Opening Day: A Cincinnati Tradition

“The citizens of this Ohio city do not consider Opening Day just as Opening Day. They consider it one small notch below Christmas.” – Fred Schwed Jr.

If hope springs eternal, then baseball’s Opening Day gushes forth like a geyser. There are no wins, no losses – just the promise that summer will soon return, and the (often fleeting) feeling that this year you’re going to win the pennant. Just look at Cubs’ fans. They hoped for over a century on every Opening Day that this was the year. And it finally was.

Baseball is like that – slow, leisurely, patient. There are 162 games to prove you’re up to snuff and the cream rises to the top. But Opening Day hits with a flurry of activity and excitement, especially here in the Queen City. We were lucky enough to score tickets for the 2nd year in a row and I’m pumped.

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Opening Day 2015

The Cincinnati Reds are granted a home game to start every season, and the history surrounding the team and Opening Day is rich. I won’t bore you with all of the details but those who are interested can read more here. Suffice to say, it’s a big deal and has been since the late 1800s. Playing hooky from work and school is not only expected, but often encouraged.

So what does all this mean? Lots of fun events and celebrations! Basically, if it’s a bar or Cincinnati landmark – there’s something going on, which can be overwhelming so that’s where I come in.

Here are the events on my radar:

  1. You can’t begin this list without mentioning the Findlay Market Parade, and 2017 marks its 98th year. Starting at Findlay Market, the parade, which starts at Noon, winds through OTR to Downtown with people lined up on the sidewalks cheering the parade on. Sean Casey, The Mayor, is Grand Marshall (the hub is thrilled). Pro Tip: Get there early to get a good spot. Rain or shine, people will be there!
  2. Washington Park hosts a family-friendly fun event that’s a great place to spot-up for the parade.
  3. Want a craft beer at 9 AM and a ride down to the ball park? Check out Rhinegeist for “Kegs and Eggs.” They’re opening bright and early and Craft Connection Brewery Tours will provide free shuttle service from the brewery to the stadium.
  4. Taft’s Ale House hosts it’s 3rd Annual Season Opener, and are serving up 1882: Opening Day Ale. There are lots of prizes, photos, and fun to be had. Again, another great place to watch the parade. Two Nellie Key Limes, please.
  5. Now, The Banks will be truly hopping as it sits a mere few feet from Great American Ballpark. Holy Grail, Tin Roof, etc. are going to be NUTS, in a good way. Morlein Lager House is stepping it up with a free concert with The Tillers. Doors open at 10 AM and there’s sure to be a lot of beer, food, and music. Plus, the Reds Community Fund Charity Block Party kicks off at 11 a.m. on Joe Nuxhall Way, Freedom Way and Walnut Street. It features food, beverage and live music from the Naked Karate Girls. Like I said, NUTS.
  6. If you want to avoid the madness of downtown and OTR, visit MadTree and hitch a ride. They’re normally closed on Mondays, but Opening Day is a special occasion. They’ll have a DJ playing tunes, and a shuttle to Fountain Square from 12-4 and 7-9.
  7. Fountain Square will be busy as it’s the heart of downtown. Give Back Cincinnati will hold its “2017 Rally on the Square”  with lots of MadTree beer from 10 AM – 6 PM.
opening day 2016

Opening Day 2016

Ohio in April is always tricky. It could be sunny and 70 or 35 and snowing. Looks like rain and mid-50s, which is a bit of a bummer, but I don’t think it will dampen the fun. The Reds are in let’s just say in a “re-building phase.” The politics of baseball and small market teams are for another time and place, but we should all face the facts that this team won’t be competing in October. Let’s be blunt: this team was not built to have a winning record. But hey – it’s Opening Day. It doesn’t matter that you don’t know the starting pitcher. Like I said earlier, there are no wins and no losses. Only promise.

My final advice whether you have tickets or not? Throw up the out of office, head to your favorite watering hall and/or Great American Ball Park, sit back, relax, and think “what if…”

What’s your favorite part of Opening Day? Let me know in the comments!

 

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Why I’m #GladXavier

March remains one of my favorite months of the year for a few reasons. Winter ends, spring arrives, St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, March Madness, and, most importantly, my birthday. Sometimes Easter falls in March, too. This year, I have the opportunity to attend SXSW for work, which I’m sure will be awesome. Busy times! Yet, there’s a sense of hope in the air as the underdog makes it to the Final Four, you make it through drinking Guinness at 8 AM, and flowers begin to bloom.

While all these fabulous things happen in March, I want to focus on one today: March Gladness. If you know one thing about me, it’s probably that I went to Xavier University and am a super fan. I serve as President for the Cincinnati Alumni Chapter and hold season tickets for the Men’s Basketball Team. Full disclosure: I’m engaged and involved. And I want you to join me. 🙂

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March Gladness

With all that said, I want to help spread the word about the upcoming March Gladness campaign that runs from March 1 – March 2, 2017.

March Gladness is “a 48-hour giving campaign focused on donors, NOT dollars. Xavier students, alumni, parents, faculty/staff and friends can make a gift of any size to the fund/program of their choice, and spread the word about what makes them #GladXavier!”

Here are 4 reasons why I support March Gladness:

Reason #1: It’s about donors, not dollars. My empire is not exactly where I’d like it to be so I don’t have plenty of cash to drop and get a building or wing named after me. (side note: Kristy Beagle Hall does have a nice ring to it, though). This bums me out. However, with this campaign, you’d don’t have to drop massive change to feel like you matter. $25, $100, $1,000, $5 – whatever you got, give. It’s about getting the most amount of people to donate what they can without putting a price tag on it. In my opinion, this encourages a broader audience to participate and feel like their gift matters. You don’t have to be a major donor or bequeath your estate to make a difference.

Reason #2: You can specify where you want your money to go. Went on Alternative Break? Donate to them. Were you an RA and love Res Life? Donate to them. Want to keep the lights on? Donate to the Annual Fund. You say where your dollars go and what matters to you.

Reason 3: It’s a social first campaign. You know there has got to be a social media aspect! You can easily publish on social media after you donate to help share to your own networks. Plus, it’s about spreading the word about what makes you #GladXavier. This hashtag represents what makes you happy to be a part of the Xavier fam. It helps create a buzz on social about the campaign and all of the excellent things that make up Xavier.

Reason 4: Swag. Seriously. You get a t-shirt if you donate. Last year, there were some pretty sweet shades that I still rock.

I’ll be volunteering on March 1 at the Marquette game inside Cintas! Stop by and see me to make your gift. Skip one Bud Light and donate the $7.50! You can also donate online or on-campus (in Alter Hall and Fenwick outside of the Hoff Dining Hall).

#GladXavier

The title of this post is why I’m #GladXavier. This blog post would turn into War and Peace if I listed every reason. In a nutshell, I have the life I lead thanks to Xavier. I met my husband in Cincinnati. Wouldn’t have moved here if it weren’t for Xavier. I work for Sociality Squared, which my college roommate founded. So without Xavier, there goes my career in social media. Girls’ night, brunches, and breweries. Wouldn’t go to the events I do if I hadn’t met the best lifetime friends a gal could ask for there. My sense of social justice. Instilled strongly by that Jesuit education and our motto “All for One. One for All.” I know Xavier is not perfect or faultless, but I’m always #GladXavier.

If you see me using #GladXavier over the next few days, you’ll know why.

The goal is to get 1,000 donors in 48 hours. Let’s do it.

If you have any questions or would like to get involved, drop me a line! I can direct you to the right place. For my fellow Muskies, why are you #GladXavier? Share in the comments!

