BACK TO SCHOOL BARGAINS

It's hard to believe that the hours of summer on are the decline, with just a few weeks lingering before Labor Day. Feels like we just shared our Summer Bucket List and started our season of adventures! Soon, Greater Cincinnati students will be returning to the classroom. No matter if it's grade school or university, everyone is looking to get the best bargain for their buck when purchasing for back-to-school. While most flock to the big box stores, we rounded up a list of our favorite unique shops to find a deal:

1.) Glass Barn


Taking "bargain barn" literally, this no-frills overstock shop in Reading is an actual barn is filled with kitchenware, candles, and homegoods perfect for a college student shopping for their dorm. Dishware comes with many choices to complete a set, plus the option to buy as few or many individual plates and glasses as you need, with pricing averaging around 25 cents a piece. Bath & Body Works-esque 14oz. candles are available in a wide palate of scents, as well as bathmats, dishtowels, and decorative silk flowers, all ranging under $10. An adjoining room is filled with a selection of office supplies and doubles as a hardware store, for customers to grab any discounted large Rubbermaid bins, a spare flashlight or plunger in one simple stop.


2.) Dollar Tree


The Dollar Tree brand is one of the only chain stores that truly honors the moniker, "Everything is $1.00." With several locations around the tri-state, stock up on popular items from writing utensils, three-ring binders, notebook paper, art supplies, lunch box accessories, mailing supplies and much, much more. I easily save $3-$5 per supply by shopping here in comparison to the supermarket.


3.) Dollar Depot

via Dollar Depot Facebook

An urban oasis, Dollar Depot is an independently run dollar store in Downtown Cincinnati, located near the library at Vine and Court Street. It's perfect if you're working in the city and are in need of supplies in a pinch, but don't want the hassle of getting the car out of the parking garage and driving out to a store in the suburbs. It's also perfect to run and pick up that last minute item on your child's list after work. Highlighters, manilla folders, greeting cards and even party supplies (for that impromptu office surprise), Dollar Depot is a welcome time-saver.


4.) John R. Green Company

via John R. Green Facebook

Family-owned since 1950, this Covington shop is packed wall-to-colorful-wall of all the back-to-school essentials for younger students, from PreSchool to 8th Grade. Teachers can stock up at John R. Green as well, which carries plenty of classroom decorations and early education materials. Homeschoolers or parents looking for some supplemental materials for after school tutoring can find everything they need inside this long-time learning landmark.


5.) Community Yard Sales



A great way to stock up on dorm or home essentials is by browsing through yard sales. For shoppers with young children, there are plenty of like-new fashions for your child's back-to-school wardrobe as well. Early August hosts the World's Longest Yard Sale, which spans along Route 127 from Alabama to Michigan. Some of the best local neighborhoods to shop are Mainstrasse in Covington, Hamilton, Ohio, and Union, Kentucky. Of course, if you can't make it out for this 4-day extravaganza, there are plenty of community-wide yard sales throughout August and early September, such as the City of Southgate sale where folks find working TVs and computers for $20.

Church and school yard sales offer a flea market sized selection in one convenient location, plus anything you buy benefits the organization. Earlier this year, we found a brand new bathmat, a six-socket outlet expander, and a business card holder from Prince of Peace's sale in Covington. The best part -- all three items only cost us $1.50.


6.) Christmas Tree Shops


Whoa, we're not jumping that far ahead on the calendar! Located in Florence, Christmas Tree Shops is open year round and sells much more than the expected holiday paraphernalia. Part Hobby Lobby, part Dollar Tree, and part Whole Foods, this store carries Target-like styles of school supplies and dorm decor at a fraction of the cost. While many things are found for $1.29 or less, most items average around $5.99, with barely anything being more than $10.00.



No need for school shopping? Consider stocking up for your home office as prices and selections are optimum this time of year. You never know when you'll need more pens, folders, storage, or correction tape! For more on what particular items to put on your list, check out the Ultimate Back-To-School checklist on Organize365.com.

CREAMY WHIP TUESDAY: LOVELAND DAIRY WHIP

It was a dark and stormy summer night when the appetite for ice cream came calling. We just so happened to be in the northern suburbs of Cincinnati, a perfect opportunity to try out the legendary Loveland Dairy Whip.




