Creative Happenings: Taste and Talk

You know what I love more than good food? Ok, I actually can’t write that with a straight face, so instead….You know what I love just as much as good food? The answer is conversing with those responsible for the good food. That is exactly what I had the privilege of doing a few weeks ago at my new favorite neighborhood haunt: Bleu & Fig. The owners of the event space in Clintonville (check out my last post for some more in depth info on B&F) invited some of the best local food entrepreneurs set up shop for the evening and invited attendees to taste their creations.

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Salumi Couture

What is a party without a little charcuterie? Answer: Not a party that I want to be at. Especially not without the delicious cured meats handmade by Chef Dave Lesgold. Available for sampling were four of his most popular meats (all named after Ninja Turtles, btw). My personal favorite was the warm and chewy April, Lesgold’s take on Sopressata. Paired with the gruyere cheese and fig jam (also homemade), this was such a fabulous symphony in my mouth. Sometimes cured meats can be a little tough, but all of the samples had the most splendid textures, not too chewy, but almost buttery. So yummy. You can’t order online yet, but if you’re local, you can find a list of where to find these bites here.

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Bacca Coffee

I had never heard of Bacca before sampling their delish cold brew that night, and now I can’t stop thinking about it. Chatting with one of Bacca’s co-founders, Jared, I learned that they roast in small batches right in downtown and these guys know their coffee! The cold brew was perfectly balanced and they even sell it in a bag to store in your fridge. Like wine in a box, but for your mornings! I also just want to take a moment to compliment their adorable branding. They got style – Check them out for yourself!

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The Cheesecake Girl and 1201 Wine

For sampling, there was white chocolate and pumpkin pecan cheesecake bites from the Cheesecake Girl! They conveniently paired with the selection of wines from Baltimore, Ohio winery, 1201 Wine. My favorite combination was the white chocolate cheesecake with the pinot noir

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As always, there were samplings of more of Bleu & Fig’s spectacular dishes including a warm and comforting roasted fall vegetable risotto, tender rosemary focaccia bread, a spicy chai crinkle cookie, and their signature candied bacon – the perfect sweet and savory treat.

 

Every bite and sip at Talk and Taste was made by a local entrepreneur that is passionate about their craft. It was inspiring to speak with these local business owners and her about their journey to finding their food niche. It was a great evening and I enjoyed supporting these small businesses. I love shopping small for the holidays and I think I got a head start for gift ideas! I hope that after reading you did too!

 

Until next time!

Jessie

 

 

Being Creative: Inspiration from Big Magic

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert (of Eat. Pray, Love fame) is a life line for Creatives. I had had this book on my reading list for a long time, and I finally was able to finish it! This is only the second book that I have finished reading since my graduation from my Master’s program… It is apparently taking me a while to get back into the concept of reading for fun. This book, however, was more than just a book for me to read and then shelve. There was some meat to this piece of literature, which is part of the reason why it took me so ling to finish. It is a manual for those who are called to be creative and it really changed my outlook on my understanding of what it means to “be creative” and how a creative lives a creative life. I want to take a moment to discuss a few of the quotes and concepts that have stuck in my brain.

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“Big Magic”
Gilbert themes her book around the idea that creativity is a concept of “Big Magic”, meaning that it’s not something that can be fully understood, and often acts in mysterious ways that we can and can’t control. It is a paradox, one that many people spend their whole lives trying to solve. Being creative mens living in this world of simultaneous extremes, and if we are not careful, this uncertainty can lead us away from creative living, as fear of uncertainty backs us into corners. Creativity works in mysterious ways, and we have to embrace the concept of the “magic” in order for it to work. Faith, trust, and a little pixie dust, if you will.

