Ambience Salon Spa
Relax and indulge your loved ones at the Ambience Salon Spa. Choose a 75-minute fusion stone massage ($90), with your choice of aroma, to enliven the senses and invigorate your body. Or, for the hairy guy in your life, surprise him with a back wax ($50). Or offer her the chance to add texture to her hair this season with a design wave ($65-plus) or relaxers and straighteners ($60-$105). This spa also offers a referral service: Simply refer three new guests to your hair stylist or spa therapist and receive a free haircut or spa service.
Streets of West Chester, West Chester, 513-771-9335, www.ambiencesalonspa.com
Carole Paine Acupuncture
We all know the feeling of standing in front of that crew-neck sweater and wondering, “Just how much trouble will I be in if I pick the wrong size for him or her?” Carole Paine Acupuncture promises that one-size fits all when you purchase a $90 gift certificate for a 90-minute visit. Acupuncture can benefit a wide variety of health issues and maintenance, and the tiny needles cause little to no pain — just stimulation and deep relaxation.
5400 Kennedy Ave., Pleasant Ridge, 513-317-3660, www.cincinnatiacupuncture.com
Duck Creek Antique Mall
The mall was founded in 1993 and has since been offering a wide variety of gifts for recipients who appreciate 19th-century cut glass or mid-century modern enamels. They’re currently featuring table settings for less than $100, which will make perfect hostess gifts when you visit your neighbors for the holidays. Stop by their shop to find a plethora of additional gifts, either for your holiday gift list or for you.
3715 Madison Road, Oakley, 513-321-0900, www.duckcreekantiquemall.com
Intuitive Touch Massage
The holidays can be busy, but Intuitive Touch Massage helps ease the post-holiday stress for anyone on your list. Purchase an $85 gift card for a one-hour session of deep tissue massage, and your giftee will enjoy the reconnection of body, mind and spirit that comes along with a massage from Intuitive Touch. Reduce that pain, stress and inflammation — you know you want to.
5400 Kennedy Ave., Pleasant Ridge, 513-230-0489, www.it-massage.com
Home to those who have just heard of this ancient practice to those who have worked years to practice their meditation and moves — and everyone in between — It’s Yoga offers classes for $13 each or five for $55. The savings increase the more you go: A 10-class pass is $100 and a 20-class pass is $180. Students, you can save with your ID; get a 90-day pass for $90 and attend unlimited classes. Classes include Yogalates (Yoga combined with Pilates), Anusara Yoga (designed to make yoga moves more efficient and prevent injuries) and Hot Yoga (yoga in a warm environment designed to increase movement and make you sweat).
346 Ludlow Ave., Clifton, 513-961-YOGA, www.yogagarage.com
Knickers of Hyde Park
At this welcoming lingerie shop, the staff is always very open and available to answer questions and willing to help you find the perfect gift. Of course they have the typical lingerie gifts, such as a long colorful nightgown ($60) and sexy panties (three for $15). But they also have Tryst dusting silk ($56) to pamper her with luxurious spa gifts. And for couples, check out the love letter game ($22.95), which includes a short fictional story about a couple in love for inspiration and provides paper and ink (choose from regular ink or invisible ink for ultra secret notes) to write your own love letters.
2726 Erie Ave., Hyde Park, 513-533-9592, www.knickersofhydepark.blogspot.com
Koch Sporting Goods
For all things sports and any kind of sport you could imagine, Koch is your place. The entire front of the store is filled with Bengals paraphernalia to help you celebrate our successful hometown team. Choose a Carson Palmer jersey ($55) or a black zip-up jacket ($54.99). Head further back into the store to find sporting equipment, such as a women’s lacrosse stick ($59.99) or a set of three Bengals-themed golf club covers ($34.99). They even have sportswear featuring lesser-known teams, such as a Riverbats minor league baseball T-shirt ($12) or green baseball hat ($18).
