Talk Of The Town

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The New York Times recently featured a very interesting article on the evolution of Columbus’ vibrant arts district, the Short North. Mentioning not only the transformation of the area from forgotten to happening, the article discussed the Short North’s future growth. Construction of Columbus’ first ever full-service, modernist, boutique hotel, The Joseph, is underway. Designed by Miami-based architectural firm Arquitectonica, The Joseph will feature 135 rooms, an in-house restaurant and spa. (I need to book a massage when it opens!) The hotel will also serve as a place to showcase Columbus-based developer Ron Pizzuti’s world-class art collection. The article also walks you through Columbus’ renaissance, mentioning upcoming projects the city has planned.

Read more of the article here and see why Columbus is such an evolving city and wonderful place to live!

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Favorite Things – July

1. Zella ‘Go’ Shorts – This brand is AWESOME! I bought these shorts at the Nordstrom anniversary sale and they are the most comfortable pair of work-out shorts ever! Also, take a look at the Zella ‘Live-In’ Leggings, they are the best!

2. Entwine Pinot Grigio – Light, crisp and citrusy, this wine is perfect for any occasion.

3. Homage – This funky, Columbus based, vintage t-shirt store opened their second location last week at Easton Town Center. They have a large selection of Ohio State, as well as other Collegiate, apparel that is beyond soft and artistically designed.

4. Clinique Eye Shadow Brush – A go-to make-up brush that applies eye shadow evenly.

5. Calvin Klein No-Show Socks (Men) – I bought these socks for Jon and they are a life saver! No longer do his Sperry’s have an odor.

6. The Fifty Shades Trilogy – No words can describe how addictive and fixated I am with Fifty Shades. As the books proclaims, Fifty Shades will “obsess you, possess you, and stay with you forever.” I cannot say it any better myself!

What other products should I try during August???

Amaretto Berry Trifle

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This quick and easy berry trifle will pack a patriotic punch of flavor at your summer cookout! With bright, vibrant hues, this dessert is perfect for adding a pop of color to your table and creating a beautiful centerpiece!

Amaretto Berry Trifle

Ingredients:

1 family size Sara Lee pound cake (cut into 1” cubed)

1/4 cup Amaretto

1 lb strawberries and 1/4 cup sugar (coarsely pureed in food processor)

1 Sm prepared instant french vanilla pudding (or use low calorie vanilla)

1 lb blueberries

1 tub cool whip lite (Lg or Sm)

 
Preparation:

1. Layer in order above in a large trifle bowl

2. Top with a combination of blueberries and strawberries

3. Refrigerate 4 hours

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Hip Hip Parade

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If you haven’t already checked out this year’s BIA Parade of Homes in Lewis Center, hurry up and and GO before time runs out (July 1)! 12 central Ohio home builders are showcased in the parade, all (majority) featuring stunning interior decorating and creative/innovative design ideas.  You will most definitely leave the parade happy, with pictures, ideas and inspiration for renovating, designing or building your dream home! In case you haven’t toured the houses, here are some of my fav pictures from my trip! And, if you still plan on attending, consider these images a sneak peek of what’s to come!

Favorite Things – June

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1. Joico Humidity Blocker – A life-saving, lightweight spay that gets applied to styled hair for protection against humidity and frizz.

2. K-Cup Starbucks Veranda Blonde Coffee – More mellow and soft, this lighter Starbucks roast has a laid back taste that is less abrasive than the regular brew. Jon’s dad, Chris, gets credit for this find! Delicious!

3. This Family of Mine by Victoria Gotti – A captivating, tell-all story of the infamous Gotti family as told by daughter Victoria. This book is a very fascinating read that explores the life of Gambino crime boss John Gotti.

4. Almond & Coconut Kind Bar – A guilt-free, all natural snack bar that tastes like a tropical getaway.

5. Bath & Body Works Malibu Heat Body Lotion – This scent is a fusion of juicy pineapple and orange, creamy coconut and everything summer. Perfect for moisturizing skin after a long day in the sun.

6. BCBGeneration Ruffled Dress in Guava – I bought this dress in Ft. Lauderdale and it is so cute to throw on with flip-flops in the afternoon or dress it up with wedges for a dinner out! FYI, the dress run a little big, so I would suggest going one size down.

7. Ann Taylor Loft Metallic Vlada Bow Sandals – An absolutely adorable sandal that can be worn with any type of outfit.

Tour de German Village

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Along with 6,000 plus tour guests, Jon and I woke up early today to attend the 53rd annual Haus and Garten tour in Columbus’ historic German Village. The tour is an all day-long celebration of renowned designs, enchanting gardens and award-winning restorations. Years ago I attended this tour and I have wonderful memories of the homes I explored. So, naturally, I was really looking forward to heading back to German Village, after many years, to tour a new set of homes.

Well, while my memory was right about the beauty of the houses and landscaping, it was foggy on the amount of people who also attended. I do not want to categorize the event as black or white, good or bad, but I definitely have some mixed feelings on the tour.

Out of the few houses Jon and I did go through, the architecture and design elements were fabulous and worthwhile seeing. Looking at the outside of these compact homes doesn’t provoke much shock. Conversely, when stepping foot inside and seeing how these small spaces are brilliantly decorated is really astonishing!

However, that is the extent to which I enjoyed the tour. Aside from the imaginative decorating, the lines to enter the homes were gruelingly long, and that is putting it kindly. I mean testing-your-patience long. Maybe if the temperature was not 90 degrees and the sun was less blazing the lines would not have been so miserable. But, that was not the case. Jon and I got so frustrated sweating and standing in crowds for twenty plus minutes to reach a house that I was more interested in lunch and dessert than I was in the tour.

