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Girl-Powered: 9 Must-Read Cincinnati Bloggers

Cincinnati has a vibrant social media scene, with bloggers covering everything from food and drink to urban living to Cincinnati's neverending options of stuff to do. Here we highlight some of the Queen city’s most tech-savvy writers (and one podcaster).
 
Adventure Mom

Nedra McDanielNedra McDaniel started blogging in September of 2011. “Adventure Mom highlights events, travel destinations, places to eat, products and unique adventures that can be tried solo, with friends and family or on a date,” McDaniel says.

What inspires you to blog?
“I love challenging myself to try new adventures all the time. Blogging keeps me accountable to always be on the lookout for something interesting to write about. I love sampling different subcultures and getting a taste of unique hobbies and adventures. I also lost my mom to breast cancer in 2004, and my older brother, who had cerebral palsy, in middle school. Losing my mom and my only sibling are a reminder that life and health are not guaranteed and that we should appreciate life and live to the fullest as often as possible.”

What is your favorite blog post and why?
“That’s a really hard question because I put so much time into each post. I’ve been fortunate to have so many incredible experiences because of the blog. My post that seems to resonate with readers the most is Why Death Has Made Me Want To Live. That post gives the foundation for why I blog, and readers have given me so much feedback for why that story touched them in so many way.”
 
What’s your most “Cincinnati” post?
“Probably Staycation: Enjoying Cincinnati on a Budget. I included a lot of pictures in the post that I really like, and it highlights affordable ways to enjoy the city.”
 
The Charlie Tonic Hour
Ginny TonicGinny Tonic is a Cincinnati native “who drinks bourbon, is curious about everything, and should never be trusted with a karaoke mic,” she says. When not podcasting, she is the owner of Tonic Tours and writes for Queen City Drinks and Bourbon & Banter. She and Charles Moore, owner of comic conventions in both Cincinnati and Louisville, and a comic website called Comic Related, have been podcasting together since January 2012 as the Charlie Tonic Hour. The podcasts cover everything from alternative music and popular culture to classic literature to the couple’s favorite drinks.
 
What is your favorite podcast and why?
“There are a lot of favorites! I personally loved our 100th episode to death because we recorded it live in the basement of MOTR Pub with about 30 of our friends and listeners. I wish we could do them all like that. But of our recent episodes, Charlie and I both really like No. 137: Brain Modifications and Secret Societies. It is a great example of how we take a little bit of information from what we read and listen to in a week and then just see where it takes us.  Plus we reviewed some excellent gin that week.”
 
What’s your most “Cincinnati” podcast? 

“We start every show by talking about what Charlie and I have been up to for the past week, and that always involves something fun to do in Cincinnati so they are all pretty 'Cincinnati.' But in No. 98: Celebrating Cincinnati and Covering S.H.I.E.L.D., we did talk about a Love Letter to Cincinnati that someone had recently written, discussed a study that indicated that Cincinnati is on the forefront of twitter trends, and then ran through some of the reasons we love living in Cincinnati. 
 
What do you hope to achieve with your podcast?

“One great thing about podcasting is that it gives us a really good excuse to go out and do things, if for no other reason than to talk about it on the show. So we want to continue going out and experiencing life in Cincinnati and hopefully encouraging other people to do the same. At the same time, in our discussions on the show we have occasionally touched on some deeper questions about society, and I hope that side of the show might inspire people to have similar conversations in their life as well.”  
 
CincyWhimsy 
Paige E. MalottPaige E. Malott began blogging in 2012, “on a whim,” she says, after taking a tour of the structural deterioration of Union Terminal. “With over 200 photos of the building, I needed an outlet to share what I had learned about dire repairs that were out-of-sight to the general public. To mix things up, I varied the Union Terminal posts with social activities like a weekend wine festival or visiting a ventriloquist museum. The rest is history. Locals and out-of-towners continue to engage with both civic and entertainment topics on CincyWhimsy. Writing about each provides a satisfying balance as the storyteller.”
 