131 W. Fourth St., Downtown, 513-621-2352, www.kochsports.com
In a nod to religions and philosophies all over the world, Little Mahatma sells a wide variety of kitschy religious artifacts, incense candles and accessories and international treasures. I found an intriguing Chinese calligraphy set ($28) perfect for my artsy cousin who’s interested in the Orient. A hand-held gilt vanity mirror from Peru bearing Mary the Virgin Mother’s image brightly displayed on the back is $38. In looking through their extensive collection of jewelry, I spied a pair of bright green and white-yellow corn earrings ($78) to remind your giftee of the Native American’s love of the earth.
1205 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-723-1287, www.mahatmashop.com
A stop to Metronation is a must for Christmas shopping. They always have a selection of unique items I can get for people on my list of all ages. For my cousins, I looked at an elaborate Melissa & Doug puppet stage ($90) with accompanying puppets ($17 each). For my aunt, a metallic wine caddy ($85) depicted a bartender serving customers. Stop in to peruse their expanded selection of furnishings and clothes as well.
1213 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-564-0095, www.metronationcincy.com
Mica is the perfect place to find just the thing for your trend-setting friends. While in the OTR shop, I found a sleek black Wonder Woman wallet for $50 that will be perfect for my designer friend. There’s also a selection of trendy indoor pillows (I spied one flowery delight for $85) from Three Sheets to the Wind, a Cincinnati-based company. At their O’Broynville shop, I got a gray 3-6 month onesie that proclaimed “Made in Ohio” ($20) as a witty gift for an upcoming baby shower. Skinny block vases ($70 each) can be purchased in groups of three to add distinctive décor to a buffet or table centerpiece. Another bonus: They offer wedding, baby and gift registries so you can tell family and friends exactly what you want this season.
O’Bryonville: 2039 Madison Road, 513-533-1974; Over-the-Rhine: 1201 Vine St., 513-421-3500; www.shopmica.com
Full of unique finds for people of all tastes, Sassy has a red leather purse ($78) with reversible covers that’s great for a fashionista who always changes her mind. A leather studded belt ($18) is perfect for those who need a unique accent piece to their own outfits. Want to go more upscale? Wine connoisseurs will love the vintage folding wine table ($210), perfect for holding beverages and mixers.
3437 Michigan Ave., Hyde Park, 513-871-2500
Know someone who gives and gives, even after the holidays are over? Treat her (or him) to relaxing massages and facials at Timeless Aesthetics spa. You can also purchase beauty treatments, such as micro laser peels, laser hair reduction or to combat Rosacia and sun damage. Getting together with long-time friends? Host a Botox party at the spa’s luxurious location. Purchase gift certificates in any amount for any of these services or buy salon-quality products such as dermatological cleansers, skin kits and daily grooming items.
3260 Westbourne Dr., Bridgetown, 513-451-9600, www.timeless-medspa.com
I drifted into this store after seeing their bright shoes and was pleased to find more funky apparel in a clean, white interior space. Their Web site proudly declares their tagline as being a “Street pusher of rare goods.” They certainly have the goods, and the prices are within anyone’s price range. For instance, on the low end are different colored T’s bearing the shop’s name ($24.99) as well as some that boasted unique art work, including one called “Mr. Dead Legs” ($25) featuring our favorite hometown baseball hero looking a bit more precarious than usual. A quick look in the shoes section revealed unusual purple and white Men’s Nike shoes ($114.99), and farther down the rack I spotted vintage blue and yellow Vans ($52.99). Stop in this store to check out their full inventory or to check out the cool graffiti art that sports their walls.
323 W. Fourth St., Downtown, 513-744-9444, www.unheardofbrand.com
Do you have that special someone on your list who appreciates modern design that makes a statement for years to come? (They’re sooo hard to shop for!) Then pop into Voltage in Oakley for the best in modern furniture, lighting and accessories. And you don’t have to buy a whole couch — there are also smaller items like the La Stanza Bowl by Alesse, a geometrically irregular bowl that for $70 will be a great conversation starter all year.
3209 Madison Road, Oakley, 513-871-5483, www.voltagefurniture.com