A Visit To: Columbus, Ohio

Making Nice in the Midwest - German Village in Columbus, Ohio

Ohio’s capital city has so much to offer— one weekend trip to Columbus is never enough! Our little family teamed up with Experience Columbus to showcase some of my favorite parts of Columbus, and we had such a fantastic time! We can’t wait to get back and explore more places I remember enjoying as a child, like Cosi and the Olentangy Indian Caverns, as well as some adult-me favorites like the Wexner Center for the Arts, the Columbus Museum of Art, and, of course, some more downtown restaurants. We ran out of belly space during our weekend trip! Check out the Columbus places we loved the most!

German Village - Columbus, Ohio

Pistacia Vera macarons - Columbus, Ohio

Pistacia Vera - Columbus, Ohio

We started eating our way through Columbus early Saturday afternoon in the charming neighborhood of German Village, where my sister-in-law lives. Pistacia Vera is an exceedingly charming bakery and cafe in the heart of German Village. Everything about PV (as the locals have affectionately dubbed the shop) is on-point, down to the marble table tops, charming Thonet chairs, sophisticatedly simple menu, and to-die-for treats. I can’t believe I had never visited! It’s about a block from my sister-in-law’s house, so I’m already looking forward to popping in at Pistacia Vera first thing during our next Columbus trip!

Pistacia Vera - Columbus, Ohio

Pistacia Vera - Columbus, Ohio

The Book Loft, German Village

The Book Loft - German Village

I’ve never been to a place as magical as The Book Loft in German Village! Just the pathway leading into the Italianate style building is an experience, with a long cobblestone garden area that opens to tables of books that you can’t wait to get your hands on. The interior of the building has a few annexes, and you can wind your way through this place for hours. I’m not even kidding! The Book Loft boasts being one of the largest independent book stores in the country, and I believe it. It’s a treasure trove of literary enjoyment. And if you don’t like reading so much, but prefer baking, don’t worry— there’s a whole room dedicated to the subject!

We’ve been looking for some very specific alphabet books for Lucy that would coordinate well with Phil’s kindergarten Zoo-phonics reading curriculum (He’s a teacher, in case you didn’t know!), and The Book Loft had so many options for us to choose from. Lucy loves the book we selected for her!

The Book Loft, German Village

Royal Factory Atelier - Columbus, Ohio

Royal Factory Atelier - Columbus, Ohio

After starting our Columbus visit in German Village, we headed downtown to the Short North for some shopping. Columbus has a nice amount of street parking in the areas around High Street, which is where most of the downtown shops and restaurants are located. You do have to pay for street and lot parking except for Sundays. There’s also an easy bus system and bike sharing program available for car-free transportation.

We started shopping on the north side of High Street in the Short North, and worked our way south until we’d visited all of the shops we had time and energy for. Our first stop was at a clothing shop I really adored— Royal Factory Atelier. They have a nice selection of men and women’s clothing as well as some decor and art. Everything in the shop is either vintage or from an indie label— there’s a nice amount of variety. I particularly love the line of women’s crop tops made from vintage dresses. Some of the dresses were made into matching sets of skirts and crop tops. I’m still kicking myself for not getting one!

Royal Factory Atelier - Columbus, Ohio

Royal Factory Atelier - Columbus, Ohio

Royal Factory Atelier - Columbus, Ohio

Jeni's Ice Cream - Columbus, Ohio

Most of you probably have heard about Jeni’s ice cream if you use social media these days. And there’s a reason the Columbus ice cream shop has sky-rocketed to fame! If you haven’t found a way to taste some for yourself, you really must. Jeni’s offers unique flavor combinations without being too out-there— I promise, if my husband’s timid tastebuds will enjoy it, so will yours! I normally am not much of a fan of chocolate ice cream because it’s a bit too much cream and not enough of that chocolate punch, if you know what I mean. But Jeni’s dark chocolate ice cream changed my life. I’ve heard good things about the riesling poached pear, but one scoop of dark chocolate and one scoop of brown butter almond brittle was all I could fit into my belly. If I lived around a Jeni’s, I would definitely try all of the flavors!

