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Best of the City 2010

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Car Wash: Rainbow Car Wash

Sayonara, gas-station car wash! Once you’ve tried Rainbow Car Wash in Madisonville you’ll never go back. Even the most basic package, the Super Wash, includes an interior vacuum, an undercarriage wash, hand-buffed windows, and a thorough hand-drying. Prices are strangely reasonable, even without the coupons on their website. And the best perk—besides windows so clean you can’t tell they’re there—is “no tips since 1964.” (513) 271-1145

Bra Fitter: Jennifer Loerich

For Jennifer Loerich, the measurement is just the first step. At Bra Specialties in Alexandria, she’ll start with the tape measure, then quiz you about your bra likes and dislikes. Once she knows what you’re looking for, she’ll pull a variety of bras to try, carefully pointing out what works and what doesn’t about the fit of each. Loerich is patient, kind, and clearly knows her stuff—she got her start fitting mastectomy patients, and has been in the business for 16 years, most recently at Candice’s Boutique in Kenwood. (859) 635-9000

Woodwork Restorer: Perfection Restoration

Due to recent lead paint regulations, it’s damn near impossible to find someone certified to restore woodwork with decades of paint on it. Luckily Dale Palmer of Perfection Restoration has 34 years of experience restoring wooden objects in all kinds of conditions: Woodwork with a quarter-inch of paint on it, mantles that are plastered over, and chipped and peeling front doors. Whatever the condition, he can bring it back to its original glory. (513) 531-7380

Monogramming, Hard items: Sterling Cut Glass

Nothing says classy like a monogrammed chip-and-dip. Sterling Cut Glass will monogram crystal and metal surfaces—including vases, decanters, stemware, and picture frames—in a range of styles to fit just about anyone’s taste. Their website even has a “Monogramming Etiquette 101” feature to help you avoid those unfortunate personalized wedding gift blunders. (513) 985-8100

Monogramming, Soft Items: Ball Embroidery

Ball Embroidery in Bellevue carries a ready supply of items already embroidered with an array of names and initials. But the shop specializes in customized embroidery and can personalize just about anything with a specially designed monogram. Mine and yours bath towels? Check. His and hers golf bags? Check and check. Purses, aprons, hats—if you can wear it, Ball can slap your monogram on it. (859) 581-3312

Straight Razor Shave: Nick Salzano and Sons

A straight razor shave, like the one Nick Salzano and Sons have been giving downtown for 52 years, will make you rethink your morning routine. The Salzanos are masters of the hour-long ritual: lots of lather, hot towels straight from a 1965 Autoclave steamer, two rounds of moisturizer, a mud cake treatment, and a scalp/face/chest massage. It’s so luxurious it feels like a spa—a spa with SportsCenter on the TV and Maxim on the magazine rack. (513) 241-9669

Wedding Band: Soul Pocket

Selecting your wedding band is no time for experimentation. You want jazzy dance numbers. You want ballads. You want oldies, for goodness sake. Soul Pocket delivers all of the above, plus the wow-factor of a 12-piece brass and rhythm band, an energetic front man by the name of Sneaky Pete Kurlas, and a lovely trio of singers otherwise known as the Ladies of Soul Pocket. Be prepared to witness your in-laws shaking their groove thangs. www.soulpocket.com

Calligraphy Lessons: Greater Cincinnati Calligraphers’ Guild

If correspondence is a lost medium, then good penmanship is a lost art form. Create beautiful hand-lettered script with lessons from the Greater Cincinnati Calligraphers’ Guild, now in its 30th year. Marlene Steele, one of the Guild’s founding members, offers courses through the Art Academy of Cincinnati’s Community Education Program, teaching a different style in each class, from copperplate to Old English. You’re bound to impress your friends (and your mailman). www.artacademy.edu/community_education/

Tree Service: Madison Tree Care & Landscaping

If you own a home in Cincinnati, you’re probably responsible for at least one tree. And maybe it hasn’t been doing so well and is now leaning precariously toward your house. For more than 60 years, Madison Tree Care & Landscaping in Milford has provided expert care and maintenance to Cincinnati’s trees. The family owned business offers free estimates and employs 15 ISA Certified Arborists to tackle the trickiest of tree troubles. (513) 576-6391

Bridal Alterations: Rose Ann’s Bridal & Ladies Alterations

Tucked into a second floor space on Madeira’s Laurel Avenue is Rose Ann’s Bridal & Ladies Alterations. Opened in 1975 by Rose Ann herself, the understated shop eventually passed down to daughter Cathy, who operates it today. You’ll find all the trappings of a larger alterations studio—full consultations and fittings, a private dressing area, a full-length mirror in front of a nice big step to stand on—but with a cozy style that makes you feel like you’re in your favorite aunt’s sewing room. (513) 271-7673

New Fitness Instructor: Ian Forsgren At Pendleton Pilates

“Ten more.” Bites of pumpkin pie? Minutes of sleep? Don’t mind if we do. But when Ian Forsgren of Pendleton Pilates says “10 more,” in his soft, seductive voice, it means our butt muscles are about to cry “Mercy! We’ll never overindulge again!” Whether he’s got us strapped onto a Pilates Reformer or planked over a mat, this charming Pendleton studio rookie knows exactly how much more our bodies can just… about…take. (513) 478-3232

Ugg Cleaning: Hyde Park Square Dry Cleaners

While it’s no secret that the beauty of UGG boots is in the eye of the beholder, almost everyone can agree that after a season of stomping through snow, salt, and other street sludge, your beloved Australian sheepskin boots are, well, ugly. Hyde Park Square Dry Cleaners to the rescue! Drop your boots off to be cleaned, re-dipped, and weather-proofed for a mere $40. (513) 321-8452

