Thursday, September 30, 2010

What's there to be afraid of?

Boo!  Did I scare you?  Hi it’s Meghan:)

Fall vegetables are ripe, the air's getting cooler... and 'tis the season for ghosts and goblins!  I love fall and I really love Halloween.  Just ask my sister, who came home on September 15 to find that I had already decorated our dining room with fake cobwebs and spiders!  I also love haunted houses, and my favorite place to get scared is Halloween Haunt at Kings Island.

Some friends and I went last Friday and we all had a blast.  We didn’t make it through all 14 haunted attractions, but we did venture through about half.  Of course we checked out the newest one, Wolf Pack.  It’s a werewolf-themed maze that will make you think twice before taking that next hike in the woods when there's a full moon (which there actually was that night).  The actor working the front door even had this amazing ability to produce a growl just like a werewolf.  Wolf Pack is near Flight Deck back in the Action Zone.

Outside the entrance to Club Blood a sexy vampiress greeted us by saying, “don’t touch my girls and they won’t touch you.”  That should have given us an idea of what type of “club” we were about to enter.  Frankly, the guys all seemed like they'd be willing to risk a bite on the neck just for a chance to meet one of the Club Blood dancers:)  My favorite though was Trail of Terror.  As you might guess, this one is through the woods, where I did more running than walking.  I discovered there’s something terrifying about a guy dressed in a long black trench coat and hat, dragging a stick.  The sound and sight of that really gave me the chills.

Kings Island goes overboard to turn the park into a fright fest.  Coffins, cobwebs, monsters and skeletons are everywhere!  Plus most of the rides are open and – here’s the best part – the lines were short.  Everyone wants to go into the haunted attractions so we were able to walk right on to rides like Diamondback and Delirium.  There's nothing quite like riding The Beast in the dark with flashing lights and smoke in your face.

For thrills and chills this Halloween season, Kings Island is the spot.  It’s open 7pm to close on Fridays and Saturdays in October.  If you aren't afraid of a few nightmares, you should check it out… I dare you!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Beer Buffs Discover Cincy's Brewing History

I went underground this past weekend. Hi it’s Meghan. :) Zinzinnati’s rich German heritage wasn’t just celebrated at Oktoberfest on 5th St., but in Over the Rhine as well. I went on a walking tour of the old breweries and WOW was it cool!

If you are on Vine Street today you might not give these industrial looking buildings a second thought or glance. But knowing and imagining what once was there is amazing.

One of the stops was the old Crown Brewery (also known as the Schmidt Brothers Brewery).  It was kind of strange to walk into the basement of the building with all the modern day clutter and then travel down handmade steps deeper into a sub-basement that was once used to store barrels of beer. To get around a Civil War tax the brewers had to have the malt house and lager house in two separate buildings. They got around this by building tunnels to connect the two. The picture is of me and my sister walking through one of those tunnels (we teased her that this was her good side - haha).

We also went into the just opened tunnel that connected parts of the old Kauffman Brewery. The 1856 building now operates as the Guild Haus, and the above-ground industrial space has been converted into artist studios and apartment lofts. Recently, the owner discovered the original blueprints and saw that there were 4 not 3 levels as first thought. So he broke through the concrete floor only to find that 40 feet down is a enormous lagering cellar.  It’s 200,000 square feet! 

This building will be the new home of the Christian Moerlein Brewing Company. In April, owner Greg Hardman says beer will once again be brewed in OTR. It had become the old Husman Potato Chip Factory so not a lot of structurally work is needed. But as Greg told me, they have to buy, install and hook up $4 to $5 million worth of beer brewing equipment.

This is a huge deal for the Queen City because in 1870 there were 36 breweries in OTR and we were known for being the biggest and one of the best beer brewing cities in the country. Darn that Prohibition!!!

You can support this effort by clicking here to find out when more tours will happen or just buy Moerlein or another local beer. You can drink knowing you are taking a sip of Zinzinnati's past while supporting Cincinnati's future.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Attack of the Wiener Dog!

Is this ridiculous or what?
Hi, it's Meghan.  :)  This morning I was reporting live on Fountain Square in Cincinnati on the opening festivities of Oktoberfest Zinzinnati, the 2nd largest Octoberfest in the world (behind only Munich!).  I got into the spirit by donning a German dirndl dress and a chicken hat, symbolic of the World’s Largest Chicken Dance which takes place on Sunday.

Naturally, while wearing my dirndl and chicken hat I was assigned to interview Charlie, a dachshund wearing a hot dog bun costume, who happened to be the two-time defending champion of the annual wiener dog race.  So there I was, chatting with Charlie’s owner, minutes before going live on the FOX19 morning news, when Charlie transformed into Chuckie the Terrible.  It turns out that Chuckie the Terrible likes fingers, so much so that when he bit mine he wouldn’t let go for what seemed like an eternity but was actually more like 5 seconds.  Here’s the damage.  You can see his tooth mark and how he ripped off the skin.

The Show Must Go On! 
The skin on my finger was mangled, but Sheila and Rob had just started the intro for my live shot.  I started my live shot talking about the Oktoberfest events with my finger still dripping blood.  Halfway throught the shot, when we cut away to a screen showing the weekend's events, Dale, my resourceful cameraman, quickly tossed me a napkin to wrap around my bleeding finger.
Interview with the Vampire
My next live shot was 30 minutes later, and I was scheduled to interview Charlie and his owner, Cherie.  Believe me that I made Cherie hold Charlie as far away from me as possible and I didn't get the microphone anywhere close to him.  And so that's how I came to be wearing a drindl and a chicken hat, with a heavily bandaged finger, interviewing a champion wiener dog in a hot dog bun costume, minutes after he had held me in a death grip.  In Charlie's defense, I was told he was a rescue dog and is very protective.  (The picture below is NOT Charile, but an example of what he looked like while dressed in the hot dog costume.) 