Jeni's Ice Cream - Columbus, Ohio

Grand View Marcantile - Antiques in Columbus, Ohio

Grand View Marcantile - Antiques in Columbus, Ohio

The first time I walked this charming resale shop in the Short North, I think it was a couple of hours before I saw daylight again. Grandview Mercantile is a wonderfully curated consignment shop featuring a wide variety of antiques, art, home furnishings, and decorative accessories. I always find entirely too many things I like each visit, though restrain myself from making a purchase. But this trip I actually walked out with a treasure. I found a large panel from an antique photo booth that I can’t wait to hang as art in my home! Even better- it was originally from Cedar Point, which is a beloved Ohio amusement park.

The prices at Grandview Mercantile vary, but it’s certainly not low end. My sister-in-law found a nice console table for less than $50, and the large photobooth panel (It’s huge.) I got was $240. The great thing about their prices is that they go down the longer each item is in the shop. Each item has a tag with a series of prices, starting with the highest, and then dates alongside each lower price, indicating when the price will drop down. If you can’t afford something when you see it, you can always wait to see if it’s still there when the price starts dropping lower. Pretty cool, huh?

Grand View Marcantile - Antiques in Columbus, Ohio

Grand View Marcantile - Antiques in Columbus, Ohio

Flower Child Vintage - Columbus, Ohio

Flower Child Vintage - Columbus, Ohio

I was so excited to see that Columbus has a sister store to Cleveland’s Flower Child Vintage! The Columbus Flower Child is very similar to our Northeast Ohio location, boasting two floors of vintage furniture, home decor, and clothing for men and women. The shop mostly houses 1960s-1970s items, but you’ll also find things from the 1930s all the way through the 1980s. The prices are average for vintage shops— not too expensive, but not cheap. It’s certainly worth a visit! I walked away with two gorgeous summer tops for $38.

Flower Child Vintage - Columbus, Ohio

Flower Child Vintage - Columbus, Ohio

Flower Child Vintage - Columbus, Ohio

Bakersfield - Columbus, Ohio

Bakersfield - Columbus, Ohio

After a long day of shopping, I was really craving a margarita, and Lord knows Mexican food always hits the spot. Bakersfield is a fresh, trendy restaurant on High Street in the Short North with a combination of indoor and outdoor dining (The window wall slides open.). I drank the best margarita of my life at Bakersfield, made with all fresh ingredients and agave nectar. We really loved our meals and I still have dreams about the amazing guacamole we ate with their fresh chips and salsa. We’ll be back, Bakersfield!

Bakersfield - Columbus, Ohio

Happy Go Lucky Home - Columbus, Ohio

Happy Go Lucky Home - Columbus, Ohio

Happy Go Lucky Home is filled to the brim with fun and whimsical home accessories. They have a great collection of Sugarboo art (like the one hanging in my bathroom), and it took all of my willpower not to buy that dog painting in the middle of the photo above. You guys, this place has oodles of quirky charm, and the people who run the shop are pretty great too! They have a great heart for Ohio and their local community, so you can feel extra good about giving them your money.

Happy Go Lucky Home - Columbus, Ohio

Happy Go Lucky Home - Columbus, Ohio

Happy Go Lucky Home - Columbus, Ohio

Harvest Pizzeria & Curio - Columbus, Ohio

Harvest Pizzeria & Curio - Columbus, Ohio

On Saturday night, we decided to walk over to Harvest Pizzeria in German Village for some tasty pizzas. Next door to Harvest Pizzeria is Curio, a really nice little cocktail bar with a menu of classic and modern drinks. We ordered a couple to enjoy while we waited for our pineapple pizza and our Ohio double bacon pizza. Eating outside was really nice, and the other patrons were really friendly and interacted with Lucy while we waited for our table. It was a really nice experience in such a beautiful corner of German Village.

