All posts by Amy Scalia

Fitness, Finance and Fashion… oh my!

Melissa (left) and Michelle Matson

The gal who own the gym where I teach Spinning, Keep it Tight Fitness, helped to come up with a really great event idea: “Fitness & Finance” tomorrow at the Matson Money building in Mason. (KITF is a Cincy Chic client so all the details are posted here)

Here’s how it all started… Melissa the owner of KITF obviously loves fitness (duh, she opened her own gym). And because she has a great body, everything looks great on her, so she also loves fashion.

Well, she happens to be married to a guy who’s regarded nationwide as a money expert (he’s on CNN frequently to weigh in on money/market topics) and he owns Matson Money. I’m not sure what the relation is… maybe a sister or sister in law… but Michelle Matson works with Mark, and has her own investment company called “Dressed to Invest” under which she’s written a book, provides services and does appearances.

Michelle and Melissa got together and said, “Hey! We should do an event together!” And they are tomorrow! Michelle is talking about finances and Melissa is talking about fitness, but they’re also bringing other fun people like my friend Nancy at Facing/Brideface, who I’ve done blogs with before, will be doing makeup and my friend Amy at Soho Boutique will be offering fashion tips and doing a fashion show!

I was actually able to meet up with Amy to see what kind of fashion advice she’d be giving and what attendees could expect to see in the show. She said she’d give me these two sneak peeks into her segment of the event:

1. I will be discussing 3 fall fashion trends, how to achieve these and different ways to wear them.
2. I will be discussing my 5 timeless “must haves”  These are items that everyone should have in their closet.  I will be showing examples of all five of these items and how they can completely change your wardrobe.  To give you a little hint…. I will show you how belts will change the way you shop!

Sounds like a fun event! If you’re interested in attending, it is free … you just need to email to reserve your seat.

Pump Salon Offering Free Haircuts, Attempting to Break World Record

Pump SalonPump Salon at the Rookwood Commons is pumping itself up for quite a weekend. I just found out that the Pump stylists are tackling the glamorous, but grueling task of breaking the Guinness Book of World Records’ “Most haircuts by a Team of 10 in 24 hours” record! Currently the record stands at 349 haircuts… I’m pretty sure Edward Scissor hands charged his clients : ) But the cool thing about this event with Pump is that all the cuts will be free to participants!

From 12:00pm Friday, September 24 to 12:00pm on Saturday, September 25, not only are the haircuts for free during the salon’s attempt to by-pass 349 haircuts, but the event for a good cause. Any donations made during the 24 hour event will go towards one of six participating charities*.

Not only are they doing free haircuts, but they are also providing free professional color consultations by the Wella Color Discovery Tour from 12pm-5pm on Friday, too! Along with the entertainment from the stylists’ swishing scissors and tousled tresses, other businesses have decided to join up with Pump Salon and make this event go BIG!

Cincinnati Sports Leagues will be hosting happy hour at the salon from 6pm-9pm while local DJs pump up the crowd for the world record take over. Sounds like it’ll be quite the party!

For those night owls needing a trim and touch up in the wee hours, luxury party bus services will be available to the event from Pavillion, aliveOne, and Tap&Go in Mt Adams, and The Stand in Mt. Lookout. The shuttles will run from 11pm-3am, but participants are responsible for their own rides from the event.

So why not come watch Pump Salon attempt to break the Guinness Book of World Records “Most haircuts by a Team of 10 in 24 Hours”, and treat yourself to a free haircut! Make sure to preregister for your haircut by sending an email to This is sure to be a hair raising (and hopefully record breaking) experience!

*Participating Charities:
Susan G. Komen for the Cure
Autism Society of Greater Cincinnati
Cystic Fibrosis Foundation of Greater Cincinnati
Transitions Global
Cancer free Kids
Clippard YMCA Autism Learning Center

(PS thanks to my intern Lucy Nowakowski for helping me put this blog together quickly after hearing the news…)

The Permanent Polish Project

I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with manicures. I love the way they look, but hate that they take so much time to do and last for such a short time. Well, ladies, I think I might have just discovered the holy nail grail…

A few weeks ago I was walking downtown and saw a sign in front of Salon Beck that said something about “permanent polish.” I ended up going in the next day and talking to a friend of mine, Randi, who works there. She told me  that it only takes about an hour to do, is completely dry when you leave, lasts for 2+ weeks, never chips and costs just a little more than a regular manicure.

