Friday, December 28, 2012

Happy It's Friday? This Traffic Reporter is!

his Cincinnati traffic reporter likes to have a good time! Who says Weathermen are the only ones who can be goofy on local news...Too bad Good Morning America doesn't cover traffic in the morning, I can see this guy doing a great duet with Sam Champion!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

~~~~ Still Need to Shop? Gift Ideas for a Foodie ~~~~

If your like me and haven't finished your Holiday shopping yet, have no fear! Below are some great suggestions for gifts for the ultimate food-lover or Cook!

Best kitchen gift ideas

Published December 18, 2012

The holidays are upon us and if you haven’t finished all your shopping just yet, you’re not alone.

According to the National Retail Federation, in 2010 and 2011 the average person still had half of their shopping to complete as of mid-December. But with all the enticing promotions and advertisements being thrown at you from each and every direction, it’s hard to decide just what gift to get your special someone.

If you’re shopping for that ultimate food-lover in your life, look no further. To help you find the perfect present we put together our top picks for foodies this year.

The ActiFry: Who doesn’t like fried food? Its crispy oily crust is downright delectable. But what about an appliance that eliminates nearly half the fat with just as much flavor and taste? ActiFry is the healthy version of a deep fryer that transforms everyday fried and fatty meals into healthier versions. Anyone looking to shed some extra fat but still wants t0 enjoy their favorite deep-fried treats will love this gift. The low-fat fryer uses just a tablespoon of oil for a fresh serving of French fries. Eating-up 10 ActiFry buffalo wings will only set you back 250 calories/18 grams of fat, compared to 10 KFC wings with about 700 calories/ 40 grams of fat. $250- Available at Bed, Bath and Beyond or

Eataly’s Antipasti platter: Quality authentic Italian delicacies are hard to come by, but thanks to New York’s popular Italian market Eataly, you can find and purchase them online. Any true Italian food-lover will enjoy one of Eataly’s newly-introduced gift baskets that are filled with everything from a bruschetta tomato herb spread to a mushrooms and truffle sauce. “Eatly is renowned for its Italian indulgences and this platter brings it home. Whether they’re having friends over, or are having a quiet night in with the family, any Italian foodie will savor every last bite,” Dana Holmes, editor-in-chief of told $69.80 Available at

Wines that Rock: If you’re looking for a gift for your best wino and don’t want to pick up the typical set of wine glasses or coasters, consider the gift of a rocking bottle of wine.

Wines That Rock combine some of the greatest rock and roll bands of all time with great tasting wines. Winemaker Mark Beaman crafted custom wines inspired by legendary artists like The Police, The Grateful Dead, Pink Floyd and The Rolling Stones. Not only do the wines capture the essence of each album in its taste (Mark said it made sense to make Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon album into a Cabernet Sauvignon because it “needed to be a wine that was haunting”), but the unique wine labels also add a special flare to this gift. Each bottle sports classic album art on its front label. A Rolling Stones fan? Pick up the Rolling Stones’s Forty Licks Merlot that showcases their iconic lips and tongue logo.

“Wines That Rock was a pleasant surprise to try. Not only do they make a unique gift for music fans – who’s not going to love a Pink Floyd wine label, after all – but they’re a collection that even the most serious of oenophiles will love. The red blends went down smoothly, and even seemed to fit the songs,” Marcy Franklin, Drink Editor at told$14.99/bottle Available at,, and your local wine & liquor store.

Verseur: If you’re buying for the more practical wine drinker, try wrapping up a Verseur. A multi-tasking gadget that combines a corkscrew, foil cutter, pour spout and bottle stopper, it’s the ultimate Swiss army knife for wine drinkers. The full service wine tool is made of stainless steel, with a black rubber pourer and cap to save all your favorite wines. $24.99 Available at & Target.

Corkcicle: A great addition to any wine-lover’s closet must be the Corkcicle. This simple yet genius invention will always keep your wine at the perfect and preferred temperature. Once you freeze the ice cube-like device, it slides right into any full size bottle of wine, chilling your vino without watering it down. A corkcicle will make a wonderful gift for a party host or anyone who likes to sip and linger over a nice bottle of wine.

“This is a fantastic product and is much more inventive than putting your wine in a wine chiller. I’d love one of these for myself at home!” Louis Fugazy, owner of The Madelyn in NYC told $24.95 Available at

The Talking Measuring Cup: When it comes to precise measurements of dry and wet ingredients, even professional chefs could use a little help in the kitchen. The talking measuring cup verbally announces the volume of your ingredients, doing away with the old household method of ‘eyeballing’ the amounts. It holds up to three-cups of ingredients and is made of unbreakable frosted plastic that is microwave and dishwasher safe.

“I love the talking measuring cup because very few people know there is a difference between dry and wet measuring cups, which often affects the outcome of a recipe,” Anne Dolce, cook editor at said. “This cup does away with the problem of using a wet measuring cup for dry ingredients and vice versa because not only does it tell you exactly how much has been measured, but it lets you choose the density of what you’re measuring as well,” Dolce told $59.95 Available at

Cool Culinaria Prints: Anyone who loves original art and images from the good old days of the 40’s and 50’s will enjoy a Cool Culinaria print for their home. Some of the most famous landmark restaurant and diner menus were reimaged into charming posters and prints. These rare reprints will be a creative and thoughtful gift for your loved ones, you can pick a hot-spot from one of their favorite cities like the best-selling print of The J.H Ireland in Chicago or even a vintage cocktail menu for their bar area. $28.00- $45.00 (prices vary per print) Available at

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Friday, December 7, 2012

~~~~Hidden Hotel Secrets: The Inside Scoop~~~~

Before you check in to your next hotel this holiday season, check out my latest article on that profiles a new memoir on the in and outs of the hotel industry plus it shares some great tips on how to get some hotel perks you never thought you could get!