Harvest Pizzeria & Curio - Columbus, Ohio

Harvest Pizzeria & Curio - Columbus, Ohio

Harvest Pizzeria & Curio - Columbus, Ohio

Katalina's Cafe Corner - brunch spot in Columbus, Ohio

Katalina's Cafe Corner - brunch spot in Columbus, Ohio

No visit to Columbus would be complete without a visit to Katalina’s Cafe Corner in Victorian Village. This carry-out style restaurant is almost Brunch Village popular— and for good reason! Katalina’s Nutella-stuffed pancake balls certainly bring out quite a crowd on Sunday mornings! Their menu is fresh, modern, and Mexican inspired (my favorite!), and includes something everyone can enjoy— even our picky toddler! Lucy loved eating bites of Phil’s french toast while I stole pieces of his sweet and spicy glazed bacon.

Though the line at Katalina’s can get long during prime brunch time, it does move really quickly, and they just updated their outdoor seating to make sure everyone can sit down when their food is ready. (There are also a few small indoor tables.) We enjoyed our delicious brunch under the shade of the table umbrellas outside and shared our community-style table with some nice Columbus gals who politely passed the napkins when we asked.

Katalina's Cafe Corner - brunch spot in Columbus, Ohio

Katalina's Cafe Corner - brunch spot in Columbus, Ohio

The North Market in Columbus, Ohio

North Market & Sunday Flea - Columbus, Ohio

Head out to the North Market in Columbus on Saturday mornings for local farmer’s bounty and visit on Sundays for the flea market where local artisans sell their creations. I was really impressed with the quality of goods for sale outside at the Market Flea— there was none of the junk you might typically find at a flea market— everything was really nice and well made! We picked up a beautiful Ohio state shaped cutting board with a nice pin-striped pattern.

Inside the North Market is a wide variety of food vendors, bakers, retail vendors, and even branches of other beloved Columbus shops, like Pistacia Vera and Destination Donuts. We had some fresh juice and smoothies and barely resisted the urge to grab some Belgian crepes (we had just eaten at Katalina’s). There’s a mezzanine level at the North Market where you can sit down to eat your food while looking down to people watch at the market below. Lucy had a lot of fun running around up there (with our close supervision, of course).

The North Market in Columbus, Ohio

The North Market in Columbus, Ohio

The North Market in Columbus, Ohio

The North Market in Columbus, Ohio

The North Market in Columbus, Ohio

Columbus is really such a great city to live in, and perfect for visiting on the weekends. If you’re just driving through Ohio, you should take some time to explore a little of Columbus! There are lots of fun things to do, and great outdoor activities that I didn’t even cover in my weekend. We can’t wait to visit again soon!

The North Market— Columbus, Ohio

Fast Molasses – Music from The Rust Belt

Fast Molasses - music from the Rust Belt

For me, summers past are marked by the music that accompanied them. 2010 was for biking downtown to the coffee shop with wayfarers on my eyes and the Black Keys in my ears.  2011 was for weekly garden parties and Motown. 2012 included swollen feet everything, Cleveland pride, and Dr. Dog on vinyl. 2013 was for manufacturing feelings of a fabulous life during cancer treatment with Ella Fitzgerald on Pandora in my forever messy kitchen. During the past four summers, music has seen me through some difficult times and even helped to develop my intense local pride for northeast Ohio. Good things come out of this place I call home, and one of them is a merry band of friends who play soul-satisfying music fit for the perfect summer sountrack.

Fast Molasses has come a long way from their Friday night house parties— and I mean that quite literally! The boys have moved all the way to the Pacific Northwest, so I don’t see them around Canton any more, but Christopher mailed me some music with a nice handwritten note, even enclosing some chocolate mint from his garden. He said I should make a pitcher of ice tea and listen to the CD with headphones on one lovely summer night. It was perfect.

If you need a little Americana in your life (Who doesn’t?), click through to listen to Fast Molasses on Bandcamp and download their new album, From the Sugarcane. Along with a pitcher of sweet tea, their music will infuse your summer with exactly what it’s been missing. Oh, and follow their adventures on Instagram here and Facebook here. Miss you guys around here! Thanks for sending the music!