I told her I’d give it a shot, but my expectations weren’t really high. Running Cincy Chic for the past four years, I’ve heard every claim in the book. Products promise the world, but very, very few deliver. Plus, I’m pretty rough on my hands. I garden, do yard work, clean the house without gloves, etc. So, I honestly didn’t think it would last that long because of my non-nail-friendly lifestyle. (For the abridged version of this blog, scroll down to the bold “So if you want my honest opinion” sorry, I got a little wordy…)

I went in two Wednesdays ago and saw Bopha, Salon Beck’s nail tech who specializes in permanent polish. She was the first nail tech I’ve ever gone to who has well-manicured nails. You know, the cobbler never has shoes scenario… nail techs are always buffing nails and removing polish, so they never bother to do their own. Well, Bopha said the permanent polish holds up to all of that so she gets to have pretty nails, too. Sign #1 this stuff might actually live up to the hype.

Even though they had tons of colors to choose from, I selected to get the french manicure polish. Bopha said there are a few brands that salon/spas use for permanent polish (i.e., OPI or Shellac), but they use Bio Sculpture at Salon Beck because they offered more color varieties.

They didn’t have to buff my natural nail with any machinery like they do for acrylic. There’s no dust or fumes at all actually. And it looked just like polish. It wasn’t thick like acrylic or gel nails.

Each layer of polish had to cure under a UV light. Bopha said this is what makes the polish stay on so long, and makes your nails completely dry when you leave the salon (good to keep in mind for the winter when you’re wearing gloves and boots!).

It took about an hour from start to finish. They were completely dry when I left, as they promised. So far, so good. Things seemed like a normal manicure pretty much at this point. But this is when my “Permanent Polish Project” began.

My project was to take a photo of my nails every day until they officially needed a polish change. I wanted to see how long they’d last and if they really did resist chips as well as their marketing claimed they did. As you’ll see in the slideshow below, they held up for 15 days. And when I say “held up,” they truly did. They looked brand new for two full weeks. Then, on the 16th day, it’s like they all retired at the same time. The polish started to weaken and crack off on four nails within 15 minutes of each other!

I was so thrilled they lasted 15 days, though. I didn’t change my lifestyle for these nails. If this manicure was something I was going to keep up, I didn’t want to turn into that whining girl who couldn’t do things because she didn’t want to break a nail. I wasn’t going to live with these nails… they had to live with me!

I was so proud of them. They lasted through me digging weeds out of my flower bed, moving rocks for a fire pit, cleaning the house, scrubbing the floors, doing dishes, bathing the dog, and a lot of other not-so-chic-things that I do when I’m not out buying new shoes. : )

So, if you want my honest opinion of this permanent polish, here it is: It is, by far, the best product I’ve ever tested. It lived up to its claims. It didn’t take an obnoxious amount of time to apply, it wasn’t that expensive (about $35) and it lasted for more than two weeks. Considering that any other manicure I’ve gotten or applied myself takes just as much time to apply but only lasts two or three days, it’s worth it.

Check out the day-by-day photo slideshow of my permanent polish project! (Dino my dog made a cameo in Day 13! haha!)


This week on Cincy Chic: Direct Access(ories)

Direct Access(ories)null
Local designer makes it big

She made her mark on the interior design world and then took jewelry by storm. Now sold by Vera Wang and set to adorn Miranda Lambert on her wedding day, this local lady’s designs have transformed from a creative thought into celebrity-approved accessories.

Glasses More than Half Full
Add some positivity (and style) to your step with Holte Eyewear. See how this locally owned business is the clear choice for fashionable glasses — prescription or not!

Doc Talk: Dr. Stephen Hensley
This local gynecologist is renowned for his work on the front lines of various cancers. Read on as this physician pinpoints what every woman should know about her body.

Bras with Flair on the Square 2010
For the fourth annual event, decorated bras will fly high on Fountain Square to promote breast health. See how you can get involved with this unique and innovative way of finding a cure!

Transitional Treasures
You really can get more for less with these innovative and unique accessories. We reveal how you can transform these pieces to fit your function fancy.

Everything to Wine About
Whether you have a Cabernet, Riesling or Pinot anything, these wine accessories are “one size fits all.” But their unique twists help your wine experience stand out from the crowd.

Get Jazzed about Vajazzling
It’s exactly what it sounds like – bedazzling for the “vajayjay.” The latest trend in the bling department hits below the belt, but is getting a stamp of approval by many women, including Jennifer Love Hewitt.

A New Boutique for a New Look
Let’s face it, what girl wouldn’t want to shop for a living? Two local women turn their passions for art and accessories into a business for everyone to enjoy.

