the Year and it shows within his cookbook.
From minestrone soup and Maine lobster salad to filet minion and yellowtail snapper, every recipe is thought out, with real-world restaurant technique. Plus, the pictures of each dish are amazing! It makes me want to go home and cook them all! In addition to the starters and entrees, the back features a dessert section with the help of executive pastry chef Megan Ketover. Realistically though, I think my husband will end up tackling the entrees, and I’ll tackle the dessert. He’s much better at cooking than I am.
Frank and I had a great evening though, talking with Chef Kelly and Chef Ketover, and sampling some of the dishes within the cookbook. Among our favorites, was the braised beef cheeks with spinach gnudi, shimeji mushrooms and roasted tomatoes, and blue cheese beignets with local honey frisee. In the cookbook, Chef Kelly explains that the honey is harvested from their rooftop beehive. I think that’s the thing that impressed me the most. Chef Todd Kelly uses fresh local ingredients when cooking up his recipes.
Be sure to check out the book! You won’t be disappointed…