What is your favorite blog post and why?
“My favorite way to share adventures is to create a series with a recurring theme. I’ve most enjoyed writing about the Cincinnati Incline Climb, where I hiked all five remnants of the inclined railways, or documenting the progress of the Cincinnati Streetcar on monthly Streetcar Strolls. It’s fascinating to be challenged with summarizing local history or explaining a complex project while being concise, easy-to-understand, and adding some personal flair to keep readers interested. Food series are fun to pen as well, such as Creamy Whip TuesdaysFrothy Fridays or the Lenten Fish Fry Tour. No matter the audience, everyone can relate to a discussion about scrumptious food.”
 
What’s your most “Cincinnati” post? 
“CincyWhimsy’s ‘most Cincinnati’ topic would be a toss up between the collection of behind-the-scenes tours from around the city or the post on ‘31 Ways To Tell You're From Cincinnati,’ which was a rebuttal to a dismal Buzzfeed list that was making the rounds on social media.”
 
What do you hope to achieve with your blog?
“I hope that CincyWhimsy inspires readers to experience something new in their city; whether it's their first taste of Vietnamese food, riding a METRO bus for the first time, exploring a different neighborhood or checking out a play at a theatre. My goal is to not only to keep the conversation going about all the great things Cincinnati has to offer, but to encourage people to get active in their communities.” 
 
Gina Blogs All About It
Gina DaughertyGina Daugherty started blogging on a whim in 2005, while a reporter for The Cincinnati Enquirer. “It started out as a kind of experiment with blogs, maybe it was for a story,” Daugherty says. “I can’t remember now. But I used it then as a forum to comment on life, which is still what I use it for. I thought I’d quit writing it after a few months but, much to my surprise, it’s been my longest running hobby. In the time I’ve started writing it, I’ve quit dozens of other past-times—running, knitting, dancing … a few boyfriends. Occasionally, I think I need some kind of blog ‘theme’—that seems to be the thing now. Create Your Blog Niche! Sell ads! Link bait! But I never do it. It’s mine, and so I write about whatever I want. I enjoy the freedom of one day writing book reviews and another day writing about my quirky parents or traveling with my husband or the food at a new restaurant.”  

What’s your most “Cincinnati” post?
“Cincinnati is an adopted hometown for me, though I didn’t grow up near here. But because I’ve lived here for 14 years, Cincinnati is sort of ingrained in almost everything I write. The neighborhoods, the hills, the restaurants and apartments I’ve lived in, eating a ridiculous amount of Helmet Sundaes at Reds game. 

“My favorite Cincinnati post is probably the one I wrote about taking an adult ballet class at the Cincinnati Ballet from Dawn Kelly, who was a longtime soloist for the ballet, called Barre Work. She is this petite and lithe woman, and if you met her on the street you wouldn’t think a thing about it. But let me assure you, she is pure power and command. If you need to ninja your way out of a bad situation, pray that Dawn Kelly, ballerina, shows up to help you. I was terrified of her, in an aspirational way. So I had a great time writing about the experience of an adult ballet class taught by a master of the craft, and wearing pink footless tights and booty shorts. 
 
“I also love the annual Cincinnati Magazine round-up of best restaurants, but at the same time, they have a very specific audience, right? So I wrote a kind of send-up of that a few years ago called Blue Light Specials, including how chefs seem to only consider vertical food worthy of presenting or eating.” 
 
Describe what it’s like to be part of Cincinnati’s social media scene. 
“I was probably more a part of the 'scene' when I was a reporter. The only scene I am really a part of now is making my own scene, like when the line to get a table at The Eagle is two hours long and I walk out of there like, ‘THIS IS SOME BULLSHIT!’”

What is your favorite blog post and why?
“For entertainment value, I wrote one during Cincinnati’s arctic cold last winter about the pipes freezing in our house called Winter Chill. My husband and I are newlyweds, so it was an unfortunate/entertaining opportunity to write about this semi-awful annoyance—we’re going to have to spend a fortune fixing our plumbing!—and my irritation with him that he didn’t listen to me in the first place. 