Barefooted Bliss
These shoes use cutting edge technology to takes you back to nature and strengthen your feet and legs. Read on to find out how they work and where you can get a pair for yourself.

Chic Spotlight: Peek of Chic’s Kerry Mock
The local lady is helping Cincinnati women accessorize their looks with her fashion-focused Web site. Read on to find out how you can get a slice of the style.

Orange on Green: Accessorizing on a Balanced Budget
One local clothing professional shares her tricks to complimenting your wardrobe on a fixed budget, and shows you how to curb your fashion overspending.

Chic Eats: Apple and Bacon French Toast Sandwiches
Accessorize breakfast with style. Our Chic Chef shows you how to add flare to a breakfast classic with Caramelized Apple and Smoked Bacon French Toast Sandwiches.

Upcoming Cincy Chic Events:
Sept. 21: Business at Breakfast: Handling Stress
Sept. 21: Looking For Answers to Your Hormone Replacement Questions?
Sept. 21: Toast for TaTas
Sept. 22: InnerCircles for Women Networking Lunch
Sept. 22: School’s Back, Moms Relax!
Sept. 23: Introduction to Oriental Rugs Seminar
Sept. 23: Free Lunch ‘n’ Learn – Mold, Moisture, and Your Home
Sept. 23: Girls Night Out
Sept. 23: Hyde Park Shop Hop
Sept. 24: 4-Legged Fashion Show
Sept. 25: Fitness & Finance
Sept. 30: Business Showcase/Open House
Oct. 1: Bras with Flair on the Square

Marvy Accessory Monday: Otazu at Kenwood Oct. 1

Otazu crystal necklace ($387)
Otazu crystal necklace ($387)

If you haven’t heard of Otazu jewelry, you’ve probably seen it. It’s usually the life of the party when someone is wearing it.

These loud and colorful pieces are huge in Europe, but there’s only one person who is licensed to sell it here locally. Her name is Angie Casselman. She apparently has the largest selection of Otazu in the US, so we’re lucky to have her right here.

Although, I’m kind of disappointed the designer, Rodrigo Otazu, doesn’t live here too. He’s easy on the eyes!

Well, he might not live here, but he’ll be in town soon! Oct. 1, he and Angie are setting up from 10am-9pm at Kenwood Towne Center. (upstairs in the old Limited space above the food court)

Rodrigo recently dressed Lady Gaga for the VMA awards, Ke$ha, Tyra Banks, Lucy Lui, Fergie and the Black Eyed Peas, and Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrel and Kristin Davis in Sex in the City 2 movie.

Unfortunately, with all the fame, his prices have gone up significantly. I remember four years ago you could get a necklace for around $100, but now they’re upwards of $400. But think of it this way, he’s still moving up the ranks, so next year his jewelry might be worth double!

So, if you need to stock up on your sparkles, go visit this event on Oct. 1… then come down to Bras with Flair on the Square and show off your bling!

UPDATE: I just got an email from Angie regarding the price point mentioned… she said “I do not have many things @$400 … earrings are $85 and bracelets are from $125… my average necklace is $295 – $335.”

Fabushoe Friday: Shoes with Flair on the Square

Womens Crystal Jeweled Sandal by Martinez Valero (originally $178, on sale for $79)
Womens Crystal Jeweled Sandal by Martinez Valero (originally $178, on sale for $79) (click to enlarge)

Bras with Flair on the Square is only two weeks away! I’m getting super excited!

Amy Kirchen with ALK Fashion and I worked together to design my dress that I’ll be wearing to emcee the event. I sent her a picture of this dress for inspiration, and a few different necklines I liked better than the one shoulder. What she created was a masterpiece. It fits like a dream!

I got to wear it yesterday for the first time when I went on Fox19 to promote Bras with Flair by doing a sneak peek of the fashion show. With my new dress, I wore the new Martinez Valero jeweled sandals I got at Cincy Designer Shoes‘ Closing sale a couple weeks ago.

My ALK Fashion dress for Bras with Flair!
My ALK Fashion dress for Bras with Flair! (click to enlarge)

By the way, if you’re wondering about the houndstooth toes, I explain them in this blog post. I love them! But I can’t wear any brown with them, so I’m going to be kind of excited to wear all my fall colors when I get them taken off… it’s going to be a while though! The nail tech said they’ll last up to six weeks!