“Argue for your limitations, and you get to keep them”
This one hit me like a brick to the face. I never realized how many hours in the day I spend arguing with myself and others about why I can’t do something. As a younger creative, I think I spend a lot of time standing in my own way. I don’t know enough, I’m not experienced enough, I’m not, I’m not. I’m not. But what if I spent my time trying to fight through and overcome my limitations and find ways around them instead of fighting for why I can’t? “Fear is boring” is another phrase that Gilbert uses and one that I have adopted as a personal mantra. Fear IS boring. It holds us back, and keeps us in our mundane boxes that we inflict upon ourselves. And if we fight kicking and screaming to get out of these boxes, people will leave us there and we will never feel the need to leave. Don’t box yourself inside your limitations, and don’t let fear make your life boring.

“Live a decorated life”
We spend a great deal of time on this Earth in boring situations, in boring places, and life is too short for boring. Why wouldn’t we want to add our touch to the parts of life that we can effect? I never understood why I was attracted to the arts, in particular music, design, and lettering, in the way that I was until I heard the concept of a decorated life. I don’t want the spaces that I inhabit to be boring. If I can decorate the places and spaces that I frequent, then they are no longer boring. I can leave my mark and the world will be a better place because of it, because someone cared to decorate.

“Curiosity”
My favorite concept that Gilbert discusses is the relationship between creativity and curiosity. The idea that creativity is more about the pursuit of knowledge and pursuing inquisitiveness than just pure passion and mystery is much more encouraging. When you base your life and understanding of who you are as being a “creative”, it is mildly terrifying to think that you do not have control. But Gilbert asserts that we DO have control. You just have to be in control of your ability to lose control and pursue those pieces of ideas that get stuck in your head. “I don’t know yet exactly what I am, but I’m curious enough to go find out.”

Finally, “You do not need anyone’s permission to live a creative life.”
Building upon my earlier discussion about standing in my own way and being insistent on telling others that I can’t, this point also resonated with me in that I don’t need approval for my creative pursuits. I don’t want to sound like my family and friends have never been supportive in my creativity, they actually are very supportive, but I am terrified about unleashing my creativity upon others that I am less familiar with. If the greater world doesn’t think I’m a good creative, then I must suck, right? Every mom has put her kids’ artwork on the fridge, so the validity of family approval loses it’s importance after awhile.

Like many creatively minded people, I stumble and I struggle, and I get discouraged in my creative pursuits. While reading Big Magic, I found myself frequently saying “me too”. It was nice to feel that there is another (much more accomplished) creative out there who has struggled with the same things that I deal with on a regular basis. The wisdom that Elizabeth Gilbert has imparted to others who struggle with their concept of creativity is encouragement to help us face down our fears, uncertainties, and desires for approval.  Creative living means simply to keep moving despite all of this and recognize it is our job to accomplish what we need to do to fulfill our creative duty.

I hope you found these thoughts to be encouraging to you as well, and I hope that you also take a minute to read this book. If you’ve already read it, let me know in the comments below!

Til next time,

Jessie

 

Creative Places: Bleu & Fig

Sorry I was MIA last week…sometimes our bodies just need to rest. I took a little break and I am back and better than ever! Well, better at least. Anyhow, before I took my time off, I was able to attend a fabulous fundraiser for my work at an amazing local spot, Bleu & Fig. You probably have passed by this little gem on High St. in North Clintonville (Beechwold to some). This is not your typical run of the mill restaurant however, this is not a “restaurant” in the traditional sense. This is a one of a kind event space with catering run by the innovative and charming Chef Brooke Kinsey.  Brooke and her team helped us to make sure the event was absolutely flawless and it was a fantastic night for a number of reasons, including the amazing food and atmosphere. Creativity shines at this space while still retaining a homey and timeless feel.

The event space at Bleu & Fig is the best blank canvas for an event, but it’s not just your typical “gray box” of a space. It is blank in the way that the decor is striking, but neutral. This allows you to customize your decorations as you see fit, but if you’re more on the minimalist side, you also don’t have to bring anything! This space is perpetually ready to party! One of my favorite parts of the space, and while this might sound odd, was their welcoming bathroom! There is nothing worse than rusted-out bathroom stalls to kill a mood for an event. You do NOT need to worry about this at Bleu & Fig (see below). Their walls display striking paper flowers (made by hand by B&F’s staff). Another special touch was the hand lettered window panes made by none other than Clintonville’s own NatterDoodle (who is also one of my favorite local artists)!

