Haha, the blog is not defunct. In fact, Dan and I have been condo hunting in the Gateway Quarter lately, and learning a lot about Cincinnati and Over-the-Rhine in the process. More on that soon... we're in a bit over our heads with all the new real estate jargon on top of already crazy holiday stuff. (And no promises on the condo, so don't get too jazzed. Just in the beginning stages of consideration.)

But people really seem to like the comic book wrapping paper post, so in the mean time I'll show you a few more I've wrapped up. This has been a really fantastic alternative for me this year-- I haven't bought a single scrap of traditional wrapping paper. These presents look so much more me anyhow. You like?

New finds at Findlay

No secret: I've been falling in love with Findlay Market for months now. I've bought all my pasta, bread, fresh fruit and veggies, gelato, and more there since we started frequenting the market.

But lately I've been trying to find new things to buy and experiment with. Here are two of my best recent finds: the first, a dried pepper bouquet. I gave this to my mom as a sort of hostess gift when she had an early Christmas (or late Thanksgiving) party at her house. I'm trying to stay away from the cut flower business-- and they tend to die anyway. ;) This will last forever, the peppers are still edible, and it looks and smells vibrant and delicious.

The second, from the Herbs and Spice and Everything Nice stand (across from Dojo Gelato), is lavender sugar. I had never even heard of this before my friend Jennifer mentioned it on Twitter. I talked to the ladies at the stand about it, and they suggested I try a tablespoon in a regular sugar cookie recipe. The result was phenomenal-- I got a lot of "oh WOW"s when people tried them at work. It's not a taste you're expecting-- floral is not something I usually associate with cookies. If you're feeling adventurous, throw a bit in your next batch of cookies-- no more than a tablespoon though, because a little goes a loooooong way.

Findlay Market Myths

I'm loving this blog post by Daisy Mae's Market, rounding up her top six myths about my darling Findlay Market. Did you know, for example, that Findlay has two full-time beat cops?

Findlay Market Myths

Architrek: Downtown & Over-the-Rhine

Man, it's been like ten whole minutes since I've talked about architecture!

The Cincinnati Preservation Society puts together "Architreks," which are exactly what they sound like. Some are guided walking tours through Cincinnati, but the one we took this afternoon was on a trolley. Here's what a trolley is:

The trolley is not optimal for this kind of tour because you can only see the buildings from about the knee down, but I tell you what-- when it's 30 degrees out, you get over that real quick-like.

Dan, our tour guide, was fun and awesome, and I hope we run into him next year when we go on some of the walking tours. He says those are better, because you're able to spend more time looking at the details of the buildings.

We also ran into @nth_degree on our tour! Hello Evan and Sarah! All your shirt is belong to us, please!

Apologies, geek moment. Anywho, loved this tour and I will definitely be looking into other offerings by the Cincinnati Preservation Society. Has anyone done a walking tour? They do them in a bunch of different Cincinnati neighborhoods throughout the year.

Cincinnati Preservation Society: http://cincinnatipreservation.org/
Architreks information: http://cincinnati-walks.org/
A few more pictures, taken by Dan: http://www.flickr.com/photos/rrrrred/sets/72157622818066833/

Christmas trees @ Findlay Market

When Dan and I decided to buy our Christmas tree, Findlay Market was not where my mind first went. My family has bought trees from various lots and farms, but it occurred to me that it would make sense for Findlay to carry them-- I couldn't find much about it online, so it was a bit of a shot in the dark.

I was thrilled to see they trees, and even more thrilled to see that the proceeds of the sales went to support AIDS research through Stop AIDS. There is more information floating around the internet now that it's not December 1st and normal people are starting to think about getting their trees. I still wanted to make sure to spread the word and let others know that if you're in the area and you haven't purchased your tree yet, there are locally-grown, freshly-cut awesome-pants spruces, firs and pines waiting for you at Findlay.

As a follow-up to my comic book wrapping paper post, I thought I'd show you how else I put them to work. This is Dan and my first tree, so we are completely free of ornaments... I put together a humongous paper chain and, with our newly purchased LEDs, it serves as the only decoration we have.

Dojo Gelato giveaway results!

You thought I forgot, didn't you?!

5schw4r7z!! My brother randomly chose your entry and I owe you a $5 gift card to Dojo! Hit me up with some postal info and I'll slap that baby in the mail tomorrow!

A big thank you goes out to everyone who entered. What should I give away next time?

Wrapping paper alternatives

As I try to buy more and more locally, I find myself wandering around stores like Target and CVS even less than usual. I need shampoo... what, once a month? Most everything I need, I can find at a local business.

Now what about wrapping paper? I was once an avid believer in those $4.99 rolls of shiny paper-on-a-tube... some even had the grids drawn on the back so you could cut perfect lines. Lovely!

Last year, my mom wrapped her presents in old maps. Those gifts were more gorgeous than anything Hallmark could throw together. This year I'm taking a page (yuk yuk) from her book and wrapping my gifts in old comic books. My brothers will love the look of it, it definitely reflects my style more than polar bears and candy canes, and I'm reusing something I might have thrown away later. (While I'd like to say that I'm supporting local comic book stores-- I think these issues set me back <$1.00 each. Not much help there!)

So whaddya think? Trashy or clever? How are you wrapping your gifts this year, and what does it say about you?

P.S. That last photo is of some grocery-bags-turned-gift-wrap. With the help of some crayons and doodles by Dan and myself, we've rounded out the rest of our wrapping (so far)!

Local 127

It was completely fortuitous: a coworker and I were completely sick of eating lunch at the same 5 places within quick walking distance of our office. As we strolled up 4th Street, I noticed that Local 127 had paper menus in a folder outside, and there was a sign saying that they were now open for lunch.

What we didn't know was that it was their first day of being open for lunch.

After we ordered, we were given free mini cups of soup-- their white bean and bacon, which was fantastic. Creamier than I'm used to, and that was a good thing. The bacon was crisp-ay.

Then our main courses arrived-- I, of course, forgot to take a picture because I was too busy shoving my face into my grass-fed, perfectly-medium burger. No complaints there.

Afterward, though we hadn't ordered dessert, we were again gifted with free tiny samples. Their chocolate pudding was perfect-- not too sweet. I wish desserts actually came in that tiny portion size-- enough to enjoy the sweet sugary-ness, but not enough to seriously regret later.

And then, THEN, our bill came with warm chocolate chip cookies. Warm, I tell you! They assured us that it will be a regular part of the lunch experience, and not just a first-day thing like the soup and pudding.

The prices were nice (for a classier business lunch than usual), the waitstaff was overly attentive (I hope that will calm down a bit after the novelty wears off), the food was delicious and the atmosphere was nice. I'll definitely be there again.

Hm, the UrbanSpoon rating is pretty darn low. Maybe the dinner experience doesn't live up to the casual lunch fare?

Local 127's website: http://www.mylocal127.com/

Local 127  on Urbanspoon

Go <3 your own city.

From imgfave. ...It felt appropriate.

"Building Holidays" trolley tours Downtown

Wanted to share this post from UrbanCincy about the ARCHITREKS tour this Saturday. I called yesterday and they still had seats available on both the 11AM and 1PM tour.

"Building Holidays" trolley tours Downtown

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