Fast Molasses - music from the Rust Belt    Fast Molasses - music from the Rust Belt

Fast Molasses - music from the Rust Belt    Fast Molasses - music from the Rust Belt

Fast Molasses - music from the Rust Belt    Fast Molasses - music from the Rust Belt

Fast Molasses - music from the Rust Belt    Fast Molasses - music from the Rust Belt

top image by Sonya Kumpus

Making Nice in Columbus, Ohio

A visit to Columbus, Ohio

visit columbus, ohio

Summertime seems made for exploring. I love traveling far from home, but I think a lot of us really neglect exploring the cities near our own homes. Columbus, Ohio is a place I’ve visited lots of times through my life, but I’ve only recently begun to dive deeper into the city to see what it has to offer, aside from the obvious— Ohio State Football. (I’ve mentioned before that I married into a Buckeye-crazed family!) I’m loving the wealth of culture Columbus has to offer, and this weekend Phil and I are headed to Ohio’s capital city to experience all the fun we can in one weekend.

My sister-in-law recently moved into the German Village neighborhood of Columbus, and I’m simply smitten with its charm! We’ll be starting our weekend there, but check out all of our plans below. If you’re from Columbus, you should pretty please share you favorite spots so we can check them out!

 A visit to Columbus, Ohio

visit columbus, ohio

A visit to Columbus, Ohio
 

visit columbus, ohio

  • North Market: The large, indoor market hosts farmer’s bounty on Saturday mornings, but we’ll be there on Sunday for food and the Market Flea. I can’t wait to see what treasures I discover!
  • The Columbus Museum of Art: Free on Sundays! I’m looking forward to seeing the Modern Dialect exhibit if we have time to visit.
  • Katalina’s Cafe Corner: A small and extremely charming carry-out restaurant with space to dine in. They have nutella stuffed pancake balls! Need I say more? They’re really popular in the mornings, though, so we may stop by in the afternoon.

A visit to Columbus, Ohio

I’ll be sharing our Columbus experience next week. We’re excited to have fun, unwind, and eat to our hearts’ content this weekend! Be sure to send along your Columbus recommendations!

Wear & Share Fashion Show in Canton, Ohio

Happy Earth Week! Alright, so I missed posting on Earth Day, but that’s because I was busy getting ready to be a judge at Canton, Ohio’s second annual Wear & Share Fashion Show! If that sounds like a lot of fun, let me assure you— it was! I was invited to attend as a judge, but I left the event feeling extremely inspired and motivated to put my imagination to work with my sorely neglected mending pile at home.

The 2014 Wear & Share event was dreamed up by the fine ladies and gentlemen of ystark, a local organization that works to improve the Canton area community through knowledge, leadership and participation. The ystark committee members were inspired by Annie Leonard’s The Story of Stuffwhich focuses on reusing materials to help with the waste problem of consumerism. Wear & Share celebrates and inspires with this earth-friendly mindset, featuring the wear— on-site vendors selling repurposed clothing and accessories as well as the refashioned styles showcased on the runway— and the share— a clothing drive to share your lightly worn clothing with those who need or can repurpose them.

photos by Mallory + Justin Photographers

Canton's Wear & Share fashion show- photos by Mallory + Justin

Canton's Wear & Share fashion show- photos by Mallory + Justin

Canton's Wear & Share fashion show- photos by Mallory + Justin

Canton's Wear & Share fashion show- photos by Mallory + Justin

I’ve never attended a high style fashion show before, but I’d wager to say the Wear & Share fashion show was twice as inspiring! The showcased designers were regular folks (women and men) from my own hometown of Canton, and the outfits they crafted were fashioned from just a few dollars worth of supplies from the thrift store! It was incredible as a judge to be able to see the before photos of the supplies— dated curtains, horrible satin pajama pants, ’80s dresses with the hugest shoulders, and even neckties. The way the original elements were deconstructed and completely refashioned just blew my mind and really got my own creative wheels spinning. So inspiring!

It was so refreshing to see such a variety of styles all in one place. The diversity showcased was really encouraging. Some of the runway styles were pretty easy to wear— just like something you could wear to the office— while other styles were begging to be taken out for a night of drinks and dancing. There was pattern mixing, there was subtle use of muted materials transformed into glorious vintage-inspired duds, there was high fashion influence, and there was even a good ol’ nod to punk rock styles.

