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JH Shoes: Great Style for Less!

My fellow style expert and Cincinnista, Jill Haney,  has started her own shoe business and will also be a featured vendor at our “Ladies Night Out”  event December 9th!  Jill’s love for shoes and her belief that shoes are the” fountain of youth” got her started. Women of all ages can appreciate the upgrade of a look with the right shoes as they are one of our most important style accessories.  Not to mention,  her fashion forward shoes look way more expensive than they are and all retail for $100 or less.

These suede booties retail for only $95!!
These suede booties retail for only $95!

As Jill says, “Change your shoes, change your life!”

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That Perfect Work Bag: Not your Old Fashioned Briefcase!

As a designer and of course a Cincinnista,  I have many different looks and needs for bags.  Obviously, one needs a great basic handbag: stylish, yet practical for my wallet, make-up, checkbook, and yes,  all the loose “crap”  that should ultimately be thrown away!

But for most of us, being either working women or those that need to stay organized with our planner, work, or kiddo files?  I personally need help with all of the above including a metal tape measure and often a paint deck, just to mention a few of the things I lug around.  For me,  a lightweight, somewhat durable square shaped, tote bag is key.  Right now,  I carry a Tory Burch tote bag I’ve had for almost 5 years and it is falling apart!  I’m looking to upgrade while still maintaining a good ROI….you know us Cincinnistas do know some financial terms?!


So here are my four main criteria when choosing a “not your old briefcase”  type of work bag:

Stylish:  Gotta  have something hip that with me that I carry around 24/7. Color wise? Can’t go wrong with black or brown, but what’s wrong with something more colorful if you love it and it’s in your comfortable color palette?

Large Size:  At least 15″ wide x 11″ high x 5″ deep.  When you think about a standard paper/paper size…..that’s about how much you need when you pad it and pack it all in.

Lightweight:  If you are going all leather,  nothing thick nor with lots of metal!  this will weight you down even more!  I recommend a combination of fabric/nylon and leather.  This will be easier to tote around while enduring the elements like being sat on the floor at work or a job-site.

Handles:  Are the length and thickness large and comfortable enough for you to carry around all day?

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This reversible tote bag by Gucci. Available in several colors with the classic Gucci canvas logo and lightweight leather for either side.
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The Camo leather/nylon large tote bag by Valentino. The lightweight, fun camouflage print looks eclectic with the leather handles and signature stud accents of Valentino.

So here are a couple of ones to check out. Both fun and practical but not cheap.  Although, if I’m going to drag it around for five years?  Thoughts?





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Add some “BLING” to that Holiday Wardrobe!

OK,  I’m back!  Like most of us, this Cincinnista got caught up in the pre-Thanksgiving craze…and got off the blogging train!  But I’m back even more to share!

With Thanksgiving over,  and us Cincinnistas in full shopping mode,  I must talk about another Cincinnati based fashion source,  “Bling!”, owned by my friend Rachel Hamilton.   After years in the fashion industry, Rachel founded Bling in 2005 inspired by her love of outfitting women with easy “no brainer” clothing and accessories at an affordable price.  Her clothing is fashion forward, yet classy.  Her accessories and costume style jewelry add a creativeAYI_LADIES NIGHT OUT 2015 INVITE_v4-01 “bling”  to any wardrobe.  Not to mention, her faux furs are the nicest I’ve ever experienced at a fraction of the real thing!

Bling will be one of our featured Vendor’s at our Ladies Night Out at Amy Youngblood Interiors on Wednesday, December 9th!  You can also view Rachael’s products on her web-site.

Black rich goat fans fur inspires fashion daydreams. Collarless with simple full-length sleeves and a closer, body skimming shape. Perfect with jeans and boots or with heels for a dressy night out!
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Winter Blahs Coming? Inject some color in to you Wardrobe!

Ok, I realize it’s not the middle(quite!) of January yet…but it’s a forecast of mid 40’s tomorrow!  Ugh…really?!  I’ve talked a lot about neutrals and the trend of gray this season,  but let’s face it…we all need a pop of color with the cooler, graying weather.

Here’s my thought on how to add some color to an otherwise dark winter wardrobe:

Add a sold colorful sweater to mix with a large scale neutral print.  Check out this tangerine-orange sweater I mixed with a black and cream damask knit skirt (from Bling!).  The great classic pattern of the skirt mixes perfectly with the simplicity of the bold, bright sweater. Add a coordinating, artistic looking necklace to compliment the outfit.

Yes,  I wore this on Friday myself. I had two new client meetings where I wanted to look stylish, yet approachable and comfortable. Sorry, was too lazy and didn’t feel “Cincinnista” enough to take a selfie!  I paired it with classic black riding boots and gold hoop FullSizeRenderearrings to finish it off.  Chic yet comfy!



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Introducing CQ LUXE!

Well I already thought Alex Quintaba was a Cincinnista genius with her amazing children’s clothing store, The Spotted Goose, she was part of in Oakley.  Then I saw her new luxury handbag and belt line!   Married to  a native Italian,  Alex grew to love and appreciate the craftsman ship of the Marche region in Italy when traveling with her husband back to his homeland.  Over a year ago, she collaborated with Italian craftsmen to bring a high quality, functional, yet beautiful line of handbags and belts to the U.S. market.  Every handbag and belt is exclusively made in Italy, of only Italian materials.  All hardware, buckles, leather and exotic skins come from small Italian companies.  The belts and handbags are a limited edition, so each client knows she is one of a few women who will have that exact bag or belt.


Yes, I realize I’ve become a “fringaholic” but these bags are 70’s hip yet classic in shape and practical. Not to mention a fraction of the cost of your Louis Vuitton!
Love that winter white and so chic. Perfect for higher wasted flair jeans!

I have personally seen and felt CQ Luxe’s products in person and they are amazing.  You can check out the line at  How amazing to have this product line based in Cincinnati. Watch out Prada and Gucci!

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The Beauty of Flowing Fabric

Whether it be a chiffon style top or dress,  the fit of flowing, lightweight fabrics are perfect for both summer and winter.  While I feel I’ve focused my winter wardrobe on chill warding sweaters,  it’s good to vary things up.  I mean, who wants to go out on that big “date night”  wearing a thick, wool turtleneck?  Not that it’s not practical for the day…just spice it up for nighttime.  Not to mention, once you get out at a warm restaurant or bar,  the atmosphere is always warmer! Still worried about being cold?   Layer your top or dress with a cashmere wrap or cropped fur/faux fur jacket.  The other upside to a flowing outfit?  Us Cincinnista’s can mask those perhaps “not so forgiving” areas that I tight knit outfit may not!

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Sara Benjamin’s boutique: Welcome Emily Jackson!

Nestled in the heart of quaint downtown Mariemont,  Sara Benjamin’s has always been a staple of sophisticated, yet hip fashion that appeals to both the young…and yes, us Cincinnista’s!

Well it gets even better…Sara Benjamin’s has a new owner,  Emily Jackson,  whom I fortuitously met my last visit in to one of my favorite Cincinnati stores.  Emily recently took ownership of the premiere women’s boutique about 1 month ago.  With both a strong business background and love for fashion, Emily plans to maintain the strong brands (such as their amazing jeans selection!) while integrating some new lines in a range of styles and prices.

A native of the the midwest and recent Chicago resident  (I can totally relate!),  Emily has always been the go-to-girl for fashion expertise with friends and family, coordinating outfits for various events and weddings, or even just dinner out on the town.

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Emily Jackson at home in her beautiful, inviting store.
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Emily Jackson modeling just one of Sara Benjamin’s many hip fall fashions.

Well,  I’m certainly grateful that this Cincinnista has another source for great fashion and style!   Sara Benamin’s is located at 6810 Wooster Pike in Mariemont.  Hours:  M-F 10-6,  Saturday 10-5 and now in December Noon-5!

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Happy Halloween! Not a costume kind of girl? What to wear this weekend.

Screen Shot 2015-10-30 at 4.49.56 PMScreen Shot 2015-10-30 at 5.08.58 PMSo I admit it,  despite being a creative person,  the most I can handle  in terms of costumes is those for my kids.  I guess you could say this Cincinnista isn’t the first pick for the big Halloween Party.  However,  for those of us at home handing out candy with a cocktail in hand…the fashion code is way different.  While orange and black are definitely the Halloween standards,  you can still look “Halloweeny”  without looking like the Great Pumpkin. I mean,  don’t we all have tons of black?  Pair that simple great black top with a pop orange like this classic logo scarf from Gucci…stylish AND warm.  Or check out this nature inspired burnt orange flowing top from Free People:  Sophisticated with a bit of hippie.  Still cold?  Just throw on that fringy black cardigan with studded biker boots and you are good to go!

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