“In terms of drama AND entertainment, there was another one I wrote after I nearly drowned the two of us at the beach a few years ago called The Midwestern Girl and The Sea. We had to be rescued by lifeguards. Thankfully, it wasn’t Midwestern pool-grade lifeguards. It was lifeguards at Rehobeth Beach, who are super buff hotties who are trained at pulling people out of the ocean. So if you’re going to nearly drown yourself, I’d highly recommend doing so in Delaware. “Even though it wasn’t funny at the time, it was a great story, and thankfully we lived to tell it. It was also a chance to provide information on rip currents so I could say to my friends, ‘Hey, this is real … it’s scary, pay attention.’”
 
Love Beer Love Food
LIndsay BohanskeLindsay Bohanske, Certified Cicerone, moved to Cincinnati three years ago. “I desperately needed a creative outlet,” Bohanske says. “I was inspired by other well-established blogs and I thought, Hey, I can do that! I officially started the blog in October of 2012. I’ve always loved to cook and talk beer so it came very naturally. A component of my blog that has evolved over time is photography, which I use as a major part of telling my stories. I primarily write about my food and home brewing recipes, beer education, beer and food pairings, and a bit about the local beer scene. My blog audience is anyone who has a passion for beer and/or food, or simply wants to learn more!”
 
What is your favorite blog post and why?
“If I had to pick one, I’d say my favorite blog post is A Clean, Perfect Glass for your Beer. The post highlights a variety of issues around beer glassware—everything from what ‘beer clean’ is, how to detect a non-beer clean glass, and which style of glassware may be appropriate. It’s the first post I ever wrote that went truly viral, which is funny because it started as a bit of a rant. It’s another situation where life inspired writing: My husband came home after drinking beer with work friends and described a comment made by a colleague about his beer being served in a ‘girly’ tulip glass, which in fact, was a completely appropriate glass for the beer he chose. I started writing the post immediately. What really makes the post special is that one of my heroes, Charlie Papazian, the god of modern day home-brew, tweeted the link. It pretty much made my life.”
 
What’s your most “Cincinnati” post? 
“My most 'Cincinnati' post has to be my take on homemade Grippo-inspired BBQ Sweet Potato Chips. You can buy Grippo seasoning, but I think making it is much more gratifying, plus you can tweak to be sweeter or hotter as you please—it’s ridiculously easy, actually. I throw the seasoning on everything from pork tenderloin, to chicken, to veggies. As a Cincy transplant, I haven’t really gotten behind the Cincinnati ‘chili’ thing, but Grippos? Heck ya.” 
 
What do you hope to achieve with your blog?
“One of the biggest things I hope to achieve with my blog is education. Too many blogs out there are about the blogger’s individual experience only. I try and dive deeply into subjects and share what I’ve found and know to my readers. Over time, I’ve realized that most people don’t really know a whole lot about beer. I want to be a part of changing that. I spent many months studying and tasting to become a Certified Cicerone, which is essentially the beer equivalent to a wine sommelier. When it comes to the food side of things, I love to share recipes that have worked for me, while sharing some technical guidance as well. While I’m not technically trained, I’ve learned personally from chef friends, lots of reading and experimenting in the kitchen.” 
 
Soup Addict 
Karen GibsonEstablished in 2008, SoupAddict.com features recipes from Karen Gibson, a four-season vegetable gardener, using fresh, whole ingredients, and techniques that everyone can use to make cooking at home a breeze.

What inspires you to blog? 
“Blogging is an unprecedented way to connect with people who share your interests, all over the world. You publish something, it goes out into the digital ether where search engine crawlers pick it up, and soon, you’re just one keyword search away from a like-minded person finding your content. I have readers in California, the Pacific Northwest, the U.K., Australia, Italy, France and Germany, some of whom don’t even speak English (they use an online translator to read my site and compose e-mail questions). Growing up in the static, mail-truck-driven print world, I find that simply amazing. 

“As a hobby, I just really enjoy the full cycle of publishing a recipe post: creating the recipe (my favorite part of the process), photographing it (still much to learn there!) and writing the narrative that wraps around the recipe. I also enjoy the technical aspects of WordPress (blogging software) and am completely fascinated with the exponential nature of viral social marketing. It’s a creative outlet, a knowledge-sharing vehicle, and for some, it’s a business platform and a source of income.”  

