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Precious Metals from showpieces to keepsakes... take your pick this holiday season

+ plus + eastside eats, holiday party tips, fair trade gifts, nerd alert, cosmetic dentistry, ballet theatre midwest, end of year ďŹ nancial tips, my stomach was in over its head december 2009


what’s inside u

december 09

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eastside eats veni, vidi, vino at tino vino + terry’s turf club update

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party tips & hostess gifts how to get the most out of your holiday party

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nerd alert should you step up to a dslr camera?

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fair trade gifts eastsiders choose gifts that make a difference

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precious metals from showpieces to keepsakes... take your pick this holiday season

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my stomach was in over its head the beginning and end of my competitive eating career

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cosmetic dentistry breeze through the holidays with a winning smile

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ballet theatre midwest the old carnegie library is still a spot for learning

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end of year financial advice techniques for a more prosperous new year

We want to hear from you! Do you know of a person, business, group, or event that other readers should know about? We’re always looking for great story ideas. Let us know about them at eastsider@eastsidermagazine.com. Head to www.eastsidermagazine.com to get web-exclusive articles, pics, and videos. While you’re there, sign up for our free, weekly e-newsletter. And be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter. _________________________________ Eastsider Magazine phone (513) 206-9832 email eastsider@eastsidermagazine.com web www.eastsidermagazine.com digital issuu.com/eastsidermagazine twitter @eastsidermag photography Steven Thomas account rep Lynn Hiller account rep Becky Trasser © 2009 Eastsider Magazine. All Rights Reserved.


eastside eats

veni, vidi, vino at tino vino + terry’s turf club update

To many, the process of making wine may seem intimidating or difficult. The varieties of grapes and types of yeast strains used, fermentation and aging process can produce hundreds of different wines. Those planning a large event or looking to give a holiday gift may find themselves standing in the wine aisle, going back and forth over what the perfect wine would be to serve or share with a friend. That’s where Tino Vino in East Hyde Park comes in. The founders, Annie McManis, Michelle Banks and Jennifer Fairbanks, ventured to create a business that offers patrons the ability to make their own customized wine and labels for events. Tino Vino also produces their own formidable and delicious selection of award-winning wines that can be purchased by the bottle. Winemaker Heather Stang was generous enough to share both a bottle of the Octavian Super Tuscan, and the Lush Puppy Blush Rosé with us. The labels on the wines themselves sport creative artwork and illustrations that fit the theme of the wine. The Octavian Super Tuscan is a rich, full-bodied red wine that was incredibly smooth and paired perfectly with the hearty pasta we were serving that evening. The Rosé was juicy, fruity, and refreshing. Heather explained to us that Tino Vino wants to make wine more of a fun – and less of a formidable – subject for those unfamiliar. The grape juice, or must, is produced from various vineyards in California and shipped to Tino Vino. That’s where customers can begin to make their very own wine. After tasting various wines to determine the customer’s preferences and goals of the batch, Tino 4 | december 2009 | www.eastsidermagazine.com

Vino assists to introduce the right must blends and yeast strains to create a truly customized product. Batches of wine can take anywhere from six to 10 weeks to ferment fully, with the recommendation that red wines be aged a little longer after bottling before enjoying. A batch of wine can cost anywhere from $215 to $435, depending on the variety of ingredients used, and makes about thirty bottles. Patrons can cut the cost by $15 by recycling their own empty non-screw-cap bottles. For those that still want their own batch, but don’t have the time to wait for their wine to ferment, batches are available for adoption, allowing for a shorter time frame until the wine is ready to be served. Tino Vino also offers the option of putting customized labels on their own varieties for $10. In the warmer months, the dog-friendly patio is a great place to stop and have a glass of wine with some cheese to complement it. In colder times, the bar inside stays warm and inviting. The elegant and impressive party room can easily host a wine tasting or party for a special occasion. Upon entering the store, make sure to keep your eye out for Juno, Tino Vino’s tail-wagging wine ambassador. Tino Vino’s wines are available at the Bigg’s and Kroger stores in Hyde Park Plaza, at Hyde Park Wine and Spirits in Hyde Park Square, and at Dancing Wasabi and Sake Bomb to complement your meal. We also checked in at Terry’s Turf Club to see what Terry was planning in the next few months. Right after our interview with him for the May issue of Eastsider, the Food Network honored Terry’s Turf Club as “The Best Burger in Ohio.” After a tasty lunch, we can report that the


burgers are still consistently delicious and deserving of their acclaim. But Terry has a few new additions that will surely rival his famous burger in popularity. After spending several weeks in the jungles of Belize, introducing the natives to Pop Rocks candy and demonstrating his proficiency with a blowgun to the village chief, Terry has returned and added some new signs out front, new sauces, a new topping for the chicken, mashed potatoes, and, most importantly, chili to the menu. The chili is made with pork tenderloin and filet mignon, spiced with coriander, basil, sage and annato as well as various other secret spices that give the chili a tantalizing exotic flavor. The chili is filling and delicious, and is perfect with the hand cut fries, or the newly added Idaho mashed potatoes. Feeling adventurous? Then get yourself a sandwich we invented during our visit; the “Sloppy David” consists of a burger covered with chili and creamy goat cheese. The new sauce is a citrus curry with rosemary, which is delicious on the chicken. There is another new chicken topping, named the Foghorn Leghorn, which is a blend of yellow, red and heirloom tomatoes, thyme, basil, capers, garlic and dried apricot. As the weather gets colder, I’m sure that the chili will be in high demand, and if it doesn’t warm you up enough, Terry’s consistently strong cocktails and Belgian beer selection will! ___________________________________________ You can read Laura Arnolds blog, Cincinnati Nomerati, at Cincinnatinomerati.blogspot.com.

