Category Archives: Reviews

Get Snapped this Summer with Anne Gregoire Photography!

1004429_538058912920422_966343920_n

540121_504814066244907_1817365094_n
Anne Gregoire Photography

It’s my favorite season of the year: SUMMER!!! Where everything is blooming, everyone is sunkissed, and families spend a little more time together. Because of this, I always try to book a photo shoot every summer with my hubby and pup.

I was referred to check out Anne Gregoire Photography by a friend and I’m just blown away by her pictures on her Facebook page! So cute (and summery!) and it’s exactly the style I love.

After chatting with Anne, I learned that she’s a portrait/lifestyle photographer specializing in fun Child, Family and High School Senior photography. She said she especially loves capturing those sweet, natural moments between parents and their kids. Her style is a mix of posed and candid shots, as every session is customized to be a unique experience. She works closely with clients on outfit styling, location scouting and session prepping.

1011913_541773699215610_1521512245_n
Anne Gregoire Photography

Speaking of sessions … that’s one of the things I love about her. The sessions are all inclusive, as clients receive the photo session and the CD with the images. So, there’s no up-charging or gouging you when you want prints of the photos she took.

Check out her site at www.annegregoirephotography.com or “like” her on Facebook to see her fab images and to continue to receive info on upcoming specials.

Oh, and she told me she’d offer a FREE 16×20 Gallery Wrap with the purchase of a photo session to any of my friends or readers, so make sure you mention that if you book her. Here’s her email address if you’re interested in learning more, want to book, or have any questions: annegphotography@yahoo.com

 

Ask Amy: Does the no!no! Work?

no_no_silver

A friend posted this question on my Facebook page, so I’m sharing it as an “Ask Amy” post, which I like to do when people email or message me on social media. Feel free to contact me – info is in the column to your right – if you have a question you’d like to ask!

Lora B. asked: so, I have a burning question you may know the answer to!! Do you know anything about the no!no!, and if you do, what do you know? i’m on the purchase fence….

My response: Funny you should ask! I actually tried it about a year ago, and to be honest I’d only recommend it if you’re removing fine hair (like peach fuzz). It didn’t work on any hair that was remotely coarse. Later, I talked with my friend at Sephora (where I got mine) and she said they stopped carrying them there because they got so many returns and complaints. So, my advice would be to just say “no” to no!no! and go get laser hair removal instead.

Hope that helps!

 

Review: Karma Wellness Studio

logo

Let me just preface this to say I NEVER win things. Well, about a month ago, it was my lucky day because I entered to win a day of pampering from Karma Wellness Studio at an event… I got a call the next day saying I had won! It included a Wellness Massage, detoxifying facial, body scrub, and chakra balancing treatment. Pinch ….me …. NOW! Of course, I booked my appointment immediately because I was so super excited! 

So, I arrive for my day of pampering, and the owner Rebecca Geiger met me to show me around and explain my services. She couldn’t have been nicer or more accommodating. I told her about areas like my neck and shoulders where I hold tension because I sit at a computer all day, and she asked a few questions to learn more about me and what I’d like to get out of my sessions.

I started off with the full body Wellness Massage, which Rebecca actually did herself. I like a deep tissue massage, and she was REALLY good at that. I felt like a new woman after that, but I still had the whole day still to go! I then went to Rebecca’s assistant who did my facial using some amazing naturally-scented detoxifying products (I ended up getting the lavender scented mist they used because it smelled heavenly).

Then, it was time for the full body scrub. This wasn’t something I’d typically get at a spa, but after having it done I’m in love. It was especially nice having it done right when summer starts and you’re starting to show more skin. I feel like it sloughed off all that extra old man winter skin. (I did see that one of their other body wraps is a “Fit and Firming” anti-cellulite treatment, which I might have to try out before my upcoming beach vaca! haha!)

Last but not least,  I went back to Rebecca for my chakra balancing treatment. Now, we’ve written about this before in Cincy Chic, but I’ve never actually had a full chakra balancing treatment done with Reiki. I was excited to try it out. On Karma’s site, it says Reikí is “the Japanese term for universal life energy. It is believed that every thing and every being is made up of energy. In the human being, there are seven main energy centers that regulate all systems of the body. The technique is a light touch performed over the clothes or incorporated into a Wellness Massage. This alternative therapy will make you feel extremely relaxed and give you a feeling of euphoria.”