What’s your most “Cincinnati” post? 
Gardens + farmers markets = happy SoupAddict: Although written as a sort of ode to spring, when my gardens were bursting in green, it also maps out the things that are most important to me about local food and living in the home-gardening-friendly weather of the Midwest: Grow what you can at home, support local growers and artisans, eat seasonally as much as possible, cook at home, and pay attention to ingredients and how they’re produced. I remember the day I took the post’s photos at the Anderson Farmers’ Market (including a snap of Cincinnati’s local food star, Rita Heikenfeld, who was guest chefing that day). Saturdays at the AFM are a summer must, and I’m so proud of my community for embracing it as a hub of weekend activity.”  

What do you hope to achieve with your blog?
“For several years, I’ve focused on seed-to-table cooking, with most blog recipes featuring something from my four-season vegetable garden or the farmers’ markets, while working in some narrative about growing this vegetable or that. But while I think most folks embrace seed-to-table as a concept, it can be a challenge to make the transition in real life: The thought of maintaining a garden can be overwhelming, and the farmers’ market is an extra stop on already busy evenings, plus cooking on top of all of that—it’s a lot to take in. So, recently, I’ve begun shifting my focus to the kitchen and more bare-bones cooking: fresh, simple ingredients (10 or fewer), masterable techniques, reliable results. I love to source healthy ingredients, buy in bulk, cook ahead and use simple preserving methods to extend the growing season.

“I hope this approach will inspire my readers to cook at home more often, and will break down the misconceptions attached to the words ‘cooking from scratch.’ You don’t have to raise your own wheat, mill your own flour, and raise chickens in your backyard to make a responsible, Michael-Pollan-approved cookie. There is a hierarchy of good food stewardship, starting with homegrown organic down to the package of flash-frozen vegetables, but at the end of the day, if you’ve made a stir fry dinner with rice you cooked yourself and preservative-free vegetables (fresh or frozen), seasoned by you with herbs and spices, rather than grabbing the big, frozen, scary-additives-laden, pre-cooked kit bag from the grocery store, you’ve won. Bonus points for using organic rice and vegetables from responsible producers. Double points for whipping up a quick, homemade, five-ingredient stir fry sauce. Triple points for cooking extra rice to freeze for a future meal. Regardless, gold star. The best way to improve one’s health is to cook at home with whole ingredients, and you just nailed it.”

Total Basset Case
Sarah ThomasSarah Thomas has been blogging for about 2.5 years. “I started blogging when my former job was in a rut and I needed a creative outlet, and I just haven’t stopped,” Thomas says. “I love the blogging community, the friends, the encouragement, the ideas and the general sense of friendship that comes along with it. My blog’s focus is ever-changing but can be narrowed down into: fitness/running, Floyd the basset hound, DIY, recipes. My audience varies but seems to be a lot of mid-20 to 30 females/fellow bloggers, friends and family.
 
What is your favorite blog post?
“I don’t know if I could ever pick a favorite, but anything involving (or written by) Floyd is probably a favorite of mine. We have created a voice and sassy personality for Floyd, and I love sharing those stories and the daily antics he gets into on the blog. The readers seem to really love all of his stories as well, seeing that he isn’t a perfect angel all the time.
 
What is your most “Cincinnati” post?
“I have a few posts about blogger dates with fellow Cincinnati ladies, and I really think those are great representations of Cincinnati life. I love the fact that there are so many Cincinnati bloggers and ladies that are so proud to be blogging in this city! Another would be my recap of running the Pig for the first time. If there is something that’s truly Cincinnati, it’s the Flying Pig!” 
 
