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Wine Country: The perfect Cincinnista Get-Away!

So this Cincinnista is finally back after a fabulous 1st Anniversary trip with my husband, Tom.  As Tom’s never actually been to wine country, I thought it was the perfect place for us that he’d appreciate.


Everything from the hotel to the food to the topography, and of course the wine was perfect.  A referral from a friend, we stayed in Sonoma at the Fairmont Mission Inn and Spa, a place of beauty yet with tons of history and character.  Despite, the long flight to San Francisco,  we were ready for two days of wineries in both Sonoma then Napa.  We selected only those wineries with good reputations and of course hired a driver!  It’s hard to say which was our favorite, but we did love the energy at Wellington, the amazing cabernet at Etude and the incredible view at Stag’s Leap. Not to mention, everyone working at the wineries was incredible nice and passionate about their jobs.  We also lunched at the famous Auberge du Soleil hotel.


After the wine tours,  it was time to change gears.  Tom went golfing at the scenic Sonoma Country Club  while I spent and afternoon at the Fairmont’s amazing spa.  The service was impeccable and the interior beautiful. (and we all know how much I care about that!:)  After my services, I sipped sparking wine by the private outdoor pool basking in relaxation.


Finally on our last day,  we hung at the lovely pool for a bit then ventured in to the actual town of Sonoma for dinner.  We stopped at an authentic Mexican Restaurant for a yummy, hand made margarita,  then off to the Girl and the Fig for an amazing main course.


Overall,  it was hard to leave and I can’t wait to go back.  Thank goodness this Cincinnista stocked up on some good wine that we are still drinking!  Cheers!

Downtown Sonoma. Tons of character. Notice Tom on his phone…I thought this was vacation?
On our way to downtown Sonoma in front of our hotel.
The “quiet” pool outside the spa.
I couldn’t help but photograph this water sculpture inside the spa.
At Stag’s Leap Winery in Napa. A breathtaking view not to mention amazing wine.
The view from the Auberge Du Soleil restaurant. Fabuous.
Lunch and wine tasting at the famous Auberge du Soleil.
Waiting for our driver outside the hotel.
An front view of our hotel, the Fairmont Mission Inn and Spa.
A view of the enchanted grounds from our hotel room.
Tom getting to know wine. Not easy for a beer drinker!


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Why I love Main Street!

Ok fellow Cincinnista’s, a bit of a break from fashion talk.  Many of you know I moved my design firm, Amy Youngblood Interiors, to Main Street in OTR last October.  What you may not know is all of the great existing and new spots to visit on Main Street.

First of all,  Amy Youngblood Interior’s home office is a beautifully transformed space, with tons of hip character, and yes furnishings and artwork to sell!  Check out our front corner window if you are in doubt.  We also have great restaurants and bars such as Liberty’s Bar and Bottle (one block south of Liberty), Goodfella’s Pizza and soon to come Buzzed Bull Creamery.  Yes,  Buzzed Bull Creamery will be Cincinnati’s first ice cream store with adult style ice cream. Get the picture?


In addition to food and drink,  two great art galleries are a stone’s throw away from AYI.  The Brush Factory,  a niche furniture and accessory store just opened across the street from us in December as well. In to special events?  The Woodward Theatre is an beautifully restored venue to varies fundraisers and parties.


Besides these spaces,  there are countless buildings currently being renovated for up and coming businesses.  While Main street is not yet as developed as Vine,  I love being off the path of complete weekend chaos…not that we won’t be there soon!  Not to mention, our proximity to new hot bars and restaurants off of Main is excellent. So, come and visit Main Street and see why we love it!


Cincinnati Art Underground is consistently bringing in top artist and hosting art talks and opening parties.
Good love the friendly bartenders at Liberty’s!
Our favorite watering hole at AYI! Liberty’s Bar and Bottle.
Can’t wait for them to open! Fun for kids AND adults!
Check out this amazing mid-century console with twig style lamp in the window at Amy Youngblood Interiors. For sale!
We get more compliments on the funky egg chair. Come buy it!
Love the Woodward Theatre.