I was intrigued! I don’t know if I’ve ever felt euphoria before this treatment, but now after having the treatment done, I’m a believer. I have never been more relaxed in my entire life. I was like my mind quieted and my insides turned to jelly … that’s the best way I can explain it. Definitely awesome and worth trying out.

They’re located in Mt. Washington at 2067 Beechmont Ave. Floor 2 Cincinnati, OH 45230, and you can call (ask for Rebecca, she was really great!) at (513) 233-9355. Their website is www.karmawellnessstudio.com if you want to learn more about them and their services!

Review: Kingsgate Woodhouse Day Spa

My favorite spa in Cincinnati is HANDS DOWN Woodhouse Day Spa in Montgomery. I love its location (lots of cute shops and restaurants nearby), its products (many are organic), and that it’s not a salon and spa. It’s solely a spa, so you’re not straining to relax to the sound of hairdryers and smell of hairspray. You can truly relax.

So, of course, I was super excited when I read about the new Kingsgate Mariott Woodhouse location in Cincy Chic a few months ago. This location is really convenient for me because I’m always running from meeting to meeting downtown. So, I made an appointment for a facial and manicure to look fresh and fabulous for the New Kids on the Block concert on Tuesday (which was an AWESOME concert, by the way!).

The Kingsgate Mariott, which is basically on the UC campus, was easy to find. Woodhouse took over the previous spa’s space, so once you get into the Mariott look for “spa” signage (not “Woodhouse” like I did… blonde moment! haha!), and it’s located on the 3rd floor. Once you step inside, it’s like a mini version of the Montgomery Woodhouse location. It smells the same, has the same cozy white robes, and same great spa experience.

They do have a limited menu there, but have all the basic nail, massage, esthetic services. I usually get shellac if I get my nails done, and they don’t offer that at this location, so I got a regular french mani. She did one of the best French manis I’ve ever had (they’re so easy to screw up!) so I was really happy with it.

What I REALLY loved though was my facial. They used an organic cherry scrub that smelled like sweet, summery heaven. It was also pretty much a whole upper body massage too — she worked my shoulders, arms, hands and neck — which is where I hold all my tension anyway. After the facial, I felt super relaxed and my skin was glowing!

So, I definitely recommend checking it out, especially if you work downtown or are near the UC campus. It’s a great way to get the all the fabulous Woodhouse basics at a more convenient location!

The new Woodhouse Day Spa is located inside the Kingsgate Mariott at 151 Goodman Drive Cincinnati, Ohio 45219. All guests get complimentary parking, so make sure you get a ticket before you leave to use when you’re exiting the lot!

woodhouse

Review: Liposonix at The Dermatology, Laser & Vein Center

Ok, ok… I have to let you in on my little secret. When I got asked to do Dancing for the Stars, I really ramped up my workout routine. I was exercising more, eating better, and started to tone up! That was good, because the dress Amy Kirchen and I designed was quite skimpy and I didn’t have much fabric to hide behind! 🙂

But there were a few weird areas (like on my back right under my bra, under my belly button, above my knees, and on the sides of my thighs) that I was having a tough time targeting. I was talking with one of my clients, Dr. Gupta at the Dermatology, Laser & Vein Center, about it, and she said she had a few procedures that could help (of course she does, she’s a cosmetic surgeon! haha!).

The two she recommended were Vaser Liposuction, and Liposonix. Vaser is less invasive than traditional lipo, but it’s still done under local anesthesia, and you’re out of commission/in a compression garment for a couple weeks afterwards. Liposonix is the least invasive but it still kills the fat cells (it just takes the body three months to remove them naturally instead of surgically). Plus, you can be in for the treatment and back to your regular life immediately after the procedure. This was perfect for me because it was late January at the time and Dancing for the Stars wasn’t until April!

So, I opted for Liposonix and I told Dr. Gupta I would write about the process – good or bad – on my blog so readers would know what it’s like. The process started with an initial consultation where she took a look at the areas I wanted to target. Dr. Gupta did a lot of pinching around to get a good feel for what she was working with and how to best target the areas. She made her recommendations for what she would be doing, how long it would take and how to prepare for the procedure.

Dr. Gupta gave me the option of taking a prescription pain killer prior to the procedure, but I opted not to because I had a full day of meetings and a dance lesson afterwards. They require someone to drive you home if you take the pain killer for the procedure, and I wanted to be able to hop in a car afterwards to get to my meetings, so I didn’t do it. That’s my only regret in this whole thing – I wish I would have taken that darn pain killer!!!