 

 

 

Best Beers and Breweries in Cincinnati

The 10th anniversary of Cincy Beer Fest goes down this weekend. Revelers have the opportunity to discover 150 breweries serving up over 500 craft beers. That’s a lot of beer.

We’ve come a long way in the past few years in terms of beers and breweries in Cincinnati. To put it simply, the craft beer scene has exploded. #DrinkLocal is a hashtag of hometown honor. The state of Ohio ended 2016 with 194 craft breweries (up 40 from 2015) and counting permit applications for breweries yet to open, that number reaches 236.

So in honor of all things beer and Cincinnati. Here’s my high-school superlative breakdown of the best.

Best Spot for Brunch

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Fifty West gets the nod for best brunch (and food really) on the list. Served from 11 AM – 3 PM on Sundays, their menu incorporates seasonal ingredients. BONUS: they serve half-price flights on Sundays! That means only $5 to try delicious beer like Doom Pedal (my Fifty West fave). Pictured above are the Lemon Poppy Seed Pancakes and House Salad. When I brunch, I brunch hard. They also put on special Brewmaster Brunches where they pair up with another brewery and serve a prix fixe menu with beers from both breweries. It’s a ticketed event where you RSVP in advance and they shut the restaurant down. So you feel fancy (and full), too.

Favorite Individual Beer

Leopold is a Belgian Ale by Listermann Brewing Company (across from Xavier). This is hands-down my favorite #DrinkLocal beer. Just take my word for it and try it. I just saw it back on tap last week so yayyyyy!

Side-note: Where did you go Brother Clement? Bad Tom used to have this on tap all the time approximately four years ago, and I haven’t seen it since. I still remember the taste.

Best Seasonal Beer

Dad by Rhinegeist gets my #1 vote for best holiday/seasonal beer. When I see it in stores and on-draft, I squeal in delight. Drinking one on draft inside Rhinegeist gets me excited for the holiday season. I actually still have a can in my fridge that I’m saving for a rainy day…

Shady’s Favorite Spots

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Shady is my dog and she’s a real bar fly! Her nods go to Bad Tom Brewery and Listermann. They both offer in-door dog friendliness! Winter weather won’t keep her down. There she is above smiling at during a visit as Listermann’s! In my book, you get 200 bonus points for letting my dog in :).

Best Bang for Your Buck

Bad Tom is a cozy spot on Eastern Avenue (near Terry’s Turf Club). They offer free peanuts (plain and creole) plus popcorn. Free snacks are always a plus. Plus, they have great deals! On Thursdays, they celebrate “Throwback Thursdays” and that means one pint and a 5 oz. beer for $4. On Fridays, they do $5 flights. Plus, they have monthly specials. This month you can get a pint of Breathitt County (my current fave they brew), for only $3. Craft beer can get really expensive. I personally think some places are inflating their prices so it’s nice to see a brewery for those on a budget!

Best Special Events

Hands-down: Listermann! They have big outdoor festivals like Oktoberfest and Volksfest. Half the cups I own are from these events. They also have fun events for the pups. I got Shady’s picture taken with Santa there. Plus they are releasing a “Riveting Rosie” Hibiscus Rose Hipped Saison on March 8 for National Women’s Day and celebrating with music, food, and prizes. Yes, please.

Best Beer When I Can’t Decide or Just Need to Order

Psychopathy from MadTree or Truth from Rhinegeist. Love a good IPA. If I can’t make up my mind, my husband’s ordering for me, or I just need to make a quick decision, these are my go-tos. Most places have them on draft or cans so I know there’s always a stand-by.

Wish it was Closer

Old Firehouse Brewery in Williamstown. It’s about 40 minutes away so definitely a hike to get there and a little too pricey for an Uber. I’d have to Rock, Paper, Scissors my husband on who drives! But their beer, especially the Code 3 and Pin Up Girl, are yummy. Plus, I love the firehouse theme. I’ll have to make a drive soon. At least I can get my fix in places like Growler House and Casual Pint.