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Decorating for the Holidays!

While this Cincinnista doesn’t talk much interior design on this blog, when it comes to the holiday decorating your home correctly is important.  ‘Tis the season!

Amy Youngblood Interiors graciously appeared on the Channel 19 Fox Morning Show last week to discuss tips and trends in holiday decorating.  In case you missed it, here is the scoop!

  1.  Embrace a color scheme.  Red and green?  White and gold?  Blue and silver?  Pick a palette and stick with it to create a unfied look.  Accent with a pop of red if need be.
  2.  Wrap gifts early and get them under the tree….even if they are empty boxes!  A decorated tree with a variety of fun wrapping paper adds to the already festive scene.
  3. Make the holiday table a special one.  For your big holiday dinner, besides a great centerpiece, add decorative items such as round metallic balls or holday glitter.  Layer different patterned tablecloths for a more customized look.  Another tip: for buffet style dining, secretly elevate areas of the table for serving and display with paint cans!
  4. Engage your senses with light and the scent of fun candles…..always adds to the ambiance of the room.
  5. Accent items in your home that are unique and special.  Fill a decorative bowl with metallic balls or add festive bows and garland to a stylish pair of sconces.
  6. Modernize your decorations.   I’m not saying throw our Grandma’s Christmas village set, but like everyday decor in our lives, the trend is towards more clean-lined modern pieces.
  7. Bring in the Great Outdoors!  Now this decoration can last not only through the holidays but throughout the entire season.  Fill a glass or metallic vase with corkscrew willow branches of something similar to give interest and height to your table.
  8. Finally, “Less is More.”  While we want to be festive, we highly recommend decorating with class.  Lighting up your home like a Christmas tree is overkill, not to mention dangerous!

Cheers and Happy Holidays!

Add a festive bow and fun branches to an already cool sconce.
Myself and designer Chelsea Moeller on set. Table finished!
Working away to set up the “demo” table. The clock is running!
Loved talking to Fox anchor Kara Sewell. She is so professional and a class act!
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Get Fab for Fall Fashion Show Huge Success!

Trying my best to showcase this amazing dress by Bling!
Jill Haney actively describing our outfits and the fall trends.
Loving this clutch by Black and Brindle.

I can’t believe it’s been over a week since the big night September 1st, but the Get Fab for Fall was not just fun, it’s was successful!  The weather was prime and the turnout heavy.  hosted at one of my favorite wine bars, Unwind in Hyde Park, the staff welcomed us on to their beautiful patio for the Co-Op, Black and Brindle and Erin Wachs Jewelry to display their beautiful products.  In addition, Kenzie’s Closet was on hand to accept clothing donations.  Such a worthwhile cause!


To backtrack,  this Cincinnista, had the honor of modeling some of these beautiful wares.  My evening started out Blown salon in Kenwood for both a complimentary make-up  and hair styling.  The salon is beautiful (yes…I am a picky interior designer, too!) and the ladies that work there are as talented as they are nice. Once done there I trotted back to Hyde Park to a packed patio of fellow Cincinnista’s ready to get their Fall Style on!  After busy shopping and complimentary wine, the fashion show began with 6 of us ladies strutting our stuff down the hip outdoor runway! (Kind of kidding here).  I of course ended up buying at least two of the items I wore during the show…great stuff!


Hard to look good net to the age less Gina Elliott!
Unwind was the perfect venue for the show as always for a lovely glass of wine.
With one of my fellow Cincinnista’s and good friend Amy Barkett.
The ladies from Channel 9 are as nice as they are beautiful!
Blown in Kenwood did an amazing job on my hair and make-up. I can’t wait to go again before my next big event!
Beautiful ladies!
Erin Wachs Jewelry has both creative an classy pieces from anything from your ears to your neck. Check them out at Erin’s beautiful boutique in Mariemont!
Me and the lovely ladies behind the show!
Beautiful, creative pieces from Erin Wachs Jewelry.
The lithe, sexy model Gina Elliott!