It’s not that it was super painful, but it certainly doesn’t feel “good.” It was probably more my nerves than anything because you’re just sitting there on the table waiting for someone to zap you. Oh, plus I’m super ticklish, and that wasn’t helping anything! haha! So, if I were to do it over again, I would definitely take the pain pill to relax, dull the nerves and be able to get the full effect of the procedure.

They ended up doing it on a lower setting so I felt more comfortable. I was worried I wasn’t going to see any results because I didn’t get the full power, but I actually did get very nice results. It smoothed out the sides of my legs and really tightened my belly (I actually just posted bikini pics in a blog post today!! eeee!). What I liked about it is that I was back to work right after the procedure – so there’s no downtime, compression garments or scarring.

In my opinion, this procedure probably isn’t the best for someone with an aversion to pain or someone who needs to lose 100 pounds. This is mainly for toning and tightening targeted problem areas by making small tweaks that look like a “better version” of what you looked like before. It was perfect for what I was looking for, and I’m really glad I did it!

Check out the video below where I chat with Dr. Gupta about the procedure and my experience.

[HTML1]

Super Chic in Shail K Sequins!

As you may already know – I did the Dancing for the Stars event in April, and I posted the entire process of design, creation, fitting, and dancing in the performance dress I made with Amy Kirchen here on the blog! But there was another very special dress I wore that night as well and I wanted to do a little write-up about it too because I just loved it so much!

We were told to bring a “mingling” outfit to wear prior to our performance so the audience didn’t get to see our glam performance dresses until the actual performances. I knew there would be lots of lights at the venue, so I wanted lots of sparkle. I also wanted it to be special so that no one else would have the same look! I got an email a few weeks prior to the event from a PR person at Shail K with a subject line of “Sequins for Summer,” so I just HAD to keep reading!

I opened the email full of gorgeous sparkly dresses, and I loved every one! They sent me a few samples for me to wear to the event and one dress in particular fit like a glove and was PERFECT for my “mingling look”!

Check out the pics below of me and my dress and click here to see more Shail K dresses! FYI – Shail K specializes in upscale, contemporary designs. They have dresses for any kind of special occasion – from red carpet, evening and prom to pageant and wedding fashions. Their prices range from $160-400 for cocktail dresses, $300-800 for long dresses and $1,000+ for custom pageant gowns. Sizes range from 0-16, and custom gowns can be made to accommodate larger sizes. More info at www.shailkusa.com.

970528_10151416948328021_198169980_n
Me and my Cincy Chic team at Dancing for the Stars!

Cincy Chic 04142013-53 Cincy Chic 04142013-61

Cincy Chic 04142013-46

Product Review: Massage Envy

I agreed to be one of the dancers in this year’s “Dancing for the Stars” which benefits the Cincinnati Arts Association’s Overture Awards (click here to read the write-up about it on Cincinnati.com). I haven’t really danced since my high school cheerleader days ….or my Elaine from Seinfeld-esque dancing at weddings! haha! But it’s a great cause AND the perfect opportunity to get in great shape! I’ve been going to dance lessons twice a week, and I promised myself to do cardio and weight lifting three times a week so I fit into the fab dress I’m designing with Amy Kirchen. Needless to say, I’ve been waking up tired and achy…muscles I didn’t even know I had are super sore!

I decided that I’d reward myself with a monthly massage if I kept up with the routine. I figured it would help with the aches and would also be motivation to keep up the workouts!

One of our new clients at Cincy Chic is Massage Envy, and the PR rep I work with there had just been emailing me about their new products and add-ons (for example, you can add-on aromatherapy, or upgrade to deep tissue). They are also based on a membership system, so you get a monthly massage (you can use them another month or give them away if you don’t use them each month), and that brings down your per-massage price, which is perfect for my new monthly massage promise to myself!

So, I decided to try it out and book an hour massage with deep tissue upgrade and I also added on one of their Enzyme Acne facials. I had a few break-outs I needed to have calmed down before all our events this week! (we have three fashion shows this week, and I didn’t want my breakouts to take away attention from my new shoes! haha!)

Let me just tell you, this was the most relaxing two hours of my life. My body felt like jelly afterward, and my face STILL feels like a baby’s bottom four days later! I got the massage first (Linda Kantor LMT was my massage therapist, by the way, she was awesome). She broke up all those knots, and eased all the tension I was holding in my poor sore muscles. I also got the aromatherapy – I’m such a sucker for ANYTHING lavender – which just sent me to la-la-land. So relaxing, but it wasn’t just a froo-froo massage. I definitely felt more limber and less tense after the massage.