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The piece de resistance at every event is obviously THE FOOD, And Bleu & Fig delivers beyond expectations. From the beginning of planning the dinner, Chef Brooke was so helpful in assisting with planning the menu and every dish shines with her unique touch. We were lucky enough to have our event right at the peak end of summer growing season. Our menu was infused with so many fresh ingredients picked right from the garden in front of the venue. I saw the staff picking veggies right before they put out dinner! I’m pretty confident that I have never had an ingredient that fresh from a restaurant. Our dinner featured Honey Yeast Bread, Fresh Dressed Greens, Summer Vegetable Orzo, Honey Thyme Carrots, and Bruschetta Chicken. For dessert, Chef Brooke blessed us with a fantastically sweet and sticky, yet crumbly apple crisp. While seemingly standard, each dish had a special touch that surprised the palate. Whether it was a secret blend of herbs and spices or just Chef Brooke’s talented hands that made each aspect of the meal so delicious, I am not sure. I do know, however, that this was hands down one of the best meals I have ever had, and I didn’t even have to fly to a fancy metropolitan city, it was literally just down the road (#blessed).

Unfortunately, Bleu & Fig is not open for regular business, but they do host monthly events, such as a Sunday Brunch ( I have heard rumors of a candied bacon tower). I definitely plan on making sure that I snag one of those reservations for their next open event because I am not yet wealthy enough to hire a personal chef! I cannot recommend enough the talented chef and staff of Bleu & Fig for any and all catering needs, and their gorgeous space in Clintonville for your next event that you don’t feel like hosting!

Til next time,

Jessie

Being Creative: Turning Veggies into Baked Goods

This summer, we had an amazing community garden at work (Thanks, Columbus Foundation – you rock). Summer veggies were in high abundance! We had multiple zucchinis the size of some of the lil ones at work. This past weekend, we had one zuke left over from the day’s haul. I didn’t want this guy left alone to rot over the weekend, so necessity demanded that I adopt this zucchini.

Now if you’re my mother reading this, you are probably thinking “this girl has never willingly decided to take a vegetable home”, but I did. Look at me now, Ma! I took this zucchini home. After I got the behemoth squash in my kitchen, I’ll be honest, it was pretty intimidating. This is a large vegetable. So what do I do? Naturally, I take to Pinterest. And what do I find? I find a CHOCOLATE ZUCCHINI BREAD recipe. That’s right. Chocolate.

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Had a quarter of the zucchini left over, even!

I found this baby, courtesy of twopeasandtheirpod, and man am I glad that I did. I took my recipe to the local Trader Joe’s, which, I was very glad to discover, has everything that one needs for this baking project. This is from scratch here, and I am not the kind of cook that regularly keeps flour stocked in her kitchen. If you are, then you are one step ahead of me!

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My Kitchen Aid mixing bowls are my favorite. Thanks, Ma!

I got to work prepping and shredding the zucchini (pro tip: I have since made this recipe 2 more times and the best times have been when the zucchini was patted with a paper towel to remove excess moisture.), mixing my wet and dry ingredients separately, and of course getting cocoa powder everywhere as one is prone to do when simultaneously dancing while baking.

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I enjoy that Trader Joe, when baking become his German counterpart, Baker Josef on their baking items. That’s good branding! 

You stick this bad boy in the oven at 350 degrees for 50-60 mins (every time that I have made it, I’m usually closer to 60-65 minutes, but I also used a 6×8 pan instead of her recipe’s 5×9). And then the oven does it’s magic!