Hotel confidential: Secrets to scoring hotel freebies

Published December 07, 2012

Traveling during the holidays can be a stressful endeavor. Whether you're shacked up with relatives or settled in at a hotel, staying in an unfamiliar room never feels quite as comfortable as your own home does.

For years hotels have gone through the ringer trying to please and accommodate guests. Maids will fold your toilet paper corners while front desk agents turn into your personal alarm clock. What else could you possibly ask for? What about a room upgrade? How about some free movie rentals and mini bar beverages? Wouldn’t an early check-in with a complimentary cotton robe be nice?

But's let not ask what a hotel staffer can do you for, rather what you can for them to avoid getting a gift you didn't ask for. 
If you ever wondered how to get some of these extra hotel perks, you may want to pick up Jacob Tomsky’s new book this holiday season. Heads in Beds: A Reckless Memoir of Hotels, Hustles, and So-Called Hospitality (Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group) takes a candid look into the world of hotels, offering insightful and yet unexpected advice on how to get the most out of your hotel stay.

Tomsky, a 10-year hotel veteran quickly climbed the hotel ranks holding name tags as a valet, a housekeeping supervisor and a front desk agent. In his book he gifts his readers with some valuable tricks of the trade he learned along the way.  

Like many things in life, money talks, and in the hotel world, tips can make or break your stay. If you want the chance to get the well sought after room upgrade Tomsky says slipping the front desk agent a bill when checking in could do the trick. Simply wrap a bill ($20 or $50) around the credit card you’re going to use and hand to the agent when your checking in. Tomsky says there’s no reason to be nervous, “it‘s not a drug deal and no agent will pocket the money and just say thank you. Asking for an upgrade might guarantee you’re not going to get one but I gave some lady at the front desk $20 and she really took care of me, gave me a corner suite, it was great,” Tomsky told
Other Tomsky “tips” to enhance your stay:

The Valet: Give $1-2 dollars for each time they pull around or park your car. It‘s always better not to stiff that valet before they skid off with your vehicle, plus giving them a few bucks beforehand might keep you in their mind before they skid away with your ride. “Before handing over your keys it’s also a good idea to walk around your car to note any pre-existing marks or scratches,” Tomsky said.

The Bellman: It’s standard to give about $2 per bag that he/she is bringing up to your room. You can always turn down their help but you can get some pretty good information from the bellman. “They’re often born and raised in the city or town you’re staying in and can give you some really great advice on what local restaurants and places to check out,” Tomsky told “Plus the bellmen know what all the rooms in the hotel are like so if you get to your room and you’re not overly excited about it they’re right there to tell you about the better rooms to ask for.”

The Maid: Nothing less than $5, but you can give $10-20 upfront if you’re staying for a few days. “If you happen to see a maid with her cart in the hallway stop and see if you can grab some extra shampoo or lotion, slip them a few dollars and ask if they can send up whatever else they can. Depending on the level of the hotel, they’ll have closets stocked with amenities to take advantage of; slippers, shoe horns, lint rollers and all sorts of travel sized items,” Tomsky said.

The Concierge: For something like directions around $2-3 will suffice, but if their getting you reservations at a popular restaurant you should give about $10-20. Even in the era of the Internet and smart phones, concierges still have firsthand experience with the best places in town. “You can try calling for a table yourself, but they’re the ones that will have good connections and real pull to get you that reservation,” Tomsky told

Extra Freebies: Tomsky says the overstocked and overpriced mini bar charges are the most disputed on any bill. Although it’s hard to believe in a world where most mini bars have become censored, he insists that all you have to do is tell the front desk you ‘never touched the minibar’ and they will wipe away the charges. “It would be a weird desk agent to say ‘you sure you didn’t have these?’ That’s a terrible stance to take,” Tomsky said.

Apparently free movie rentals are also easy to score. “Once you’ve finished watching your movie just call down to the front desk and tell them the movie just froze in the middle or it turned off suddenly,” Tomsky told “Usually there is a subscription fee that they pay for the hotel as a total so they’re not losing any money.”

Lastly, the luxurious and cozy bathroom robes. Of course they sell them for an outrageous amount in the hotel gift shop but Tomsky says you can take one home for free. “They’re supposed to have robes preset in each room but you can call up and tell them your room is missing a robe. In the time it takes someone to come up and deliver you another one, you can stash the extra robe right into your suitcase.” Tomsky told

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