The part of the German Village experience today that did excite me was the food! For lunch, we ate at the Brown Bag Deli on Mohawk St. It was FABULOUS! The deli featured tons of made-to-order, flavorful sandwiches, fresh salads and many creative side dish options. I would definitely recommend stopping in this colorful deli for a quick lunch or dinner! As an added bonus, they have great outdoor seating options that allow for people watching!

After walking around German Village for a while after lunch, Jon and I needed a little something sweet to refuel. Pistacia Vera fit the bill. After talking to a cheerful employee, we were encouraged to try their signature item…Parisian macarons! OH MY DELCIOUSNESS! These petite, light meringue sandwich cookies filled with buttercream were TO DIE FOR!! We tried 3 flavors: black raspberry, key lime curd, and coconut creme. These were, by far, some of the most scrumptious desserts I have ever had!

Overall, I would say German Village makes for a fun afternoon, filled with delicious cuisine. However, I would recommend passing on the next Haus and Garten Tour, due to the lines and crowds, and explore German Village on your own!

Kristen in Fort Lauderdale

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Here are my picks for the best hotels, restaurants and activities in Fort Lauderdale, Florida!

Sleep –

Stay at the fabulous Atlantic Resort & Spa where you can lounge by the pool, dine beach-side at the delicious French restaurant, East End Brasserie, and enjoy a view of sparkling, turquoise water from your ocean-front guest room.

Eat –

The most beautiful restaurant on Fort Lauderdale’s central beach is Steak 954. Located inside the posh W Hotel, Steak 954 is the masterpiece of famous restauranteur Steven Starr. With incredible decor, such as a massive jellyfish tank and dramatic lighting,  this restaurant is an experience for both your appetite and senses. Not the mention its killer ocean view!

YOLO is a great spot for delicious food, people watching and happy hour. With an indoor-outdoor, California-retro vibe, YOLO is the most happening restaurant in Fort Lauderdale. A frequent spot for businessmen and down-towners, YOLO’s Las Olas boulevard location attracts an A-list crowd.

Summer and ice cream go hand-in-hand. The BEST place for homemade ice cream is Kilwins on Las Olas. Also, don’t miss out on Kilwins specialty… fudge! Featuring a wide-variety of flavors, Kilwins is sure to please everyone in your group.

Jon and I not only ate breakfast at East End Brasserie every morning while in paradise, but we stopped in for drinks and a delicious chocolate dessert that was to-die-for! I suggest you try the strawberries & champagne cocktail accompanied by the warm flourless chocolate cake!

Feeling an Italian night? Well, Spazio is an excellent choice for a causal dinner with an amazing ocean view. Fresh pastas, steaks and salads, any Italian craving would be met at this restaurant. Plus, Spazio has live music every night of the week!

Shop –

Filled with quirky art galleries and clothing stores, Las Olas boulevard is the most popular spot in south Florida for shopping.

Another great place to get out of the sun and shop is at the Galleria Mall. Featuring upscale shops and high-end restaurants, this mall would make for fun afternoon when you need a break from the beach!

Do –

Fort Lauderdale’s water taxi is not only an inexpensive transportation method, but a fascinating tour as you pass multimillion dollar mansions and homes of famous American moguls. You can get discounted tickets, $10 each, when purchasing passes after 5:00 p.m.

Fort Lauderdale Travel Tips?

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In honor of Jon’s college graduation and my birthday, we are taking a trip to Fort Lauderdale, FL TOMORROW! We are both super excited to relax, tan and walk the beach for 5 days. Although we have the hotel booked and some restaurant reservations made, we are looking for must-see attractions that are unique to south Florida. I would love to hear your tips and ideas! So….

What are some fun spots or activities we should check out in Fort Lauderdale??

Favorite Things – May

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My favorite things for May is geared towards the beach! Jon and I are heading to Fort Lauderdale, FL in about one week and we are more than ready for relaxing by the pool and soaking up the sun! These items are essentials for a sea-side vacation or laying around by the pool!

1. Gloria Jean’s Macadamia Cookie Coffee K-Cups – Sweet and flavorful, this coffee tastes like a warm sugar cookie. I’ve never been to Hawaii, however, I imagine this flavor lingering in the Hawaiian air.

2. Clinique 7 Day Scrub – A subtle scrub that leaves skin feeling smooth and clean after a long day under the sun.

3. Skinnydipping by Bethenny Frankel – This dishy fiction book is a fun beach read full of hilarious and laugh-out-loud moments.

4. Ralph Lauren Polarized Sunglasses – I bought these last summer and I am still loving these more than any other pair I own. The gold, aviator style adds a feminine and glamorous touch to any outfit.

5. Victoria’s Secret The Beach Dress – I just ordered another color in this dress because I like it so much! It is the perfect beach or pool cover-up that is still dressy enough to wear out to lunch.

6. Gelish Passion Nail Polish – A bright, pinkish-orange color is perfect for a tropical getaway. Keep in mind, too, that gel nail polish lasts up to 3 weeks, so no touch-ups needed!

7. True Blue Spa Tahiti Sweetie – An exotic lotion that is rich in coconut oil, leaving skin moisturized after a long day in the sun.

8. Lacoste Solid Logo Beach Towel – Over-sized and soft, this towel comes in a variety of vibrant colors that is great for laying around on lounge chairs or in the sand!