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What comes out is the deliciously chocolatey bread that is honestly more cake-like than bread-like. It would also be great for muffin tins for smaller servings to eat throughout the week. I always eat one slice right out of the oven. Obviously you have to taste test your baking. How else would you know it was acceptable to share with the public? Its a great recipe for sharing with a group of friends, office mates, and even picky boyfriends. There is no way that you could tell that there were veggies in this gooey, chocolately bread. So look at that, Ma! I can eat my veggies…when combined with enough sugar, butter, and chocolate 🙂

I hope that you enjoy this recipe as much as I do, especially if you have some lingering late summer zucchini! Enjoy!

-Jessie

P.S. Sorry about the photos – the lighting in my kitchen is not the best! #apartmentliving

Creative Happenings: Country Living Fair 2017

Hey Hey! I hope that everyone is having a great week, and also enjoying this summer like weather that we are having here in the Cbus…I’m a little over it, personally.  Honestly, I hope it ends soon because I have already put up my fall decor, and I would like to unpack my sweaters and boots. You listening, mother nature?

This past weekend, my parents came to town for a quick trip. I always love when my parents come to visit and I get to share my new city with them. It might come as a surprise to you that I am a country gal at heart. I grew up in a small town outside of Pittsburgh…and my house was in the middle of a field. And what has fields? You guessed it. A farm! Yes. I basically grew up on a farm. Farm adjacent if you will. That being said, I have since embraced the big city lifestyle with my move to Columbus a few years ago. However, you can take a girl out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the girl. My mother is entirely to blame for instilling a love of hand crafts and shabby chic decor in me during my upbringing. Naturally, we also share a love of thumbing through the Country Living Magazine  in the grocery check-out line. It was a no-brainer since they were in town that we check out the Country Living Fair!

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My momma and I being all cute in front of a cart full of mums!

Being relatively new to Columbus, I didn’t know that this lovely slice of country heaven annually visits the city. The Fair takes place at Ohio Village, right next to the Ohio History Connection. The Village was the best setting that I could have imagined for the Fair. It was the quaintest back drop for the pages of Country Living Magazine to come to life. Like seriously, though. The place was set up for a photo shoot! There were vendors selling everything from hand painted signs to baskets, christmas ornaments, antiques, and all kinds of upcycling! There were local artisans as well as makers from all parts of the country. There were also food vendors – a majority of whom served out of the cutest little trailers.

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There were many parts of the Country Living Fair, but it was getting toasty, so my parents and I retreated to the coolness of the A/C after only 2 hours. But not before I took a photo of this beautiful gourd pyramid!

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Who doesn’t love a good fall squash display? It was a quick trip for us this year, but next year, hopefully the summer will have simmered down a bit for this Columbus tradition, because I will be back! I didn’t buy anything this year, but my mom was on the hunt for a porch sign for the house in PA. She was successful and found the cutest lil metal sign to welcome our PA guests to their wrap around porch. I do miss that view! But I also love that I can find the country in Columbus.

Until next time!

-Jessie

Creative Places: Fall Inspiration Part 2 – The Great Indoors

Now I love being outside and enjoying the cool, crisp Fall air and the crunchy leaves, but let’s be real here – Fall in Ohio has its dreary days. The weather also can just decide to be freezing in the morning and then nice in the afternoon and back again, making it difficult to plan to always be outdoors. Therefore, I think its great to have some solid indoor options for when you are seeking some creative spaces to enjoy some of fall’s more comfy pleasures. To me, this means richer, heartier textures and spaces that scream “Fall” as much as changing leaves do. These are a few of my favorite indoor spaces during the Fall season.

  1. Mission Coffee Co. – During your visit, you will experience the full spectrum of plaid flannels colors, and more beards than you saw on last week’s Game of Thrones episode, but I mean that in the best way. This shop is in the Short North, so you should have been well aware of what you were were getting into here. However, if there is one thing we do trust the hipsters with in Columbus, it is our coffee. Mission is a warm shop with exposed brick, hard wood, and an awesome garage door style storefront. The windows let you people watch the best of the Short North Who’s Who while you relax on a comfy couch with acoustic indie playing softly in the background. The atmosphere here is the perfect classic, hip coffee shop. And that’s just the environment. Mission is an excellent cup o’joe. They are a no frills kind of joint with the standard coffee and espresso offerings. All of their coffees are locally roasted, which is a plus (cue Kristen Wiig “that is freshhhh”). Their specialty, however, is definitely their “hand brewed” menu. Mission has the most unique ways that you can have your coffee brewed, which changes the way your joe tastes. The methods include the Clover(my favorite), Chemex, V60, Woodneck, Siphon, and the standard drip. Try them all to find your new favorite way to brew a coffee that is anything but regular.