www.eastsidermagazine.com | december 2009 | 5


party tips & hostess gifts

how to get the most out of your holiday entertaining article by Joy W. Kraft

Now that the turkey’s been tetrazzini-ed, souped, sandwiched and otherwise expended, you might think it’s time for a breather. You’d be wrong. The starting pistol for the holiday party season officially fires when the gobbler carcass hits the can, says party pro Jane Heekin, co-owner of H&RS event planners. And the key to hitting the holiday mark as a host is “know thy guests.” Case in point? Her mom. “She has three parties planned: one for her garden club, one for family and friends and one for business associates. Knowing your guests will help steer you in the right direction” in choosing everything from timing, to theme, food, activities, even the music. Cocktail events are the most prevalent parties come December, according to Cecilia Rose, owner of Eventurous on Edwards Rd., but that doesn’t mean your party has to get lost in the crowd. “In our current conservative economic nature, we don’t want to be too flashy,” she says, but there are steps to take to make your fest be unforgettable. Here are ten from Rose and Heekin: [1] Pick a Date. “Any time after Thanksgiving” fills the bill for a holiday party, says Heekin, and the earlier in the month, the better chance you have for a festive turn-out before party hangovers set in, literally and figuratively. [2] Timing. “Four hours is plenty of time for a cocktail party,” Rose says. Start time depends on what you are serving: 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. is prime if you serve what the party pros call “heavy” hors d’oeuvres, seven to ten two-or-three-bite foods that can be balanced on a plate, substituted for a light dinner and carried from room-to-room (think thin tenderloin slices on a silver-dollar size roll). If lighter fare (think cheese puffs) is being planned, stick to an 8 p.m. or later start time so folks can eat first. [3] Pick a Theme. “Subtle things tie a party together,” says Rose, like invitations coordinated with décor or drinks. “Focus your party on a color, or type of food, or music and run with it,” Heekin adds. “Find a particular theme. That’s what makes a party stand out.” Think ‘White Christmas’ with snow-themed invites, plenty of twinkling white lights, a frozen white signature drink, faux snowflakes along the

buffet, Bing and Rosemary on the CD player. You get the picture. “People come away thinking ‘Wow that was really well thought out,’ ” explains Rose. [4] Invites. An easy way to save money, and time, is to use the website www.evite.com - but only if your guest list is computer-savvy, stresses Heekin. There are hundreds of templates, designs and photos to choose from; you can keep track of RSVPs on the site; you don’t need follow-up calls; and you can send a followup message in case you have to change time etc. [5] Décor. “Keep it simple” advises Heekin. “Put your money in the food and drink.” Work whatever color you’ve chosen into standard holiday décor – the wreath on the door, the candles on the buffet, napkins, tablecloth, the greenery on the mantle. “If you choose a bright berry color, you could pair it with a signature drink, some kind of berry concoction. People expect gold and silver. Try something different, like a smoky blue, more winterish than holiday. That way, you could even serve a blueberry-based drink,” suggests Rose. [6] Signature Drinks One way to cut back on the expense of an open bar is to offer a signature drink, a popular choice now, say both planners. It can be supplemented with a red wine, a white wine, a light beer and a heavier beer. “Just be sure to choose something with three or less ingredients that can be made ahead of time,” says Heekin. You don’t want to spend your time in the kitchen with the blender instead of with guests. To keep guests from overindulging, be sure to serve the “heavy hors d ‘oeuvres” and consider hiring a bartender. “They know what signs to look for” and with self-serve you have no idea what people are serving themselves, says Rose. [7] Keep ’Em Moving. “Create an interesting atmosphere

6 | december 2009 | www.eastsidermagazine.com


Hostess Gifts. Pass up the bottle of wine and put a little imagination into your hostess gift this year with these suggestions. “During the holidays we see a lot of people put together mason jars filled with dry mix ingredients for brownies, cookies, coffee cakes,” says Heekin. Jot down a favorite recipe for eggnog and tie it to a decorative jar of cinnamon with a nifty ribbon. Novelty “salt and pepper shakers are a good option,” adds Rose. We found these hand-blown frogs and dogs at the Fig Leaf on Edwards Road, along with lady bugs, pigs and ducks, $70 and up. Monkey salt and pepper shakers by Juliska, $56 at Tulips. * Pewter chutney spoons based on botanicals by Michael Michaud from Four Seasons Design Group come in hosta or pod styles. $29 at Fig Leaf. * Chelsea House 6.5 ounce gift bars of Castile oatmeal and olive oil soap in custom fragrances are miniature pieces of art. Two for $50 at Tulips. * Rosy Ring candles are filled with real fruit, shells, spices, herbs and natural elements. As the candle burns down the middle, the botanicals encased in the wax are illuminated and stay solid. Only the center burns. 95-to-120- hour sizes, $36 and up at Tulips. * Hand-crafted, jeweled coffee scoop. $25 at Originalities. * Hand-painted circle ornament. $12 by B&E Ceramics at Originalities. * Candy dish and box of sweets, gift-wrapped, hand-made by B&E Ceramics. $15-$20 at Originalities. * “How Merlot Can You Go” hand-decorated tea towel. $21 from Originalities.