But I digress… The dress and shoe ensemble is amazing. I can’t wait to wear it on Oct. 1 to support Susan G. Komen and breast cancer awareness with a fabulous fashion show on Fountain Square. Click here to buy your tickets (only $15 each and it includes a reusable tote bag filled with lots of great swag). 100% of proceeds go to Komen.

We’ll also recognize breast cancer survivors who you nominated and voted for at the conclusion of the show, and one lucky survivor will get a complete pamper package valued at several thousand dollars. Cincy Chic and Locals on Living narrowed it down to the top five, and even though they’re all deserving, we need you to click here to vote on who you want to win the pamper package!

To view the sneak peek I did yesterday on Fox19, click on the play button below!


New Yarnz Arrivals at Sara Benjamin’s

The air has been crisp lately! That means Fall is almost here!

Summer is my favorite season because I love warm weather, but Fall is my second favorite because of the fashion. There’s something about cuddling up in a warm sweater, or throwing a scarf around your neck when a top and jeans aren’t quite warm enough.

Sara Benjamin’s just announced they got in their new arrival of fall fashion. But what caught my eye were all the new Yarnz scarves, hats and gloves they got in. I had never heard of the brand before, but I really liked the designs.

Plus the model kind of looks like me, so I did a double take. I sometimes have trouble making scarves and hats look right on me, and this was like looking in a mirror at a girl who was definitely making these hats and scarves look right. They’re absolutely adorable on her.

I did a little digging, and Yarnz is based out of New York, but Sara Benjamin’s appears to be the only one selling the line locally. The fun thing about these scarves is that – to the untrained eye – they just look like large, printed scarves. Which, yes, they are. But the fun thing about them is that when you unfold the scarves and lay them out they are actually prints of modern iconography, contemporary/pop artists, etc.

For example, I indicated in the collage of photos I made above which scarf is actually a modern graphic print of David Bowie. But when you’re wearing it, no one would ever know… it’s just your little secret with David Bowie.

Typically, I go to Sara Benjamin’s for my cocktail dresses. But their scarves have caught my eye before, so I’m definitely going to have to pop in there and see if I look as good as the model in these things! I called to ask for pricing and they said, depending on how big they are and much cashmere is used in the material, they range from mid-$50s to $170s.

This Week on Cincy Chic: Take Note and Tune Up

Take Note and Tune Up
Rising stars in Cincy music

Hometown boy Nick Lachey sang his way to fame with 98 Degrees. And now we’re featuring two local talents whose voices are paving their way to stardom. Discover these note-sounding, beat-keeping celebrities in the making.

Cincy Designer Shoes Store Closing Sale
This Hyde Park handbag and shoe mecca is closing its doors at the end of the month. Learn when the last shipments of new inventory will be coming in, and what kinds of deals you can score.

Doc Talk: St. Elizabeth’s Dr. Michael Guenther
You’ve seen the pink ribbons and participated in breast cancer fundraisers. Are they working? This Northern Kentucky-based breast cancer surgeon says they are paying off and explains how.

Bras with Flair on the Square 2010
For the fourth annual event, decorated bras will fly high on Fountain Square to promote breast health. See how you can get involved with this unique and innovative way of finding a cure!

Accessorizing with Sound
Keep your handbags, scarves and rings. This week we’re talking about a different type of accessory — music. One local studio designs, manufactures and edits internationally hitting sounds.

Dance to the Music
Drop the dumbbells, turn off the treadmill, and jazz up your exercise. One local company’s unique concept gives you a chance to learn to dance in a fun (more affordable) atmosphere.

Instrumental Profession
A passion for piano turned into an entire music academy and stretched into international waters. Find out how that musical dream manifested for one local woman.

Styling for the Stage
In order to have great stage presence, one element must be present: beauty. One local artist gives Cincy Chic a backstage pass to see how he creates unforgettable looks.

Seeing Stars
The local music scene is beginning with a bang this fall, and one big star of stage and screen will “defy gravity” to kick off their new season.

Chic Spotlight: Singer/Songwriter Kim Taylor
This hometown girl is making it big, as her music hits speakers around the globe. Learn more about her music — and the musician behind it.

Orange on Green: Composing Financial Harmony
This week our financial columnists hands the mic to Orangefinancial’s Mike Davis, who shares how you can make your financial plan music to your ears.

Total Body Wellness: The Foundation of a Great Workout
If you’re burnt out on what you’re doing in the gym or feel a little lost in the rows of machines, read on to learn some of the secrets the pros know.