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    Photo Credit: Instagram @Missioncoffeeco

  2. Dough Mama – One of the best new additions to the Clintonville Bakery scene is the cute and quirky Dough Mama. I visited one chilly morning to wait for it to warm up before hitting the Cville Farmer’s Market with my gal pals. We had a BOMB brunch at this sunny spot. While it was chilly outside, inside Dough Mama, it is anything but. We are talking biscuits, pies, sandwiches, cookies and muffins. These are hearty and rustic offerings. I had a ham biscuit sandwich with potatoes and it was bone sticking farmers market trekking fare. The biscuit was buttery and flaky, with salty ham and a crispy, soft fried egg. This warm and savory treat is exactly what you need to get through a cool Fall morning. The atmosphere inside is also so inviting you might not want to leave. There are houseplants, wall hangings by local artists, and a neat offering of locally made goods for sale in the front. Dough Mama just feels like home should in the Fall.

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    Brunch at the sunniest lil table at Dough Mama. P. S. It’s Thunderkiss Coffee

  3. Fox in the Snow – If you haven’t been to Fox in the Snow by now, I’m sure you have at least heard of it. This cafe/bakery skyrocketed to fame when it opened in Italian Village a little over 2 years ago. While they don’t have wi-fi (which is a nice change of space, unfortunately it’s not somewhere to work remotely), it is a great place to meet for a huge cinnamon roll and a fresh pour-over coffee. The shop sits on 4th St and you have a perfect view of what an urban Autumn looks like outside of the garage style doors. My favorite feature, aside from the obvious stacks on stacks of baked goods in the counter case, is the ability to look in on the bakers as they continue to bake up a storm. It is mesmerizing to watch them roll and cut the cinnamon buns. I love watching processes. It is always fun to marvel at an end product, but the process is even more important to appreciate.

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    The pastry case to beat all pastry cases at Fox in the Snow. You see those icing pillows in the corner? Yea, there are cinnamon rolls under there.

I hope that you all have enjoyed my sharing of my fall inspiration spots. There is always something to be inspired by in this city, and Fall is no exception. What are your favorite indoor spots to kick back and relax during fall? Let me know and you might see me there sometime soon!

Til Next Time!

Jessie

Creative Places: Fall Inspiration Part 1 – Nature

Happy Fall Y’all! Well not really…but it’s cold enough to wear a sweater in the morning finally and I will call that fall-enough for me! This change of the weather has me buying new jeans and digging out my ankle boots and scarves. But it’s not just my closet that is changing over. I’m trading in my iced cold brews for pumpkin spice lattes and I’m trading florals and neons for leaves and jewel tones. It’s a whole new season full of different ways to be inspired and I’m excited to share a few of those with you. Maybe you will be inspired in your own creative endeavors to embrace the change in seasons!

Part 1 will be all about…Nature!

Nature is always an easy muse, and fall is a great time to return to your roots (see what I did there?). Nature provides not only fabulous Instagram photos, but great shapes and colors to incorporate into your creativity.  Changing leaves, sunflowers and mums, pumpkins, apple orchards, all great for color and shape inspirations. Something about being in nature and marveling at the effects that the different seasons have on our environment gets the creative juices flowing.  Fall in Ohio is absolutely breathtaking. Even the most urban neighborhoods take on this natural beauty.