Then, after the massage I got my facial, which was perfect because they did everything in the same room and I didn’t have to move one little pampered muscle! Missy Smith was my esthetician. She was amazing. Very knowledgeable about the products (I have really sensitive skin, so I was asking which product did what, and what was in each, if they reacted like previous products I’ve had a reaction to, etc). They use Murad products which I had heard of before, but never used before. Now, it’s been several days since my facial and I’ve been using some of the sample lotions they gave me, and I’m definitely going back for more. I don’t know if it’s because it’s winter and I just keep caking on lotions to keep my skin from flaking, but this facial felt like it sloughed off a bunch of junk and my pores are finally able to breathe. And the lotion is keeping my skin hydrated without it feeling weighed down, which is always good so I don’t start that caking-on downward spiral again!

So, long story short, I wanted to let you know about my experience at Massage Envy (I went to the one in Kenwood – right across from Nordstrom). I give the whole experience – from the products to the people – an A+ and will definitely be back again. And from the looks of the choreography my dance instructor just sent over, I’m going to need it!

By the way, Dancing for the Stars tickets are available for patrons ($100), corporate tables ($1,000) and the front-row “celebrity circle” tables ($1,500) from the Aronoff Center ticket office Downtown, 513-977-4104, or www.CincinnatiArts.org. I need lots of loud people in my cheering section! 🙂

Nicole Richie for Impulse

A Macy’s exclusive collection from Impulse was released just last week! The line is part of an ongoing capsule series, and Nicole Richie is the current guest designer. The Macy’s in Kenwood is one of the three Ohio locations where these fresh pieces can be found, so I had to check it out! Keeping with what is in this fall, the collection is bursting with sheer, studs, and high-low hemlines. I loved it and found a Navajo print dress that perfectly compliments my House of Harlow necklace—also designed by Nicole!

Six Secrets for a Good Hair Day

A “Good Hair Day.”

We’ve all experienced one, but they’re few and far between – and we rarely know how or why they happen. Is it the products you use, how you style your hair or the environment your’re in… who knows?

Well, I’ve been trying to break the code for months and testing tons of products and scouring the web for styling tips. Plus, we’ve had a variety of  temperatures, winds and moisture levels in Cincinnati this Spring, so it’s given me all the tress-testing variables I need!

So, today, I’ve reached a hypothesis for this perfect-hair-search science project. I found six products that – when combined with some good styling tips – produce consistent good hair days regardless of the weather (will come in helpful as the rainy April goes in like a lion!)

Granted, this is for my hair type and not everyone’s. But I have pretty versatile hair (has some natural wave, I can scrunch it to be curly, but usually wear it straight) so I’m hoping many of you can relate and benefit from some of these recommendations! Here goes…. drum roll please!!

Paul Mitchell Super Skinny Serum ($30, Sally’s Beauty Supply)
Put a quarter-size amount in the palm of your hand, spread it across both palms, flip your hair over and apply to the ends of your damp hair and work up to the scalp. This smooths the hair, reduces dry time, protects the hair and controls frizz.

John Frieda Full Repair Root Lift Foam ($6, Kroger or Target)
Give the bottle a good shake (I mean reeeeally good shake… otherwise it’ll come out as liquid, not foam), fill a palm with the foam, spread between both palms, and apply at the crown. This protects the hair from heat and gives a nice flexible lift that lasts all day. This is especially good if your hair tends to be thin or go flat often.

Oribe Gel Serum ($64, Mitchell’s Salon & Day Spa)
Put a dime-size amount in your palm, spread between palms, flip your hair and add this to your ends. This will give your strands definition for some subtle “pieciness.” This gold-flecked gel has active moisturizing agents so it keeps your hair looking healthy and bouncy with sheen rather than stiffness or waxiness.

When wearing it curly, I still use all the above products, but I use a blow dryer with diffuser attached on low heat. Then, scrunch and diffuse until dry.

When wearing it straight, I start with my hair flipped over to blow dry all the hidden hair underneath first (which, if remains wet, will curl and look undone). Then, I flip it over, use a round brush at the crown to give that area lift and activate that root lift foam, and then a flat brush to get everything else. After everything is dry, I like to use the “cool air” setting on my blow dryer for about 30 seconds (the blogs I read said this helps to close the hair’s cuticle and set the shape). Then, I straight iron the ends. First, using the iron vertically (parallel to my head) and then horizontal (perpendicular to my head) for the best straightening and smoothing.

Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray ($43, Mitchell’s Salon & Day Spa)
Experts call this product “backcombing in a can.” So, it gives you that texture and lift you need without teasing… or, dare I even say it… a Bumpit. haha! This is especially great for the days I wear my hair in a bumped pony or half up.

Oribe Impermeable Anti-Humidity Spray ($42, Mitchell’s Salon & Day Spa)
Spray on this protective, vitamin-rich finishing spray to keep the frizz at bay, especially on rainy or humid days. Great for blow-outs and curls alike.

Pantene Anti-Humidity Medium Thick Hairspray ($5, Kroger)
As with many of the products mentioned above, this one is also anti-humidity to help fight the frizz (which is pretty much a problem for anyone with hair during Cincinnati summers). What I like about this product is that you can choose which one is best for your hair type (fine, thick, medium-thick, etc) and it holds really well without being stiff or crunchy.

Even though I said I’d only be talking about six products, I should also mention one more product that I like to use on “day 2” hair. It’s Oscar Blandi Dry Shampoo ($11, Sephora) and it’s great for you ladies out there, like me, who skip a wash a few times a week (which is very good for your hair, ladies!). I prefer the non-aerosol because it lasts longer, but both kinds work well. The dry shampoo comes in a variety of colors too (red, brown, black) to better match your hair. Basically, this product just absorbs excess oil and makes your hair look more refreshed! Highly recommended!

Hope this helps and you have many good hair days in your future! Happy Friday!!

Pre-Product Review: Latisse

On my lifelong quest for amazing lashes, I decided to enlist the help of Latisse. I’ve tried just about everything… I’ve tried the mascara that claims to make your lashes grow longer, the Beauty Society Enormous Lash serum and even eyelash extensions.

The mascara didn’t work, the Enormous Lash kind of worked, and the eyelash extensions definitely worked (you just had to be really careful with them, and the application/upkeep was a too time-consuming for me to stay committed). I had tried Latisse before – I was given a small sample to try by a client – but stopped after a week because I got scared by the “possible brown spot side effect” warning.

But I happened to be talking with one of my other clients – Face and Eye Aesthetic Center – and Latisse came up. I mentioned that I was surprised that Claire Danes replaced Brooke Shields as the spokeswoman for Latisse because she has blue eyes. The doc in the meeting, Dr. Nerad, explained that the brown spot side effect is actually really uncommon and it occurs when people use it for a super extended amount of time.

Apparently Latisse was discovered as a lash-growing wonder-drug from its days as a prescription for glaucoma patients. They started to come back with super long lashes on the eye that was being treated. So, researchers looked into it, found that it did have this randomly desirable side effect, and rebranded it as “Latisse.”

Long story short – when patients use it for glaucoma, which can be for years or even decades, they’re applying this product on the same spot every single day. Some people get some pigmentation after a while, but the doc said it’s a very long while and I truly most likely have nothing to worry about … unless I get super addicted to Latisse and decide to use it for the rest of my life. Which actually might happen because I’m loving it.

I’m about a month in and this week is when I started to see some results. I had a bit of a rough start – dealt with a little dry eye in the beginning, but I think that was also due to winter finally kicking in and us using the heat in our house more. I did see on this site (which I really like because it’s an objective site that gives you the low-down on any eye-related product/procedure) that about 4% experience some dry eye when using Latisse, so maybe I’m part of that group… if so, I’m playing the lottery STAT! haha!

The process is pretty simple to get started on Latisse. I like going to Face & Eye, not only because I know and trust them, but also because they have Dr. Nerad there who is an ophthalmologist. You can get a prescription for Latisse from just about any doctor (most plastic surgeons … actually, my dentist was just telling me he’s thinking about offering Botox and Latisse too! Crazy!). But there’s something about getting it from an doctor who specializes in eyes. It was much more comforting to start this process through him. He even did an eye exam to make sure my eyes were in good health prior to letting me start Latisse!

I will be posting before and afters in about a month once you can see some more dramatic results! But for now, things are going well! I should be looking like Claire Danes and Brooke Shields in no time! haha!

Getting my eye exam with Dr. Nerad

Getting my Latisse prescription from Dr. Nerad