After 60 Years in Business, You Learn a Few Tricks

Earlier this week, a local joint on the northern fringes of Cincinnati celebrated 60 years in business. Not bad, huh?

The Root Beer Stand has served hungry folks in Sharonville the same homemade root beer and chili since 1957. This is the kind of spot that does a few things–and does them very well. If you’re looking for root beer that tastes fresh and crisp, this is your spot. If you’re looking for a burger topped with cheddar cheese, nacho cheese, and bar-b-q, this is your spot. And, if you’re looking for a famous hot dog served with everything on it all at once, this is for sure your spot.

By the way, employees make gallons of fresh root beer every day at this joint. Every. Single. Day.

The folks in Sharonville love this restaurant. On any given day during the spring and summer, you’ll find it packed with folks enjoying a few twists on basic fast food. Many say The Root Beer Stand is synonymous with their neighborhood.

Which meant they didn’t let the drive-in’s 60th anniversary pass without a celebration. Not only did the city declare last Monday “Root Beer Stand” day, but city leaders and officials turned out with cupcakes for a root beer toast of 60 years service to the community.

Here’s to 60 more…

When Dive Bars are the Best Bars

img_4701-1Sometimes, you just want a cold one. Or a quick stop somewhere that isn’t about scene or a fancy drink menu. Sometimes, you’re just looking for a place with no frills.

And the dive bar does the trick.

Down the street and around the bend, we’re lucky to have one such spot. The Vogue has been serving up beers and quenching thirsts in Cincinnati’s Hartwell neighborhood since 1925, and I love it for that. The bar is tiny and spartan, but that’s part of the major appeal. It’s also located in a nondescript part of town anchored by a grocery store and a few other struggling businesses.

 People of all races and classes mix at the bar, and the staff doesn’t overcharge. Recently, my husband and I shared a beer and a margarita while watching March Madness.

We paid $6.50. Total.

The Vogue is fun. Unique. A mainstay. And always a good choice when you just want a change of scene. Bring cash, though, if you go. They don’t accept credit cards for payment.

Four Travel Essentials You Need NOW

travel essentials

Everyone knows I love a good deal. I love ingenious design even more–especially when it comes to doing less with more, something that is essential when on the go.

Recently, I’ve come across a few products that I think are GAME CHANGERS when it comes to making it easier to get out there and get after it. I’m sharing my favorites right here.

1. This travel hoodie:  XY37 designed this travel hoodie, and I think it is absolutely brilliant. t is stylish but functional, and contains pockets for all the things a   needs: a passport, ear buds, neck pillow, iPhone, knit cap, water bottle, and so on. I don’t think I’ve seen anything this awesome!

2. These travel adapters: Never get caught without the right plug again. This set of adapters will take you all over the world, and they work in 150 countries! You need these!

3. This set of travel organizers: Keep your items separated with this chic set of organizers. I especially like the laundry pouches!

4. This deep sleep eye mask: It can be hard to sleep on planes, trains and in automobiles, so I always recommend ways to work around the noise.

Ancient Rome or Southern California?

Tucked into the hillside around Pacific Palisades, just before the edge of Malibu, lies one of the most gorgeous museums I have ever seen.

The Getty Villa is amazing. Full stop. It’s even better than I expected, and I highly recommend it to anyone who’s visiting the Los Angeles area. In fact, I like it better than it’s more famous sibling, the Getty Center.

This is an interesting fact, since I usually favor museums with an impressionist and modern art focus. Not this time, though. The Getty Villa is all about antiquity, and I loved that about it. I’m hankering to go back. This is partly because J. Paul Getty built the villa with a specific focus. He wanted to create a place that would complement his collection of treasures from Ancient Rome, Greece, and Persia, so he designed a museum that mimicked a countryside villa in Ancient Rome, likely near the city of Pompeii.

He succeeded.

We spent half a day there recently, and I found it unforgettable, peaceful, and beautiful. Not only did we learn more about antiquities, but the museum helped me appreciate that era in a new way. It was also fun to traipse around the grounds, enjoying the gardens and the villa underneath the California sunshine.