A mission to seek inspiration from nature gives you an excellent reason to get out of the house and to take some trips both inside and outside the Columbus. Here are a few of my favorite natural destinations as well as some places that I have not been, but are on my Fall Travel Bucket List:

  1. Tecumseh Land Trust – Sunflowers! a whole field of em! If that doesn’t get you excited, maybe nature just is not your thing.
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Photo credit: Tecumseh Land Trust

2. Lynd Fruit Farms – Apple Picking and an adorable farmer’s market. As well as some delicious cider and pumpkin donuts. Makes for a great day trip which turns into an evening full of fantastic apple baked goods.

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Shot from last year’s trip out to the Lynd apple orchard with some of my gal pals. It was mid October and the lighting was perfect.

3. Goodale Park – Its a fabulous natural oasis right in the middle of downtown. It is full of ginkgo trees, which are my favorite shade of yellow when they turn colors. There is also a nice pond with a great fountain. There are many places to put down a blanket and pull out a sketchbook. There are also, often, a lot of dogs around if you’re out on a weekend. I love a good fluff butt interruption while I’m out. Something about petting a dog just instantly lifts the spirits.

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Me and the bf taking advantage of the gingko yellow trees and fabulous morning light in Goodale Park

4. The OSU Oval – The best view of the famed “Oval” on the OSU campus is from the top floor of the Thompson Library. Did you know, you don’t have to be an OSU student to use the OSU library system? That also goes for using the top floor study lounge for snapping gorgeous pics. It would also be a great place to sit and sketch, letter, or read. It’s a quiet study floor, so you can have complete concentration and a killer view. Grab a PSL and spend an afternoon soaking it all in.

5. Hocking Hills – This one is a bucket lister right here. I feel awful for saying that I haven’t been to the biggest Fall attraction in Ohio. I am hoping to take a visit out this fall. I have only heard amazing things and the photos on the travel websites are also phenomenal. I cannot wait to see the beauty first hand. If you’ve been – please let me know your favorite stops!

What are your favorite fall nature destinations? Have you ever gone leafpeeping? What has the fall foliage inspired you to create?

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My September inspired lettering from this week! Artist Loft Metallic Watercolors, Pentel Aquabrush, and Tombow Mono Drawing Pen

Stay tuned next week for Part 2 of my Fall inspiration series!

-Jessie

Creative Happenings: Urban Scrawl 2017

Hello! I hope everyone was able to get out and enjoy this B-E-A-Utiful weather that us in Central Ohio are having the pleasure of enjoying, currently. It was a fabulous weekend for exploring our fair city. It was also, coincidentally, the weekend for Urban Scrawl, a massive art event that occurs in the Franklinton Arts District, an area directly west of down town that has become a local arts haven over the last decade or so. There are a TON of local artists that live and work in the neighborhood and it has the delicious, gritty, urban, art feel. There are these amazing warehouse spaces, old brick, and grimy windows that just scream to be used as a backdrop for creatives to work their magic.

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Neighborhood signature mural outside of the 400 W Rich Studios

I used to intern at a fancy lil organization called the STEAM Factory, a collaborative research initiative of The Ohio State University that calls Franklinton home. As a result, I spent a decent amount of the Spring of 2016 exploring the 400 W Rich Studios and the neighborhood that is known as “East Franklinton”.  Franklinton Fridays became this area’s version of the Short North’s “Gallery Hop”, and the studios would be open and there would be art everywhere. This neighborhood is also home to one of my favorite restaurants,  Strongwater Food and Drink (my internship supervisor used to have a drink named after him, which to me, that’s how you know you’ve made it), and Land Grant Brewing, which is a cleverly marketed craft brewery that brews delicious libations. It is an up and coming area that is keeping local arts at the center of it’s development.

Urban Scrawl is a special event that has been occurring every summer since 2007, and it contributes to the artist driven community improvement that is happening in Franklinton. Basically, artists from all over the city have an opportunity to create amazing mural projects over the two day festival and these pieces are then made available for purchase, benefitting a cause that supports the arts community. This year, the proceeds will benefit the new Franklinton Arts District’s George Bellow’s Artist Fellowship. The Fellowship “… provides funding in support of individual artists, artistic collaborations, and community-based organizations investing in the fundamental value of arts and culture in the Franklinton community.”. Now how cool is that? Artists supporting artists – that is what truly creates a community.