that invites people to move around and engage in multiple conversations, in multiple rooms,” says Rose. Keep your hightraffic spaces – the food and the drinks – separate enough to create move-and-mingle traffic. Upstairs and downstairs may be too far apart. “The easier you make it on the guests, the longer they’ll stay. If it feels like work, the party usually ends early,” she adds. [8] Food. Savory cheesecakes with additions like caramelized onions rather than the sweet desserts we are used to are popular, says Rose. And brie is still going strong. To keep the brie from turning into a gooey mess, stock up on several wedges, serve it slightly warm when it’s at its best. Then, when it gets mushy, replace it with another. Use the leftovers to make a brie pie or other recipe not dependent on good looks. [9] Music. Keep it in the background and make it fit the mood of the party – elegant party with classical piano and strings

or a more hip, contemporary party with jazz. “You don’t want to have a disjointed feel,” says Rose. Volume shouldn’t discourage chit-chat. [10] Activities. “Involve your guests,” says Rose. “Some of the best parties I’ve been to are those where guests have an activity. But be sure to give them the option.” Strapped for time and not persnickety about how her tree looks, she throws a treedecorating party with family and friends. “I supply the food and the décor and everyone usually participates. Then in January I have another one and take it down. It’s comfortable, fun and easy.” Kids aren’t usually on the cocktail party list, but holiday open houses often include children. “Consider activities for the kids in a room separate from the adults,” advises Heekin. “We’ve had clients hire a clown in the lower level, or babysitters to keep them occupied. It keeps the adults there longer.”

www.eastsidermagazine.com | december 2009 | 7


nerd alert Should you step up to a DSLR camera?

If you’re shopping for a new digital camera this holiday season, you may see a particularly fancy one with a $1000 price tag and wonder “what’s so much better about this than the $199 pocket-sized camera right next to it?” The answer lies in one of the most expensive acronyms in photography: DSLR. Prepare for some serious camera geekery as we go deep into the technology behind professional digital cameras. DSLR stands for Digital Single-Lens Reflex. Cameras with this technology are the modern evolution of the SLR cameras that started to gain popularity in the 1970’s. This technology redirects the exact image coming through the main camera lens into the viewfinder. The alternative in less-expensive cameras is to have a separate optical path to the viewfinder. The SLR method has many benefits, including easier manual focus and completely identical reproduction in the viewfinder of the image that would hit the digital sensor or film. The only downside is that when snapping a picture, part of the SLR apparatus has to slide out of the light’s path, which briefly blanks out the viewfinder and emits a “snick” sound that can be annoying in a quiet environment. As nice as SLR technology is, it is not the primary desirable feature in a professional camera. However, it is an indicator that a camera contains other unrelated high-end features. DSLR cameras typically have a much larger sensor area, approximately 4 to 5 times larger than even mid-range “semi-pro” cameras. The resulting greater ability to collect light can allow faster shutter speeds for action shots and greatly reduced image graininess in low-light scenes. These larger sensors also typically have

8 | december 2009 | www.eastsidermagazine.com

a higher megapixel rating, although not quite as high as you might expect. Entry-level DSLR’s with 10 to 15 megapixels are common, and more expensive models often go beyond 20 megapixels. DSLR’s almost always have an interchangeable lens system. This allows specialized lenses for close-up macro photos, or extreme zoom for nature or sports photography. However, for a typical amateur photographer, these lenses can be more trouble than they are worth. Accessory lenses can cost more than the camera itself and will only fit the model lines that they were designed for. Also, dust can enter the camera body while swapping lenses, leading to tedious or expensive cleaning. We would recommend researching a good general-purpose lens with image stabilization and sticking with that until you know you need something more specific. So what’s the bottom line? If you value simplicity and compactness in a camera, don’t feel embarrassed to get a small point-and-shoot camera at a good price. The quality of all digital cameras have risen to the point where you will get great images out of almost anything on the market. However, if you love fiddling with settings and have a low tolerance for even slight image flaws, a DSLR will open a completely new sense of accomplishment for the photography enthusiast in you. __________________________________________________ David Arnold frequently spaces out on technology, mathematics, and games. Occasionally, he writes it down. Follow him on Twitter @david_n_arnold.