In all– totally worth it! Put this museum on your ‘to-do’ list! Plus, admission is FREE!

Fred Segal: LA’s Most Quintessential Boutique

Fashion is fickle. Everyone knows it. One day, a brand is so hot it flies off store shelves. The next day, no one touches it.

Boutiques are like that, too, and the ones that pop up around LA are no exception. I’ve been to the City of Angeles dozens of times (it’s one of my favorite American cities), and some of the best boutiques one year can’t be found the next.

But Fred Segal is always there. Always. And, to my delight, it doesn’t change. For years, this store has offered SoCal’s most fashionable unique and curated clothing, accessories, and housewares. The brands inside the store change, but the overall feel doesn’t. There’s just something about Fred Segal.

And that’s why I recommend a stop there to anyone visiting Los Angeles. It’s a great place to kill an hour or two, and it’s easy to get lost in the racks discovering all that the store has to offer.

I mean it. Other spots are “in” one day and “out” the next. Fred Segal does what it does better than anyone else. The Melrose location is LA at her finest. Don’t miss it. Besides, where else might you get the chance to talk Cameron Diaz out of a truly heinous Angora sweater?

 

The Thrill of the Hunt

I love a good find–especially a good vintage, mid-century modern find. Over the last few years, I’ve developed quite a passion for furniture, artwork, lamps, and more made right in the middle of the “American Century”. I love the clean lines, bright colors, hopeful tone, experimental craftsmanship, and quality of so many of the pieces. They never go out of style.

So, I was in heaven this afternoon at the Sharonville Convention Center, which played host to the “20th Century Cincinnati” vintage design, art, furniture, and fashions trade show.

I arrived expecting a small crowd and maybe two dozen exhibitors. Instead, I found hundreds of people, vendors from all over the US, and sales happening everywhere I looked. Apparently, I’m in good company when it comes to my mid-mod love affair.

We had fun just browsing, and talking with people about the booths they curated. So many of them see antique and vintage preservation as a passion, and I heard it in their voices as they shared where they’d found special items and stories about the pieces. We made about four trips around the show before I felt like I’d seen everything–and while browsing didn’t turn into buying, I walked away with plenty of ideas for future decor.

Good news! The show lasts through this weekend. It cost $8 to get in the door, and parking is free. It all kicks off again on Sunday at 11.

The Best Things I Have EVER Done For My Skin

Clarisonic .JPG

I’ve had the same struggle since 12, when the acne started. My skin has given my fits. You name it, I’ve had it: cystic acne, patchy skin, overactive oil glands, freckles, sun damage, and a myriad of other issues.

It hasn’t always been an easy ride.

However, in the last few years, I’ve developed a routine that has given me better results than anything in the past. These days, I’m hardly wrestling with my skin. I figured that it might be time to share my tips and tricks.

1. Moisturize. This is the one thing I cannot stress enough. Dry skin leads to major problems and early wrinkles. I liberally apply moisturizer twice a day, in the morning and evening. I’ve seen fewer fine lines and far less wrinkles as a result. The best part? It doesn’t take an expensive one to see real results. I find that Oil of Olay works just fine.

2. Invest in a Clarisonic. Hands down the best thing I have ever done. One of these isn’t cheap, but this in an investment. I started using mine a few times a week a few years ago, and my skin is brighter, cleaner, and far happier. It’s also a great supplement to regular facials.

Speaking of facials…

3. Get regular facials. Facials do so much for skin. Many of them are tailor-made for various skin problems, and in addition to being healthy, they are also relaxing. They don’t have to cost an arm and a leg, or take up a bunch of time, either. A 30 minute express facial is often more than enough.

4. Wear sunscreen. Sun damage is one of the worst things possible for skin, and sunscreen should always be worn, even in the winter. My favorite on-the-go brand, Sun Bum, comes in a handy little stick.

5. Get some sleep! I can’t stress this enough! A good night’s sleep counts!