I look forward to this becoming an annual event and for a good cause!  Check out my photos from the night and Cheers!

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Get Fab for FALL Fashion Show!

Yes,  the temps are high again, but at least the kids are finally back in school!  Phew!  Regardless,  it is still time for fall fashion.   Sooooo, please join me at the The Get Fab for FALL Fashion Show next Thursday, September 1st, from 6-9 at Unwind in Hyde Park.  Sponsored by The Co-Op on Camargo, Erin Wachs Jewelry and BLOWN Studio, the fashion show will highlight what’s in from these top Cincinnati Boutiques.  Beautiful apparel, shoes, accessories and jewelry will be for sale, and with a donation to Kenzie’s Closet, you will receive 20% off your purchase!  This Cincinnista has the honor of modeling in the show as well,  so if you want to witness my rusty catwalk skills, the more the merrier!  And for those of you unfamiliar with Unwind, the upscale wine bar boasts a hip atmosphere with great wine and lite bites.  See you there!


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Oui Oui! Montreal….

So as I left off…this Cincinnista had an amazing wedding…and now off to the honeymoon.  After two well needed days to re-cooperate, Tom and I headed to a well needed 5 day get away in Montreal.

Despite flying international, the flight was pretty easy.  Our first bit of fun was being on the entire two flights with the FC Cincinnati soccer team and their coaches.  As my kids are huge fans, of course my motherly duty was to get as many autographs as possible along with their head coach, John Harkes.  I was so impressed with their professional, nice demeanor not to mention…they are pretty cute!

Once we arrived in Montreal at the Hotel Intercontinental,  we laid low our first night at the in-house bar called Sarah B.  Known as an historical absinthe bar…which is banned in the U.S. now by the way….we ate fabulous calamari along with wine and cocktails.

Speaking of food, Montreal lives up to its reputation of amazing food!  From the Boris Bistro with it’s amazing risotto, to the french XO Le Restaurant’s delicious filet mignon, to Notkin’s Oyster Bar, I was never starved for flavorful cuisine.  The only thing that helped stave  off a few calories  was the tons of walking we did exploring different parts of the city.  My only complaint dining wise was that as California chardonnay kind of girl, the french whites were tough on my palette.  I know…boo hoo, right?!  We did stumble in to an American style Bistro called Houston’s one happy hour, and I got my American Chardonnay fix!

Beyond food and drink,  the biggest thing Montreal offers is an amazing mix of culture. As many people know,  it is a French speaking city with all types of cultures and nationalities.   Luckily, this Cincinnista took 4 years of french in high school only to really get by with “bonjour” and “merci” with a bit of a french accent…  but hey, A for effort right?  Tom and I loved the powerful Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec  and Pompeii exhibits at The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts not to mention our last day find:  the L Hotel in Old Montreal.  The L Hotel first grabbed us when we walked by on day one accidentally to later find that it’s owner,  George Marciano, the founder of Guess Jeans, houses a world class art collection of contemporary art.   From a Marciano portrait by Andy Warhol, to Jean Miro to Sam Francis, prints and originals by some of the top  early 1900 artist’s can be found.  And the service while having drinks while looking at beautiful art and interior design….Merci Beaucoup!

That’s it for now.  Back to reality.  Fall is around the corner and stay stunned for the late fashion and style news there!  Cheers!

At Laguardia airport with FC Cincinnati Head Coach John Harkes and star player Sean Okoli
The outside of the restrooms at Notkin’s Oyster Bar. Who would have guessed?
Every big city has to have a piece of the Berlin Wall..Oui? Outside of our hotel.
Loving this Botero sculpture!
Dining on Old Montreal. So French!
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Loving the practical yet creative sculpture.
A classic Dale Chihuly outside The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.
Miro at the L Hotel. Must I say more?
XO Le Restaurant . HIp, tasty and chic.
Yummy oysters at Notkin’s Oyster Bar.
Outside of the L Hotel. Who can miss the classic contemporary Robert Indiana LOVE sculpture?
One of my favorite originals by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec at The Montreal of Fine Arts.
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