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fair trade gifts for the holidays eastsiders choose gifts that make a difference article by Addie Curlis, photography by Steven Thomas, Photographic Memores

With the spirit of Christmas upon us, many Cincinnatians are spreading holiday cheer across the globe. The giving of socially conscious gifts is gaining a great deal of popularity, according to Elizabeth Russ, manager at Ten Thousand Villages in O’Bryonville. Since the store’s opening in November 2002, Russ has seen many loyal customers, as well as new faces who continue to support fair trade and all it stands for. Ten Thousand Villages, located at 2011 Madison Road, attracts devoted shoppers looking for that perfect gift – a gift that has meaning and value. “Cincinnati is quietly philanthropic … people give and don’t make a big deal about it,” she says. “It’s a great city to have a business like this in.” The specialty store – selling goods from 37 different countries – has made Christmas shopping easy for Allyson Helmberger, assistant manager of Ten Thousand Villages. She points out that Christmas is a great opportunity to educate her family and friends about the benefits of fair trade through gift giving. “I think it’s really important to listen to the rest of the world,” she says about buying fair trade and sharing the artisan’s stories with others. “I like to put together packages for my recipients, and mine comes with a story.” Whether you’re shopping for men or women, Ten Thousand Villages has something for everyone. Shoppers can expect to see an assortment of coffee, jams, home decorations, jewelry, table linens, games, serving pieces, baskets and hats and mittens. And although trends change from year to year, Russ believes that certain gifts are timeless. She adds that scarves always make wonderful gifts for women – ranging from $12 silk scarves to $95 pashminas. While bottle openers made from bicycle chain as well as wooden glasses holders make the perfect gifts for the men on your Christmas list. Additionally, jewelry ranging from $5 beaded pins to $200 necklaces always makes a thoughtful gift, according to Russ. For Christmas lovers, the store offers a variety of 200 nativities, garland handmade from palm leaves, tree toppers, tree skirts, candle holders, as well as numerous ornaments

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handcrafted from all over the world. “Every one (ornament) is unique,” she said.” “We have hand carved birds from Zimbabwe, musical instruments from Indonesia, hand knit animals from Bolivia, clay animals from Nepal, gourds made with nativities inside from Peru and more.” Russ believes knowing how products are made and by whom they are made are imperative to responsible purchasing. A wonderful business model, she says, fair trade gives employment to artisans who are unemployed or underemployed in third world countries by selling their products in the United States. In addition to providing employment, fair trade grants fair prices. In turn, the artisans can feed their families as well as build infrastructure in their villages. “People are really in touch with that right now. If you can keep people working and employed, you usually have a happy situation,” she adds. From top to bottom, Ten Thousand Villages is run by volunteers who are dedicated to giving consistent orders to the artisans they work with. Additionally, the volunteers provide design assistance to the artisans by studying the American market and ensuring their products will sell. The store uses a number of guidelines in order to accomplish its goal of providing fair income to the loyal, hardworking artisans. Russ explains that developing a long term relationship with the artisans – sometimes for up to 67 years – and ensuring the products are manufactured in a responsible manner are the key aspects of fair trade. Fifty percent of the profits are sent up front to the individual artisans to cover the costs of any raw materials necessary for the production of goods. Once the product is finished, packaged and released, Ten Thousand Villages then releases the other 50 percent, says Russ. She adds that more and more people walk into the store hoping to make a difference in someone else’s life. “I hear people who come in say ‘if I’m going to spend dollars on Christmas, I want them to make a difference.’”


www.eastsidermagazine.com | december 2009 | 11


Precious Metals From showpieces to keepsakes... take your pick this holiday season

article by Brian Dobbins photography by Steven Thomas, Photographic Memories

T

here is perhaps no more enduring and popular personal statement than jewelry. We have, after all, been crafting and wearing varying pieces of metals and gems as far back as the earliest known civilizations, and show no signs of stopping now. 12 | december 2009 | www.eastsidermagazine.com


Certainly not, says J Peck. Besides being the owner, along with his wife Mandy, of J Peck Jewelers in O’Bryonville, J is also a craftsman who designs, creates and engraves. He believes there is a multilayered complexity to romancing the stone. “The items that people buy are also memoirs of occasions, reminders of times in their lives that they don’t want to forget. Pieces that are handed down, like watches and rings and necklaces, are really pieces of times past, of family and friends that are not around anymore.” J knows his stuff. During our interview, he explains more than just different types of jewelry. He talks me through actual mining methods, finishing processes and the various paths that precious metals and gems follow to eventual owners. It doesn’t take long to appreciate the vast effort involved in acquiring these treasures, as well as the craftsmanship needed to transform them from raw materials to the final objects of desire, both simple and intricate, that finally dazzle us from glass cases and display windows. And it’s no longer just gold rings and diamonds earrings that the consumer is seeking out, although they still dominate the market. Platinum sales are soaring, despite the hefty price tag attached to it. Men are discovering tungsten cufflinks, and women are purchasing elaborate gold necklaces from India that are more works of fine art than mere wardrobe accessories. Following the example of family handme-downs like granddad’s old watch, a wide variety of older pieces are being engraved with intimate messages, which adds to their sentimental value. Just what is the irresistible appeal of precious metals and gemstones, and what trends can we expect to see in this age-old market? The answer to the first question may not be as obvious as you think. Certainly we love these items for their inherent beauty and for the fashion statements that they make, but are those the only reasons we buy them?

