Hundreds sank their sweet tooth into candies and baked goods from local confectioners at the third annual Sugar Rush, presented by CityBeat. The event raises funds for the Cincinnati Ballet, and at only $10 a ticket guests could eat as many desserts as they could hold.

Two of my favorite sweeteries were on the ticket for tonight: Holtman's Donuts and Donna's Gourmet Cookies. From frosted sprinkle to red velvet cake, Holtman's delivered their exceptional, best-in-the-city donuts in yet another flavor I had yet to try. Donna's featured her signature chocolate chip cookie that are as sweet as Donna herself.

A third contender took me by surprise: SugarPlums Cupcakery. With a booth positioned right next to the front door, they stole my appetite and exceeded all expectations of the perfect cupcake. Creamy frosting, moist fluffy cake, and some even came with fillings in the center. I tried the Buckeye Cupcake, Apple Pie Cupcake, Red Velvet Cupcake, Cherry Cheesecake Cupcake, and Cotton Candy Cupcake. While the cherry cheesecake was bursting with fresh fruit, the cotton candy took the cake... er, cupcake. It was full of flavor, but not overly sweet. A perfect medley of baked good and childhood treats!

Red Velvet cupcakes arranged as a cake

Cotton Candy Cupcake

1215 Wine Bar served up dessert wines, both a red and white, while neighboring booth Camp Washington Chili handed out their famous cheese conies. Camp Washington cheese conies are my favorite out of all the chili parlors, and I was elated to come across their booth.

I lost count of how many samples I tasted throughout the evening, although I'm certain that numbed exceeded ten. Fortuantely, when our stomachs got full, vendors came prepared. Holtman's and SugarPlum handed out takeaway bags for our leftovers, or to put samples in that we wanted to taste, but just didn't have room for.


A delightful evening in a setting reminiscent of Candy Land and a Katy Perry music video,  Sugar Rush was a decadent time.


It's no secret that my mother, Portia, enjoys gardening. Growing up, cars would slow down to gander at all the landscaping in our yard. Some would even stop and ask for plant samples or to take a tour.

During my last visit to the family home, the flowers were in full bloom, particularly Portia's prized daylily collection. We walked through her garden together while she pointed out each of the plants' names.

Portia's flowerbed with over 17 varieties of daylillies.

Daylillies often made their way into a vase on the kitchen table, or were tucked into my backpack to give to my grade school teachers. I learned at an early age that daylillies were for looking and not for smelling, not because of a foul scent, but because they often left orange dust on my nose. Each flower comes with a unique name, usually selected by the creator who bred the first plant. Daylily names range from colorful descriptions to exotic daydreams or scientific phrases. Some are named after the creator or a creator's loved one.

Paige's Pinata daylily
(named after me!)

Portia's garden contains over 20 varieties of daylilies, most of them in her daylily bed with others planted alongside complimentary flowers. Daylillies are perennial flowers, which means they rebloom year after year. Each blossom only lasts a day before it wilts (hence the name daylily). However, with many blossoms on a plant, Perennials can continue bloom for up to six weeks.

If you're looking for something that lasts a little longer, Annuals will bloom for the whole summer and add bright color to your garden for the season. The downside is that, as the name states, you will need to replant Annuals every year. If you're looking for low-maintenance longevity, Perennials are the way to go.

Ruffled Apricot daylillies
Ruffled Apricot daylillies
Paige's Pinata daylily
Creative Art daylily
Bertie Ferris daylily
Brocaded Gown daylily
Little Grapette daylily
Condilla daylily
Chosen Love daylily
Mountain Violet daylily
Lullaby Baby daylily
Eleanor daylily
Mom bought this in memoriam for my grandmother, Elie. Daylilies were also her favorite flower.
Red Ribbon daylily
Blacksplash daylily
Pandora's Box daylily
Becky Lynn daylily
Little Business daylily

Another glimpse of the daylily garden.

Red daylillies
Red daylillies and Corieopsis

Pandora's Box daylillies and Kobold Liapsis

Here are a few more non-daylily flowers we saw along the garden tour:

Salsa Coneflower
Hardy Geranium "Rozanne"
Dad handmade the wine barrel planter

As a child, I contributed to Portia's garden by planting one of those free trees that science teachers send home with students for Earth Day. Just shy of 20 years old, it's hard to believe this gigantic Evergreen was once a twig tied to a water-filled Ziplock bag that miraculously survived the bus ride home.

Parents: plant those Earth Day twigs. You'll be glad you did.

Of course, we must not forget Dad's contribution of keeping a perfectly manicured lawn to compliment Portia's flowers. Catch a glimpse of it behind the Hosta and our adorable family cat.


Our most recent creamy whip journey was highly recommended by friend and CincyWhimsy reader Steph. Her favorite place to cool off is down the street from her home in Northside, yet off the beaten path from the area most visitors patronize. JF Dairy Corner is located on a triangular asphalt island at the intersection of Blue Rock and Colerain Avenue, just down the street from Queen City Cookies.

A true Mom-and-Pop ice creamery, my friend and I were greeted by owner Juan Figaro, the man who puts the JF in JF Dairy Corner. He and his wife, Yolanda, immigrated from the Dominican Republic in 1961, then opened up their creamy whip in August of 1980. Juan joked, "We decided to get into the ice cream business because we only have to work eight months out of the year."

While Juan takes customers' orders from the window, Yolanda concocts the sweet treats. In true creamy whip fashion, their glass window is plastered in hundreds of items, from sundaes and Slush Puppies to hot dogs and BBQ sandwiches. What they're known for, though, is 24 flavors of soft serve.


In a cone, milkshake, or a Slush Puppy float, any of these flavors can be mixed up however you'd like. I ordered a blueberry soft serve with rainbow sprinkles; my friend selected a black cherry cone.

Served up with a smile, Juan and Yolanda are as sweet as their ice cream. As Labor Day brings summer to a close, be sure to make a visit to this 33-year-old family affair, still run by the first generation.

JF Dairy Corner is located at:
1735 Blue Rock Street, Cincinnati, OH 45223