Ask Patty: The Attention-Craving Friend
Friendships are about growing together, not stealing the spotlight, so our relationship columnist shares some tips on how you can put a stop to the competition.

Upcoming Cincy Chic Events:
Sept. 13-19: The Original Greater Cincinnati Restaurant Week & Beer Feast
Sept. 15: Work Smart, Not Hard! Workshop
Sept. 16: Local Harvest
Sept. 21: Business at Breakfast: Handling Stress
Sept. 21: Looking For Answers to Your Hormone Replacement Questions?
Sept. 22: InnerCircles for Women Networking Lunch
Sept. 22: School’s Back, Moms Relax!
Sept. 23: Introduction to Oriental Rugs Seminar
Sept. 23: Free Lunch ‘n’ Learn – Mold, Moisture, and Your Home
Sept. 23: Hyde Park Shop Hop
Sept. 24: 4-Legged Fashion Show

Marvy Accessory Monday: Sarah Squeri Designs

You’ve probably seen the Sarah Squeri ads in the magazines and papers. The pieces I’ve seen on these ads are just gorgeous and I’ve been drooling over them for years.

I’ve really wanted to see them in person… I even made an attempt at contacting Sarah to see if she might want to participate in any of our Cincy Chic events as a vendor. I never heard anything back from her, but I know she’s super busy and doesn’t do events very often. Kind of like the super talented and popular kids in high school… you invite them to things, hoping but not expecting them to actually come.

Well, speaking of high school… I get an invite from my high school art teacher, Pam Kravetz (I wrote all about how I reconnected with her here). Pam is a well-known artist nationwide now, and especially here in Cincinnati. Well, this invite she sent me is for an event she’s working on with Sarah!

The event is called “Once in a Blue Moon” and it’s marrying Sarah’s tres chic and classy jewelry designs with Pam’s quirky and fun art pieces.

I can’t wait to go to this event and finally meet the cool kid in school, Sarah Squeri, and see her “marvy accessories” in person.

And Pam is such a hoot… it’ll be so fun to see her art pieces, too. I just met her for drinks the other day and she told me the story behind some of the pieces…the things and people who inspired them. It’s going to be very funny if any of these people actually show up. They might find a life-sized interactive marionette puppet of themselves! haha! : )

Sarah Squeri + Pam Kravetz event (click to enlarge)

Fabushoe Friday: Orange You Going to Like My New Shoes?

Shoes and Champagne
Shoes and Champagne at Cincy Designer Shoes

As you know, my beloved store, Cincy Designer Shoes is closing at the end of the month. (Actually, the owner said she might close sooner because she is running out of inventory faster than she anticipated.)

So, I’ve been in stocking up three times in the past week. I think they’re going to set up a cot in the back there for me to just sleep over.

But I really am sad to see it go. Last Friday, I sat in there with Carrie the owner and just talked with her some more. She had a leftover bottle of champagne from her Thursday Champagne & Shoes event she does, so we shared that and chatted.

And can I just say… I kind of had a euphoric moment there, sipping on a glass of champagne (my faaaavorite drink) surrounded in a sea of spectacular shoes I had just tried on. I felt like a glorious, gluttonous Princess of Pretty Shoeland. : )

Believe it or not, I’m usually very frugal and cautious about money and shopping. Each purchase is calculated and well thought out. But there was something about the beautiful shoes, something about the sale, something about soaking in as much of the store before it closed for good… that made me lose my freaking mind.

Like I told you last week, I left with four pairs of shoes and a handbag. Here’s Pair #1 from last week. Pair #2 are the orange leather, flower embellished, Martinez Valero ‘Corona’ Sandals pictured to the left. I actually couldn’t decide if I wanted the yellow or the orange, so I posted it to my twitter and facebook page asking for votes.

I was thinking yellow would win. But as you can see, orange won by a landslide. I’m glad though, because Practical Amy is now thinking that yellow would have gotten dirty a lot quicker.

They seem very Sex and the City to me. Very eye catching. And they’re actually really comfortable. As Carrie puts it, the leather “is like butta.” These sandals came in yellow, orange and a really pretty turquoise (only smaller sizes were left in the turquoise though).

Since I got them, I’ve been “harvesting” a lot of orange jokes.

Knock knock
Who’s there?
Orange who?
Orange you going to open the door?

Then I found myself on the Annoying Orange YouTube page my husband is now addicted to.

But citrus and comedy aside… You need to peel and get your rind to Cincy Designer Shoes and get in on this sale. haha! Oh, the orange jokes don’t get old. Even if you “concentrate.” : )