A good deal of J’s business is creating custom jewelry of all sorts. He shows me a photo album full of such creations, all of them meaningful to the person that commissioned the work. One of the most interesting examples is a pendent J created by merging the wedding bands of a married couple after the husband was killed during his military deployment in the Middle East. The essence of the two rings is still www.eastsidermagazine.com | december 2009 | 13


visible, woven into a single circular design that clearly illustrates their bond. She wears it around her neck to this day. The wide array of materials used in the creation of jewelry is staggering. J believes that anything is precious enough to become jewelry, if it means something to the wearer. “Find a rock that you like from the backyard of the house you rented in Canada. Bring it in and we’ll do something with it. Have it set into a ring or pendent. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to have something that you like, that has lasting personal value to you.” So what are the upcoming trends in the world of jewelry? According to J, traditional yellow gold is coming back after a white gold craze. Traditional favorites like diamond-studded earrings and pearl necklaces are still turning heads. Want to buy something shiny for your husband? Go for those tungsten cufflinks that you just know he really wants, but won’t but for himself. And platinum anything should continue to come on strong. Even in this sagging economy of ours, the jewelry remains solid. When you consider that, according to one source, the retail jewelry industry just here in the good old United States includes about 30,000 stores. With a combined annual revenue of about $25 billion, it would seem that there is something out there for just about everyone. Although most of them are not artisans like J Peck, jewelers are everywhere. The top fifty chains – recognized names like Zale, Tiffany and Sterling – hold less than half the American market.

14 | december 2009 | www.eastsidermagazine.com

People are out there buying jewelry for looks, special occasions, investment value and other reasons. A major consideration is, as it has always been with any purchase, can you afford that really sparkly thingy in the window? Enter the jewelry warehouse concept. Sure, they offer cut-rate prices and all the latest styles, but how can you evaluate what you’re getting for your money? Most of us can’t tell the quality of precious stones and metals by their look, weight or feel. For instance, the bright yellow gold that comprises most pieces from India may appear fake to us, but I was surprised to learn that it’s actually a purer gold than the softer hues that we usually see in the shops here. If a piece of jewelry is wore simply for looks and not sentimental attachment, does the cost, history, gold content or gem quality even matter? After all, I doubt that every chain around Mr. T’s muscular neck evokes a gushy memory for him, but he certainly seems okay with them. They have in fact become part of his persona… his public statement on who he is. Ultimately, it would seem that acquiring a new piece of jewelry or altering an old keepsake depends entirely on the consumer, how much he or she is willing to spend, and what type of value – sentimental, investment, ornamental or all of the above - that consumer wants for his or her buck. For whatever reasons we care to cite, jewelry has been around since man has been capable of crafting it. It’s not going away any time soon.


Holiday Gifts Rookwood Pottery Commemorative Art Tile Available at Macy’s Fountain Place for $75. Limited supply.

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Dazzle Days Kids Workshops FREE, Dec. 5, 12, 19 Tower Place Mall Holly Jolly Downtown Trolley FREE, Dec. 5-6, 12-13, 19-20 Boarding in front of the Westin

Weekend Carriage Rides Ho! Ho! Ho! Santa at Macy’s Fountain Place FREE, Dec. 5-6, 12-13, 19-20 FREE courtesy of Macy’s, Boarding at Macy’s Celebration Dec. 4-6, 11-13, 18-20 AND 21-24 Station, Fifth & Race streets Bring your own camera and get a Story Time with Mrs. Claus picture with Santa FREE, Dec. 5, 12, 19 Macy’s Fountain Place Home for the Holidays FREE, Dec. 5, 1-5pm, Pick up map at Macy’s Downtown Dazzle US Bank at Fifth & Walnut streets. FREE, Dec. 5, 12, 19 Self-guided walking tour of residential Santa rappels down the 525 properties, gaily decorated for the holidays. Vine Building plus fireworks!

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www.eastsidermagazine.com | december 2009 | 15


MY STOMACH WAS IN OVER ITS HEAD --------------------------------------------------the beginning and end of my competitive eating career article by Jason Jones photography by Steven Thomas, Photographic Memories

16 | december 2009 | www.eastsidermagazine.com

3:14. At first, seeing that number struck fear into my heart. But I quickly realized that if it could be done in three minutes and 14 seconds, then surely I could do it in less than 10 minutes. After all, I wasn’t there to break the record, just complete the mission. It had all started a month prior over dinner and drinks at Oakley Pub & Grill with Laura (Eastside Eats) and David (Nerd Alert). After a lengthy conversation about Fine Living Networks show “Three Sheets,” David started talking about “Man v. Food.” This show, on the Travel Channel, chronicles the adventures of Adam Richman as he takes on extreme eating challenges like taking down a 72-ounce steak in one hour. The conversation quickly turned to local food challenges and Ramundo’s Pizzeria in Mt. Lookout Square. Any two-person team successful in finishing an entire 24” pizza in under 10 minutes gets the pizza for free and earns bragging rights. I may not look it, but I can eat my own body weight in food by the time dinner rolls around. So I opened up my big mouth and told David that we should do it. Fast forward one month later and I found myself nervously awaiting a two-foot pizza – half of which I was responsible for eating. I’m not sure why I was so nervous. As food challenges


go, a 24” pizza is the bunny slope. Eating a six-pound steak is something that should inspire fear. But David had some semblance of prior competitive eating experience, and I didn’t want to let him down. Plus we had a few onlookers and well wishers that hung around after picking up their orders to watch the carnage - and I hadn’t expected an audience. “Probably about half the people that try it actually finish it in time,” explains Tony Ramundo, owner of Ramundo’s Pizzeria. “I think that’s a pretty good percentage.”

challenge was over, I could actually appreciate the pizza. It was really tasty and I enjoyed eating it, something I hadn’t been able to do while I was stuffing my face in a race against the clock. There are only two pearls of wisdom I can impart. First, do not mistake being able to eat a lot for being able to eat a lot in a small amount of time. And second, if you’ve seen the pros and have told yourself that you’d never dunk your food in water, you’ll soon change your tune when the pressure is on... believe it. So if you think you may want to venture into the world of competitive eating – or you just want to enjoy a really good pizza and have some fun – grab a friend, head to Ramundo’s, and see what you’re made of.

Okay, so a fair number of people succeed. But what about that 3:14 record time? Is it “special,” or are there a lot of teams hovering around this extremely low time? “At first, I didn’t think anyone would break five minutes. And once someone did, I thought that was it. But then a few people started getting lower and lower times. And the guys with the record… I don’t think they even chewed. They just devoured it.” I knew that would not be me. If I could pace it out to one slice every two and a half minutes, I’d be just fine, beat the 10 minute required mark, and go home happy. This did not happen. Our plan was to split the pizza 50/50. David started strong and finished strong. I started flat and finished even flatter – not even completing my half of the pizza. By the second slice, our timekeeper let me know I was well off the pace, and as I started the third slice, it was clear that even 10 minutes wasn’t enough to do the deed and take down all four slices. The good news is that once the

www.eastsidermagazine.com | december 2009 | 17


cosmetic dentistry

breeze through the holidays with a winning smile article by Elizabeth Evans Fryer

If you were considering undergoing cosmetic dentistry to improve your smile, now’s the time to make your move. The holidays are coming up, and you want to shine. The treatments are numerous and range from the subtle to the obvious – from teeth whitening to a brand new smile that will make your friends and family do double-takes. Pricing for different procedures starts around $300 and stretches into the thousands of dollars. But, dental insurance rarely covers purely cosmetic procedures. Teeth Whitening. At the least expensive end is at-home whitening. Using custom-fit dental trays and bleaching gel for an hour or less a day for a couple weeks results in a whiter smile. However, the procedure isn’t permanent. Tobacco, red wine, coffee, cola, and other consumables will darken teeth over time. A receptionist at Dr. Manny Chopra’s Hyde Park Center for Dental Health says the effects of at-home whitening can last for years, with a touch up recommended about once a year. In-office whitening, which can cost $600–$900, is available at some dentist offices. The procedure requires two to two and a half hours in one office visit and is sometimes supplemented with at-home systems. The advantage of in-office whitening is the immediate effect. Improving the appearance of individual teeth. Contouring, or the simple reshaping of teeth, can dramatically improve a smile. It’s usually painless and can be paired with bonding if necessary. Bonding is chemically adhering a composite resin to a tooth’s surface. It is a painless procedure most commonly used to improve stained, chipped, or broken teeth or to fill gaps between teeth. Another option to filling spaces in your smile is having

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veneers fit to individual teeth. Veneers are porcelain shells designed to cover the front of teeth. Veneers can also repair stained, chipped, or worn teeth and can improve shaping and straightness. You and your dentist can decide together which procedure – bonding or veneers – is more appropriate for you. Bonding is expected to last five to ten years, and you can plan on veneers lasting about ten years. When a tooth is so worn that its natural structure will not support a filling, your dentist may discuss with you the application of crowns, inlays or onlays of porcelain or ceramic. A procedure involving either a crown or an inlay/ onlay requires two visits. During the initial visit, the tooth is prepared, a mold is taken, and a temporary fitting is placed. Then the mold is sent to a lab where the restoration is custom made. During a follow-up visit, about two weeks after the first, the dentist removes the temporary fitting and places the new, custom-fit restoration. A dental assistant at Dr. Marvin Kaplan’s office in Clifton explains that a crown offers more support to a tooth that needs it; it’s a cap that holds the tooth together. Rather than capping a tooth, an inlay/onlay sits in or on it, thereby conserving more of the natural tooth. She says that crowns and inlays/onlays last 10, 15, 20 years or more depending on a patient’s oral hygiene. Filling gaps. To replace missing teeth, a dental professional may suggest a bridge. A bridge is a series of crowns, one for each missing tooth (three or more), and is usually secured to adjacent teeth, which are also crowned. Only a dental professional can remove bridges. Sometimes a bridge is attached to a dental implant. Implants, as described by Dr. Andrew Harris with the Fountain Square Cosmetic Dental Group, are titanium screws placed below the gums to replace a tooth’s root. Implants can serve as a base for crowns, bridges, or dentures. Doing your homework and trusting your instincts. Of course there are more cosmetic dental treatments, the results of which are not immediate, including dental surgery and braces. You and your dentist should talk over what is necessary and what you feel comfortable with and can afford. Perusing the website of the American Dental Association (www.ADA.org)can inform your decision too. Laura K. didn’t even consider having someone other than her regular dentist place veneers on two of her teeth. She regrets not meeting with other dental professionals before settling. A month after receiving the veneers, one popped off while she was eating, “forcing me to hustle to an emergency dentist for a quick fix, which he told me was only meant to last long enough