The vibe at this festival is truly one of a kind. When I walked into the back alley way, I was met first by the strong smell of paint. And there was a LOT of paint in use back in the mural area. Blick Art Materials was sponsoring the event, and they had even more gallons upon gallons of acrylic paint available for the artists to use. As I walked around, it was clear that the visual arts talent in Columbus is truly larger than life. These murals were ginormous. To me, there is nothing cooler than art that forces you to pay attention to it, and that is exactly what these murals did. They demanded attention. Even though there were a few hundred people all milling about, the art was the centerpiece. It was such an experience to be able to walk down the aisles and see the artists in the throes of their creativity. There was so much drama and action in the way that they were working. It was the best kind of reality tv show. I could watch these guys all day. Here are some of my favorites in action:

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Maureen E. Clark‘s beginning of a downtown cityscape

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Awesome psychadelic mural by Elise Alexander

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Massive Dandelion Mural. Could not find the artist’s name…

I’m a bit saddened that I wasn’t able to make it back Sunday night to see the completed pieces. The energy and excitement that I felt on Saturday, however, was promising that these pieces would be truly astounding. If I had a vaulted ceiling in my apartment, I would be back for the auction event for sure. However, most of these pieces are much too large for my teeny place. If you weren’t able to make it out this past weekend, I highly recommend liking the Franklinton Arts District Facebook page to keep in the know of all the artistic happenings down in this ‘hood. It’s an authentic arts neighborhood with much cheaper parking than it’s Short North counterpart. If you haven’t been yet, what are you waiting for?

Til next time!

Jessie

Creative Eats: Boodle Night at Bonifacio

First off, sorry this is a day late, my dedicated readers. I was so distracted by the solar eclipse yesterday that I forgot I had important things to do; like write my next blog post!

I love going out to eat as much as the next guy, as in I really really like it. No prep, no cooking, no dishes, no needing to remember to thaw the chicken…it’s pretty great. But I will also say that sometimes you get into a habit, and it is no longer the most exciting thing. You start going to the same places over and over again, and deciding where you want to eat becomes a chore, as well as the source of 95% of all conflict in a relationship if choosing with a significant other. This is where I must say I really love Cbus, because there is a new restaurant opening every other week. This means that you can mix up your eating establishment of choice with relative ease. It also let’s you be adventurous when you choose.

A few weeks ago, one of my internship buds and I decided to give Bonifacio a try. I had eaten here for brunch before (mega yum incase you are wondering. I highly recommend their brunch as well), so I was interested to try them out for some happy hour bites and drinks as well. Much to our surprise, when we arrived that Thursday night, we were greeted with the tables covered in banana leaves and told that it was “Boodle Night”, meaning that you selected from a pre fixe menu of delicious filipino goodies to eat in the traditional Kamayan style (this means you eat with your fingers, btw).

So we were for sure intrigued. We sat down and looked at the tables around us piled high with meat, rice, and other noms to nosh. We ordered our $4 drink specials (frozen margarita for me and a pina colada for A), and our entree selections. We chose Garlic Rice, Saffron Rice, Sigsig (a delightful pork and hot peppers diced and sautéed) , Chicken Adobo( bone-in chicken in sweet and savory adobo seasoning), Lumpia (super yummy spring rolls), and Bok Choy.

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When the food arrived, it was quite literally poured onto the table, rice first, and then piled with our meats and veggies. The rice was super hot, which made eating with the fingers a little tricky at first. The technique is not the most difficult to master, but you definitely feel like your mother is somewhere cringing because her “I raised my child in polite company and they are currently eating like a peasant” senses are tingling. It’s unorthodox, but it works! And it might be my new dining method of choice if I’m honest. It was a whole new way to really connect with your food and connect with the person you are sharing your meal with. It can get delightfully awkward as you both are literally shoving food in your faces, but you laugh it off and embrace the new experience.

