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Posts Tagged ‘tradition’

Beyond Luxury – and Beyond Class?

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014

Have you ever quaffed Dom Pérignon in a double-suite bedroom at 36,000 feet over Europe? If not, you haven’t lived – or at least that’s what Singapore Airlines would like us to believe. For the princely sum of $18,400 (or an unthinkable number of air miles), anyone can purchase a ticket to luxuriate in these cabins designed by French yacht designer Jean-Jacques Coste, sit in hand-stitched leather furniture from Italian master craftsmen Poltrona Frau, and spread out like a starfish in a double bed in the sky.

There’s luxury, and then there’s another realm where the ostentatious nature of what’s on offer is borderline uncomfortable. It was hard not to feel a similar twinge when seeing the spectacle of George Clooney’s long weekend wedding in Venice, reported to cost $13 million. Between the ring, the dress(es), the venues, transportation, champagne, and lunch for everyone at the Hotel Cipriani after the service, $13 million doesn’t go very far. (Don’t worry, traditionalists: It’s reported that Clooney’s bride’s family picked up the bill for everything.)

People should definitely be free to indulge as they wish and treat themselves to every pleasure and privilege they can afford, no matter how decadent. But to mere observers – and to be sure, making an impression on us is a key component of this sort of uber-luxury – it’s hard not to wonder: What are you trying to prove? This is especially true in the case of those who claim to want privacy from prying eyes. (Nothing contradicts that like leading a flotilla of paparazzi boats through the canals of Venice for days on end.)

Perhaps the answer is: I’m trying to prove I can do this, and I just did. In which case, congratulations. Money can’t buy class, but it can buy some exquisite experiences. Here’s hoping regular first class flying isn’t a letdown to those who can’t always nab the double-suite treatment, and that the leading man and his bride don’t have trouble readjusting to standard Hollywood glamour in the absence of Italy’s old world charm.

Ann Keeling is traveling. Her commentary will return next week.

Soon-to-be Holiday Traditions

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

The ‘most wonderful time of the year’ is right around the corner and in a city rich with tradition, Cincinnati has so much to offer. What’s even more exciting is that many of these events are held in our urban mecca, and there are a wealth of new holiday activities for families in the revitalized Over-the-Rhine neighborhood. While you can always ice skate on Fountain Square or see Santa Claus scale the Macy’s wall, this year there are plenty of new events starting right after Thanksgiving.

Cincideutsch, an organization of native German speakers and Americans who have lived in Germany, will host the first-ever Cincideutsch Christkindlmarkt at Fountain Square.’ Aiming to promote modern German language and culture in Cincinnati, Cincideutsch’s authentic German Christmas market will include vendors selling mulled wine and other warm drinks, beer, and seasonal decorations. The Christkindlmarkt runs November 23-25.

November 30, the American Legacy Tours known for their Gangster and Underground Brewery tours will kick off their latest tour, The Spirit of Christmas.’ The tour spans the historic Gateway Quarter to visit churches of local and national significance ending in the fully decorated St. Francis Seraph Church and Friary, where patrons can view nativity scenes from around the world and a highly detailed Charles Dickens Village.

The City Flea, a ‘curated urban flea’ market, is hosting ‘Wrapped Up’ Holiday Market on December 8 at Washington Park in Over-the-Rhine.’ The market, consisting of 65-80 vendors, will be centered around the park’s bandstand and will feature live music, holiday decorations, hot beverages and other holiday essentials.

On December 14, Over-the-Rhine’s Washington Park will provide the perfect backdrop for the third annual Light-Up-OTR, bringing together the OTR community for entertainment and fun celebrating the holiday season. 1,000 luminaries will illuminate OTR leading to the 30-foot tree. Following the tree lighting everyone is invited to Over-the-Rhine’s newest restaurant, Kaze, for an after-party.

This season, verve off the beaten path and experience the holidays in the heart of Cincinnati in one of the most historic neighborhoods in America.

Paper or Bytes ‘ what’s your business card of choice?

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

When is the last time you exchanged business cards with a new contact? Have you ever received a card that was out of the ordinary that you saved or that sticks out among all the rest? While many communications have gone digital, business cards are still a powerful tool for sustaining a first impression and just like any piece of marketing collateral, can help to project your brand and expertise.

By comparing some of the business cards at your desk, it is easy to see which cards elicit positive responses and those that could use improvement. An article on Business Insider shares six tips for creating top-notch business cards, which reinforces the need for quality that reflects your industry or line of work. Beyond your brand, it’s best to keep it simple to help important information stand out sans cluttered images and shapes.

According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, some employees in digitally driven industries like technology or IT have gone against the grain by using digital business cards. Upgrades to the business card range from USB drives to microchips, but these forms are few and far between in a world that does not have a perfect alternative for traditional business cards. Beyond any digital upgrade or cool new feature, choosing a card that expresses the value and quality of your brand is vital. And that’s the difference between an email signature and a business card: unique and high quality.

Combined with an upscale design, the investment will pay off by differentiating the company and creating an identity for the individuals who are distributing the business cards.

Not only do business cards boost your brand, they are tangible and universally receivable in a business environment of digital clutter and email overload. With society’s inclination to make connections and conduct business digitally, it is imperative to maintain some forms of human interaction, such as exchanging business cards. What do you think ‘ will traditional business cards maintain their necessity?

All-Hallows Eve

Wednesday, October 17th, 2012

Halloween is around the corner; decorations are out, pumpkins are for sale and children are preparing their costumes for a full night of trick-or-treating. But where did these customs originate and what has influenced our celebration today?

According to, Halloween traditions began with a Celtic festival called Samhain, which was the end of the harvest and calendar year. It was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to Earth on October 31 before the dark days of winter descended. The Celts would dress in costume and light bonfires to burn crops and sacrifice animals in honor of the Celtic deities.

Once the Roman Empire conquered the majority of Celtic territory, Celtic festivals were combined with traditional Roman celebrations. Pope Gregory III dedicated November 1, or All Saints Day, as a day of celebration for saints and martyrs to replace the Celtic festival of the dead with a church sanctioned holiday. In 1000 A.D., the church made November 2 a day to celebrate the dead called All Souls’ Day, which was celebrated similarly to Samhain. Since All Saints Day was also called All-Hallows, October 31 became known as All-Hallows Eve and eventually Halloween.

In the mid-1800s, Irish immigrants came to America, escaping the potato famine and bringing Halloween traditions with them. Modern day trick-or-treating originated from Irish immigrants, many of them struggling to find work and hungry, who would go door to door begging for sweet bread in return for praying for the families’ souls.

Although Halloween celebration is most popular in the United States and Canada, countries around the world including Mexico, Latin America and Spain celebrate their own version of the holiday, D’a de los Muertos, which honors the dead who return to their homes on Halloween. Families construct altars that are adorned with candy, flowers, photographs and food.

Halloween in the U.S. has turned into a $6 billion commercial holiday, second only to Christmas. Between the season’s decorations, lawn ornaments, elaborate costumes and giant bags of candy, the average American spends a pretty penny on this holiday. ‘And there’s a pretty good chance that most little kiddies have no idea about the provenance of the holiday.

Prost! It’s Time to Celebrate Cincinnati’s German Roots

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

Photo Credit: Greg Hardman

If the Labor Day chill and rain weren’t enough of a signal, this weekend’s Oktoberfest Zinzinnati should be your cue: fall is here. The annual downtown festival is undeniably one of Cincinnati’s best excuses for indulging in schnitzels and steins. However, it is also a chance to celebrate our city’s distinctly German heritage.