for me to get back to my dentist,” the 38-year-old relates. However, due to either laziness or inexperience, the original dentist refused to fool with the temporarily adhered veneer, and it came off after a few months and required another emergency visit. Laura learned her lesson and saw a dentist, who reapplied the veneer using the correct adhesive. Her veneers have been problem-free for three years now, yet she did endure a painful, expensive, disruptive process to reach her happy ending. If a dental professional recommends a procedure you’re not comfortable with, make sure to get another opinion. A 36-year-old local woman with an end-on-end bite, which chipped her top teeth and wore away those on bottom, visited an orthodontist who recommended jaw surgery. She wasn’t keen on the idea so sought a second opinion. After taking X-rays, the second doctor assured her that braces could repair her bite, no surgery required. She wore braces for 21 months, and since their removal wears a retainer at night. “The main reason I wore braces was to save my teeth, but the procedure improved my smile too. Thank goodness I didn’t go through the pain and recovery, not to mention the expense, of jaw surgery,” she says. Most dental offices offer free initial consultations. You may be surprised at how drastically a simple procedure can improve your smile. At this time of year, make an appointment as a gift to yourself. A beautiful smile offers many happy returns.

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ballet theatre midwest

article by jeffrey nielsen photography by steven thomas, photographic memories The old Carnegie library on Eastern Avenue no longer houses books, but it is still a hub of community learning and culture. It’s the home of Ballet Theatre Midwest, a dance academy in the best of the European ballet traditions. The academy was founded in 2004 by Nancy Fountain, the school’s director, and Daniel Simmons, the artistic director. They had worked together at the Cincinnati Ballet and discovered they had a common vision for opening a dance school. Simmons explained how they ended up in the Columbia Tusculum Historic District. ”We knew the lady who had a little ballet school here. She was interested in selling and we decided this is where we’re going to build our academy.” The building is ideal for their purposes. Sunlight from the tall arched windows fills the two large dance studios and the historic presence of the building adds to the traditional feel of the academy. Simmons came to Cincinnati to start the Cincinnati Ballet’s school. He had a long career, dancing with ballet companies in San Francisco, Montreal, the Berlin Opera Ballet in Germany, and the Ballet Del Nuevo Mundo-Caracas in Venezuela. “It was a fabulous company; we toured all over the world.” But his interest in teaching dance grew, so Simmons applied for the Profes-sional Dancers Teachers’ Course at the Royal Academy of Dance in London. “They condense a four year university course into a 10 month program, learning the method of teaching dance. It was wonderful, but very difficult.” From there, he went to Russia to study the Vaganova training method. “The Russians have really honed down the method. They’ve passed it down for 120 years, what works and doesn’t work.” Fountain had also studied the Vaganova method. Her ca-reer included dancing with the Tulsa Ballet Theatre, Milwaukee Ballet, Philadelphia Opera Ballet and teaching at several dance academies. They have combined the British and Russian teaching traditions at Ballet Theatre Midwest. Their curriculum includes students of all ages, from the “baby” classes (ages 3-4) all the way to professionals. Simmons feels their method develops more than just how to dance. “At the beginning, they just learn basic skills like working together, paying attention, lining up, counting. At the same time we’re instilling a sense of discipline, and it’s wonderful to watch the kids de-velop. I know that they use these skills, like concentration, to help in their school work.” At the other end, Fountain teaches an adult class that everyone from parents who just want to share the experience with their kids, to professionals who have been injured and are working their way back into dance. Ballet Theatre Midwest also has a professional ensemble, with membership by audition. “It’s wonderful for the younger ones because it gives them something to aspire to.”

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The students come to dance for many reasons. Carly Cohen of Hyde Park credits her aunt. “She was a dancer and has four boys but always wanted a little dancer, so she started me in a dance camp here. I fell in love with it and wanted to take more classes.” She has been in several recent productions, including “The Nutcracker”, “The Steadfast Tin Soldier”, and last year’s dance interpretation of the Verdi “Requiem”. Rebecka Gibbon from Norwood has the part of Clara in the upcoming “Nutcracker”. “Clara is the little girl who gets the nutcracker at her party.” Last year, she was Alex in “The Steadfast Tin Soldier”. “That was really fun because it’s the main kid’s part.” Gibbon has been dancing at Ballet Theater Midwest for four years and takes classes six days a week. “I really like that everyone here is friends and that teachers give you individual attention, so if you’re confused on a set, they’ll give you help with that.” Laine Kolesar from Mt. Lookout was a fifth grader when she started in the jazz class. “I was more into musical theatre, but after two years of that I really wanted to start ballet.” She will be in the party scenes in the upcoming “Nutcracker” as well as an angel in the snow scene. “I like Mr. Simmons because he has a teaching style where he takes on one person each class and he works on them specifically. But he also works on everyone else, and the next class he’ll see how much you picked up. It really helps to see how much you can improve yourself from week to week.” Kolesar pointed out that performance rehearsals are separate from the daily classes. While she and other students focus on this year’s “Nutcracker”, Simmons is already planning next spring’s production. In addition, the academy does several outreach performances each year at local schools. The students all project a strong sense of dedication to their art, which is one of Sim-mons’ goals. “Just like coaches want their kids committed to soccer, we need our kids committed to the art of dance. We sort of battle for them. Sports and dance don’t mix in terms of what it does to their bodies. The parents are seeing how strong dance makes their kids, how poised they are, boys or girls. There’s a lot that comes with dance, not just brute force.” The students find dance spilling over into their whole lives. Cohen said she doesn’t really walk around the house. “My family makes fun of me because I kind of dance from place to place. I have a room in the basement where I dance all the time when I come home from school.” Her dream is to dance in the New York City Ballet or the American Ballet Theatre. ”I would love to dance professionally, and even if I end up doing something else, I’ll stay in ballet because that’s my passion and I don’t want to give it up.”


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end-of-year financial advice techniques for a more prosperous new year article by Geoff Simmons

As another year of economic recession winds down, every dollar saved is important. In addition to plain common sense and coupon cutting, there are strategies and tips to keep in mind as the year ends and tax season approaches. Here are some proactive steps to helping 2010 be a year of financial improvement: Create an automatic savings plan. Pay yourself first. The secret to saving isn’t so much paying yourself first as it is making it happen automatically. Think of how likely you are to save money every week if you had to go to the bank and actually make a deposit in person. On the other hand, imagine $50 coming directly out of your paycheck and going into your bank account every week. Are you going to even notice it? So, if you don’t currently have an automatic savings plan, you need to create one for the new year. One easy way to do

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this is to simply contact your human resources department and get a direct deposit form. Most will allow you to create multiple deposits. So, you could have your direct deposit to save $50 per paycheck to go into your savings while the remainder goes into your regular checking. It’s simple and effective. If that isn’t an option, or you want a little more control, establish an automatic recurring online transfer from your primary account to your savings. With most banks this is very easy to set up, and in many cases, you can even transfer funds between banks, which works out well if you have a high-yield savings account that isn’t at the same place as your primary bank. By setting up this recurring automatic payment, you’ll painlessly stash away a little bit of your money without even realizing it. It doesn’t matter if it’s just $10 a week or $500 a week,


but every little bit will go a long way in building up your emergency fund. You’ll be surprised at how much you have saved by the end of the year. And if you’re already doing this, use the new year as an excuse to increase how much you’re saving. Even a small amount makes a big difference over time. Review/Maximize your W-4 exemptions. With April still months away, taxes are probably the last thing on your mind, but this is a perfect opportunity to make an important decision. If you’re employed and have taxes automatically withheld, you can adjust how much is withheld from your paycheck with your W-4. If you have too much being withheld, you’re giving the government a free loan and have to wait until you get your tax refund to put it to work. On the other hand, if you’re having too little withheld, you’re stuck with a nasty surprise and will owe the IRS some money. Ideally, you want to withhold enough so that you don’t owe any taxes at the end of the year while not withholding so much that you end up with a few thousand dollars in a refund.

Beyond that, if you’re investing on your own, now is a good time to review your funds and see if there are any changes to be made. The fallout from this economic downturn has created a number of problems. Fund mangers have been fired, long-term winners are now big losers, and even fund expenses may have gone up. So, make sure you’re aware of any changes your funds may have undergone, and verify that those funds are still suitable for your investment objectives. In many cases there will be no changes needed, but a quick review will make sure that is the case. Review your budget. Whether you follow a detailed budget or not, the new year is a perfect time to analyze your expenses and how you spend your money. If it’s been a while since you’ve looked at your budget, a lot of things may have changed. An increase or decrease in pay, a new child, added expenses, fewer expenses, and so on. These changes can significantly impact your spending, so the sooner you adjust for them, the better. Sit down and do a quick analysis of your expenses.

By getting your withholding as close to the sweet spot as possible, you’re putting more money in your pocket each paycheck that can be used to fund other goals while having enough set aside to fully pay your taxes. You want to do this early in the year so the effects are minimized. If you have more or less coming out of your paycheck, the difference will be much smaller if it’s spread out across 52 weeks as opposed to making the change somewhere down the road where you have less time to make up the difference.

You’ll still have most of your fixed expenses on items such as housing, insurance, etc. But where you want to focus your efforts is on flexible expenses. Food, entertainment, repaying debt, and hobbies are places you can make the biggest impact. Cutting back on a few nights of eating out, getting rid of a magazine subscription, or even shaving a few dollars off of your entertainment can go a long away. Again, it goes back to making small changes that are spread out over the course of a year. Saving $30 a month on food doesn’t sound like much, but if you do that throughout the year, you’d have nearly $400 that could have gone into your emergency fund, retirement account, or applied to credit card debt.

Establish a suitable investment portfolio. If you’re unsure of where to start, look for a simplified approach. If your retirement plan at work doesn’t have a lot of options, or funds with high fees, try to stick with an index fund or two. If that isn’t an option, look to see if they offer any lifecycle or target date funds. These funds are usually pre-allocated in a way that’s suitable for your age or risk tolerance. While they may carry a slightly higher fee than an index fund, it can simplify your finances while easily giving you some basic diversification.

There are also simple steps like negotiating lower interest rates with your credit card lenders and your bank on loans, using the “seven-day” rule on purchases (this pertains closely to differentiating between needs and wants when deciding on purchases), looking into Roth IRAs or similar long-term savings plans, paying off high-interest loans first, and paying more than the minimum payments on credit cards or other rotating debts with interest. Working incrementally but consistently is the best plan in the long run.

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Eastsider Magazine December 2009