Urgent care visit
After my reporting was done, I headed to an urgent care facility where I got antibiotics, a new bandage, and a tetanus shot.  The 2010 Running of the Wieners went on as scheduled, but Charlie was dethroned.  Justice is served!

p.s. Cherie was very apologetic and offered to pay for my medical bills and the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber of Commerce sent me flowers.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Go Blue Jays!!

Hi it's Meghan. :) Most people know me from the FOX19 morning show.  Unlike most people, the 7th grade girls volleyball team at St. Joe of Cold Spring in Northern Kentucky just knows me as "Coach." We had our best win of the season earlier this week and I wanted to brag about these girls.

In was a hotly contested match against St. Paul's and my girls showed a lot of character and spirit. We play three games, the first two to 21 and the third to 15, win by 2. We lost the first game but the girls didn't get down on themselves. We came out strong and won the 2nd game behind some great serving and defense. The deciding 3rd game loomed.

In the 3rd we came out strong again and scored the first 9 points off the arm of our first server Alexa.  It was really an amazing run and the match looked in hand.  But St. Paul fought back and one of their girls rattled off some ace serves as well. Finally we got the ball back and we were up 14 to 13 with Amanda back to serve. If she missed the game would be tied, but if we win the point the match is over. My girls put their nerves aside and focused on the pivotal point. St. Paul wasn't going to go down easily though!  I fierce rally ended in our favor and we won that point and the match!

Not every match has gone as well though -- right now we are right around .500 for the season. But sometimes it's the lessons a player takes away from a loss that makes them stronger. With each game I see more intensity, more hustle and more will to win. We still a lot of games left, and I know they'll continue to grow as volleyball players and as young women. So great job Alexa, Amanda, Cassie, Emma, Hollie, Jess, Katie, Katie P. and Madison. I've very proud of how far we've come and am excited about progressing even more in the weeks ahead. Go Blue Jays!!!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Ultimate Long Lasting Manicure

Polish that drys in seconds, doesn't chip, and stays on for two weeks sounds too good to be true, doesn't it? Well here's a beauty secret -- it isn't! Hi it's Meghan Mongillo. :)

The ultimate long lasting manicure is here. It's called a gel manicure. A number of salons are offering the service in Cincinnati. I got mine done at Mitchell's Salon and Day Spa. Nail technicians there use a brand called Shallac by The Creative Company.

This service is for clients with natural nails. First the nails are shaped, then the polish is applied, and then it gets different than a regular manicure. The base coat, main coat and top coat have to be cured. That means you stick your finger tips in a UV lightbox for 120 seconds. When it's done, it's done. The polish is completely dry. You can put your hands in your purse and pull out your wallet and keys without worrying about smudges.

There are some drawbacks. The polish has to be removed in the salon by a professional. Your fingertips are soaked in acetone and then the gel polish is scraped off. There are mixed opinions as to whether this weakens your nails or not. I thought it did a bit, but that could have been because my nails were dry as well. The salons recommend using cuticle oil once a day to keep them hydrated.

Look close at the picture. Do you want to guess how long that polish has been on? I know, I know - I'll never be a hand model, but focus in on the nail. That's the manicure I got 13 days ago. You can see as your nail grows the polish stays put. So towards the end you can see the off white of my natural nail tip peeking out under the white polish. Not a big deal and most people won't look that close.

Another downside is that right now the selection of colors to pick from is limited, but that could change. Also it's going to cost a bit more then a regular manicure. Though since it lasts for 2 weeks some might say it's worth it.

I would definitely recommend checking with your local nail salon and trying it. Let me know what you think. I give this new treatment an "A-." Isn't nail polish that doesn't chip every woman's dream? :) Watch FOX19 News at 6pm Friday, September 10th to see my story on this.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Time to Hit the Beach, Cincinnati!

Hi, it's Meghan Mongillo. :-) Labor Day weekend in Cincinnati isn't just about fireworks. This weekend you can also see Olympic gold medalists and the best beach volleyball players in the world, up close and personal, at the Pro Beach Volleyball Players Championship.

You may have been to the AVP (Pro Beach Volleyball Tour) before at the Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason. This year there are a couple changes. The annual event is now at a brand new, beach volleyball-specific venue called Hahaha Beach, and it no longer carries the AVP name. Tournament organizer Mario Cincchinelli says when the AVP folded recently he immediately contacted and signed the top 16 men and women for this year's tournament - not an easy task considering most were overseas playing in Europe. The good news is that all of them will be coming to Cincinnati, including top players like Misty May Treanor, Todd Rogers and Phil Daulhausser. The qualifiers are today – Thursday -- then there are day and night matches Friday morning through Sunday afternoon.

I’ve been out to Hahana Beach and can tell you that it is top notch. The quaint stadium only holds 2,000 fans so there are no bad seats, and the sand on the courts is nice and deep. The site is also home to a new bar and restaurant where surf boards hang from the walls to compliment the tropically themed menu. After the tournament is over the restaurant will be open year round and host local leagues when the weather is nice. So even if you're not a pro, you can still say you play on the same court as them. :-) Here’s how the owners are touting it - Hahana Beach: where the day is hot, the courts are hotter, and the nightlife is hottest!

Hahana Beach is on Wooster Pike in Columbia Township, just west of the Newton Bridge. Parking is limited, but tournament coordinators have rented lots from other businesses for this weekend and they tell me there will be police officers directing traffic.

One more thing – tickets prices start at just $10!