Located in the center of town, this historic creamy whip first opened over the July 4th weekend in 1955. Proudly serving some of the highest quality soft serve in the tri-state, the LDW (as known by the locals) uses a blend from Dairyman's that keeps customers coming back for more. The noticably distict taste reminded us of custard, with its thick consistency and rich flavor.





Loveland Dairy Whip has a generous menu of tasty treats, but what makes them unique is the variety of parfaits. With over a dozen to choose from, each comes layered with vanilla soft serve paired with fruit, fudge, and any combination of other toppings. Finishing them off was the customary whipped cream and a cherry.




We decided to ignore the healthier fruit options and ordered a cookies n' cream parfait and a brownie parfait. Cookies n' Cream came layered with crumbled Oreos and hot fudge served in a traditional parfait cup. The Brownie Parfait came dished in a half-pound deli-container-- a tub! No complaints here -- it was decadently indulgent and the portion size exceeded what you'd expect for the price. The teenagers working the counter recommended we try the Cake Batter Dip Top for our next visit (we came back, tried it, and loved it!)




One feature came in handing during the evening downpour: the drive-thru window. Loveland Dairy Whip has ample parking for their walk-up window, but also accommodates folks with a drive-thru lane for those in a hurry (or trying to stay dry.) ProTip: Be sure to turn off your wipers so you don't splash the employees.



With one-of-a-kind texture and flavor, eccentric dip top creations and the only parfait selection in Cincinnati, I plan on visiting the LDW and their tub-sized desserts many more times this summer to get my gluttony on.


Loveland Dairy Whip is located at:
611 W. Loveland Ave., Loveland, Ohio 45140


YEAR ONE: STREETCAR CONSTRUCTION

This week marks the first anniversary of construction beginning on the Cincinnati Streetcar route as the City signed a contract with Messer/Prus/Delta Railroad Joint Venture (MPD) to complete the work. We've been documenting the development of infrastructure once a month since it began. Compare the pictures below to see how the project has evolved over the past year.


12TH & WALNUT STREET
2013


2014




12TH & VINE STREET

2013

 2014




 12TH & RACE STREET

 
2013

2014




MUSIC HALL AT
14TH & ELM STREET


2013


2014




 LIBERTY & ELM STREET

2013
 
2014




FINDLAY MARKET ON ELM

2013
 

2014

Installing the first catenary poles for the overhead wire.


  

RHINEGEIST AT
HENRY & ELM STREET


2013
 

2014
 


HENRY STREET

2013


2014



STREETCAR MAINTENANCE FACILITY
AT HENRY & RACE STREET


2013


2014

 
RACE & LIBERTY STREET

2013



2014


CENTRAL PARKWAY & WALNUT


2013

 

2014


GOVERNMENT SQUARE AT
5TH & WALNUT


2013




2014


THE BANKS ON 2ND STREET


2013



2014
 


 
4TH & MAIN

2013

 

2014


 
6TH & MAIN

2013



2014

8TH & MAIN

2013
 

2014

CREAMY WHIP TUESDAY: NORWOOD DELITE

Norwood Delite has certainly withstood the test of time. Sandwiched by an apartment building and elementary school, it's easy to see that the young population keeps this creamy whip in business. The facade built with shades of brown and salmon pink will immediately transport you back to the 1960s and carefree summers as a child.




Keeping it simple, the ice creamery serves up vanilla, chocolate, and swirled soft serve, as well as eight FlavorBursts featuring vanilla swirled with a flavored syrup. Norwood Delite is also know for being "e-cone-friendly," offering most of their treats in a cone or waffle bowl instead of styrofoam cups in order to reduce waste. To encourage customers to select a cone for their treat, the owners have invented different flavors of cones to pair with ice cream flavors, and even created a sundae in a waffle cone with your choice of fudge, strawberry, caramel, or pineapple topping plus whipped cream and a cherry.




During our visit, we tried an Oreo cone with peanut butter FlavorBurst softserve. They also offer chocolate chip cookie cones, which would pair well with the regular vanilla or chocolate soft serve. If you're going for one of the more exotic fruit FlavorBursts, I'd recommend sticking with a traditional waffle cone.




With several outdoor picnic tables, small parking lot, and ample on-street parking, Norwood Delite is that old school, no-frills creamy whip you adored growing up.


Norwood Delite is located at: