How to Be Good: It’s So Obvious That It’s Not

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For some reason, whenever I go grocery shopping, I find myself drawn to a random row of product in the baking aisle. The “weird flours,” if you will. I always wonder about the people who are purchasing those little bags of coconut flour and hazelnut meal. “What are you doing with all that chia seed,” I find myself wondering. It’s like they’re all part of some kind of super secret culinary club.

Don’t mind us. We’re just hanging out in inconspicuous packaging on the middle shelf. Move along. Nothing here to see.

Except it turns out there is. Well, maybe it’s not something to see, but it’s something to hear. It’s their story. And it’s a really, really great story.

I stumbled my way across this video last week, not realizing who it was for. The wisdom captured my heart, and by the time the brand reveal hit, I was sold. They could have been selling earplugs or cardboard boxes for all it mattered, but as it happens, they’re selling the weird flours — and the man (and philosophy) behind those weird flours is pretty dang awesome.

I may never have a use for coconut flour, but I’m going to find one. If for no other reason than the world needs more Bobs.

“It’s so obvious that it’s not – how to run a business, that is. First, make something you love. That way it’s hardly work at all. Then make it as well as humanly possible. Pour your soul into it. Your back, too. Focus on the thing and not the money. That’ll generally take care of itself. Do it honestly, with integrity. Tell the truth, no mumbo jumbo. Don’t get greedy. Don’t cut corners. Smile whenever possible. And treat people with respect; your suppliers, your employees , your partners…most of all, the people who buy that thing. Charge a fair price, just what you need to keep going. Then keep things going, even when you could cash out. Why? Because way back at the start, there’s another obvious thing even geniuses forget. That thing you make? that thing you love? It should be a good thing in some way. After all, isn’t that the point? Isn’t that why we’re here? To help one another. To add something. To make folks a little happier, a little healthier for doing what you do. And here’s one last obvious thing. If all goes right, you turn down all the deep pocket suitors and just give the operation – the whole shebang – to your employees instead. Okay, maybe that last part isn’t obvious…to anybody but Bob.”

17 Great Reasons to Visit The Columbus Zoo

Home to more than 9,000 animals and hundreds of species, the Columbus Zoo welcomes more than 2.3 million visitors each year. [1]  Last weekend I bumped that number to 2,300,001.

It wasn’t my first visit to the zoo, but it was my first visit in a long time. It was also my first field day out with the new camera. Saturday morning I trekked across town, popped in my earbuds and took on Saturday through the scope of my lens. No Facebook. No texting. No Instagram, even. Just a girl and a camera traveling continent-to-continent, creature-to-creature on a grand afternoon adventure.

If you’re looking for a reason to visit the zoo, they’ve got thousands. Here are 17 I discovered last weekend…


17 Reasons to Visit The Columbus Zoo

It’s the perfect place for family bonding.Processed with VSCOcam with hb2 preset

And nobody cares if you’re having a bad hair day. Or a bad beard day. Processed with VSCOcam with m5 preset

While you’re there, you’ll probably want to plan a lunch date with this calorie-conscious, salad-loving gorilla. Processed with VSCOcam with se3 preset

Or schedule a hike with this shy guy.
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Any way you look at them, elephants are incredible. Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset
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And you’ve got to know what these bears are whispering about. Processed with VSCOcam with a6 preset

You’ll definitely want to welcome this bitty baby to the world. Processed with VSCOcam with m5 preset

And find out where this guy gets his nails done.  Processed with VSCOcam with a6 preset
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Mud runs are a daily thing at the Columbus Zoo. (But sometimes they’re less of a “run” and more of a “flop.”) Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

As well as demonstrations on the proper posture for “downward dog.” Processed with VSCOcam with a6 preset

Really, The Columbus Zoo is the purrrrrfect way to spend an afternoon. (And these guys had a ™ on roar long before Katy Perry.) 
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While you’re there, you can audit a class in confidence from this cocky little fellow. Photo Mar 15, 12 09 24 AM (1)
Or learn how to strike a pose courtesy of these judgmental flamingos.  Photo Mar 15, 12 09 21 AM (2) Photo Mar 15, 12 09 22 AM (1) Photo Mar 15, 12 09 22 AM (2) Photo Mar 15, 12 09 22 AM

You’ll definitely want to give this guy a hug. Processed with VSCOcam with a5 preset

And check out the twittering and tweets going on in the aviaryProcessed with VSCOcam with f2 presetPhoto Mar 15, 12 09 17 AM (1) Photo Mar 15, 12 09 17 AM
After a long day of walking around, you might be ready for a nap. (But that’s okay, you’ll fit right in.)Processed with VSCOcam with hb2 preset Processed with VSCOcam with a6 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with c1 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with a6 preset Processed with VSCOcam with a6 preset Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

And you’ll leave feeling loved, because when it’s time to go home, this pouty bear will miss you big time. Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetI

Learn more about The Columbus Zoo at ColumbusZoo.org. Better yet, buy yourself a membership.

20 Columbus Instagrammers You Should Be Following

columbus ohio instagramIf you’re new to the Instagram game — or just looking for a few locals to follow — I’ve put together a list of Columbus instagrammers worth a look and a like. Though their followings vary in size, this bunch is the best of the best when it comes to celebrating our community and all the reasons we’re proud to call Cbus home. -Amy

Amanda Hamman | @girlaboutcolumbus 
Amanda’s feed is pretty much perfection. A Columbus-focused dash of delicious and a sprinkle of lovely with the occasional pup shot peppered in. If you don’t live here already, viewing our community through the GAC lens will make you wish you did.
GAC

Ewa and Jeromy | @Nom_Life
I have yet to cross paths with Ewa (or Jeromy for that matter) off Instagram, but I kind of feel like she is my sister from another mister at this point.  From savories to sweets, the NL feed is a visual smorgasbord of the culinary greatness emanating from every nook and cranny in Columbus. The #foodporn alert is high on this one, friends, but never fear. NSFW just stands for “not safe for waistlines.”
Nom Life

Dan Riesenberger | @danthebaker
There are two kinds of people in the world: people who love bread so much and people I have basically nothing in common with. If you love delicious carbs and pretty photos of delicious carbs, you’ve found your feed. Dan Riesenberger, owner and founder of Dan the Baker and Toast Bar, puts the “art” in artisanal. His images may leave you sniffing your screen in hopes of catching a whiff of that “just-out-of-the-oven” goodness. (And let’s be honest, who can resist a man who bakes bunny bread? Not this girl.) dan baker

Kathy & Sophia | @kasuallife
Lifestyle bloggers Kathy and Sophia have a special gift for showcasing the softer, gentler side of Columbus. Whenever I scroll their feed, I feel instantly transported to a sunny Saturday with nothing on my agenda but enjoying the ultimate Girl’s Day with my closest lady friends.  kasuallife

Michael Noon | @noonerblast 
It’s fair to say that you’ll find good things around every corner in Columbus, but Michael Noon has taught me that sometimes the corners are the good thing. His feed is a visual feast of form, color and style that highlights architecture and urban pops everywhere from the soaring heights of our landmark skyscrapers to the subtler gems that often go overlooked. nooner

Alicia | @alicia.wanders
A new friend in my feed, Alicia’s IG is a continual stream of local food and fun with the occasional cat thrown in for good measure. (You know how the internet loves cats.) Besides inducing some serious stomach growls, her shots are great inspiration to get out and explore Columbus.
alicia

Robert W. Tobin | @robertwtobin
As an antique photo collector, I have a soft spot for the beauty and mystery of the unfinished stories of people and places I’ll never know. Robert’s feed is the closest thing I’ve found to the living version of an antique photograph. He has a true gift for revealing sometimes-broken, always-beautiful stories one snippet at a time. And he captures the city around us in a way that leaves me constantly wondering, “Wow. Where is this?” 
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Amy | @amytellmewhere
Great name aside (I’m admittedly partial), Amy is basically the Columbus food whisperer. No matter where I am, one look at her IG is all it takes to leave me wishing I was where she is. Amy takes “I’ll have what she’s having” to a whole new level, because what she’s having is always delicious.
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Experience Columbus | @experiencecolumbus
With a mix of org-generated and fan-generated photos, the Experience Columbus IG feed is kind of like a visual version of the daily news. Spoiler alert: the headline always reads the same: “BREAKING NEWS: WELCOME TO COLUMBUS. AWESOME THINGS ARE HAPPENING HERE.” (Tip: tag your IG photos with #expcols and #cbusfoodscene to give EC permission to repost.) expcols

Death to the Stock Photo  | @deathtostock
With a mission to change the way the world (literally) views stock photography, it should come as no surprise that the Columbus-based DTS Instagram serves up a steady stream of swoon-worthy eye candy. The lovelies you find on IG are just a small sampling of the full DTS archive. Sign up on the website to receive free monthly collections or go premium for access to the whole shebang. (And follow founder @alliepal while you’re at it!) death to stock

Candis Jones | @thejonesmarket
Whenever my sister and I look back through old family photos, we often find ourselves commenting on the necklaces that have accompanied us throughout our lives. From the plastic classics of childhood to cherished family heirlooms, they’ve accessorized our story. Candis Jones, founder of The Jones Market, has created what I consider the modern heirloom necklace. Simple and simply beautiful, this fashion-forward, Columbus-based brand offers up beaded lovelies that are both mama- and baby-friendly.
Jones

Jonathan + Sandra | @therusticlife
You’ll find @therusticlife sitting squarely at the intersection of rustic-inspired lifestyle blog and home decor shop. This sweet Columbus couple has mastered the art of merging old and new to create modern-meets-vintage magic. Their IG feed regularly leaves me debating ditching my current digs, buying a country cottage and starting over from scratch. Forget the bigger boat. We’re gonna need a bigger farm table.
rustic

Jolie Ankrom | @brimpapery
Arguably the most darling and classy human alive, Jolie Ankrom  is the creative sauce behind Columbus’ Brim Papery. Her feed invites you to fall in love with a world of words. I’m not talking pixels on a screen. I’m talking real, paper-to-pen, swoon-at-the-curves-of-your-y words — one print and sassy coffee mug at a time. (Girl crush alert!)
Brim

Fox in the Snow Cafe | @foxinthesnowcafe
Lots of people claim coffee is an art, but Fox in the Snow Cafe proves it. Scrolling the mishmash of savories, pastries and frothy foam on their IG feed leaves me feeling like I’ve just cuddled up under a cozy blanket with a favorite book. (A sentiment that is immediately followed by the realization I need to put on real pants and go get me summa that.)
fox

Edible Columbus | @ediblecolumbus
If there were such a thing as a bucket list for food, Edible Columbus would be the equivalent of leaving the firehose of inspiration running. From chocolates to crostatas, tacos to tapas, this spotlight on the Columbus food scene may leave you drooling as you scroll. (No judgment shall be passed.) ediblecbus

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams | @jenisicecreams
Jeni’s tends to make all of my Best-of-Columbus lists. Why? Because they’re just so darn good at being good. From the way they do business to the ingredients they source to the instashots that remind me it has been far too long since I last spooned with Goat Cheese and Red Cherries, they’re setting the bar high. Their Instagram is a vibrant celebration of the way #TeamJenis does things from start to scoop to smile. jenis

Pistacia Vera | @pistaciavera
Meet the local masters of the macaron. PV’s crave-inducing Instagram feed proves you don’t have to go all the way to Paris to indulge in a sweet treat and the perfect of pastry. You’ll find it right in the heart of German Village. pv

Curio at Harvest | @curioatharvest
I cringe a little when I hear people say that Curio has the best drinks in town. It’s true, of course. They do. They really, really do. But it seems almost flippant to refer to the cocktails Curio mixes up as “drinks.” They’re more like sippable stories told by a clan of artists and historians who pull pages from the past and serve them up in the appropriate glass. Forget the pudding. The proof is in the pour. Screen Shot 2015-03-07 at 2.27.22 AM

Kittie’s Cakes | @kittiescakes
You know how whenever your mom or grandmother makes a recipe it always tastes so much better than when you do, like they’ve got some magical ingredient secretly stashed up their sleeve? That’s the Kittie’s Cakes experience. (And I’m pretty sure the magical ingredient is love.) Some of nicest sweets slingers you’ll ever meet, Kittie’s feed tempts the tastebuds with snaps of their daily offering (with the occasional cameo from @linus_the_golden_retriever). If you see something you like, don’t delay. They sell out regularly, and longingly staring at Instagram shots pales in comparison to chowing down on the real thing.  Screen Shot 2015-03-09 at 1.02.13 AM

Amy Taylor | @ohiogood
Do you know what time it is? Shameless self plug o’clock! I recently launched @ohiogood as a home for my regular adventures throughout Columbus and occasional journeys throughout Ohio. If you read this post all the way to the bottom, kudos to you! Tag me and say hello! I’d love to connect with you. Screen Shot 2015-03-07 at 2.46.58 AM

So, who did I miss? We’ve got way too much local talent for one list. Which Columbus instagrammers would you nominate for Part Two of this Cbus local Instagram series? Name drop in a comment below or tag me on Twitter @NoMeatballs or on Instagram @OhioGood.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Amy Taylor is a Columbus, Ohio-based Marketing Strategist + Copywriter. She likes lunch for breakfast, wine, social media and dogs. (But not necessarily in that order.) Tweet her @NoMeatballs.

A Run Through the Sprinklers

Women Wearing Colorful Bathing Caps

I’m just going to say it. I’m so over winter. I’m over lugging around a full-length wool coat wherever I go. I’m over ruining my shoes in dirty slush. I’m over risking my life trying to traverse the ice. I’m over it. O-V-E-R.

Thankfully, I have a week-long, nothing-but-beach vacation coming up. The sun-and-sand light at the end of my proverbial winter tunnel, if you will. It was the looming of said vacation that prompted me to spend my lunch hour in a place no woman likes to go: the swimsuit section. Seriously. Apparently 70 percent of Americans would rather go to the dentist, do their taxes, sit in the middle aisle of an airplane or visit their in-laws than go shopping for a swimsuit. (And I’m one of them.)

The fitting room was packed yesterday, and the conversations flying back and forth were a chorus of self deprecation:

“This is probably as good as it’s going to get for me.”
“I shouldn’t be seen in public.”
“I hate my body.” 

The chatter shook me from my own mental trash talking. (What, exactly, is that weird little armpit chicken cutlet and what exercises will make it go away?!) 

mean girls

But then it happened. I told my inner Mean Girl to stuff a sock in it, and this guy chimed in…

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It seems that when it comes to fearlessness and priorities, we were all so much better off as kids.

kids-running-through-sprinkler

decorations-pool-simplistic-backyard-swimming-pool-design-for-kids-fun-and-cheerful-outdoor-and-indoor-pool-designs-for-kids-and-family-plastic-kids-pools-kids-pools-with-slide-kids-above-ground-pool

Our five-year-old selves didn’t worry about what jiggled or rolled, bumped or lumped. We had bigger things to focus our energy on. (Like pretending we were mermaids.)

The next time you find yourself facing the dreaded mirror, every bit and piece of your precious self cast in an unforgiving light, I hope you will dial down Regina George and crank the volume on perspective.

Be thankful for legs that offer you the gift of a stroll along the shore at sunset and toes that can wiggle their way down into the cool sand and hands that construct sandcastles and arms that are happy to oblige when you summon them to take you for a swim. Give thanks for ears that know the shouts of seagulls and eyes that have borne witness to fifty shades of sunrise. Be thankful for the freedom to wear what you want, show what you want and let down your hair whenever you see fit. Be grateful for the opportunity to experience the splendor of creation and the chance to unplug so you can plug back into the things that matter.

E.E. Cummings once said, “There’s a hell of a good universe next door” — it’s waiting to delight in you. Don’t let a poly-lycra blend become the deciding factor between your “no”and your “yes.” Your fearless, inner five-year-old invites you to run through the sprinklers. She invites you to get out of your head and out of that dressing room.

After all, everyones knows a fitting room is no place for a mermaid.

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