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)!

IMG_5301IMG_5303IMG_5302

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

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.

    MissionCoffee

    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.

    DoughMama

    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.

    FoxinSnow

    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.
sunflowers

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.

lynds

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.

goodale selfie

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?

IMG_5185

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 Places: Columbus Metropolitan Library – Main Branch

Libraries… what a drag. Amirite? OF COURSE I’M NOT, YOU LOON.

I love the library and, honestly, I think that graduate school made me forget that. I spent a good deal of time in the Thompson Library Reading Room to get me out of the house and focus a bit more. A graduate degree, well an M.A. at least, meant researching for hours and writing for hours about things that were absolutely fascinating, don’t get me wrong, but just were not…well fun. It was work! As a result, I had no real desire to go to a library of my own free will. Hadn’t even thought about going. I’ve been on a big buying books kick lately…but one only has so much shelf space.

Lately, and I’ll go into this in another post eventually, I have been dipping my toe into the design world. I watched the amazing Netflix Documentary “Abstract” on the amazing Paula Scher and decided I wanted to be her when I grew up. So, in addition to learning how to blog, I’m also learning about graphic design, which I will also write about – You guys have so much to look forward to. Anyways, I had a free afternoon, and, after brunching on the largest cinnamon roll I’ve ever encountered at the new Grandview Cafe, I ventured downtown to check out the newly renovated Main branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library.

As soon as I stepped out of the elevator and into the main entry, I was awe-struck and inspired. I mean, first off, LOOK AT THIS COOL SCULPTURE!

IMG_4902.JPG

This behemoth of a piece greets you in the main entry of the Main library. I couldn’t find any information about the piece in the Library, but after a brief Google search, it seems that the artist’s name is Virginia Overton and that the materials used are from the renovation. So that’s pretty cool. I love art that demands your attention. And these giant metal spheres do just that as they hang mid-air, adding another dimension to the classical architecture of the building’s facade.

Overall, the space was full of windows (read “more natural light than you thought was possible inside but in the best way possible”), high ceilings, and it was very crisp with white and gray color themes. It was absolutely gorgeous. There are tons of chairs and spaces to find that perfect reading or sketching spot. The view from the top floor overlooking Topiary Park was also pretty great. Being a native Pennsylvanian, I constantly marvel at the flatness of Central Ohio, and I love being high up and seeing as far as I can. We have mountains in PA that block those kinds of things…

I was in the library for a few hours getting lost in the non-fiction sections, specifically, in design books thanks to my new obsession. I walked away with a copy of “Women in Design” by Bryony Gomez-Palacio  and a copy of “Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert, both of which I cannot wait to plow through (thoughtfully of course) and review for you all here. Yay new blog post ideas!

 

Until next time,

Jessie

P.S.

I’m not sure how long to make these posts or even really how to end these things…I’m still pretty new at this. Let me know if you’ve visited the library recently and been inspired! Or just let me know if you wanted to read less/more about what I did there. I’m always open to suggestions!