Cheap Haircut: Aveda Fredric’s Institute

Stylish girls on a budget know there’s only one way to cut corners when it comes to cutting hair—head to Aveda Fredric’s Institute, where a cut costs a mere $15–$17. Seriously. Future stylists get real-world experience and you get a great deal. Nervous about entrusting your locks to student stylists? Don’t be. Licensed instructors supervise students while performing all services. (513) 533-0700

Carpet Recycling: CBT Carpet Recycling

If you’ve ever tossed out old carpeting, you know the eco-shame: that big pile of foam and fiber is going into a landfill. Assuage your guilt by turning your shabby (but dry) carpet and pad over to CBT Carpet Recycling. Not all carpet qualifies, but if your broadloom passes muster, it’ll be recycled and therefore kept out of the waste stream for another generation. You can deliver it yourself (call for an appointment) or CBT will pick up. Downside: You’ll pay for the privilege. No one ever said going green would be cheap. (513) 621-4800

New Idea: Cincinnati Innovates Contest

An in-flight board game. A portable toilet that composts waste. An app that figures out what your favorite bands are, then finds where they’re playing. Thanks to this year’s Cincinnati Innovates contest, those products—and 300 or so other ideas—have their moment in the sun. The annual competition, now planning its third year, is run by Metro Innovation. The idea is to bring design geeks, techies, entrepreneurs, inventors, and other innovators out of the closet to compete for dough and in-kind professional services. Our favorite part is going online to “view and vote” on inventions such as the Ear Suit, the Dangle Hanger, and the Stick-a-Bib. Ladies and gentlemen, the future is now. www.cincinnatiinnovates.com

Landscaping Stone Selection: Reading Rock

What began in Reading in 1947 has grown to enjoy a national footprint in the world of landscaping. Reading Rock, now headquartered in West Chester, makes and carries a wide variety of bricks, composite material pavers, tumbled stone, and retaining wall stones, all available in their spiffy brick palace of a showroom. Not only can you view the materials up close, but the store also has ready-built fire pits, outdoor kitchens, and patio displays to motivate your next outdoor living scheme. (513) 874-2345

Low-budget Mani: Ambiance Nail Salon & Spa

Just because you’re crunched for cash doesn’t mean you have to give up having your nails done. Ambiance Nail Salon & Spa in Oakley offers a $12 express manicure that includes a trim, light buff, shaping, light cuticle groom, conditioning, and color application. This place gets packed on the weekends and appointments don’t seem to make a difference, but if you’ve got time it’s definitely worth the wait. (513) 924-9900

Vegetarian Caterer: Melt Eclectic Deli

In addition to being Northside’s vegan hot spot, Melt also has a full-service catering business and boy-oh-boy are the fixins good. Try a sandwich tray of Avocado Bliss (garlic avocado, roma tomatoes, red onions, smoked mozzarella, romaine, and savory baked tofu on rye), Missy’s BBQ Tofu (BBQ tofu, sprouts, scallions, and hummus on multigrain), and the Mad Anthony (hummus, pesto, sprouts, veggies, and smoked mozzarella) for your next luncheon or party and your guests won’t miss the meat. (513) 681-6358

Personal Organizer: Really Neat Solutions

Getting organized can be overwhelming. Whether it’s stacks of papers and files in your office, sporting equipment and tools taking over the garage, or enough canned goods to open a food pantry in your pantry, Jen Swendiman of Really Neat Solutions will help you cut through the clutter. For three years she’s been restoring order to clients’ homes and helping them tackle their most undesirable projects. You don’t want to end up on the next episode of Hoarders, do you? (859) 468-7588

Baby Photographer: Varland Photography

If you’re unsettled by photos of babies sleeping on lily pads, then you’ll be pleasantly surprised at Varland Photography’s take on the industry’s slipperiest slope: the baby picture. While it may be tempting to pretend that infants are vegetables, Varland avoids such over-produced settings and creates editorial-style photos of babies in their natural state, which usually includes the goofy expression or mischievous grin that makes your kid yours, no pea pod required. www.varlandphotography.com

Custom-Made Gear

When you’re going custom, craftsmen count.

Bridal Gown

2009 DAAP grad Erika Berthy created a dramatic, sculptural gown for the summer wedding of a Macy’s executive. Now she’s available to answer your goddess-like fantasies. See her work at erikaberthy.blogspot.com

Baby Bedding

If pastel bunnies aren’t your style, Emily Brereton’s Tiptoe Studio makes crib sets out of bright, fashion-forward fabrics to match you (and your heir’s) sense of chic. Check out the possibilities on Etsy: www.etsy.com/shop/TiptoeStudio

Furniture

Perhaps you’ve inherited Grandma’s fabulous handcarved dining room set—sans a chair. Rob Stigler can make one to match. The woodworker’s expertise includes tables, cabinets, desks, armoires and the like. Check out his craft next time you land in Montgomery Municipal Court: he did the woodwork. www.stiglerswoodworks.com

Window Treatments

Editor-turned-seamstress Jo Moore’s career change has drawn accolades from clients at Jo’s Sewing Studio. Her approach is fresh, and she’s not afraid of trying something unusual. www.josews.com

Trousers

Still wearing thrift-shop pants? Oh, grow up. Rosie Kovacs at The Brush Factory will stitch up a pair of bespoke britches for $75 plus the cost of fabric. Plus she has a limited supply of vintage wool fabric, if you insist on looking all thrift shop-y. www.brushmanufactory.com

* Please note that the information listed in this section was accurate at the time the issue went to print in 2010 and that addresses, menu items, company status, etc., may have changed. Please contact the companies to confirm details.

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