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We ended the meal with the ube ice cream sandwich, recently deemed by Yelp to be the best ice cream sandwich in Ohio. It’s very yummy, 100% unique and 100% instagram friendly. It’s so pretty and purple. The fried bun is basically a donut, the ice cream is a gorgeous purple, there’s tasty coconut strings, and, oh, yea, topped with fruity pebbles.

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I view food to be one of the highest forms of art and creativity, so I am looking forward to exploring the other creative food experiences available in Columbus and sharing them here.  Food, like music, and visual art, is a way for people to connect and share an experience. It also requires a lot of thought on the part of the chef to put together in an engaging manner. I was definitely inspired by my Boodle Night experience at Bonifacio and I highly recommend it for a creative and adventurous twist for your next dining out excursion!

Til Next Time,

Jessie

Being Creative: Weekend of Lettering and Line Illustrations

Hey Guys! Going on week 3 of the blogger lifestyle. I might be starting to get the hang of it! You’re still here, reading away, so I guess I must be doing something ya like. Thanks for sticking with me!

Anyway, I needed to take a break this weekend. I don’t know about you, but last week was CRAZY. I built a playground for my day job with 327 other volunteers from around Columbus. It was clearly a very chill experience. Actually no. Not even close. I cannot even joke about the lack of chill that was last week’s activities for this playground. It was fun, but it was a lot of work.  And I love my job, but sometimes, even the best jobs can completely drain all of your energy.

For me, when I am drained, I need to hit the reset button and recenter myself. My favorite way to do this is to create something. Lately, I have been playing around with one of my favorite instagrammer’s, @pigeonlettering a.k.a Peggy Dean’s, fabulous step-by-step illustration book, Botanical Line Drawing. I’ve never really considered myself an “artist”. I am an “amateur doodler” at best. But this book makes me feel like a pro!

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I’ve been practicing hand lettering for about 6 months now. I’m still not sure if it’s hand lettering or brush letting or brush calligraphy, (the blogging community has yet to come to a consensus on that one). I LOVE IT. I get to buy pretty pens that come in all the pretty colors and write pretty words and phrases and add some beauty to an otherwise dull world. It’s also really fun to send cards in pretty envelopes to brighten dreary mailboxes as well. My favorite pens are from Pentel, but Tombow’s markers are also fun. It just depends on the vibe you are going for, and the size of the piece. I’m a little clumsier with the Tombow DualBrush Markers, and the Pentel Sign Brush pens have a more flexible tip. But I’m still really new to the lettering game, I’m hoping to one day be able to make amazing letterings with any markers like all the instagrammers do, but it takes time. I love practicing lettering and I find it very calming. I love words, and letters, so making them myself is extremely gratifying.

I love studying different type and fonts and learning how different styles can make you feel. I was always that kid in computer class playing with the different fonts in Word to make sure that I had the best cover page. I also have always been the girl that wrote everything in cursive when she learned it in 4th grade. My printing is awful, but it’s ok, we are working on it! I found out about hand lettering while browsing around on Pinterest and Instagram. Before I knew it,I had bought some pens and paper and I was lettering. I’m still learning and refining my style. If you like what you see, let me know. I’m thinking about opening an Etsy shop…

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I spent some time with my sketchbook and a glass of wine on Saturday night, and this is what I came up with. Lettering: Pentel Color Brush, Line work: Tombow MONO Drawing Pen, and Color: Tombow Twintone Markers in Pastel. It was a great way to destress and calm my mind. I apologize for the sketchy color lines. I was trying a new, different style to fill in my illustrations, and some of it looks better than the rest. Just another excuse to keep practicing I guess!

I hope you are all enjoying your last few days of summer. I know I am clinging to them. But I am also ready for everything pumpkin. Summer color palettes are way better, though. Win some, lose some, I suppose.

Have a great week everyone! and thanks for reading!

Best,

Jessie