My new friends and talented photographers, Mallory + Justin, captured the entire event, so if you’d like to see more of the designer’s creations and more of the event, please check out their public gallery here. If you think something like this would be fun to do in your hometown, why not work with some creative community-minded friends to put your own event together? You don’t even have to wait for Earth Day!

photos by Mallory + Justin Photographers

Canton's Wear & Share fashion show- photos by Mallory + Justin

Canton's Wear & Share fashion show- photos by Mallory + Justin

Canton's Wear & Share fashion show- photos by Mallory + Justin

Canton's Wear & Share fashion show- photos by Mallory + Justin

Canton's Wear & Share fashion show- photos by Mallory + Justin

Canton's Wear & Share fashion show- photos by Mallory + Justin

Canton's Wear & Share fashion show- photos by Mallory + Justin

Canton's Wear & Share fashion show- photos by Mallory + Justin

Canton's Wear & Share fashion show- photos by Mallory + Justin

Canton's Wear & Share fashion show- photos by Mallory + Justin

Canton's Wear & Share fashion show- photos by Mallory + Justin

Canton's Wear & Share fashion show- photos by Mallory + Justin

photos by Mallory + Justin Photographers

A VISIT TO: Happy Dog in Cleveland

A visit to Happy Dog in Cleveland, Ohio
Don’t you love traveling to new cities, falling in love with new restaurants, shops, and people, but then get kinda sad when it’s time to go back to your boring ol’ town? I used to feel like that in my early twenties, before I began branching out and meeting new people and places where I live in Northeast Ohio. Now I’m quite content traipsing about from Canton, to Akron, to Cleveland, and back. There are so many amazing places if you know where to look, and if your city’s like Cleveland, you have to know where to look— and often, that’s not downtown.

If you head west from downtown Cleveland and over the bridge, you’ll find yourself in a thriving part of the city, known as Ohio City, where there are a lot of great shops and restaurants. If you go a bit further, you’ll end up in the heart of a newly thriving corner of Cleveland known as the Gordon Square Arts District. In the summertime particularly, this neighborhood comes alive with an artful colliding of cultures, artists, music, and FOOD. And one place in particular manages to mash it all together so nicely. That place, my friends, is Happy Dog.

Happy Dog in Cleveland, Ohio

Happy Dog is about as simple as it gets. Its menu is all dogs, made locally from their own recipe, and even including a nice vegan sausage if you’re not into the whole meat thing. Dogs, tots, and fries are all you’ll find, but you may just be blown away by the long list of toppings and sauces you can pile on top. From silly toppings such as breakfast cereal and peanut butter to complex sauces like oaxacon red chili and chocolate mole, the beginning of the fun at Happy Dog is deciding what adventure your taste buds will experience this time. You just sit down, fill out your checklist of toppings, and order a drink while you wait for your dogs.

A visit to Happy Dog in Cleveland, Ohio

The truly great thing about Happy Dog isn’t the delicious dogs, though. This restaurant truly captures the Cleveland vibe I’ve come to know and love since discovering more of the city. At first it comes across as just an old fashioned corner bar, but once you settle in, Happy Dog oozes a totally contemporary vibe with its casual atmosphere, craft beer, surprisingly diverse live music, and bustling atmosphere filled with locals of all ages and backgrounds.

Happy Dog in Cleveland, Ohio

A visit to Happy Dog in Cleveland, Ohio

Happy Dog in Cleveland, Ohio

Fun is number one at Happy Dog, so be sure to bring a roll of quarters for the vintage arcade games, juke box, or for the game room/bar below, called Underdog. Yes, that’s right- they have a game room and even more bar space below! If you’re into old arcade games, Happy Dog will be an extra special treat. And their craft beer selection is pretty good too. Perfect place for a Friday night!

If you’re in the Cleveland area, be sure to head out to the Gordon Square neighborhood and enjoy a casual meal at Happy Dog!

Happy Dog in Cleveland, Ohio

Happy Dog in Cleveland, Ohio

A visit to Happy Dog in Cleveland, Ohio

Happy Dog in Cleveland, Ohiocleveland hot dog restaurant

 
 
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