What do you hope to achieve with your blog?
“I hope to achieve the ability to be a great resource for readers looking for running advice, recipes and entertainment. I have already achieved great friendships, and that is more than I could have ever wished or thought would happen, so I am beyond happy about that. I love being a part of the community and having the ability to test out brands and products to share with my readers.”  
 
wine me, dine me
Julie Niesen Gosdin Photo by Mikki SchaffnerJulie Niesen Gosdin has been blogging since 2008. “My blog focuses on local restaurants in the Cincinnati area and in my travels,” she says. “My audience tends to be interested in the city (though not necessarily in the urban basin), who spends their expendable income on food and entertainment.”  
 
What inspires you to blog?  
“I started this blog in 2008, when Cincinnati had a quiet, but focused food scene. Fast forward to 2014, where we are getting attention on a national scale, with new restaurants and flavors popping up on a weekly basis. There are so many creative makers in this town, it really blows my mind, and it’s so much fun to talk about what they’re doing (and how it tastes) with wine me, dine me readers. It’s exciting, and it's kept me motivated for almost seven years.” 
 
What’s your most “Cincinnati” post? 

“Oh, definitely anything about baseball. The first time I posted about the food at Great American Ballpark, it was abysmal. For a while, Funnel Fries were the best thing there. Now, they have food that I’d put up against any other ballpark I’ve visited in the country. It’s been fun to watch that evolution. But the one that got the most traction was an open letter (I write a LOT of those) to Bud Selig about the All-Star Game. I doubt he ever read it, or that it even made a difference in whether or not we’re hosting it next year, but it was great to take a look at all that we’d accomplished, and how it could lead to us being on even more of a national stage.”  
 
Describe what it’s like to be part of Cincinnati's social media scene. 
“It’s a lot bigger than it used to be! For a while, there was a pretty tight-knit Twitter and blogging community; now it’s grown and is so much more diverse, and we’re getting a lot of great, new voices. I love what’s happening on Instagram, for example, with communities like Cincinnati Baton providing different photographic perspectives of the city. I’m also enjoying the loud political debates on Twitter—last year’s streetcar debate really showed how much people can be galvanized by social media. In my day job, I work on social media for a national corporation, and my coworkers in Boston and New York are always surprised when I talk about the richness of the community we have. I’m proud to be a part of it.”
 
Writes4Food
Bryn MoothBryn Mooth started writes4food in the summer of 2010. “It’s all about a simple, honest, local approach to cooking and eating,” she says. “About knowing where your food comes from, working with real ingredients and preparing them without fuss. And it’s geared toward people who embrace those same ideas.” 
 
What do you hope to achieve with your blog?
“I hope to convince people that eating seasonal, locally grown food is just so pleasurable and healthful. And I hope to give people confidence to cook for themselves: Cooking isn't difficult, and it doesn't require recipes. If you have a skillet and a couple of farm-fresh eggs and some butter, you've got dinner.” 
 
What is your favorite blog post and why?
“The post I wrote about meeting Clara Shenefelt and her daughter. Short story long: In 2012, I bought a stack of 1930s-era recipe cards in an antique store, which inspired an ongoing project on my blog where I chose one of these delightful old recipes and posted about it weekly. I then set out to find the original owner of the recipe cards; her name, Clara Shenefelt, was inscribed on many of the cards. When The Cincinnati Enquirer published my article about the cards and ‘The Clara Project,’ the story included a request for anyone who knew of Clara to get in touch; that day, her daughter sent an e-mail. I ended up meeting Clara and Jan, who both lived in Hamilton. It was a really great story. Clara passed away earlier this spring at 98 years old.” 
 
What’s your most “Cincinnati” post? 
“Well, the Clara story is soooo Cincinnati—it’s such a small town, after all! Beyond that, I’d say the posts that mention Findlay Market. On my blog, it’s pretty evident that I love Findlay Market, the Cincinnati food icon. So I think my most 'Cincinnati' posts are previews of recipes from The Findlay Market Cookbook, which is due to be published in October. Those posts have a real local flavor about them—the recipes come from vendors and farmers at the market.”
 

Read more articles by Kara Gebhart Uhl.

Kara Gebhart Uhl is a freelance writer and editor in Fort Thomas, Ky. Through pictures and essays, her Pleiades Bee blog has documented the joys and challenges of parenting since 2008.
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