Most Anticipated

Tap and Screw in Madisonville. I’m just super pumped to have a brewery in my actual neighborhood! I don’t make it to the West Side often so I’m not too familiar with their beer. However, I’m looking forward to trying it when they open!

Special shout-out

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Here’s to MadTree 2.0! I have to knock a couple points off because it’s no longer 100% dog friendly (I was spoiled). However, the spot is beautiful and still feels like MadTree (albeit bigger). The beers are still yummy, too. Can’t wait for summer (or just a warm day soon) and sit outdoors.

What are your favorite beers and breweries in Cincinnati? 

 

 

5 Cincinnati Valentine’s Day Events

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Blustery. Cold. The dead of winter. February can be a tough time for Cincinnatians. Today, it’s 54 and sunny. Next week, there could be a blizzard.

But love is in the air as Valentine’s Day is tomorrow!

In love? Stuff for you to do. Hopelessly single? Stuff for you to do!  Here are five events that I’ve circled on my calendar.

  1. Valentine’s Day Brewmance at Woodburn Brewery in East Walnut Hills. The local craft beer game is strong in Cincinnati. Wooburn is one of the newer players on the scene. They will be pairing beers with delicious chocolate varieties from Chocolats Latour other sweets from Haven Bakery. Stop by for a drink and dessert after dinner.
  2. Keystone Clifton, Hyde Park, and Covington will be offering half-price wine bottles for your romantic night out! Furthermore, Keystone Covington is offering a dinner special for two that includes an appetizer, two dinner entrees, and a cookie skillet for just $35!
  3. Love Stinks – A Valentine’s Night Comedy Showcase at Myrtle’s will have you laughing about bad dates and pick-up lines. Join them tomorrow night at 8 PM for drink specials and comedy.
  4. Gallery Games: Meet Your Match at the Cincinnati Art Museum will combine an anti-Valentine’s Day scavenger hunt, bar, and art. Best part? It’s free! Check it out on Wednesday, February 15 from 5:30-7:40.
  5. Support Community Shares of Cincinnati and attend their “For the Love of the Community” event on Thursday, February 16 at Hotel Covington from 6-9 PM. Full disclosure: my husband sits on their board. However, I’m a big supporter of their work promoting social, economic and environmental justice! Enjoy food, drinks, and a live auction. Anytime you can combine important non-profit work with a good time, you have my interest.

I love how these events go from Tuesday all the way though Thursday so it’s a full week of fun and love. Next weekend is President’s Day weekend with lots more of events (like Cincinnati Beerfest). It’s a busy month for the shortest month of the year!

What are your plans for Valentine’s Day? Comment below!

 

 

 

 

Welcome to Cinfully Social!

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View of Cincinnati from Devou Park in Covington, KY

Back in August 2016, I had an epiphany while driving back to Cincinnati from the Sociality Squared retreat in Nashville, TN. Someone needed to become the Miss Manners or Emily Post of social media and that person was me.

Because seriously. Social media has become a cruel place at times and proper manners have gone out the window. Between the fake news, the trolls, and just plain rudeness, it’s tough out there.

Five months later, I never started my Miss Social Media Manners empire. However, like all good things, it has evolved. Welcome to Cinfully Social! We’re going to combine the best of social media with social events.

There’s a LOT to keep track of on social media. Updates to Facebook, new features on Instagram, the latest and greatest brand tactics. It’s ever changing. So I’m here to break it all down for you and tell you what’s up.

Also, there are still actual social events that happen in the real world. Sure, you got the invite on Facebook, but you actually attended in the flesh (while Snapchatting and uploading the best pics to Instagram, of course). So, I’m here to share about all the awesome events happening in Cincinnati and wherever else I may go.

Cin(cinnati) and Fully Social. Clever. Thanks for joining me and I look forward to the ride.

`P.S. Don’t fret, I’ll also touch on social media etiquette in an upcoming post. 😉